Venn Mobile launched wireless service in late January 2020 featuring one unlimited everything plan with 50GB of mobile hotspot for $30/month. Venn Mobile is run by the same people behind the T-Mobile business plan reseller Teltik. With Teltik in operation since 2016, I had confidence in Venn Mobile's launch at one point stating "if you are apprehensive about a new brand launching with extraordinarily good pricing you can be confident in the brand's legitimacy given it is being run by experienced individuals who have been in the market for several years." Unfortunately, time may have proven that to be the wrong position to take.
At least a month ago Venn Mobile stopped activating new lines of service and selling phones. And at the end of April, the brand stopped posting to all of its social media accounts, which seemed odd for a newly launched brand trying to grow its subscriber base. Fast forward to 6/26/2020, and things took a turn for the worse. Reddit posters reported that their service was stopped. The brand emailed some subscribers notifying them that the issue was related to a Sprint service outage. I reached out to several Venn Mobile spokespersons to try and gain a better understanding of the issue at hand. The spokesperson confirmed that Sprint did turn off the lines and that they were stuck waiting for Sprint to turn them back on with no ETA. The company representative also stated that Venn Mobile was told by Sprint their lines would be restored and were supposed to have been restored prior to my reaching out. Restoration has yet to materialize.
Why Was Venn Mobile Service Shut Down?
According to some other Reddit posters, the reason for the shutdown may be due to Venn Mobile being behind on payments to Sprint. One poster, who claims to have indirect access to Sprint's business accounts reported last month that a balance of $26,000 was owed. A poster yesterday stated the delinquent payments ballooned to over $60,000 owed. Company spokesperson's I reached out to declined to comment on the claims. Given that Venn Mobile stopped accepting new activations last month, and service was cut off yesterday, I'm inclined to believe the Reddit claims are true.
How Did Venn Mobile Get Into This Predicament?
The reason why Venn Mobile may be delinquent on payments if that is indeed the problem at hand is purely speculative. There's also a possibility Venn Mobile was selling wireless service in a way it was not supposed to be.
One Reddit poster theorized that Venn Mobile may have been trying to offer an unlimited plan based on an allotment of pooled data. That is, every new Venn Mobile subscriber added 5GB of pooled data for all subscribers to draw from. The theory goes that if Venn Mobile had enough subscribers, there would be enough data to go around for everyone assuming everyone wasn't using large amounts of data. But if everyone did use a lot of data, overages that Venn would have to pay for would come into play. I personally do not believe this is what happened, as Venn was offering way too many features and too much data for them to attempt to take this path.
Another idea being floated around is that Venn Mobile signed up for a Sprint business account and then was adding its subscribers to its Sprint business account. If this were true, Venn Mobile would not have been operating as a true MVNO and would not actually have had any MVNO or reseller agreement with Sprint. This would certainly be grounds for Sprint to shut down Venn Mobile's service. But there is no way to know if this is actually what happened either.
I suppose it's also possible that Venn Mobile had a legitimate MVNO agreement with Sprint but didn't fully understand its contract. This could have resulted in contract violations or unforeseen overage charges that they cannot afford. I've previously been told by another MVNO that this has led to the demise of MVNOs in the past.
Whatever the case may be, Venn Mobile subscribers may want to consider looking for a new provider. It is claimed that phone numbers associated with Venn Mobile may be canceled at the beginning of July which could result in customers losing their numbers forever. Those looking to port out from Venn Mobile may have to take some unusual steps which are detailed in this Reddit thread.
Now it is possible that Venn Mobile rectifies the situation with Sprint and that service will be restored. However, I wouldn't count on it. The company has had at least a month to get the situation taken care of but has yet to do so. I would be surprised if that could be changed in a matter of days when it couldn't over the last month.
Will Teltik Shutdown Next?
Venn Mobile's sister brand Teltik may also be forced to soon close. For reasons unknown, Teltik's webpage now displays a message stating that "All activations are currently on hold. Please check back for further updates." I have reached out to Teltik for an explanation as to what may be going on here but have not received one. It's possible activations have stopped as they try to straighten out the Venn Mobile situation. But something else could be going on behind the scenes as well. In any case, if you are a Teltik subscriber, you may want to have a backup plan ready just in case they have to discontinue operations too.