Feature Article

February 11, 2013

Solavei Members can Purchase the New BlackBerry Z10 First, but for a Price

On July 26, 2012, the first social commerce network for mobile services distribution was created, called Solavei.

The idea behind Solavei was to be a new social commerce company with an affordable, contract-free mobile service that actually pays back consumers for adding new members. The Solavei Mobile Service is a comprehensive mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) utilizing T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network. Consumers simply sign up for a $49 per month unlimited voice, text and data plan and can earn income by engaging friends and family to purchase the mobile service through Solavei's integrated social networking platform.

On Friday, February 8, 2013, Solavei announced that it would be able to provide an exclusive to its members, who would therefore be able to purchase the BlackBerry Z10 through its retail partner GSM Nation before anyone else in the U.S. The BlackBerry Z10 is already being sold in Europe and Canada.

However, as I reported from the BlackBerry 10 Launch, the phone would not be available in the U.S. until sometime in Mid-March.

Ryan Wuerch, founder and CEO of Solavei said, “We believe in giving our members access to the latest phones and wireless capabilities. Solavei not only gives its members the opportunity to pay less for unlimited mobile service, but even the opportunity to earn income by sharing Solavei with others.”

This is where if you look at the numbers, it makes you think twice before making a decision. Solavei offers a $49-per-month unlimited voice, text and data plan, as well as to its customers the unique opportunity to earn recurring monthly income by sharing with friends and family through its social commerce platform.

Basically, you’re their advertising company, by bringing in new customers through word of mouth or social networking. If you do this, you get paid, either in the form of cash in hand, or credit toward your bill.

In addition, you pay one low price for everything and even make some money. Here’s where you have to look at the numbers.

According to Thorsten Heins, president and CEO at BlackBerry, the price he’s looking at, as stated during the launch for the BlackBerry Z10, is $199 with a two-year contract and about $149 with a three-year contract.

This is of course dependent on what the carriers will actually want to charge, as they do have the last word on the matter.

It appears that T-Mobile may indeed be the first U.S. carrier to support the Z10. Since Solavei utilizes T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network, we can see how it can offer the smartphone ahead of everyone else.

The problem is that it is offering the phone with a price of $999. Is it worth paying $800 more?

MobilityTechzone mobile maven Tony Rizzo suggests that, "This is another perfect example of how BlackBerry continues to always miss the marketing boat - the company needs to focus on strong touch device and operating system features at a reasonably low price point but instead chooses to make a limited number of Z10s available ahead of the official US launch at a ridiculous $999 (unsubsidized) - it simply labels the Z10 as a hugely overpriced piece of hardware from a fourth or fifth place competitor."

It was very nice to hear during the Z10 launch that BlackBerry was keeping the price of the phone under $200. I honestly expected the price tag to be somewhere in the $499 neighborhood. I was pleasantly surprised when Thorsten Heins mentioned the $199 and $149 prices.

It sounded like they were heading in the right direction.

I can understand the desire to want to get the Z10 out quickly and start moving forward, but I think that what’s really needed is reliability. That’s why the main carriers are not offering the smartphone until sometime in March. They need to test a lot of parameters to ensure that all of the options and the OS will work as intended.

If you have an extra $800 and want to be the first kid on the block, you too can own the BlackBerry Z10.

Edited by Braden Becker

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