In pilot for the last year, startup brings its innovative bill-free ‘Pay What You Want’ mobile service to market with a powerful $99 flagship smartphone, $4.1M in seed funding and partnership with BLU Products
DETROIT (November 2, 2017) – Today, Lunar Wireless, the only carrier on the market to offer a “Pay What You Want” 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 want to take control of their mobile experience. With a pay what you want, when you want it model, the startup is catering to the lifestyle expectations of today’s consumer, who wants their high end services available on demand.
Founded by Hunter Rosenblume and Rohith Varanasi, the Thiel Fellows have created a wireless service model where consumers only pay for what they want. The service is akin to MetroMile, where consumers pay for their car insurance per mile versus a monthly rate, or Lyft where instead of buying a car, people are able to pay per trip. With Lunar, rather than paying a high monthly bill for unlimited service, consumers are able to pay per app, and get a day’s worth of unlimited data for each app.
“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. With regards to your data plan, it should work like everything else does in your life – at your convenience and on demand. A high monthly bill from a big carrier isn’t a requirement to get quality mobile service, and powerful, feature-rich devices don’t have to cost a mortgage. You can get everything you need without paying that price.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the first smartphone came out in 2007, cell phone bills are up more than 50%. The average cell phone bill is roughly $72 per month, and many pay $100+. 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. Consumers are craving something different and Lunar is for anyone looking for a quality alternative.
How the Lunar Plan Works: No monthly bills. No more counting gigabytes. No more counting minutes and messages. A few key points:
- Each app costs 25¢ for a full day (24 hours) of unlimited use. When connected to wifi, the access is free.
- You will always keep your number and never pay for what you don’t use. Nearly 30% of mobile data is used when your apps aren’t open. Lunar always asks before bringing an app online, so you can’t run a bill in the background.
- The average cost savings is more than $600 per year. Lunar customers spend an average of $15 per month.
- Incoming Call & Text is free. To dial or text outbound, you will be asked if you wish to pay 25¢ (for each).
In pilot mode for the past year, the company has been testing business models, pricing, and potential partnerships. With the new BLU Products alliance and $4.1M in seed funding which closed in February 2017, the company is ready to launch nationwide. The seed round 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.
“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?”
Lunar is only available on a limited number of handsets with the flagship device being the $99 BLU S1. The company also offers the Google Pixel, and for people who love big phones, the Nexus 6 is available at 70% off.