Billionaire VC is going after American giants like AT&T and Verizon with new carrier upstart

Chamath Palihapitiya, social+capital partnership, sv100 2015Brian Ach/GettyChamath Palihapitiya of Social+Capital Partnership speaks onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 at The Manhattan Center on April 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihipitiya is already working on bringing internet to Sri Lanka and the Phillipines, but now he has U.S. telcos in his crosshairs.

At the Mobile First Summit, Palihipitiya described for the first time his new company’s ambitions to disrupt the incumbent carriers in the US.

Called Rama, the new corporation is already licensing spectrum in Sri Lanka. While LotusFlare has been the headliner in a parternship with Google to bring internet to the developing world, Rama Corporation will be developed into the carrier while LotusFlare will focus on the software.

Palihipitiya’s opportunity to overtake AT&T and Verizon comes this spring when the FCC is having a new auction for what Chamath describes as “beachfront” real estate.

The company would need to spend between $US4 and $US10 billion to compete in the spectrum, and Palihipitiya told Business Insider after his talk that he’s still working on raising the money, but “identifiable” names will be a part of it. He wants Rama to be a new, modern carrier — one that can do things like easy billing and isn’t stuck in a legacy structure.

“There’s a whole bunch of issues that carriers aren’t trying to solve. All these things are now just totally broken,” Palihipitiya said.

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