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by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
luxury, mobile operator, mvno, rich and famous


Luxury Mobile Operator Not So Luxurious Any More

from the the-rich-and-famous-aren't-that-dumb dept

In late 2005, we were amused by the story of a Japanese company trying to launch a special mobile phone service, called Voce, for the rich and famous in the US. The selling point had little to do with a fancy phone. You would get just a common RAZR. But, for a $1500 entry fee and $500/month (!?!) you would basically get unlimited calls, get a new phone each year and get a full-time concierge service. It's not difficult to recognize why this is a terrible idea. The people who could afford this sort of thing are probably smart enough to recognize they can simply buy themselves a new phone each year and sign up for an unlimited (or close to it) service from one of the big carriers. As for the concierge service, there are plenty of those around -- with most being a lot more established and trustworthy. Soon after launch, the company discovered that no one had signed up. So it dropped prices to a $1000 entry fee and $400/month. That didn't work either. So a year later, it dropped prices again to $500 entry and $200/month. Stunningly, it turns out that the rich and famous are still smart enough to recognize that's not a very good deal either. Well, other than about 2,000 people who actually did sign up. That's really not enough customers to run a business like this, so the company has shut down completely. Amusingly, the way the COO found out the company was shutting down was that his phone stopped working. As Engadget points out, you would think that the Chief Operating Officer would know that the company's operations were being shut down. Apparently not.

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  • identicon
    BlowURMindBowel, 8 Feb 2008 @ 6:27am

    So who pulled the plug?

    So if the COO didn't even know until his phone stopped working, who the hell made the decision? Did the CEO/CFO call directly down to tech and tell them to shut'er down?

    And what could the COO possibly have to do that was more important that staying in the loop ON COMPANY OPERATIONS?!?

    How do you say "Clown Shoes" in Japanese?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    4-80-sicks, 8 Feb 2008 @ 6:40am

    Any of those 2000 mopes get a refund? Ah, here we go:

    Equipment must be returned to Client’s original place of purchase in order to receive a refund of the initial cost of the Equipment.


    In the event that Voce cannot provide thirty (30) days notice, Voce will endeavor to provide as much notice as possible prior to termination.

    I guess they didn't do that either, huh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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