[telecom] Meet GSM Nation, an MVNO selling any smartphone you desire

Meet GSM Nation, an MVNO selling any smartphone you desire

By Kevin Fitchard June 15, 2012

GSM Nation has spent the past two years selling unlocked smartphones through its online retail portal, and in the process it has steered tens of thousands of customers toward contract-free voice and data plans offered by the newly emerging class of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). GSM Nation CEO and co-founder Ahmed Khattak, however, is getting tired of handing off the potentially lucrative service business. So this fall GSM Nation plans to launch its own MVNO.

For those unfamiliar, an MVNO is a sans-network operator that resells the data and voice services of a major carrier. What will set GSM Nation apart from the growing hordes of MVNOs popping up on AT&T's and T-Mobiles' networks is its own already highly developed retail business. It's not quite Amazon or Best Buy, but it sells more than

200 different models of unlocked smartphones and tablets on its website, all of which are sourced directly from manufacturers or global distributors. It buys its iPhones from a reseller in Korea and imports Samsung Galaxy phones from Latin America.

"No other MVNO has these types of relationships," Khattak said. Typically an MVNO will source a handful of new or refurbished smartphones from manufacturers or resellers, but for high-end devices like the iPhone it only supplies SIM cards and relies on customers to bring their own handset, he added. "We will be the first MVNO to sell high-end unlocked handsets straight from the manufacturer," Khattak said.

Lots of data and a modicum of voice

GSM Nation has decided to partner with T-Mobile, tapping into the operator's high-bandwidth HSPA+ networks and possibly even its future LTE network. Those data speeds are of particular importance to the company because it plans to target more-sophisticated users who live for their data services and spend relatively little time talking on their phones.


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Monty Solomon
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Mon, 18 Jun 2012 12:09:28 -0400 Monty Solomon brought t his article to our attention:

And the mobile landscape is littered with lots of MVNO's who also had good ideas. Disney, ESPN, Amp'd, and many others including recently Tuyo Mobile geared towards Hispanics.

A huge chunk of what facilitates an MVNO the network connectivity with a major network operator such as AT&T, Sprint or in the case of Tuyo T-Mobile. Many MVNO's have given up when the money that they thought that they were going to rake in did not materialize. About the only prepaid companies that have lasted are Virgin Mobile and TracFone.

Reply to
Joseph Singer

Add to that short list at least this one more: the Verizon CDMA reseller called Page Plus (cf. ).

They're the talk of several strong fans at alt.cellular.verizon. Marvelous keep-alive rates, starting from $10 , expiring if not renewed before 120 days are up, and draining at 10 cents/min. (voice), 50 cents/month (calendar), and $1/MB (data).

Many Verizon-branded handsets can be activated with Page Plus, and most US numbers can be ported over. Page Plus also offers some handsets of its own.

Cheers, -- tlvp

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