T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) MVNO Solavei today launched its Marketplace program, which the company said gives its users access to offers and discounts from 16,000 large and small retailers nationwide, including a majority of the top 30 largest U.S. retailers.
Solavei's new Marketplace service represents an expansion of the company's commission-based business structure into the retail realm. The MVNO, which launched a year ago, encourages its users to sign up additional customers to the service by giving its customers $20 per month for every three new customers they sign up to the Solavei wireless service. Those payments are made through a Solavei-branded Visa debit card.
Now, through its Marketplace service, Solavei is also offering its customers access to discounts and offers from participating retailers when its customers use their Solavei card to buy things. Solavei customers can get additional discounts and offerings through customer referrals.
"The explosive growth in our member base in our first 12 months validates our business premise and belief that social commerce will redefine distribution in the coming years," Ryan Wuerch, founder and CEO of Solavei, said in a statement. "We're making people's everyday purchases more affordable by shifting the large advertising dollars usually spent by brands to our members--directly rewarding them for sharing the value of Solavei with their friends and family."
FierceWireless first reported on Solavei's Marketplace plans in May. The program is powered technology from payment processing company First Data.
Solavei's Marketplace is just the latest in a growing number of loyalty programs from wireless carriers. For example, América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless recently launched its new "Trac 'N' Save" digital coupon and wallet program, which the company said provides "the best deals, discounts and promotions from trusted partners" to its roughly 23 million customers. And Isis, the mobile commerce network spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile is preparing for a nationwide launch later this year after completing pilots in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.
Solavei promises to expand its Marketplace program beyond just retail goods. In the future, the company said it will offer "reduced-cost primary household goods and services such as general merchandise, broadband, energy, cable and financial services."
Indeed, Solavei appears to be working to expand far beyond its telecom roots. The company launched a year ago by offering unlimited talking and texting and 4 GB of high-speed data for $49 per month. Now, the company identifies itself as a "social commerce network that enhances its members' social connections and naturally rewards them for sharing the products and services they use every day," and makes no mention of wireless service.
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