Solavei Review: Cell phone service + affiliate cashback
Solavei (which is supposed to mean “sun in your veins” strangely enough), is a telecommunications MLM company, operating out of Bellevue in the US state of Washington.
Solavei was founded by Ryan Wuerch in late 2011, with Wuerch also serving as the company’s CEO.
Wuerch (photo right) was the Senior Vice President of ShapeRite (a nutritional supplement company) between 1995 to 1998. In 1998 Wuerch joined education software company ‘Learning 2000’, serving as President until 2001.
2001 saw Wuerch launch his own wireless company, Motricity. Weurch served as the CEO and Chairman of Motricity, with the company going public at $10 a share in 2010.
Just over a year later Weurch was terminated by Motricity in August 2011 after the Motricity share price plunged from $30.74 down to $2.28. In the wake of the aftermath, eight law firms announced plans to and/or initiated shareholder lawsuits against the company.
Today Motricity shares are trading at 54 cents a share.
Taking some time off to rethink his next career move, Weurch decided to build on what he’d learnt at Motricity and after raising 4 million dollars in startup financing, announced plans to launch Solavei. To the best of my knowledge, this is Weurch’s first MLM venture.
Read on for a full review of the Solavei MLM business opportunity.
The Solavei Product Line
Solavei offer members a $49 a month unlimited voice, text and data cell phone service through the T-Mobile network in the US.
There is no service contract, however new service subscribers do have to pay a $49 sign up fee.
Bundled with the service is a Solavei phone app, which builds on what Wuerch was doing over at Motricity (Motricity markets ‘its technology to wireless carriers for use in branded data services‘).
Through this app and a Bank of America VISA debit card, Motricity also offer their members access to a merchant rebate program. Retailers Solavei has advertised as merchant partners include Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and Target.
The Solavei Compensation Plan
Solavei use a unilevel style compensation plan meaning that each new member and customer you recruit is placed directly underneath you, forming your level 1.
There is no distinction between company members and retail customers in Solavei, so any people referred by your level 1 members become your level 2 (recruited members are placed directly underneath the member that recruited them).
This continues down a theoretically infinite number of levels as well as wide, with each new member joining under you forming a new downline leg.
Commissions paid out in Solavei revolve around the concept of “trios”. A trio is three members, grouped together on any level of your unilevel compensation structure. Members on level one of your unilevel can be grouped together to form a trio, however you can’t group members from any other levels together.
Any additional members (one or two extra once everyone has been grouped into groups of 3) are reserved until they can be matched into a trio group on the same level.
If a trio is broken and there are unmatched members in the same level of your unilevel team who have not been placed in a trio yet, the system will automatically assign these members to the trio that lost a member.
Fast Start Bonus
Using the idea of trios above, Solavei’s Fast Start Bonus rewards you based on the number of trios you’re able to create within 60 days of joining the company, up to the creation of four trios.
- 1 trio = $50
- 2 trios = $100
- 3 trios = $200
- 4 trios = $300
Note that these Fast Start Bonuses stack per trio made, thus a total of $650 is able to be earned upon the creation of four trios within the 60 day qualification period.
Personal Trio Commissions
Solavei pay out a $20 residual monthly commission on the creation of a trio on either the first or second level of your unilevel team. There is no limit to the amount of trios the personal trio commission can be paid out on.
The Path Pay
Solavei call their residual commissions that extend past the first two levels of your unilevel team the “Path Pay”. Note that while the Path Pay is paid out on levels 3 and below of your unilevel, it also includes the first two levels meaning it covers trios created on any level of your unilevel.
Trios counted to calculate Path Pay commissions are called ‘Overall Trios’.
Path Pay commissions still revolve around trios formed as in the Personal Trio commissions, however there are criteria that must be met with fifteen levels to qualify for. Each level dictates how much a member earns in Path Pay commissions.
- Partner 1 (no commission) – 1 personal trio in your unilevel (doesn’t have to be personally created by you)
- Partner 2 ($50 a month) – 1 personal trio (doesn’t have to be personally created by you) and 4 overall trios in your unilevel
- Partner 3 ($100 a month) – 2 personal trios (don’t have to be personally created by you) and 8 overall trios in your unilevel
- Connector 1 ($200 a month + one time $500 rank bonus) – 3 personal trios (1 must be personally created by you) and 12 overall trios (max of 6 per unilevel level)
- Connector 2 ($400 a month) – 4 personal trios (1 must be personally created by you) and 16 overall trios (max of 8 per unilevel level)
- Connector 3 ($1000 a month) – 5 personal trios (1 must be personally created by you) and 20 overall trios (max of 10 per unilevel level)
- Networker 1 ($2000 a month + one time $2000 rank bonus) – 6 personal trios (at least 2 created by you) and 100 overall trios (max of 40 per unilevel level)
- Networker 2 ($3000 a month) – 8 personal trios (at least 2 created by you) and 250 overall trios (max of 100 per unilevel level)
- Networker 3 ($4000 a month) – 10 personal trios (at least 2 created by you) and 500 overall trios (max of 200 per unilevel level)
- Director 1 ($5000 a month + one time $5000 rank bonus) – 14 personal trios (at least 3 created by you) and 800 overall trios (max of 320 per unilevel level)
- Director 2 ($6000 a month) – 16 personal trios (at least 3 created by you) and 1000 overall trios (max of 400 per unilevel level)
- Director 3 ($8000 a month) – 20 personal trios (at least 3 created by you) and 1200 overall trios (max of 480 per unilevel level)
- Executive 1 ($10,000 a month + one time $10,000 rank bonus) – 24 personal trios (at least 4 created by you) and 1500 overall trios (max of 600 per unilevel level)
- Executive 2 ($15,000 a month) – 26 personal trios (at least 4 created by you) and 1700 overall trios (max of 680 per unilevel level)
- Executive 3 ($20,000 a month + on time $20,000 rank bonus) – 30 personal trios (at least 4 created by you) and 2000 overall trios (max of 800 per unilevel level)
In addition to the cap on how many trios are counted on any given unilevel level, a 40% rule also exists meaning that no more than 40% of the trios counted can come from any one unilevel leg (every time you enrol a new customer they form a new unilevel leg directly under you).
Affiliate Network Commissions
When using the Solavei VISA debit card to purchase goods from Solavei Merchant Partners, the company collects an affiliate commission on your purchase.
50c out of each dollar collected in affiliate commissions by Solavei is refunded back to the member who made the purchase.
Membership to Solavei is free for customers of the company, with there being no additional cost to participate in the compensation plan and earn commissions as a member.
Customers of Solavei must purchase a cell phone service for $49 a month with an initial $49 signup fee and $29 SIM card fee.
If a customer chooses to purchase a phone through Solavei (HTC or ZTE) this is also an additional expense (there is no SIM card fee if a phone is purchased).
Non-customers are able to join as company members and earn commissions through the compensation plan for an annual $149 membership fee.
Weurch’s corporate history is kind of hard to ignore but as far as Solavei goes, there appears to be a legit product offering here along with an affiliate cash back.
Customers aren’t differentiated from company members participating in the income opportunity but with a legit product being sold and used and membership being free, I don’t see a problem here.
I did initially see the non-customer paid membership option for $149 a year as possible pyramid scheme territory (paid members recruiting other new paid members to form trios with nothing being sold other than company membership), but then realised that trios only contain customer members who are on a monthly service subscription.
As far as I can tell if you recruit a paid customer, they can’t be placed into a trio in your unilevel because they aren’t paying a monthly service subscription fee (although if they recruit customers themselves, these customers can form trios in your unilevel).
You could make the argument that seeing as there’s no differentiation between customers and members that the system is dependent on new members to survive, however with no membership fees (for service customers) this isn’t the case.
Theoretically if everyone just paid for the cell phone service and didn’t sign any additional customers up, the system should be able to sustain itself based on service subcription fees alone. These fees are being paid on a legitimate service, with the intention of purchase being to use the service (what else can you do with a cell phone service subscription other than use it?).
When analysing Solavei as a business opportunity the affiliate commission cashback is neither here nor there as it appears to be a personal cashback based on personal spend. Nevertheless I suppose that it is an additional marketing tool Solavei members can use when pitching the cell phone service.
Admittedly I’ve got no idea what cell phone service plans are like in the US at the moment, so I can only assume $49 a month for unlimited voice, text and data through T-Mobile is somewhat competitive.
Solavei are currently in prelaunch with an official launch date set for September 21st, 2012. Wuerch’s checkered corporate history aside, if Solavei manage to deliver the business model they’ve announced in pre-launch and keep things product based, I don’t really see anything that’s cause for concern business model wise.