Symbian co-founder and former head of Microsoft's mobile business, Juha Christensen launched his mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Sonopia today, which aims to enable any individual or organization to set up their own MVNO for free and within 15 minutes. "The idea, really, is to try and re-democratize the mobile carrier space by enabling anyone to become one: organizations, families or even individuals with an idea for an audience," Christensen told FierceWireless in an interview. "We're taking the old idea of an MVNO and making the entry barrier so low, that anyone can launch."
Those who launch MVNOs also get to keep 5 percent of the revenue from their service, while the remainder goes to Sonopia and its network partner, Verizon Wireless. That percentage will change as the service acquires more subscribers, Christensen said. The company expects there to be more than 10,000 Sonopia-powered mobile carriers serving U.S. consumers within two years.
Each fledgling MVNO is outfitted with a selection of popular handsets, competitive calling plans, premium voice and data services and customized content, including social-networking functionality. Sonopia handles all billing, credit management, shipping and customer support.
Sonopia has a sales team that is aggressively going after the organizations and charities angle of the business, but is also marketing directly to known entrepreneurs and other small businesses to reach those individuals likely to discover a winning idea for a new MVNO.
Sonopia also announced its first partnerships, which span from the National Parks Conservation Association to the American Medical Student Association to the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch Women's Softball League.