BestMVNO has learned from a reader tip that Nebula Wireless, which initiated an Indiegogo campaign in November 2022 to prepare for its commercial debut, has now shut down. Nebula was formally launched to the general public in January 2023. Its lifespan on the market, even for an MVNO, was very short lasting around 6 months.
A statement on the Nebula Wireless website reads "Nebula Wireless has been acquired." The statement continues:
"We are the Privatel Group, established in 2008, a collective of dedicated professionals and passionate hobbyists. Our goal is to promote an open market in the telecommunications industry. We are deeply committed to advocating for the rights of American citizens, particularly in ensuring their unrestricted access to the internet.
We have strategically acquired the assets and handpicked professionals from the Nebula Wireless project, a venture aimed at creating a wholly American MVNO in an industry dominated by outsourced customer service.
However, due to the impending acquisition of Plum/Ultra/Mint by T-Mobile, and various economic considerations, we have decided to suspend Nebula Wireless’ operations.
If you have not been contacted already to retrieve your port out details, let us know by emailing [email protected]."
The deadline that customers will need to port out by is October 1, 2023. Current subscribers are asked to contact Nebula Wireless with the following information:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Phone Number associated with Nebula
- Billing Address
If your new carrier asks what the old carrier is, choose “Other” or “Ultra Mobile.”
Nebula Wireless has disabled access to its customer dashboard and is no longer billing customers. Porting out should be considered urgent by Nebula customers.
The Privatel.org email domain that customers are being asked to email for port-out information was only established in June 2023. However, a Privatelinc.com website has a copyright date of 2008 for Privatel Incorporated. Privatel Incorporated is said to be a "leading institutional provider of cable and wireless telecommunications services." The website seems to be old and out of date, with Sprint being listed as a Privatel partner.
BestMVNO is not privy to knowing exactly what happened to Nebula Wireless, other than what has been posted to the Nebula Wireless website. However, as emphasized by BestMVNO in the bolded statement above from Privatel, the impending acquisition of Plum by T-Mobile factored into the decision to close the brand down.
Plum is what is known as both an Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) and Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) and can provide prospective MVNOs with a white label "MVNO in a box" type of solution to get them launched. It is exclusively an MVNE and MVNA partner of T-Mobile. Plum is what actually powered the Nebula Wireless platform granting Nebula access to the T-Mobile network. Nebula Wireless did not have a direct MVNO agreement with T-Mobile.
T-Mobile's pending acquisition of Plum has likely created some uncertainty around sustainability in the market, particularly for those MVNOs that it powers. Maybe even more so for smaller MVNOs such as Nebula Wireless, forcing their closure.