Virtual network operator XE Mobile has begun to notify customers that they will be shutting down operations at the end of the year. The carrier was and is a MVNO operating on AT&T’s GSM network.
XE Mobile attempted to target a small niche; college students that want prepaid. The carrier launched last year and attempted to proliferate cheap Nokia phones on Black Friday, delivering at the $19.99 price point. However, the MVNO failed to deliver key services such as data, and with costs only slightly below those of first-party network AT&T.
However, XE Mobile is not alone in its shutdown. An even more dismal failure in the MVNO market, appears to be cool.Prepaid. The carrier launched initially with a wide range of mid-to-high-end Motorola phones, only to have Motorola halt shipments at the peak of launch. The carrier attempted to restart operations with Sony Ericsson phones, but at retail prices in the multiples of that of AT&T, which it too was riding on. Like XE Mobile, cool.Prepaid will cease operations at the end of the year.
The money trail between XE Mobile and cool.Prepaid is not entirely clear, but it does now appear that the two companies were simply shells of a greater parent MVNO controller, which is shutting down most (if not all) of their failed MVNO ventures.