Six months after T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) MVNO Solavei announced it was going to launch into a new phase of its development, the company said it filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan to merge with ASPIDER, a Netherlands-based Infrastructure as a Service provider that works with mobile operators. Terms of the deal remain confidential.
Solavei announced the plan earlier this week and indicated in a statement that it "will continue to deliver and grow its social commerce network to fulfill its vision of positively impacting millions of people's lives."
As a result of the deal, Solavei said that the company will continue to operate normally, no services will be interrupted, compensation will be paid on time and Ryan Wuerch will continue in his role as chairman and CEO of Solavei.
It's unclear how the business arrangement will work and how the two companies will be merged. Wuerch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Solavei launched in 2013 with a $49 per month unlimited voice, text and data plan on T-Mobile's network. The company designed its service as a referral program, rewarding customers with monthly service discounts if they sign up new customers to the service. Wuerch has said one of Solavei's customers, a single mom, has signed up so many new customers to the service that not only is her mobile service free, she also makes $300 in commissions per month.
However, in late May 2014 Solavei filed for bankruptcy protection to restructure its operations. In September 2014 Wuerch told FierceWireless he expected the company to emerge from bankruptcy sometime near the end of 2014 or early this year. By shedding its debt, he said he expected the company to emerge from bankruptcy profitable and with free cash flow. It's unclear how many customers Solavei currently has; as of May 31, 2014, it counted only 101,500 customers.
Wuerch told FierceWireless that "phase two" of Solavei's development would include a new compensation scheme, a refined focus on the Hispanic market and new offerings on its Solavei Marketplace program.
ASPIDER will offer Solavei a different kind of company to partner with. The firm provides provisioning, billing and revenue management solutions for carriers, and is carrier-agnostic. The company says on its website that it works with the likes of T-Mobile International, Orange, Vodafone and Mobinil. ASPIDER said its solutions are designed to let carriers, MVNEs and MVNOs get new revenue streams quickly.
Solavei said its members and employees will benefit from the ASPIDER global mobile virtual enabling platform. The platform enables features like "in-network" international calling, global roaming, mobile payments and other services. Additionally, Solavei said the merger will improve its cost structure by letting it consolidate its overall technology platform, leverage greater buying power and eliminate third-party solutions.
"This partnership offers tremendous value to both companies," Wuerch said in a statement. "For Solavei, it will provide the opportunity to leverage ASPIDER direct connections with global mobile operators, and technology resources to enhance and expand mobile services for our members, and broaden Solavei's reach to enable us to rapidly expand the Solavei brand around the world."
ASPIDER plans to use Solavei's social commerce platform within its own range of mobile solutions to "create a fully managed mobile-service ecosystem that includes network wholesale, retail infrastructure and social engagement."
"We are thrilled to expand our services to include Solavei's unique social and referral platforms," Patrick Meijer, vice president of corporate development at ASPIDER, said in a statement. "What's so different about Solavei is it has created an entirely new form of distribution for the market of mobile service, capitalizing on the fast-growing trends of social media, mobile and referral marketing."
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