Didn't See This One Coming, No Not At All — Amp'd Files For Bankruptcy

from the not-surprising dept

About two years ago, a group of execs that had founded the successful Boost Mobile youth-focused brand for Nextel announced they were starting a new virtual mobile operator called Amp’d. Amp’d would also target young users, but it would differentiate itself by charging high prices and, in exchange, offer all sorts of multimedia content. From the outset, we were skeptical because the company was focusing on content, and not communication — a strategy that’s proved untenable for other MVNOs, and similarly failed for Amp’d, so it was forced to try and attract users by slashing voice prices. Still, the company’s business plan (poor strategy and all) helped it pull in $360 million in venture funding, with a good chunk of that coming even after the company displayed an inability to attract subscribers. So, in what’s one of the least surprising pieces of news we’ve seen in a while, Amp’d has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company spins bankruptcy by saying, “As a result of our rapid growth, our back-end infrastructure was unable to keep up with customer demand.” The company was beset by operational problems (as well as poor strategy), so there’s some truth in that, but with so few users, it’s not much of an excuse. Amp’d says it hopes to secure more financing and keep operating, though its top creditors are Verizon Wireless, its network provider, and Motorola, which provides it with handsets, owing them a combined $49 million. We would say that Amp’d will have a hard time finding more investment, but given that the company was able to raise so much money from VCs even after it was clear it was headed for the deadpool, you never know.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Didn't See This One Coming, No Not At All — Amp'd Files For Bankruptcy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Who would have guessed that trendy young users

would not want to spend money on mobile phone content?

This is the same group that gave meteoric rise to the Peer2Peer software, PS2/XBox, AIM, youTube and is the poster child for RIAA Pirate.

I know this group and they like youngsters before them (back to the time of Mozart); money simply slips thru their fingers. What little money they have.

Someone should have informed the investors that this group of trendy young users will spend money on Starbucks and brag about their discriminating taste. This same group would be *!embarrassed!* to admit _buying_ phone content. They would rather cover up the purchase with “downloaded it of the internet”. No way they would admit to spending money on content that others might get for free.

So rather than pump up Amp’d content you lie about the purchase.

I though the name was stupid too.

IronChef says:


Another reason why the MVNO model is so troubled… A successful MVNO needs to focus on volume of minutes, not necessarily features- Virgin does this.

The fundamental flaw with MVNO is in the business’ ability to raise additional capital.. This is typically tied to tangibles and capital investment. By lacking in ownership of the network, it makes it exponentially more difficult to get additional financing- investors have nothing to divest if the concept fails.

Henry S says:

I owned stock in Leap Wireless..

I lost a lot of money when Leap’s stock tumbled, and happy to see it’s coming back around.

Sue Swenson was COO of Leap Wireless (Cricket) before they filed for bankruptcy in 2003. And she’s COO of Amp’d…

COO of two companies that file for Bankruptcy in less than 5 years. Then, to add to it, she was sued by tmobile, where she was, again, held the title of, (surprise, surprise) COO.

To quote justin timberlake- what goes around comes around..

Myself says:

Unable to keep up with demand, my back-end!

So wait, their back-end infrastructure was provided by Verizon and Motorola? I highly doubt either of them was overwhelmed or incapacitated by a two-bit MVNO’s misguided attempts to squeeze blood from a market consisting mainly of stones.

Either they’re misrepresenting their troubles in an astonishingly dishonest way, or there’s more to the story.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...