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MVNO Sonopia closes business

With all of the MVNOs that have died recently, you’d think it’s an unsustainable business model. And maybe it is at this point. Another one has laid off its staff and closed its doors: Sonopia, a carrier which helped organizations open their own mini networks. The problem was the same as many of the other MVNOs we’ve seen shut down over the past year: Lack of subscribers. While niches can sometimes provide targeted and enthusiastic markets, it appears Sonopia was too niched.

“The model proved to be too ambitious and perhaps ahead of its time on the U.S. market,” [former Sonopia employee Tapio] Anttila says.

Well, it appears they had their employees buying into the idea. Too ambitious for sure. Ahead of its time? That remains to be seen.

From Antttila’s further comments, it appears that the scant subscribers to Sonopia will be able to continue their service through Verizon Wireless, the company from which Sonopia bought wholesale minutes for resale.

It’s not an easy road for MVNOs nowadays. I still think the model can work, but it takes a bit more than a vision and some venture capital.