Newport Beach telecom entrepreneur Peter Adderton, who gained fame as the founder of wireless service provider Boost Mobile, has started a new venture that uses artificial intelligence to help consumers save money on mobile phone charges.
Adderton in February officially launched MobileX service to take on the wireless industry giants by offering fully customizable plans.
In other words, if you don’t need it, you shouldn’t pay for it.
MobileX’s app-based service utilizes AI to predict how much data customers need, delivering a reduction in cost while ensuring reliable speed and service.
“MobileX is technically a prepaid service, however the distinction between prepaid and post-paid service isn’t what it was in the past, when prepaid service was primarily intended for credit-challenged consumers,” Adderton told the Business Journal on April 11.
MobileX has about 50 employees and will be moving employees into one location in the Irvine area, according to Adderton (see story, this page).
“For MobileX personalized service—what we call ‘the You Plan’—there’s a small $1.99 monthly fee for using our AI-guided mobile data platform. Then the user buys whatever amount of mobile data they’d like, as little as one gigabyte for a couple of dollars,” the MobileX CEO said.
“So, a user can get access for about $5. A typical user who averages about 8 gigabytes of data use per month will pay $15-$20. But the beauty of our model is that it’s completely customized to you and what you actually use,” Adderton said.
He said the company also has two plans that are similar to what consumers might be more used to, a 15GB unlimited plan for $20, or a 30GB unlimited plan for $25. Both include unlimited talk and text.
“The consumers pay us,” Adderton notes.
The Australia native says he’ll start a major marketing campaign in June to spread the word about the money-saving possibilities for mobile phone users.
Boost, a no-contract brand that serves subscribers seeking wireless plans without data limits, was founded by Adderton in Australia in 2000 before he expanded it to Irvine in 2001. U.S. Boost in 2004 was acquired by Nextel Communications, which itself was bought by Sprint Corp. a year later.
Adderton sought to buy Boost back from Sprint in 2019, but it was eventually sold to Dish for $1.4 billion.
Adderton sees a clear need for his newest venture.
“The average person will likely save considerably with our personalized service, compared to what they’re used to paying. We find that people are generally in Wi-Fi coverage way more than they realize, and so many folks tend to overestimate their own data consumption because they’re used to having to pick an unlimited plan. So, they end up paying for a bigger plan than they really need. MobileX solves that by right-sizing to your specific need,” he said.
“The monthly access fee is $1.99. Personalized pricing is given to each individual user in their MobileX app based on the AI-guided forecast of their data use. A user can either follow the prediction, or add as much or as little data to their account as they wish. And if there’s surplus data at the end of the month, it gets credited to their account,” according to Adderton.
He also said that so-called “unlimited” plans offered by major wireless carriers have data speed caps imposed after a certain level of use each month.
MobileX operates on the Verizon network, according to Adderton.
He says MobileX has raised $6 million through debt and equity, and the company has investors “me being one of them.”
The company is on track with its growth plans, according to Adderton.
Adderton said 99.9% of people don’t know their monthly data usage, and “the majority of people never go over” on the unlimited plans.
He says people buy unlimited plans for safety and security but those mostly benefit high-end users.
“20% of the people who use high data are being subsidized by 80% of the market,” according to Adderton.
Despite the clear cost savings in an expensive U.S. mobile market, companies such as MobileX may have trouble convincing people to switch, Bloomberg News reported on April 5.
Bloomberg News said several upstart wireless providers are offering monthly service plans at less than half the average cost of the major national networks.
But “complacent consumers seem to prefer to pay more rather than face the hassle of switching,” Bloomberg said.
Like Boost, Adderton’s latest venture also aims to save money for consumers.
“We use AI to learn and evolve with a customer’s usage patterns so they have the ability to only pay for what they use,” according to Adderton.
“The cost savings are substantial, the customization unprecedented, and the level of control is beyond anything else on the market.”
MobileX customers start with a free prediction period of up to ten days. During that time, MobileX learns a user’s data consumption patterns and provides a forecast of how much data they will need each month, often resulting in dramatic savings.
Customers can also create their own custom service plan by selecting the data amount they think will work best for them.
“At the end of the 10 days we come back with a prediction on exactly what you need,” according to Adderton. “If you don’t need unlimited, it will also tell you what, which will save you significant amounts of money.”
He gave an example of a friend of his who was playing $90 for an unlimited T-Mobile plan. The friend switched to MobileX and is now paying less than $10 per month.
High users are directed toward unlimited plans.
“If you don’t need unlimited, it will also tell you what, which will save you significant amounts of money.
“Video basically drives most of the usage,” he said, noting with a laugh: “I don’t do a lot of Netflix streaming while I’m on the 405 or the 73.”
Data usage isn’t anywhere near as high as many people think it is.
MobileX has been in the works for several years, prior to launching its services earlier this year.
The MobileX app is currently available for download in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
To start service, customers need a compatible, unlocked iPhone or Android device.
Adderton’s Local Luck
Peter Adderton says there’s a reason why his latest venture, wireless firm MobileX, is drawn to his hometown Orange County.
“We will be relocating everybody into Orange County. It seems to be good luck for me,” he says. “Somewhere around down there in Irvine, we’ll be moving everybody into one location.”
He should know. Adderton founded Irvine’s Boost Mobile, one of the largest mobile virtual network operator brands in the world, in 2001, and sold it to Nextel Communications in 2004.
Boost is a no-contract brand that serves subscribers seeking wireless plans without data limits. It is now owned by Dish.
Adderton originally founded Boost in Australia in 2000 before expanding it to Irvine.
He has lived in Orange County for more than two decades, and resides in the ultra-fancy Newport Coast community of Newport Beach. His long résumé includes a stint as CEO at high-tech video camera company 360fly, while he also founded and served as CEO of mobile growth platform Digital Turbine of Austin, Texas.