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CEO says Sonopia isn't dead, it's just playing possum

Chris Ziegler

Apparently, laying off every single one of your employees at your US headquarters doesn't imply you're going out of business. Sonopia, the MVNO that allowed customers to roll their own mini-MVNOs, recently imploded -- but it turns out the company's still there, having maintained its customer base by purchasing minutes through a third-party wholesaler rather than from carriers directly. The remaining operations have retreated to Ukraine, where roughly half of its once 60-strong development staff remains; the CEO says that he's waiting for Americans to warm up to MVNOs to make his triumphant return, and in the meantime, the company is exploring European ventures. For what it's worth, he says they're not pursuing any additional venture capital beyond the $20 million they've raised already, though it's not clear whether that's because he doesn't feel they need any or because they don't stand a prayer of landing funding. On an interesting side node, he also chimed in on the state of other MVNOs currently trying to make a dent in the US market; he thinks value is where it's at, which is what seems to be making TracFone and Virgin Mobile so successful. On the other hand, he thinks Helio already had its chance to be successful; if it was going to be profitable, it'd be there by now, and at this point it's just a matter of how long its corporate parents are willing to cut it an allowance. Then again, do we really trust the opinion of a dude whose MVNO just failed?

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