Another “virtual” wireless carrier bites the dust: Sonopia, which opened for business a year ago, has laid off its U.S. staff and is shutting down, according to former employee Tapio Anttila (via Moconews).
This one never seemed practical: Sonopia let organisations like the National Wildlife Federation start their own mini mobile networks, offering custom phones, service on Verizon Wireless, and kickbacks to group organisers. Too niche: Like other failed “virtual” carriers — Disney Mobile, Mobile ESPN, Movida, Amp’d Mobile — Sonopia couldn’t attract enough subscribers to make any money.
“The model proved to be too ambitious and perhaps ahead of its time on the U.S. market,” Anttila says.
According to Anttila, Sonopia has “reached an amicable resolution with existing marketing partners to transition subscribers it had acquired.” We take this to mean that Sonopia subscribers — probably a tiny number of people — will get to keep their phones and will get service directly from Verizon (VZ).
We’ve put in a call to Sonopia CEO Juha Christensen for more details and will update if we learn more. The company had raised $21.5 million from ComVentures, Sevin Rosen Funds and Cardinal Venture Capital.
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