Solavei Mobile Service MLM Company Review

I was recently made aware of a new company called Solavei that has launched in the mobile service arena.

One of the primary things that make this company unique is the way in which its service is being marketed. They are basically using a Network Marketing model (also known as Multi-Level Marketing or MLM), with an emphasis on web-based social sharing.

Since it’s being pitched as an income opportunity, and largely a web-based one, I decided it would be fitting to do a review of it. I wanted to do some research to determine if it was an opportunity I would be interested in getting involved in, and at the same time I figured it would be nice to share my findings so others can learn more about it.

Normally, I wouldn’t even consider joining an MLM, but I figured this one was at least worth looking into due to the nature of its product (mobile service) and its potential to integrate with my existing Internet marketing business. I really don’t want or need to add this to my business, and I’m generally not keen on MLM’s, but I’d hate to miss out on a great opportunity. So I’ve set out to be as fair and balanced as possible, for my own benefit, and yours.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is Solavei?

According to their website, “Solavei is a better way to get mobile service at a great price – plus the opportunity to earn when you share.”

Pretty vague, right?

My first thought when I heard about this new mobile service, was how could they possibly compete with the big four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon)? How could they manage to build a new 4G network, when I don’t even have 3G available at my house yet?

It took just a couple minutes of digging to discover that Solavei isn’t building a network, but is actually a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

According to Solavei, this means that they entered into “a strategic partnership with T-Mobile USA.” If you want to learn the nitty-gritty about MVNO’s, you can check out the Wikipedia article linked above.

In simple Internet Marketer terms, this basically means they are a reseller of T-Mobile’s services.

I’ve got no problem with that. I’ve been a reseller of various product and services like web hosting, SEO, and list management.

In many cases, the reseller business model can be a win-win-win. The original service provider wins by selling more of their service. The reseller wins by building a business and making money as a result of their sales. The customer wins by getting a better price.

You might wonder, how could the reseller offer a better price than the original service provider? The answer is that the service provider sells their service in bulk at a discount to the reseller. The reseller then divides that product/service into individual units and sells it at a price that beats the service provider’s direct-to-consumer price, while yielding a profit for the reseller.

In the case of a web hosting reseller, the reseller may rent a web server (or a portion of a web server) from the web hosting company. The reseller would then divide those resources into individual packages, and sell web hosting to end-users for a price that may beat the top level web host.

In the case of MVNO’s such as Solavei, they are buying bulk access to network services from network owners, such as T-Mobile. They are then selling access to those network services to end-users for a price that may be favorable compared to say, subscribing directly with T-Mobile.

There may also be some drawbacks to purchasing through a reseller…

While the above examples illustrate the potential for consumers to save money by purchasing from a reseller, that’s not always the case. To the contrary, reseller prices are often more expensive.

A reseller of any type is essentially a middle-man. They make their profits by marking up the price above their acquisition costs. In many situations, this results in prices that are higher than the consumer would be paying had they cut out the middle-man.

The other main area of concern is often customer service. While not always the case, resellers are often responsible for interfacing with and taking care of their customers. In some cases, this may result in a superior experience for the consumer, as the reseller may be able to provide more personal and customized service than the top level provider.

However, resellers may also be less-equipped to handle customer service, and may run into problems particularly when technical issues arise. Since an MVNO doesn’t own the network itself, they may rely on the network owner to fix technical issues, and thus the MVNO’s support department is acting as an intermediary between the end-users and the network.

Keep in mind I’m speaking in general terms here, as I am not a user of Solavei’s service, so I can’t judge their customer service one way or the other.

How does Solavei’s mobile service compare?

As I’ve already mentioned, Solavei’s wireless services are hosted by the T-Mobile USA network. So if you’re familiar with T-Mobile, you’re familiar with Solavei’s quality of service. This does not mean that the services or packages are identical, but the network infrastructure is the same, so I would expect the quality to be similar.

While Solavei touts themselves as being groundbreakingly new (apparently due to their marketing model), MVNO’s have actually been around for a long time. According to Wikipedia, there are currently 633 MVNO operations worldwide.

I wasn’t aware of it until researching for this article, but I was actually a subscriber of an MVNO at one time. Apparently Qwest Wireless was an MVNO with service from Sprint. My experience with that mobile service was not a particularly good one.

I also have some first-hand experience with T-Mobile, having been a subscriber for several years. I was typically very happy with their service, and really didn’t have any problems with it until I moved out into the hills. The T-Mobile coverage is spotty out here, so I switched over to AT&T. If it weren’t for that fact, I would probably still be with T-Mobile.

You can check the coverage on Solavei’s website.

Here is their coverage map…

coverage map

Make sure you zoom in as close as possible to your house. From a distance it may look like there is good coverage, but as you zoom in closer there may be holes.

Here is the coverage map showing my neighborhood…

coverage

My house is in the yellow zone, which is 2G only. If it were solid uninterrupted 2G, that might actually work for me, but in my experience with T-Mobile it was still pretty sketchy. If they were to upgrade the network and put me in the dark-green or at least medium-green zone, I’d likely be switching over.

According to Solavei’s website, I could even bring my iPhone over to their service. They have the option of bringing your existing phone (many are compatible… you can check it on their site), or buying a new one from them.

So as far as the service goes, it really just depends on the strength of the T-Mobile network in your area.

How does Solavei’s price compare?

If you look solely at Solavei’s comparison chart, you would believe that they were leaps and bounds ahead of most of the competition…

Solavei comparison chart

Indeed, their price easily beats the big four providers. Solevei’s package is $49/month for unlimited voice, text, and data. Comparable packages with the big four cost anywhere from $70/month (T-Mobile) to $109.99/month (AT&T and Sprint).

The other providers are listed on the comparison chart are actually MVNO’s too, with the exception of Cricket, which is owned by Leap. Leap has its own network, but they also have a deal to provide 3G service through Sprint’s network, so they’re kind of like an MVNO too.

StraightTalk (aka TracFone) ($45/mo) has deals with all four of the big networks. Walmart Family Mobile ($45/mo) utilizes the T-Mobile network, while Boost Mobile ($55/mo) and Virgin Mobile USA ($55/mo) are both hosted by the Sprint network.

So right there, we can see that the MVNO’s prices in general beat the actual carriers. But is Solavei the best of the MVNO’s?

After analyzing the MVNO’s listed above, as well as many others (all US based services), I’ve come to the conclusion that Solavei’s price is at least on par with the others, and beats them when all factors are considered (particularly the 4G network).

One area where Solavei is lacking is a selection of plans. Whereas most providers have a variety of plans available, Solavei currently only has one. So if you’re looking for an “unlimited” plan, Solavei is about at cheap as you’ll find. But if you don’t need that many minutes and/or data, you may be able to find a cheaper plan elsewhere.

For example, Simple Mobile (hosted by T-Mobile) is currently offering a plan starting at $25/month with NO data. But their plan most comparable to Solavei’s would run you $50/month.

I-wireless (hosted by Sprint) has a plan for $25/month including 200 minutes of talk time, and a mere 200MB of data, if that’s all you need. Their plan most comparable to Solavei’s would run you $75/month.

Net10 (Multiple carriers) has some smaller incremental plans available, but again you’ll be paying at least $50/month for unlimited data. I found similar situations with Black Wireless (hosted by AT&T), Ultra Mobile (hosted by T-Mobile) and other MVNO’s as well. Smaller plans are available, but you’re going to be paying at least $50/month (and in many cases much more) for unlimited data.

I did not do an exhaustive search of all of the hundreds of MVNO’s, but out of the dozens that I checked out, the only providers I found with a potential price advantage over Solavei were Boost Mobile and Votel Mobile (both on the Sprint network). Boost offers an unlimited plan for $50/month, but also includes a “shrinking payment” feature, which allows your monthly payment to gradually shrink as low as $35/month if you make 18 payments on time. Votel offers unlimited plans as low as $33.33/month (pre-paid for 3 months at a time) or $43.33/month if you have an Android phone.

However, Solavei beats all of the above if you consider the 4G network. The low-priced Sprint providers are offering 3G data plans, whereas Solavei includes up to 4GB of data on the 4G network each month. So if you live in a place where T-Mobile’s 4G network IS available, Solavei is the clear winner at this time.

If Solavei takes off and starts gaining a decent market share, I predict that the other MVNO’s will end up in a price war, and we will see lower prices across the board.

Now for the topic you’ve been waiting for…

Solavei’s Income Opportunity

As I mentioned, the thing that really sets Solavei apart from other providers is their marketing strategy.

While you won’t find the terms “Network Marketing” or “MLM” on the front end of their website, a cursory glance at their compensation plan is all it takes to see that’s what it is…

Solavei compensation plan
Solavei payment structure

I want to start by saying it’s a brilliant idea on the part of Solavei’s founders. In many ways it seems like the right business model at the right time.

People are feeling the pinch of the economy, and are looking for ways to save money, and to make more money. Solavei offers the chance to do both. We’ve also reached a tipping point of sorts, upon which social proof is becoming the most influential decision-making factor for many consumers. The marriage of social media with this business model and an in-demand service that we all use seems like a match made in heaven for the owners of Solavei.

Therefore I think Solavei has a good chance of success as a company. The viability of the company is an important factor to take into consideration. The last MLM I joined was Agloco in 2007, and they never even launched! Obviously I don’t want to get burned like that again.

It seems like Solavei is off to a good start. On November 13th, they announced that they were up to 65,000 members, and had paid out over $1 Million in commissions to its members. So clearly, some people are already making money with this opportunity.

Customers of Solavei’s mobile service are automatically given the option to enroll in the compensation program. There is also an option to join as a “Social Member Only” for $149/year, which allows you to participate in the network marketing program without subscribing to the cell service.

What’s wrong with MLM anyway?

Generally speaking, one problem with MLM is that it offers false hope. MLM pitches financial freedom, but almost never delivers such freedom to its participants.

Of course the same could be said about many other business opportunities, including affiliate marketing and other web-based endeavors. However, there is a fundamental difference between MLM and the type of businesses that I teach how to build.

I teach how to build your own web-based business, in which you sell your own products or services, and you build equity in that business. With MLM you don’t really “own” your own business. With MLM, you don’t own the product or the system. You’re at the mercy of a number of other factors, including government regulation that could wipe out your MLM business overnight.

Extensive research has shown that most participants in MLM programs do not make any money. Jon M. Taylor, Ph.D, who studied over 400 MLM companies, concluded that an average of 99.71% of MLM participants LOSE money. That’s 997 out of 1000 people; not very good odds. (source)

Other research has shown that you have a better chance of making money GAMBLING than you do by participating in an MLM program! (source)

And don’t even get me started about the manipulative and cult-like tendencies of many MLM companies. (source)

How is Solavei similar to a typical MLM opportunity?

Similar to a typical MLM program, Solavei pitches an income opportunity within which most of its participants probably will not succeed. I believe that their compensation plan is set up in a way that virtually guarantees that they will not have to pay out commissions to the majority of their subscribers.

Let’s compare it to a typical affiliate marketing situation. With most affiliate programs, you earn a commission for each sale that you make.

With Solavei, you earn a commission for each “Trio” in your downline. A Trio is made up of three mobile service members directly connected to a single member. As it relates to your own referrals (your personal network), you only get paid for every group of three customers that you refer.

If you sign up one or two customers, you get nothing. My opinion is that this will allow Solavei to avoid paying out commissions on most of their subscribers. The failure rate for MLM’s shows us that most people don’t make many sales.

If you sign up three customers, you earn $20/month. I have no problem with that commission rate. Three customers would be paying a combined total of $147/month, which makes the effective commission rate 13.6%. It’s a far cry from some of the high commission rates that we’re accustomed to in the Internet marketing world, but I think it’s pretty reasonable for a residual commission on such a popular service.

In addition to Trio Pay, Solavei offers the ability to earn Fast Action Bonuses, Path Pay, and One-Time Path Bonuses.

Path Pay seems to be where the big money is made (see chart above). It is essentially based on the number of Trios in your overall downline. It seems pretty straight forward. For example, if you have a total of 100 Trios in your downline (with at least 8 in your personal network), you earn a Path Pay of $2000/month.

At first glance, that may not seem very difficult. After all, 100 Trios is only 300 customers, right? The problem is that the “failure equation” is built into the Path Pay too. Remember, we’re only counting Trios, not total customers. The odds tell us that most customers will fail to sign up a Trio under themselves. And among those that do sign up a Trio, there will be many who get stuck at 4 or 5 customers. Therefore you will have a large quantity of “orphan” customers who do not belong to a Trio.

So how many customers would it take to have 100 Trios? I really don’t know, but based on average failure rates for other MLM programs, it could be in the thousands. To get up to the 2000 Trio level ($20k/month Path Pay), it might take tens of thousands of customers.

Another phenomenon you will find in MLM, is that a tiny percentage of “superstars” make a lot of money. While the 99.71% lose money, and another 0.28% (my estimate) make a little money, there is 0.01% that makes a LOT of money.

For a funny look at this phenomenon, check out the 2007 movie Believe, which is a mockumentary poking fun at the entire MLM industry.

So you may be thinking, all you have to do is sign up a superstar in your downline, and you’re set. However, Solavei already thought of that too…

Solavei 40 percent rule

They enacted the 40% rule, which states “Beyond Social Partner, no more than 40% of the total Trios required to advance to a given rank can come from any single individual’s network.” With this rule, you could end up with untold thousands of customers in your downline that don’t count.

Is this really a new thing?

In my research I was reminded of Excel Communications, which was a long-distance telecommunications company that used MLM to market their service in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. They sold over 200,000 franchises through their MLM program, and became a highly successful billion dollar company.

I personally know people who were Excel resellers, and they weren’t making much (if any) money. But the MLM model clearly worked for the company, as they became the youngest company ever to join the New York Stock Exchange in 1996. I suspect that the MLM failure/success rate was applicable to Excel, with most of its participants losing money, while a tiny percentage raked in a fortune.

Interestingly, Excel also operated in a similar manner as Solavei, in that they didn’t own a network, but were reselling long distance service on other companies’ networks.

Eventually, Excel did acquire their own network, and were subsequently bought out by a larger telecommunications company. After the market conditions changed, Excel ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2004, and stopped paying commissions to its franchisees.

I’m not insinuating that something similar will happen to Solavei, but it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration. In general, it seems to me that MVNO’s are often not here for the long term. This can be seen by the number of defunct MVNO’s listed on Wikipedia.

If an MVNO isn’t successful, it goes out of business. I can only imagine how much it costs to buy mobile services in bulk. Needless to say, these companies have a lot of overhead. On the flipside, if an MVNO is highly successful it often gets bought out by a network owner.

So what happens if Solavei makes it big time, and T-Mobile decides they want to buy back that piece of the pie? Or what happens if another company buys T-Mobile and decides they don’t want to compete with Solavei? Of course it’s a little more complex than that, but there are a number of scenarios that could change the game and put Solavei out of business at some point in the future.

Why is Solavei different from other MLM companies?

In spite of what I would consider to be some shortcomings in Solavei’s compensation plan, there are some additional factors that still make Solavei an attractive opportunity to me.

One factor is the service they are selling. Unlike many MLM’s which sell supplements and other things that most people don’t really need, Solavei is selling a service that its customers are already paying for. As I explained above, the service itself is high quality (T-Mobile’s network), and their price point will enable most of their customers to save money.

Unlike most MLM’s, which encourage or require their participants to keep buying more stuff, Solavei doesn’t really have anything else to buy. There are no contracts with their monthly mobile service, so customers can leave at any time. If customers are happy with the service, they’re going to stay anyway. There’s really no pressure to keep buying anything.

I also like the emphasis on social sharing, and the web-friendly approach they are taking to MLM. I’m an Internet marketer, and while many MLM’s don’t want their participants competing on the web, Solavei seems to welcome it.

As actor Stephen Baldwin says in the following video, “instead of a thousand people becoming a millionaire, the idea is a million people can become thousandaires…”

Obviously, the idea of becoming a thousandaire doesn’t excite me, but I think it’s probably an accurate depiction of the program. Most people are not going to get rich with it, but a lot of people will make a little money.

My Personal Conclusions

  • Solavei offers a good service at a good price that can save people money.

  • The T-Mobile service isn’t great at my house, so I’m sticking with AT&T for now. But if T-Mobile upgrades the network in my neighborhood, I’ll probably switch over. You need to check the coverage for your area to see what’s best for you.

  • Solavei’s marketing strategy is brilliant, and in many ways seems to be the right business at the right time.

  • I have some serious gripes with Solavei’s compensation plan, and I think they are similar to other MLM programs in that regard. I believe most participants will NOT earn money from it.

  • Solavei differs from other MLM programs in some positive ways. Particularly, there are no members at “the bottom” losing out. Even if they don’t make any money, they are only paying $49/month for their cell service.

  • I think Solavei as a company has a very good chance of success. However, I also have concerns about their long term viability due to the nature of MVNO’s and the telecommunications industry.

    Since I’ve decided not to use their service at this time, I signed up as a “Social Member Only”, which allows me to promote Solavei and earn commissions through their compensation plan. I don’t expect it to be a major income source, but perhaps it will at least compensate me for the time it took to write this article. If the results exceed my expectations, I will certainly post an update.

    The cost of becoming a Social Member is $149/year. If you subscribe to their mobile service ($49/month), there is no need to pay to become a Social Member, as you can automatically enroll in the compensation program.

    Do I recommend joining? It all depends on your individual situation. For the right person I think it could be a great opportunity. For those in areas where T-Mobile service is strong, it could result in easy sales. If it’s going to distract you from building your own business, skip it. If the idea of saving money on your cell phone bill and potentially making a little extra money each month excites you, try it out.

    To learn more about Solavei check out these links…

    Solavei Website
    Sign Up For Service
    Social Member Only

    I hope you’ve found this review to be balanced and helpful. As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.

    Have a great day!

    Written 11/15/2012

  • 117 comments on “Solavei Mobile Service MLM Company Review

    1. Ron

      Attended a webinar about this awhile back. While it was intriguing – my immediate thoughts were on how thorough the cellphone coverage because frankly, any mobile service that doesn’t provide very good coverage would be useless to a lot of folks. You did a good job of answering that and it leads me to believe I made the right choice to say no to this thing right now. Instead, I’m taking your advice to not let distractions steer me away from what I’m working on right now.

      But, having stated that, Did any of your free lessons delve into CMS systems? I’m in need of creating a membership site but I need a CMS site where members create their username and password so they can enter the membership site. I know it is a fairly common thing on the internet but, I don’t know how to create a page like that.

      Thanks

      Ron

      Reply
    2. Shellie

      Why did you waste your time?

      Reply
    3. Steve

      Hi Eric…

      Great article! I have just one little argument. If I read everything correctly, to join and promote Solavei, you have the choice of signing up for their cell service or paying $149/year for the privilege of not making any money. So, if I don’t need cell service, I see it as throwing money away.

      Reply
    4. Clemens Haneke

      Hi Eric,
      I have been involved in a few MLMs and never made money. A friend here in Knoxville,TN joined and tried to get me to join. I checked with someone who joined and has since quit. Too many complaints. Lots of promises. Your paychecks are very small since they only pay pennies for each customer. If your customer has problems, they are put off getting the problem fixed. Lousy service.. stand clear is my advice…

      Reply
    5. Eric Post author

      Hi Ron, Lesson #32 talks about a handful of membership site options. My favorite CMS for non-techie people is really WordPress. I cover it in lesson #33-36. To use it for a membership site, you would need a plugin such as Wishlist Member. There are some plugins that are cheaper than wishlist, but it has a great reputation and support.

      Reply
    6. Mark Miller

      Eric,

      I like the way you market and the quality of what you do and the christian integrity that comes through.
      I felt like you need to know what is said about the founder of Solavei. Do not know if you know this or if you know about it and checked it out.
      Ryan Wuerch the founder of Solovei: http://ryanwuerch.net/
      I know there was a previous post with a YouTube link but thought you might want to do more due diligence on this to make double sure. I did look at the response by Ryan Wuerch but not convinced that is adequate due diligence on something of this magnitude.
      Do not have a bone to pick and am neutral, because I am not personally interested either way. Just a word of caution and concern from a brother to a brother that respects you and your integrity and am sure you only want to do the upright thing. Just my thoughts. Feel free to email me if you like.

      Reply
    7. Kyle

      Hey Bill,
      I believe your statement on the per member payout is a bit misleading. The $1 million dollars that was paid out was not split up and payed out to each of the 65,000. Most of those 65,000 new members are not yet eligible for receiving compensation, because of the lag time of getting enrolled, activated, and paying the 2nd month pre-paid. Check back in a month or two, and that number will probably drastically increase. It would be interesting to know how many of those 65,000 members received commission. I would think it’s more in the 5,000- 10,000 range up to that November 13th date, since the commercial launch was just September 21st. If those numbers are more accurate, that’s an average of $100-$200 a member. Which in my opinion is not too bad of a start – just for switching carriers to save money on their cell phone bill, and sharing it with friends.

      Reply
    8. Tom S.

      Eric –

      Thanks for this review. You don’t
      “pull any punches”, which is refreshing
      & uncommon (especially for an MLM review).
      You seem like like one of the “good guys”,
      & this review is another confirmation of that.
      I’ve been on your e-mail list for a few years
      now, & you actually seem to want to
      HELP people ( which is also refreshing &
      uncommon). So, please keep up the good work!

      Reply
    9. RALPH pETERSEN

      I am always interested in whatever you review as a frank and informed voice. I have given thought to Solavei and was curious. Thanh You.

      Reply
    10. Jon R.

      Hi Eric,

      As a long time reader, I appreciate your eval. You nailed it on many points. I currently use Solavei and have been relatively happy. But, you are quite right about most people not making money.
      Many of the objections I’ve faced with non-Solavei users to switching are related to bringing your own phone over and number porting. You can bring your own phone IF it is T-Mobile compatible. T-Mobile currently does NOT support the iPhone at full LTE levels, so your 4G service is somewhat restricted. T-Mobile is slowly rolling out 1900mhz coverage in selected cities (currently only 2 are in place). So, people are reluctant to give up AT&T until they get fully compatible LTE services. No Verizon or Sprint phones work at all.
      Solavei doesn’t support number porting except when you first sign up. If you are like I am, I have to keep my T-Mobile service in place for a couple of months or pay the “fine” to break the contract and I still won’t be able to port my T-Mobile number over directly. (I did find a way to indirectly port my number)
      Why number porting is so restrictive really makes me wonder?
      My guess is that, like most MLMs, those with large mailing lists will do well while most everyone else will not.
      Just my thoughts!

      Reply
    11. microteck

      Hi , first , i would like to say , Great review of Solavei, as i am a member as well , ok on the orphons , you have to have a sponser , if for some reason that sponser drops out all the enrolles under that one becomes orphions ,Solavei has decided to change there options for this process as befor thay-(Solavei)-would check for some one in there zip to drop them under , as of now there placing them under them that compleat ther fabs= 12 or 3 sets of 3 treos , so theres a big potentiul for free growth ! but a orphion does not have a sponcer ! thus this change in this , so get your fab in and the co Solavei will assine many under you ! you as a member need to see the notafacations in the members area , and theres plenty of money to be made , ok thanks , Just saying , https://support.solavei.com/welcome and maby here as well , https://support.solavei.com/community/member-resources

      Reply
    12. James Sia

      I joined Solavei months before their Pre-Launch, which they called ‘THE LANE by Solavei.’ I was excited and invited over 30 friends into it. 6 joined under me. I dropped Boost Mobile thinking Solavei was going to be THE moneymaking opportunity for me. The phone I bought was the ZTE Origin. Terrible echo when i switch to speaker mode (because I usually call or answer calls from home), the T-mobile coverage map said 4G, but I still only got 3G and the signal strength was not as advertised in the area where I live. i had to step outside the house to make the calls intelligible. 2 months later, I dropped Solavei and have now switched back to my previous carrier. I have zero affiliation with Boost other than a customer. I do get dropped calls from them in certain areas (don’t know why that is). anyway, just thought I’d leave my honest review here.

      Reply
    13. Don Taylor

      Eric,

      Thanks – this is a tremendous analysis.

      I have tried several MLMs over the years; none has worked well. I am currently involved in one that meets my strict criteria, and I believe I will be part of it for years to come.

      What is the criteria, and does Solavei meet that criteria? Simply this: the product or service must be one people are proven to buy every day (not a “magic” product), and it must be highly competitive at retail. It’s a tough test, but it looks like Solavei passes.

      As to T-Mobile…

      The good part #1: I bought an Android smartphone outright last Christmas and went on T-Mobile’s month-to-month plan. I pay $60 (plus hidden charges) per month for unlimited long distance and texting, and 2G/month of 4G data (after that it slows down). A good deal, but it appears not quite as good as Solavei.

      Bad part #1: I live in the country and experience coverage as bad or worse than you. One a good day with the wind behind me, I can get 1 bar and no data whatsoever. I can drive 2 miles and I’ve got 4 bars and 4G.

      Good part #2: A little-known feature of T-Mobile (at least in the Seattle area) is that I can connect my phone through my router. It’s totally transparent, I get 4G and the equivalent of 4 bars – and any data transfer done through the router is not charged against my 2G limit.

      Bad part #2: T-Mobile’s customer service sucks. From Day One I signed up to have my monthly fee automatically charged to my AmEx card. That worked for 3 months. Since then, every month I get 2 texts from T-Mobile warning me that my account is about to expire, followed by a text that informs me my bill has not been paid, which is immediately followed by shutting off my service! I can get on the T-Mo site and charge my card (all the card data is already there, of course), and I’m back up and running for 30 days. The ultimate insult is they send a message encouraging me to sign up for the automatic payment plan. πŸ™

      So here is my proposition: If Solavei enables me to use my existing owned T-Mobile phone, and gives me the same ability to phone, text and transfer data through my router, I just might be up for a switch to Solavei. If it works, it would likely save $120/year.

      Eric, if you can answer that question, please get back to me. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    14. tony

      Hi Eric,
      I always appreciate your opinion. How do you feel a Canadian should respond? Can I make any money with it? Tony

      Reply
    15. Deborah

      Great review Eric… I really appreciate the thorough research and analysis you conducted. Your insight is spot on.

      I originally signed up before the launch when lots of pre-launch bonuses were being offered. But I got to thinking about my past history with MLMs.

      However, the final deterrent for me is no tablet capability, which I’m sure will also affect lots of people. I would have to keep my Sprint account and have a Solavei account. This might not be a deal breaker for a MLM superstar πŸ˜€ which I’m not.

      Reply
    16. Deborah

      Correction: I meant no full IPhone capabilities instead of tablet. Sorry.

      Reply
    17. Larry

      On thing to keep in mind re: coverage. I was a Virgin Mobile customer for a year. BTW.. they have some of the WORST “customer service” I have ever encountered.

      But, the main point is that Virgin Mobile is “hosted by Sprint”, much the same as Solavei is “hosted by T-MObile.

      This means that they (Virgin Mobile) use ONLY the Sprint Towers. If Sprint doesn’t have a tower in the area, then no service.

      Mobile carriers “share” each other’s towers to get broader coverage and to not duplicate towers in an area.

      What is the “bare bones” area of service for T-Mobile? Where are T- Mobile towers located and where do they “share” towers with others?

      This would account for the gosh-awful service you get with T-Mobile in your area, Eric and why the truck driver couldn’t get service in most of the places he drove.

      Be very careful when signing up for or selling this service. While they advertise “T-Mobile Service”, that more than likely does NOT include the towers that T-Mobile uses to “share” networks.

      Reply
    18. Bere

      NO offense, in regards to paying $49 for unlimited text, talk, and data your formula does not compute. With Solavei, MLM or not, you are simply paying for what you get… a good service at a good price.

      Reply
    19. Ken Pringle

      Great Review Eric,
      I thank you I was curious about Solavei.
      You have answered several concerns.
      Keep up the great work.

      continued successes,
      Ken Pringle

      Reply
    20. Bere

      Eric, thank you very much for your comments based upon your research. It was a pleasure to read and to learn more about Solavei. I really appreciate your efforts. I decided to join Solavei. The coverage where I live is great. I just don’t see any way I can lose. I’m going to use mobile service anyway I might as well join a provider that grants me to opportunity to obtain my service (with a little effort) for free.

      Reply
    21. Joy

      Great review. I would also like to add that when someone signs up they are offered a choice of who they would like to have as their sponsor. This choice is available through your affiliate link. Some people mistakenly clicked/chose Solavei as their sponsor and later called the person who referred them and it was to late. (one for the team)

      When this question was brought to their attention the response was “We are a Social Company and can not Force anyone to choose someone as their sponsor” this was during the same week they rolled out the orphan members policy. Which you can probably guess who these poor orphans who need a sponsor are going to be given to…the 0.01% (I like your estimate) hard workers who have proven themselves by growing their business.

      So when you stated that Solavei is not set up for people to make money I thought this would confirm that fact.

      As you can probably tell I initially signed up for the business and secondly to upgrade my phone but after doing further research I came to the same conclusion as you that the pay plan is not set up for you to make good money and decided that this is an add on item to offer people who have purchased from me before or are on my list and there is rapport built.

      Thanks for your honesty.

      Reply
    22. Brian

      LuAnn, thanks for the additional information. Unfortunately, there’s still the issue of T-Mobile’s signal coverage (which is very poor in my area).

      Brian

      Reply
    23. Mike Schulze

      Sounds great – but i live and work in the UK !!
      Let me know when it comes over here.

      Reply
    24. Eric Post author

      I’ll try to find out and let you know…

      Reply
    25. Dean Ethridge

      Nice review, and you pretty much nailed it. @James Sia or anyone wanting coverage in a fringe area with Solavei…try porting your number to Google voice and get on wi-fi at home where you always have signal. In other words, your calls go through your computer when you are at home or your phone, and you can forward your number to any cellular phone you’d like. You get voicemails via email etc which is pretty cool. Also, your ZTE Origin was only a 3G phone so you would never get 4G on a 3G phone πŸ™‚ Hope that helps someone

      Reply
    26. Kyle

      The ZTE Origin phone is only a 3G compatible phone. It is imposible to get 4G on that device. (Same with the HTC Wildfire, or the middle option from Solavei). Just thought I would throw that out there.

      Reply
    27. Kyle

      Roaming is included with the $49 plan, and the roaming partner is AT&T. You couldn’t enroll for service if you lived in an area that was roaming (as the expense would be too much for Solavei), but when traveling, it is nice to know that your roaming is included.

      Reply
    28. Eric Post author

      Here is the advice I got from my upline:

      “Currently there is not a way for a Canadian to become a member, since becoming a social member requires a US Social Security Number. Mobile service members would need to have a US Mailing Address. Corporate has said that Solavei will be expanding into Mexico and Canada a year from launch (which would put it around Sept. 2013), so my suggestion would be to study up on Solavei, to know it inside and out so when it does go to Solavei, they would be prepared to be a leading candidate for catching a new market. They could also begin to share Solavei via word of mouth to family and friends to build their network on paper, all with the understanding of when Solavei goes live in Canada, that they would enroll with him as the sponsor that introduced them to Solavei. Granted that’s a long time down the road, but that is how we started in America – word of mouth, building our networks on paper. “

      Reply
    29. Eric Post author

      OK I got some info from my upline. Solavei would want to make sure you are covered at least with the 2G network, before selling you the service, so you would have to put in your address on the signup page to double check.
      Service activations are not possible within “Service Partner” and “No Service” coverage areas.

      As far as using your router for service. Yes, you could use data when connected to wifi and would get the speed of your high-speed internet connection. That data used while on wifi would not count against your 4G allotment. As far as wifi calling, that is not a feature that is available with Solavei YET. HOWEVER, Solavei is planning to offer wifi calling – coming in late 2012 (so basically, it should be any day now if their website is correct). The following is a document in the “back office” from support.solavei.com, that covers the mobile service overview: https://support.solavei.com/docs/DOC-1338
      It specifically states Wi-Fi Calling is coming in late 2012.

      Reply
    30. Ron

      Thanks Eric,

      I’ll check that out.

      Ron

      Reply
    31. Pamela

      Very nice review – thanks. I am currently using Consumer Cellular which does not have a contract. In addition, you can change your rate plan at any time. What this allows you to do is change it near the end of your cycle and base your rate on what you have actually used that cycle. I love that flexibility, and many months my bill is less than $20.00.

      Reply
    32. Amy

      Thank you for such an honest review!

      I was looking at Solavei since September, when I realized that Verizon was no longer letting anyone get unlimited data even customers who have been with Verizon for 10+ years (like I have) and are simply renewing the 2-year contract. (Verizon is expensive, but it is the only phone that rings INSIDE my house.) But then I read some disturbing things about the CEO, who is a Christian, but he was involved in some insider trading before Solavei. Then I received a call from Jaguar Mobile, another up-and-coming MVNO, so I decided to check out the numbers and compare.

      $20 out of $147 may be 13.6%, but we don’t know how much of the $147 is actual profit and how much goes toward company expenses. So 13.6% can actually be too high. Jaguar Mobile (which is not MLM) and Lightyear Wireless (which is MLM) pay substantially less. Is Solavei really that interested in helping its promoters/marketers make money? Can they actually live up to their promise in the long-run or will it simply pay as much as it can to the reps and then close up shop when it can’t pay anymore, like Excel?

      Reply
    33. Dan

      Thanks, I was looking to do some research on the company and its hard to find an honest review. Your article saved me hours of time!

      Reply
    34. Don Taylor

      Thanks for access to the document. This is sounding VERY interesting. I *am* in a 2G area on their map, and it sounds like the service is nearly identical (less Wi-Fi calling) to what I’m getting from T-Mo directly.

      2 more questions:

      1. Will my T-mo locked phone work with Solavei?
      2. Approximately how much will I actually be charged per month? (T-Mo $60 plan is about $70)

      Reply
    35. Ron

      Early back in August/September I was offered a founder position and thought it might be an advantage since they would send “orphan” signups (people who had no sponsor) to founders.
      After paying the $575 for the HTC One S I found out that it really didn’t work that way.
      Also found out that the second level “trio pay” would disappear if the person you signed up dropped out. All of those $20/mo would no longer come to you. Bad breakage in my opinion.
      The service is nowhere near as good as my sprint iphone 4s. The software like voice recognition pales in comparison to the iPhone’s SIRI, which is amazing!.
      The HTC One S camera is great though! Great video and stills.
      The 4G service is fast if you’re in the service area, but my last trip to LA proved that my sprint service was there 100% and the Solavei signal was gone about 70% of the time. (I was driving Hwy 395 from Reno.)
      Most of my friends who use Solavei are disappointed. My sponsor, who has probably 1000 people is happy, but that is to be expected! πŸ™‚
      I’m not but as long as I have enough trios (9 people) to pay the $52/mo bill I’ll keep it. It’s a good backup phone.
      Hope this helps some.

      Reply
    36. Pam Eppinette

      Hi Eric,
      I am a big time follower of you and have bought several products from you. You have a great blog and a tremendous heart for people.

      I have been in network marketing for over 20 years and I did get invited to “The Lane” by Todd Gross and I watched the videos and gave it some thought, but the main reason I did not join is the phone I wanted was very expensive and if I renewed my contract with my provider I could have gotten it for a lot cheaper. Also there was no guarantee that the phone would work and then I would be stuck with a phone I could not use with my carrier.

      I considered the social member but decided I didn’t want to throw money away if it didn’t work out, especially since I am already too busy to add something else to my plate.

      I was wondering how soon it would be if there were “service issues” and if it turned out to be a big loser.

      You did an excellent job on the review and I was wondering if I made the right choice. At this point I think I did.

      I would love for you to do a review on my primary company and check it out. The LIFE business which is a combination of personal development,leadership, life coaching, social media and home-based business.
      LIFE was founded 1 year ago by 2 of the top leadership experts in the world who became multi-millionaires with 18 years of networking experience.
      The purpose of LIFE is to create 1 million leaders in the next 5 years and create a FREEDOM shift in America! We have to do this for our children and grandchildren!

      LIFE pays out over 70% of the profits plus trips and 1-time cash awards.

      Instead of a few billionaires, the goal is to create hunderds of millionaires and thousands of thousandaires!

      I hope you will consider checking into this and reviewing it and working with me and my team. My upline is one of the founders of LIFE, followed by 2 personal mentors who are both multi-millionaires from network marketing.

      It s the best thing that ever happened for me and my family!

      I would love to work with you, even if you want to just be a card-carrying member and refer people to me to put on your team:)That’s what we do. We build it as a team and everyone wins!

      Thanks for all you do!
      Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family and keep praising God for all He does!

      Reply
    37. Eric Post author

      Here’s the answer to your questions from my upline at Solavei:

      1. Your T-Mobile phone should work with Solavei, with the changing of the APN settings. (The app “Tweakker” from the Google Play Store is a great tool to do this automatically). Corporate has said that it’s not guaranteed that all T-Mobile phones will work straight away without being unlocked. In my experience though, every T-Mobile phone I’ve encountered has worked without having to be unlocked…we just needed to update the APN settings.

      2. Taxes vary from state to state. There is an across the board 5.82% federal tax, and then the state wireless tax rates range from 1.85% – 18.67%. Here is a resource to get an idea what the state taxes may be in your area: http://www.mywireless.org/state-issues/state-tax-rankings/

      Reply
    38. Richard Taylor

      Great article Eric .
      thank you for that info I joined the pre launch but the phones a liile expensive and im not a good promoter i prefer passive links for that reason

      Reply
    39. N

      The Solavei november promotion ends tomorrow. Your first month is free so you can try it for a month with no risk because there are no contracts. Even if you don’t like the “MLM” business side of it, the cell service at Unlimited 4G voice, text and data may be worth a free month trial.

      Reply
    40. Angel

      Good article Eric!

      I’m thinking of giving it a try, but not just for the MLM business part of it. I can always go back to Verizon that has really good service coverage.

      Solavei has an area coverage map, but should I rely on the coverage area for service? There’s only one way to find out…

      Reply
    41. Jonathan

      So what happens when T Mobile starts to realize that they’re losing customers to Solavei?

      Reply
    42. charles

      Eric Thanks this just showed up on my email.please send me the how to make money with this. The A B C to get started. I have nere done any thing like this before.I need to make money asap. Thank You Charles

      Reply
    43. David

      Eric great review and even better comments I quit reading after about 50 comments so I apologize in advance for any duplicate comments.
      I have bee in Solavei since 9/21/2012 and have been successful: defined as free cell service for me, my wife, my daughter and Son in law.. And a few bucks more each month. Saving me over $350 monthly. TMobile has spotty coverage, Yes so I only recruit where they have good coverage. I have Trios in 7 States… Beauty of the Internet, you can market to anybody!! enrollment was $135 and I’ve never looked back. I’m retired on a fixed income so Solavei was a way to reduce expense and Suprise, I make enough extra money to take the family to dinner and a movie several times a month… And darn if I go check my earnings statement and someone iny downline has signed another TRIO!!
      Darnedest thing how that works…
      BTW you missed the one on the 40% rule.. There is an elegant solution available to those of us who can read!! I suggest you do a bit more research on how you can Add several thousand Persons from one of your down lines and NOT be subject to the 40% rule! Yes it’s there in big print!
      Best of luck to those who have joined and those who will and Blah to the rest of you naysayers…:)

      Reply
    44. KM

      Charles – you can go to http://www.solavei.com/toplevel and then in the bottom right corner is a graphic that says “1K challenge” If you click on that, it will show you the path of how you can be earning $1,000/month within 90 days. And now the enrollment fee was waived, so it’s just $9 for a sim card + $49 for your first month of service to get started.

      Reply
    45. Kyle

      Four months ago Solavei was an idea, had no members, hadn’t paid out any money to its members, and people were paying way too much just for phone service.
      Now here are the stats in just four months:
      Solavei now has 120,000+ members.
      Solavei has paid out more than $4,000,000 to it’s members. Thousands of people are now earning extra money and even thousands more no longer pay for cell phone service. This is just the first phase/value proposition. Remember… Solavei is more than just an MVNO providing mobile service, it is a Social Commerce network that will provide many products and services in the future. Solavei just announced that in the second quarter of this year, they will be expanding with mobile service to Europe, as well as rolling out the retail aspect to the company here in the states. Exciting times ahead!

      Reply
    46. Carol Dillon

      Annie, you’re wrong… T-Mobile is owned by a huge German telecom with towers all over Europe and Solavei is launching in Europe in a month or two (march or april 2013). I just signed up since T-mobile service is great in my area, but we’re also considering buying my mother-in-law in Stockholm a plan of her own!

      Reply
    47. Carol Dillon

      I agree with you, Eric. I’m allergic to MLMs (and that is based on ugly and painful past experiences), but I was looking for cheap unlimited mobile service without a contract and decided this was perfect. I had NO INTENTION of getting into the MLM end of it, but now that I’m using the service I find that I do recommend it to friends who are no happy with their own service… or who complain they pay too much. Without trying I’m discovering that that this will be a pretty easy add-on to my current activities and I’m hoping at the very least my own service will end up being free/offset by friends I’ve referred. I do actually see at least one path to making quite a reasonable amount of money with this by selling to church groups and charities who have lots of members who would be interested in helping the organizations financially on an ongoing basis without it costing them out of pocket money… and since it would most likely SAVE them money on their mobile service to boot… well, I’m seeing stacks of coins if not actual dollar signs in my eyes!

      Reply
    48. Carol Dillon

      yeah, I heard about the Social Commerce network and debit card thing and I have to say I think it’s total nonsense. I’m sure the company will make some cash on it, but I doubt whether members will end up with enough to buy a pack of cigarettes every month.
      But, as I said before… the mobile service, the lack of a contract obligation, and the fact that you can at least earn the cost of the service by just telling friends and family about it… I think THAT is a win-win-win.

      Reply
    49. Coach Manny

      It was recently announced That Solavei will be launching in Europe in the second Quarter. Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile and are based out of Germany.

      Reply
    50. Anonymous

      Did you know that there has NEVER been an MLM company that started in the USA in the past 30 years, that grew to $300 million in annual sales and then continued to grow in the USA for each of the following 3 years.

      MLM Facts per the DSA:
      98.46% fail within 5yrs
      99% within 10 yrs

      Reply

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