Sep 21 AT 4:29 PM Taylor Wimberly 59 Comments

What if your wireless carrier paid you to sign up new customers?


Today is the nationwide launch of Solavei, but I bet most of you have never heard of it. Solavei is a new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that operates on T-Mobile’s network and offers “unlimited” service for only $49 per month. There are hundreds of MVNO’s out there, but Solavei has some unique features that might get your attention. Read on to see why you should pay attention to Solavei.

What is Solavei?

Solavei is a pre-paid wireless service that anyone can sign up for without a contract or any commitments. The monthly fee is $49 which will get you unlimited talk, text, and 4 GB of data before you get throttled. It works pretty much like any other pre-paid service, with one major exception.

After you sign up for Solavei, you are given a referral link that you can share with your friends. For every three friends that sign up you get a Trio that earns you $20 per month. When your friends sign up other people, the number of Trios in your personal network will continue to grow.

That means that four Trios (12 people) would pay you $50 per month, which would cover your monthly service. If you are a social networker and have a ton of friends, the earnings could start to add up. Only 20 Trios would earn you $1k per month, but it you could somehow figure out how to sign up 2000 Trios then you could be making $20k per month. For more on how the payout works, check out their compensation details.

I have already seen people referring to Solavei as a pyramid scheme, but they have the full backing of T-Mobile and their leadership team includes plenty of former C-level executives from T-Mobile, Walmart, AT&T, Target, and other high-profile companies.

What phones work on Solavei?

Solavei sells a variety of Android phones off contract.

Solavei will work with any unlocked GSM phone or T-Mobile phone. They also sell their own their own Android phones if you are coming from another carrier and need a device. Unlocked AT&T phones will also work with Solavei, but you might be limited to 2G data speeds until T-Mobile starts offering 4G HSPA+ data on the 1900 MHz band later this year.

Would you recommend Solavei to a friend?

I was invited to try out Solavei during their beta test and I have been using it for several weeks now. They shipped me a SIM card in the mail and I popped it in a T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III. The setup was fairly simple and I had service within minutes of putting the SIM card in.

Some might wonder if you get T-Mobile’s fast 4G HSPA+ data speeds, and in my testing I have found the answer is yes. My download speeds are 10-15 Mbps and my uploads are 1-2 Mbps.

At this point I haven’t used the service for a full month, so I’m not ready to give my full endorsement just yet. However, I don’t really have any complaints to report. I’m already a supporter of pre-paid wireless service, so Solavei was attractive to me before I even used the service.

If you have never used pre-paid wireless before, you might want to wait awhile before switching over. But if you are thinking about pre-paid service from Solavei (or Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, etc.) then you should probably port your number to Google Voice. I did this months ago and it has made swapping devices and SIM cards a breeze.

Look for a follow-up post in a couple of months because I will continue to use Solavei on my daily device. If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.

What do you think about the concept of Solavei? Do you wish your wireless carrier paid you to refer your family and friends?

Source: Solavei (My referral link)

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Vance

    @#*%ing brilliant

    • Vance

      Any idea if mobile hotspot works?

  • Homncruse

    ….Too good to be true? While I want to buy into it, it doesn’t feel sustainable. I’ve been waiting for something like the next Nexus to arrive before I switch to prepaid, but if this is as good as it sounds, it might be worthwhile for me to get in early before it’s flooded.

    • Thomas Biard

      Oops I said the same thing, just a little after you. I def agree. Tempting

    • aranea

      I agree it’s too good to be true. I can understand some discounts may be most of your bill being discounted for people you sign up. But paying money to customers doesn’t seem very sustainable. It can be a pyramid scheme inspired way and only some people will actually make money out of it or maybe there are fine prints that limit earnings. Or else too good to be true. Save your number by switching it to google voice or something just in case.

      • Homncruse

        The fine print is that no more than 40% of trios can come from one “fork” in the trio. So to really get the most of it, you need to distribute the high performers/social influencers together, and the lower performers together.

    • Homncruse

      Well, I’ve taken the plunge. There’s a one-time member signup fee of $49 as well, but that’s not noted in the article. I signed up for a new line (I have a secondary device to test with), and I’ll do the GV porting of my primary number at a later date once I figure out if I’m happy.

      I’ll be glad to do a review and/or contribute to Taylor’s review when the time comes.

      If anyone else would like to sign up, my referral link is — I signed up under Taylor, so he’ll get credit for anyone who signs up under me as well.

      • Taylor Wimberly

        Cool thanks for signing up. Hope you enjoy it and maybe make some money.

        • Craig Marker

          I signed up under homncruse, so Taylor you should be getting credit. I appreciate it if people sign up under me and we pass it along.

          • Homncruse

            Thanks for signing up! I need one more to complete my first Trio…

  • Steve Heinrich

    Are they selling cell phone service or running for President? That first video was weird. Too much stock footage. I’m sure their service is fine, but I don’t trust those guys in the video.

    I’ll pass this time. But thanks for the info. Always good to know your options.

  • Thomas Biard

    Brilliant. And right now is the best time to jump in. Start posting your referral link on facebook. Think about it…the richest people in these types of companies are the ones that start with it IMMEDIATELY when it becomes available because the market is untapped. If you start late, everyone has either passed on it already or they have been signed up by someone else.

    I think I may do this. Its also not like buying into some scam, you get a good cell plan for 50 bucks!

    • Homncruse

      If you do, my referral link is above, and Taylor’s is around here somewhere as well (I signed up under Taylor).

  • Homncruse

    On a somewhat related note, why would I want to port my primary number from T-Mobile to GV before signing up for Solavei or StraightTalk or any other prepaid carrier?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Because then you only have to port it one time. With pre-paid you might be switching services or networks, and I think it is a pain to keep porting it every time. With Google Voice, you just forward your number to whatever new pre-paid number they assign you. Only downside is no MMS with Google Voice, but I don’t really use MMS so not a problem for me.

      • Homncruse

        Thanks for the clarification! I wonder if GV will ever properly support MMS?

      • vforvortex

        Now only if google can jump in the phone carrier business along with their fiber internet options, then we will be set. :)

      • bencro

        I’m a novice on this stuff….but when you port your current number to GV, your current service will be cancelled, leaving you without service until you sign up with a new service provider, right?

        Seems like the best sequence is:

        1. Buy your unlocked phone
        2. Sign up for new service and number with your provider of choice using your new unlocked phone (or will they not give you a number if you don’t buy the phone from them?).
        3. Port your old number to Google Voice (old service is automatically cancelled).
        4. Forward your new number to GV.

        Granted, you could be paying 2 providers for a short period overlapping service, but there wouldn’t be a potential service disruption.

  • Argelis

    I’m very skeptical…

  • Argelis

    Also,they disabled ratings and comments on their YouTube videos. Even more skeptical now.

  • jamal adam

    2000 trios $20k per month. I better start perfecting my sales pitch and marketing skills.

    • Homncruse

      Well, once you start raking in large amounts of money, you can afford to quit your day job and spend more time with the sales and marketing pitch, and work your way into higher sales potential groups, so on and so forth… it would snowball quickly.

  • jian9007

    Sign up fee and service I can get from any other reputable MVNO. No thanks. As far as the Executives that Solavei lists, most are actually investors, not really employees of the company. Solavei would like you to believe that those execs (who are really only investors) make the company honest and reputable, but that is not the case.

    The man who runs/founded this company used to run Motricity, and is currently being sued in district court for insider trading, etc. Other former Motricity executives are also named and some of them are part of Solavei as well. I suppose that you could say that the worse that could happen to you is that you would pay for wireless service and one day you wouldn’t have it. That would not be a problem as you could always just go no-contract with another MVNO.

    However, I would not pay anyone $49 to sign me up for a service I could get on my own for the same monthly fee (without paying the $49). And customer service? None. The other users help answer customer service questions. Also, major carriers will give you credit for other people you sign up. For example Solavei’s ridiculous $20,000 requires 2000 trios (6000 people). If you signed up 6000 people at T-Mobile, it would be $25 referral X 6000= $150,000.

    Do your due diligence research and remember the simple rule: if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. And for the record, I have a cousin who tried to get me to sign up, and he’s what they call “a founding member.”

    • Futureboy

      Just one point about the math. As per the article, the $20,000 is per month. So at that rate, it will take 7.5 months to reach $150,000 and after that, your Solavei sign-ups will still earn you money. That being the case, you’re better off getting those 6000 people on the Solavei plan because you will keep earning every month.

      I’m not endorsing Solavei, because I agree with everything else you said about doing your due diligence and being cautious of something that seems too good to be true.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Thanks for the feedback. I did my homework and I’m well aware a lot of the founders came from motricity. The way I see it, I really have nothing to lose. Their monthly plan is better than Straight Talk because they actually tell you how much data you get. My service has been great so far but I want to use it a couple months before I really try to sign up people. I already talked a dozen people into Straight Talk and got nothing in return, so I thought this sounded interesting.

    • Rebecca Novinfar

      They actually do have customer service! Not only do they have a chat feature but you can call and speak to a representative as well :)

  • Ardrid

    Assuming the service is solid and there isn’t any hidden small print, the referral idea sounds like a nice bonus, at least as an initial incentive to help grow the service. That said, this is still, by it’s very definition, a pyramid scheme, regardless of what T-Mobile and the executives tell you.

    | | |
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    Looks like a pyramid to me…

    • Bill

      You should check out what your org chart looks like at work…

      • Ardrid

        And the relevance of that is what exactly? Furthermore, how is a business model like this in anyway sustainable? At least 1/3 of your revenue is going towards paying your customers.

        • Bill

          The relevance is people throw out the term ‘pyramid’ without really knowing what it is, they work in one on a daily basis and never give it a second thought. Usually what these companies do is take this out of any advertising budget, so it’s not money being taken away, it’s just money being redirected. If you pay people to do word of mouth advertising by compensating them, you don’t need to take out TV and media ads to promote your products.

  • Hawaiian

    It’s good to already be in sales when you run into an opportunity like this.

    But for a business to put out a number like $1k or $20k per month in a market that is clearly already saturated and moreover inundated with OEM’s and carriers alike…it’s an unrealistic and moreover unfair number for the majority of people to truly make more than their monthly rate plan back.

    If you do ‘refer’ for this service and make a lot I…and I am sure many others would love to hear about it.

  • Nathan D.

    That probably the best feature I seen in any pre-paid company

  • Jak

    If anybody want to sign up please use this link TX

  • Nick Gray

    Unless you plan on promoting this thing full time, there’s no way you will make any money at this. Keep in mind, you need to sing up multiples of three. If you sign up two people and each of them sign up two people, you’re still left with nothing. That’s why this system work for Solavei. The majority of people will never do the work to sign people up.

    On the other hand, the service is on par with other pre-paid services, but there’s the up side that you can cut your bill by $20-$40 if you get a handful of friends interested. I’m still doing my research, but this could be the right option for me.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I agree it would be difficult to sign up a large number of people unless you focus a lot of time on it. But 3 people isn’t that much if you already have family and friends on T-Mobile. It will be easier once T-Mobile’s network supports AT&T phones on 4G HPSA+ over 1900 MHz.

      • Homncruse

        I have at least 3 friends (likely more, but 3 asked me “does it support iPhone?” in my public general post on social media) with iPhones who would gladly jump on the deal if T-Mobile’s network was ready to go TODAY with full support for their iDevices.

  • Michael Shulman

    And what happens when all those customers of yours switch to another phone service? I don’t see that the system will continue to pay so much to be worth it.

    I got a foothold into a much more interesting system. I joined a company that now gives me free energy, gas and electricity. Forever. For life. What’s more, they pay me to help other people similarly involved- and that’s a payout that can also last for life.

    Waaay to complex to explain here… it’s all visual to really understand it. I’m happy to share it with anyone who is even interested in the free energy, but I’d have to show them a real presentation for them to understand it.

    (My email is michael dot shulman dot 3 at gmail dot com)

  • pax

    How well can the network be on T-Mobile coverage? These companies come, add a few customers, make money for their CEOs, close up or are bought out, and there you are out there needubg to take care of themeselves or a new company to deal with. I bet if you call their customer service or if they have a store, the reps will not know anything about these friends, or friends of friends plans, imagine having them to go through the referrals!!!!, I stick with my ATT…expensive, but reliable and simple.

  • Daniel Cooper

    I really like Solavei’s idea, but like other posters have said, there are too many red flags. This is, blatantly obvious, network marketing, and I’d rather be a friend to my friends, not a salesman.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      If you could help your friends cut their monthly bill in half, wouldn’t that be a friendly thing to do?

      • Homncruse

        I agree; I’ve been thinking of an algorithm that would theoretically optimize the returns for all involved from the root node of a network (in my case, that would be you). It would be mutually beneficial to the root node and the new member, since they’d be placed in the most optimal spot for the root node, and the algorithm would then consider them for new sign-ups.

        It’s not a perfect algorithm, and I need to do some serious math yet, but I’m seriously considering pushing big on this.

  • Nightyume

    I guess one of the best ways to get people to sign up under you in order to make money would be to release an article about it on a blog dedicated to a mobile OS and then hide your referral link under the “source” link.

    Have to say I’m disappointed… The fact that you hide it Taylor is reprehensible.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I labeled the referral link. And I said I’m not ready to fully recommend it until I use it for a couple months. I still think it’s an interesting idea and that’s why I shared the info. People can read up on it and make their own decision. FYI, only one person signed up and it was Homncurse who left a comment.

    • Homncruse

      He didn’t hide it anywhere… in fact, the link in the article was initially broken (seems to be fixed now). I pinged Taylor on Twitter for details and his referral link. Also, when you click the referral link, it’s *very* obvious that it’s a referral link, since it displays your sponsor on the front page.


      See the difference?

  • Ben

    Solavie customer service SUCKS. Their website has all sorts of issues in the check out, USPS data base does not lit any address that does not get USPS delivery ie in rural areas or here in Hawaii. After 3 weeks of trying to sign up with them I am still not signed up. Hours on the phone, waste of time. Emails bs.

  • Dave Lindberg

    Kudos for Taylor W for writing the article.

    There are lots of opinions here regarding Solavei and MLM (aka Network Marketing). I think the anti-MLM folks will hate anything “looking like” MLM, no matter what. I come from a more open minded opinion and do not have that hangup.

    Solavei has created a way for you to benefit from everyone wanting a good mobile phone plan. $49/month for unlimited calls/texts and 4 GB of data is a good deal. It is on T-Mobile, whom I use, and is very stable carrier.

    You pay $49 one-time setup fee + $49/month for service + $19 for a SIM if you bring your own phone. These were, or are still, all standard rates in the mobile phone industry.

    The bottom line is… if you are paying for a mobile phone plan anyway… $49 is a reasonable price on a reliable carrier. For every 3 friends who you help switch, you make something like 14% cash back from those efforts per month for each of your friends plans at $49/month. This is a great way to lower your mobile phone costs, down to zero cost to you.

    We live in a society where goods are bought and sold for a profit. I think it matters very little if you are sold a cell phone by a corporate cell phone store salesperson, or you are sold a phone by your friend who works at a corporate cell phone store, or you are sold a phone by a Solavei Independent Business person. When any item is sold, money is transferred and someone benefits – end of story.

  • Ann Covey

    Great overview of Solavei.

    There’s a good YouTube video with a FAQ here:

    Ann Covey

  • Jarid Orgeron

    Hello, I am a founding member of Solavei, I have been with the company back when a Google search came back with 2 results for “Solavei” – The corporate landing page (yes back before Solavei even had a site) and some random mlm blog talking about a future startup. Anyway, I can tell you right now that this company is 100% Legit – HOW? Well that’s easy – cruse on over and take a look at the people running the place ( – You don’t get an all star lineup like that with a “Pyramid Scheme” business model, I’m sorry but reputable folks don’t put their name on a bust brand. Add to that the cooperation with so many major corporations and the chances that “They all are in on it” are just too slim. Solavei is the real deal, I am a full time engineer but I am 100% confident that I will be off the rat wheel within a year – and they haven’t even started their bus tour around the country yet!

  • alfredo

    so taylor, the Solavei link at the end (aka “Source”) is your referral link – would’ve been nice to make it clearer. now for the sake of full disclosure can you give us a general idea of how many trios you have got signed up for yourself though the “Source” link on this article? Just give us your best guess, will you?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I currently have 0 Trios.

  • Free4me

    It’s the Bomb!!!! I can’t think of paying another provider when i can personally sponsor people , and get paid to provide the option to others, and them thanking me. As well as my service is free after my first 3 sign-ups. As far as Pyramid, other MLM, cell phone providers have been around for 18yrs. + , and dont have an MLM Structure like Solovei, and if you look closser to the one’s that have been around longer, this one looks alot more sustainable. So some can be sceptic, do your due diligence and see what guidelines has Solovei vs. to competitors, I did mine, and i am quite satisfied. I am a proud Solovei rep. and will make money at this while others hesitate and get left far behind the trendsetters!!!

  • LauriePrior

    I don’t see why people are giving Taylor a hard time about having a referral link here. This is Taylor’s blog. He pays for the hosting and the domain name, he does the research, and he writes the articles. Why shouldn’t he get to promote something he believes in? It’s no different than having adwords on a site. When you are in gmail and you click on an ad for Target, for example, Google makes money. Do you think poorly of Google for making money on your clicks? Should Google have to put a disclaimer next to each ad that says “if you click on this Google will make money”? Probably not, because Google is providing you something of value for free. Well, that’s what Taylor is doing with this website. He’s not forcing you to become a Solavei customer any more than Google is forcing you to shop online at Target. I personally believe that most people genuinely want the best for others. Taylor found a way to save money on his cell phone bill and possibly even make some money. How many people do you know who could benefit from saving money on their bill or making a little extra money each month? Wouldn’t you want pay it forward to help them? I like to think that is Taylor’s intention.

  • kahreen

    thank you so much for writing these posts- about which android smartphone is best on whatever budget, what to know about pre-paid plans, etc- I’m in the market for a new phone and hadn’t thought about all the possibilities, and these are helping me so much. i’m so glad i didn’t go with a renewed contract on tmobile last week and upgrade to a new device through them. i’m going to wait for the nexus 4, buy it unlocked, and go with pre-paid. i don’t use alot of data, and with my new chromebook that is light and small enought to carry around, i’ll probably use even less on my phone. i think prepaid will work great. and with google voice i’ll be able to keep my same #- wooohoooo!! thank you!

  • jim

    Bottom line……how is it going ???

    • Taylor Wimberly

      It’s been going great. Using the Nexus 4 on Solavei and I have no plans of leaving.

  • One Voice Mobile

    Here is a really good review of the Nexus 4 on Solavei:

  • Michael Byars

    I see a lot of skeptical people on here about the service. I actually signed up through Taylor Wimberly after carefully looking into the whole thing. I would like to point out a few facts I learned about the whole system that actually make the whole thing come to light and not so unbelievable.

    It is not really a pyramid scheme. Pyramids pay forever down the line until its bloated and nothing is left for anyone, they eventually die because once core customers stop buying there services/products, its eventually all falls down. Most likely the original’s move onto a new pyramid.

    This does have a cap limit of two trios deep. Trios you directly sign up pay $20 per month. Trios that your direct signup’s recruit payout $10. Lets say you signed up 3 people and they signed up a set of 3 in there as well, You would receive $30 per month – however you and 6 other people (and any incomplete trios) are also paying $49. So you receive $30, the person you signed up that got a trio receives $20, leaving Solavei to pay out $50. However Solavei is receiving 7 x $49 = $343 (or more if there are uncompleted trios, in this case a maximum of 7 people only getting 2 signups which would be $686, grand totaling a possible $1029 in revenue for Solavei).

    If that doesn’t strike a bell, also remember that Solavei doesn’t advertise, on TV, magazines, radio, newspaper, or anything at all, they use the satisfied customers as advertising and pay them instead of wasting it on media advertising.

    Now take Verizon or AT&T, how many ad’s do you see from them? So many its normal, you don’t even think about walking past a huge billboard in the mall or seeing a commercial, or even something outrageously expensive like the Super Bowl. These guys spend MILLIONS, and where does that money come from? Us, the customers. We don’t get any credit for spreading the word or signing up.

    Take all that and think it really. I give these guys credit for the strides they are taking to make happy customers and use that power to advertise and pay back, its actually a genius idea.

    AND THERE IS NO LONGER A SIGNUP FEE. You pay for your $9 Sim and your first month of $49 and the service begins when you activate your phone. I ordered mine and its running strong now, with no extra fee’s. The service works great, the 4G is fast, and I am now a happy promoter. Hopefully I shed some light and please take a moment to sign up using my link, the worst that can happen is you don’t feel like doing heavy promoting and still get a great service at $49 a month.

  • skigirl

    Very helpful info, thanks Taylor. I’m particularly interested in unlocked phones b/c they’re better for international travel – not to mention not being locked in to a contract (the Android I had was stolen abroad, so I need to replace it – not in a rush). Although I’ve been with T-Mobile for many years and have been happy with their service and found their prices to be the best, I recently had many service and other issues w/ them related to my old Android I bought from them and took abroad – long story. When I go back to a smart phone, Solavei is a key option. The one thing I want to avoid, though, are big phones. I liked my relatively small MyTouch and even smaller would be great! Seems only the lower price point phones with less power, storage and features are small. Thoughts?

  • Cordale

    This works Great! I’ve been a member for over a year and taking advantage of the income opportunity for a couple of months now. I a am on a mission to help 100 people become Thousandaires. When you really think about it, only 54 subscribers are needed to reach Thousandaire status. There are about 1.5 Million people in my metropolitan area. Its not going to be hard to find 54 people who are willing to move to T-Mobile (Solavei) or want to start a new income stream. Furthermore the average mobile bill payer is already paying for 2 to 4 phones in their household. So you are not even looking for 54 individuals. You can easily cut that number in half. This is not hard once you make the decision to join and see it through.

    Who couldn’t use an extra $1200 a month?

    For more information visit: