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C Spire has launched a new prepaid wireless brand named "Solo." Wave7 Research noted the new brand launch in a prepaid report the firm recently published. Taking a page from Visible's playbook, the brand will offer "app-based wireless" and sell only one wireless plan, an unlimited plan priced at $35/month. C Spire is a facilities-based (runs its own network) regional carrier serving the Mississippi area. Fierce Wireless reported that in 2021 C Spire pledged to spend $1 billion over three years to speed up the deployment of its 5G and fiber networks to help serve the southeastern U.S.
Solo Unlimited Plan Explained
Right off the bat, Solo's unlimited plan isn't really unlimited. At least not in the truest sense of the word. The plan will come with 25GB of high-speed data before throttling. High-speed data as defined by C Spire is 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G where available. After 25GB of data is consumed during a billing cycle, data speeds will be reduced to 300Kbps for the rest of the cycle. That's more than double the speed that most providers offer when their data slow for the remainder of a billing cycle. Most providers slow data speeds down to 2G or a maximum of about 128Kbps.
Solo's plan does of course include unlimited nationwide talk and text. Domestic roaming is supported. The plan also has 1000 minutes of calling to the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Once any of the plan limits have been reached during a billing cycle, that's it for the rest of the billing cycle. There are no top-ups available.
Solo unlimited is designed for bring your own device customers only. They are not selling any phones. Solo says it won't sell phones because "With most wireless companies, you can get a good phone deal – but you’ll need their most expensive plan to get it. The price of the phone is often “built into the plan price,” so you end up paying for it whether you realize it or not." And Solo says that's the old way of wireless. "You get a “deal,” but you’re stuck paying off that device for sometimes up to 3 years. With Solo, you can buy your phone wherever, upgrade whenever, and skip the long payment plans or phone contracts."
Inspired By Visible?
When Verizon's Visible brand was first launched in 2018, it had the tagline "Visible. It's phone service. In an app." Solo seems to be using a similar strategy. The provider's homepage is filled with mentions of it being an app-based service. In fact, Solo boasts "For 30 years, wireless has basically been the same. But what if it was as easy as an app? What if wireless was an app? Say hello to Solo." Hmm, Solo, you seem four years late to the Visible party, anyway....
Solo also boasts that there are no stores, or call centers. Everything is done through the Solo app. This is also much like Visible. You want eSIM support? Solo has it, as does Visible. Solo claims you can activate service via eSIM through the Solo app in under a minute.
And finally, with only one plan and a name like Solo, it appears C Spire can and will market the brand to individual subscribers. This is a demographic that Visible has heavily focused on, particularly over the last several months.
Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research commented to BestMVNO "C Spire is a small, regional carrier. The importance of the Solo launch is that we are witnessing a digital transformation. Carriers like Visible, Mint Mobile, and Solo are avoiding phone costs, retail costs, and care costs by making transactions happen in-app and online."
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