DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Lunar Wireless, the only carrier on the market to offer a mobile data plan with no monthly fees, launches nationwide. With $4.1M in funding led by 8VC and a partnership with BLU Products to launch their $99 flagship phone the BLU S1, Lunar is for people that are paying hundreds of dollars every month for their phone bill, frustrated that they are charged for data they don’t use.
Founders and Thiel Fellows Hunter Rosenblume and Rohith Varanasi have created a unique "Pay What You Want" model that allows users to pay per-app for data. This model is akin to companies like MetroMile, where consumers pay-per-mile for their car insurance versus a flat monthly rate. With Lunar, instead of trying to track data usage per-gigabyte, customers pay for only the data they want for the day. Upon opening any app, users are prompted to pay 25¢ to use it on the nation’s largest 4G networks for 24 hours. Apps used offline or on WiFi are free. With other plans, customers are paying a bill that doesn’t pay attention to their individual app usage. With Lunar, there's no counting gigabytes and no overages. You pay for what you want, when you want it, and that's it. Hence, “Pay What You Want.”
“With the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy phones costing upwards of $1,000, we have reached a tipping point and people want an alternative,” said Lunar Wireless CEO Hunter Rosenblume. “Historically, budget phones have been associated with a budget experience. This is no longer true. Powerful, feature-rich devices don't have to cost a mortgage, and a high monthly bill from a big carrier isn't a requirement to get quality service.”
For too long, big telecom conglomerates have conditioned people to believe that having a mobile phone and decent data plan has to cost hundreds of dollars per month. Not true. According to a recent J.D. Power U.S. wireless study, the average individual cell phone bill is roughly $85. Lunar customers spend an average of $15 in a month and save more than $600 per year. The highest spend the company has seen thus far has been $48.
"I've been involved with the mobile industry for almost two decades, first as a tech journalist and now as an investor. Lunar, with its innovative new model, is one of most exciting companies I've ever come across," said Peter Rojas, partner at Betaworks Ventures. "It's one of our largest investments to date, and not hard to see why. Lunar is solving one of the biggest unsolved challenges in mobile industry: how do you cut that hefty monthly data bill while still offering high-quality phones and service?"
How It Works: You will never pay for what you don’t use.
Paid services cost 25¢ for a full day (24 hours) of use:
- 4G Data per app
- Outbound Calls
- Outbound Texts
The following services are free:
- Incoming Calls and Texts
- Data for Push Notifications
- Apps used on WiFi or Offline
In pilot for the past year, the company has been testing business models, pricing, and potential partnerships. The most significant has been the partnership with BLU Products, a Miami-based smartphone manufacturer that dominates the unlocked device market in the U.S. with ~$400M in annual revenue. Together, they are announcing Lunar’s flagship phone - the BLU S1. It touts a 5.2” HD Curved-Glass Display, 1.5Ghz Octa-Core processor, 13MP Main Shooter, and Encrypted Fingerprint Scanner for $99, shipping included.
According to Rosenblume, “The unique partnership model allows us to sell these devices for lower than anyone else. Why? Because most carriers buy and ship devices around the country multiple times before they hit the consumer's door. When you buy an S1 from Lunar, the phone ships directly to you from their HQ in Miami.”
The seed funding round closed in February 2017 and was led by 8VC. Other investors include Betaworks, BLU Products, Fontinalis Partners (Ford Family), 1517 Fund, WNDRCO, Detroit Venture Partners, Core Innovation Capital, Abstract Ventures, Expansion VC, Social Starts, and a few angels.
Lunar is only available on the BLU S1, Google Pixel and Nexus 6. Devices need to be purchased directly from Lunar and are offered at heavily discounted prices. Shop at http://lunarwireless.com/shop.
About Lunar Wireless:
Lunar Wireless is the only mobile carrier on the market to offer a data plan with no monthly fees. Using a “Pay What You Want” model, the Detroit based company is obsessed with providing broadband access and amazing product experiences at an unprecedented value to everyone, anywhere. How it works: No monthly fees or counting gigabytes. Pay just 25¢ to use any single app on the nation’s largest 4G networks for a full day (24 hours). Use apps offline, or on wifi, for free. Get started with Lunar today at https://lunarwireless.com.