MVNOs struggling to attract customers

Jun 20 2006 - 12:17 AM ET | MVNO

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the recent string of media oriented mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are having a hard time signing up customers. A multitude of the niche targeted carriers have launched recently, including some heavily financed offerings like Mobile ESPN and Amp'd Mobile. Despite the influx of investment dollars, subscribers are so far elusive:

Amp'd Mobile, which has attracted $250 million in funding, signed up fewer than 10,000 subscribers in its first five months, say people familiar with the situation.

ESPN has reportedly gone "back to the drawing board" with its Mobile ESPN service after launching this year during the Superbowl. Its sign ups have also not surpassed the 10,000 mark. There have been MVNO success stories (Virgin Mobile, TracFone, Boost Mobile), but they have all been for pre-paid service, often at a discount rate.

These new-wave companies are attempting to sign up post-paid customers and sell them unlimited data packages along with exclusive services.