Two years after making its debut in the Puerto Rico market, Washington-based Solavei has found success through its first-of-its kind social networking and commerce platform that enables customers to sign up for mobile voice and data services at a fraction of the competition’s cost.
Furthermore, its untraditional model of offering contract-free service that pays people back for adding new customers and sharing their mobile phone service with their friends and family has gained a following on the island that already exceeds 20,000 customers, company founder Ryan Wuerch told this media outlet Tuesday.
“We have experienced such amazing things in Puerto Rico. To date, 30 percent of our total daily enrollments are coming from Puerto Rico,” he said.
Solavei’s business model is based on a social commerce community. In other words, customers that sign up for the service are encouraged to share it with friends and family through their social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. In doing so, customers can take advantage of Solavei’s compensation system: if the customer signs up six new people, their monthly service is free. Customers who chose to become “brand partners” can make money through mass-marketing.
“We’ve created a platform woven into social media platforms. We use the collective strength that all of us form together as a community to drive down prices so that members benefit from it,” he said.
And in Puerto Rico, it seems to be working. He said that over the past two years, Solavei members on the island have saved more than $10 million in wireless services through referrals, and earned more than $3 million through the marketing model, said Wuerch, who is on the island this week to mark the carrier’s anniversary.
Solavei’s flat $49 unlimited mobile phone plan is possible through the mobile virtual network operator the company created via a strategic partnership with T-Mobile. Consumers have the flexibility to use any compatible unlocked GSM mobile phone, including popular models such as the iPhone and several Android handsets.
Wuerch believes that its success on the island has to do with several factors: the depressed economy, a need for mobile service and an increased popularity of the use of social networks among Puerto Ricans.
“Puerto Rico is becoming such a big part of our growth,” he said, noting that company-wide, the Latino demographic represents 50 percent of all enrollments.
“About 81 percent of our new members last month were Latino,” he said, listing Puerto Rico, California, Texas, New York and Florida as the carrier’s fastest-growing markets.
With that in mind, the carrier expects to further its reach into the Hispanic community by launching service in several Latin American countries, which Wuerch said would be disclosed next year.