Web & communication software

After Attack Causes Delay, Voyager Low-cost Mobile Service Goes Live

Voyager Mobile, the startup that had planned to launch last Tuesday but said it was delayed by an attack on its website, went live on Sunday with an unlimited voice, text and data plan for US$39 per month.

Voyager is the latest MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) to launch a service using the Sprint Nextel and Clearwire networks. Along with its $39-per-month plan, it is offering unlimited voice and text for $19 per month. A future component of the service, a program called Voyager Rewards, will let customers earn points by talking on the phone and exchange those points for airline miles, phone upgrades, gift cards and free monthly service.

The company is selling its devices and services exclusively through its website, which is where an attacker hit Voyager on the morning of May 15 just after the service went live, according to the company. On Twitter that day, Voyager called the incident "a malicious network attack" and said the launch would be postponed.

Both Voyager plans are available to consumers without a term commitment, credit check or deposit. The service is being offered in 22 states around the U.S., including Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington, though it offers national 3G and 4G coverage. It will go on sale in other states later, the company said. Voyager offers seven Android smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG, ranging from $219 for the cheapest models to $549 for the Samsung Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch. Customers can also choose from among three feature phones, starting at $119.

Third parties like Voyager that resell mobile service from the major carriers are a growing part of the U.S. market. Most of those offerings are no-commitment service providers like Voyager. Among the seven largest U.S. mobile operators, first-quarter revenue from wholesale deals grew 10 percent from a year earlier, while revenue from traditional postpaid plans grew just 1 percent, according to a report released Monday by Chetan Sharma Consulting.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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