“We’re coming at this industry from a completely different angle,” he said.
Bolton explained that Visible—a company that is fully owned and funded by Verizon but that operates independently from the company—is currently testing its services with a small group of users and will conduct a widescale service launch sometime in the future. Bolton did not offer any timelines for Visible’s launch.
However, Bolton did say that Visible has no plans to head into the retail sector. Instead, the company plans to operate completely online—it will sell its wares through digital and social channels, and won’t have any live customer care or retail services.
“Our model is to take what our industry has allowed other industries to do and apply it to our own industry,” Bolton said, pointing to companies like Amazon and Uber that allow customers to conduct their business almost entirely through a web interface.
Bolton added that Visible currently sells services through a bring-your-own-device model with only iOS options, but in the future expects to offer Android services as well as its own lineup of phones. He also said the company plans to continue to offer unlimited services, but he said that Visible doesn’t categorize itself in prepaid and postpaid terms.
“What you’re going to see at Visible is a true blurring of the lines between prepaid and postpaid,” he said, adding that, like Netflix, customers will pay for their Visible services before consuming them, but that Visible won’t “fit into the strict and traditional model of prepaid.”
Bolton however wouldn’t offer any further details into Visible’s forthcoming plans, explaining that the company plans to remain flexible and offer services quickly and in response to customer demands. “Exactly how that manifests over time is going to be up to our members,” Bolton said. “We’re going to elicit feedback from customers, integrate that into our offer, and change our service as a result.”
Bolton noted that Visible recently introduced personal hotspot services as a result of customer requests.
“Stuff like that is going to be happening continuously at Visible,” he said. “We have this platform that is unique that is going to allow us to take this feedback and quickly pivot. … The key message here is that platform flexibility.”
Visible is noteworthy because it is not a Verizon MVNO. Instead, the company was founded by a group of Verizon employees who received funding from Verizon, and Visible’s services use the company’s network. But Bolton said the company operates largely independently from Verizon, and added that many of its new employees are not coming from Verizon. In that way, he said, Visible is not like the prepaid brands of other major carriers—think AT&T’s Cricket or T-Mobile’s MetroPCS—which can often work closely with their corporate parents on offers and strategy.