A new wireless startup called dotmobile aims to bring affordable wireless plans to Canadians, through its mobile virtual network operator (MNVO) ambitions.
Today, the company announced it had reached strategic partnership with Washington, DC-based Apptium Technologies, and iTo, from Kaunas, Lithuania. It also secured its initial seed financing of $940,000, while established a Toronto head office.
The company was founded by two former WIND Mobile employees, Algis Akstinas and Alex Bauman.
MNVOs purchase wireless at wholesale rates from incumbents and then resell them. According to dotmobile, who launched their ‘brand concept’ last month, they have one goal, which is to “make wireless more affordable and awesome.”
Alex Bauman told iPhone in Canada in an interview, “instead of competing directly with the big telecoms we aim to complement them and serve Canadians who are currently underserved.”
The company says it wants to sell “Data on Tap”, in other words, allow customers to purchase data by the gigabyte, with unused data rolling over “perpetually.”
Members of dotmobile will have two subscription options, both with pay-per-gig data usage and a phone number. A higher priced option will include unlimited talk and text, while both plans will be available on 30-day or 365-day plans.
The service is “designed to be affordable and can be used anywhere in Canada and the U.S.,” explained Bauman. He believes “many Canadians are without options that fit their needs,” citing average data use is at 2.2 GB per month for users in Canada.
Dotmobile says they will support eSIM and physical SIM cards at launch, with local pickup available or through online delivery. Apple’s iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR support eSIM.
When asked if dotmobile had entered in talks with the Big 3 yet, Bauman explained “We have not started negotiations yet, not because we can’t, but because we think its more important to validate our concept; that our digital-only approach to affordability resonates with Canadians. We aren’t building something that will work for everyone, but everyone should know somebody it works for.”
The company also plans a “collaborative approach” to becoming a MNVO, “rather than looking for loopholes or abusing existing roaming agreements.” Dotmobile has registered as a full MNVO and says it plans to take all regulated steps, “completely above board,” says Bauman.
One positive step for dotmobile was the recent directive from the federal government ordering the CRTC to revise its policy for more affordable and competitive wireless options, which indicated the exploration again of MNVOs.
Dotmobile plans a beta launch later this year, with a public launch set for 2020. The company’s website so far has registered 562 members as of writing, out of their goal for 10,000 sign ups.