Ciao Mobile, an MVNO which has been operating in Latin America since 2011, launched in US today using the Sprint network. Other than 24/7 customer service, Ciao's current offering is unremarkable, there's no BYOP, available phones are mostly either old or pricey and Ciao's plans are similar to other Sprint MVNOs.
But Ciao is making a big splash with the announcement of a $10/month Ciao Mobile Lite plan that includes unlimited voice, unlimited messaging and unlimited LTE data. The Lite plan, which is "coming soon", will be subsidised by an app that displays ads for other apps on the phone's lock screen. You can sign up here to be notified when Ciao Lite available.
In announcing the Lite plan, Ciao founder, COO and ex-Googler Victor Santos said: "We want to question the status quo created by telecom carriers by thinking outside the box. We believe by creating smart solutions we can ultimately save our customers a lot of money. Thinking smart and caring about our users, that's what Ciao's all about. "
Karen Freitag, Vice President of Global Sales at Sprint endorsed the venture stating, "Ciao Telecom has a compelling and differentiated service model, equipping their customers with reliable wireless service at a tremendous value."
It looks like the $10 plan will only be available with a $199 Ciao modified version of the HTC EVO. However it's not clear which model of the EVO Ciao is offering. The website's order page shows a picture of the original 2010 HTC EVO but the specs listed for it match those of the 2012 HTC EVO LTE. Then when you add the EVO to your shopping cart, a picture of the 2011 EVO 3D displays.
Ciao Lite looks promising although a lot depends of the what exactly is being delivered in terms of hardware and services. As long as Ciao's app doesn't get in the way of using the phone or degrade battery life badly, seeing ads on your lockscreen seems like a small price to pay to get unlimited service for just $10 per month. I'm looking forward to learning more about Ciao and sharing it here.
Source PRNewswire via WirelessWeek