UppWireless, which runs an all-IP-based wireless service, is hoping to expand this year to other U.S. carriers, according to the company's CEO.
UppWireless launched service last month, a few months after its UppTalk calling and messaging application debuted. The company's SIM-based service uses SIM cards from Red Pocket Mobile, an MVNO that runs on T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) network.
However, CEO Jochen Doppelhammer told FierceWireless that since the service launched he has received a great deal of interest from other U.S. operators. The company is seriously thinking of "expanding beyond what we currently have" in terms of U.S. operator partnerships.
While he did not indicate which carriers it might partner with, Doppelhammer noted that Sprint (NYSE:S) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) do not traditionally use SIM cards and represent an untapped market opportunity. He said discussions with another, unnamed carrier are "very advanced" and he expects a deal to happen sometime later this year. UppWireless' SIM-based service will also expand to at least one European country in the near future, he said.
UppWireless' service uses the UppTalk app to make VoIP calls and send messages. UppWireless offers 1 GB of data at HSPA+ speeds for $15 per month, unlimited data with 3 GB at HSPA+ speeds for $35 per month, and unlimited data with 5 GB at HSPA+ speeds for $55 per month. SIM cards cost of $9.95, and that price is not included in the prices of the plans. The service will throttle users' speeds 2G/EDGE for the remainder billing cycle if they exceed the data limits on the 3 GB and 5 GB plans.
What makes UppWireless unique is that it uses UppTalk for voice and messaging service. On Android phones the app can be pre-loaded to be the phone's primary dialer and messaging service. "If we talk to our users, what they really want is their mobile apps," Doppelhammer. "Regular voice calling becomes secondary."
All UppWireless plans also include unlimited calls and texts to any phone in the U.S. or Canada. The service also has a credit system for making international calls in which customers can buy credits directly or earn them through watching video ads or downloading apps.
Customers can buy a handful of phones from UppWireless (including the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $499 or Sony Xperia Z1 for $599) or bring their own phone. The service just last week started supporting nano-SIM cards, making the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5c available for $599 unlocked.
Doppelhammer declined to say how many customers the SIM-based service has but said the UppTalk app now has more than half a million users in the U.S. since it launched in December and that he hopes to get to 1 million by year-end.
- see this UppWireless page
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Correction, March 20, 2014: This article incorrectly stated that the UppTalk app now has more than half a million users worldwide since it launched in December; that figure is for the U.S. only.
Correction, March 31, 2014: This article incorrectly stated that UppWireless is a T-Mobile MVNO. Red Pocket is a T-Mobile MVNO, and UppWireless uses Red Pocket's SIM cards.