MVNO meltdown: reseller trio run into problems

18 Aug 2014

According to Fierce Wireless, US electronics retailer RadioShack has discontinued its ‘RadioShack No-Contract Wireless’ brand, which was launched in 2012 through a partnership with Leap Wireless – a cellular operator now owned by AT&T Mobility. The online journal notes that No Contract Wireless was not a standard mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, because while the offering was branded as RadioShack and sold through the company’s existing distribution channels, Leap Wireless provided the billing as well as the service.

In separate but related news, Spot Mobile, an MVNO which piggybacks on T-Mobile US’s network, has confirmed that it has decided to wind down its business and will shut off its service to customers by 7 September. The precise details behind Spot’s shutdown are unclear, and attempts to reach company officials were unsuccessful, Fierce Wireless notes.

Finally, earlier this month fellow virtual operator Chit Chat Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Local press reports quoted Chit Chat’s John Hennessy as saying that the drastic measure was implemented in order to settle a billing dispute with network partner Sprint Corp. Hennessy complained that Chit Chat did not receive data usage billing information in a timely manner, leading to a billing dispute worth ‘several hundred thousand dollars’. Hennessy commented: ‘Sprint is trying to tell us that we’re responsible … for that usage, and we’re telling them, “No, we’re not.” We couldn’t come to any satisfactory resolution to this issue. It’s too big to just pay and walk away from.’ Chit Chat launched in New York City and other East Coast areas in September 2012.