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|Type of Business:||MLM / Telecomm / Wireless Service|
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Lightyear Wireless Review
By David Harris
Lightyear Wireless is a network marketing/MLM company in the telecommunications arena, mainly concentrating on wireless phone service. It’s parent company – Lightyear Network Solutions (formerly UniDial) is a publicly traded company based in Kentucky.
With the main company getting it’s start in 1993, “Lightyear Wireless” is one of the larger, well known telecommunication companies in the MLM arena. There are over 1,500 YouTube videos on Lightyear Wireless – mostly from reps trying to get you into their business.
The main focus of Lightyear Wireless appears to be their (as when reviewed) $59.95 a month, prepaid “Unlimited Talk, Text, and Web” plan. Other plans and services are also offered, but this certainly appears to be the main focus.
Lightyear Wireless pushes this plan over all others in their promotions, and compares their Unlimited Talk-Text-and-Web plan to (mainly) Verizon and AT&T to show the savings one could expect by switching over to Lightyear.
Other key components Lightyear promotes are the “You + Three = Free” program, and “You + Five = Free”. Basically, as a Lightyear rep, you get free cell phone service if you get 3 customers to sign up as customers. Or as a Lightyear customer you can get free service if you get 5 customers to sign up with Lightyear.
It all sounds pretty simple… and in fact I considered switching over myself. So I did some research. This is where I started finding some issues that I think should be taken into consideration.
First, it appears the comparisons are to an extent comparing apples to oranges. The Lightyear no contract plans on the Sprint Network do not have the same coverage as the more expensive “contract” plans in which they are drawing comparisons.
If you simply look at the coverage map for the LY (Lightyear) no contract plan and compare it to contract plans (even their own contract plans they offer), there is a huge difference. The no contract plan coverage is miniscule compared to the contract plans.
Perhaps if you live in a major city, you might not notice it. But even then the differences can be substantial. Not only for the cell phone coverage, but for the 3G and 4G data coverage as well.
The Lightyear Wireless $59.95 plan also doesn’t include roaming – but you could add that for $20 more a month. It appears many people need that, again depending on location. This would not affect as many people, but if you want unlimited Blackberry emails, that’s another $15 a month.
There is another major cost consideration for switching over to Lightyear Wireless. Lightyear is a wholesale partner as opposed to a retail partner with Sprint. What this means is Sprint allots Lightyear with certain phones, which have specific ESN (electronic serial number) codes that allow them to operate on their network.
So you can’t use your existing phone – you’d have to buy one from Lightyear. The cost of course would vary, but if you wanted a “smartphone” you could expect to pay perhaps $400-$600 for the phone itself. You could choose a cheaper phone, but again, you must buy your phone from Lightyear from the models Sprint allots them.
As Lightyear reps would be happy to tell you, you are not required to do a “no contract” plan through them. OK, so what are the Lightyear “contract plan” costs? (The plan that I think should really be compared to the AT&T/Verizon contract plans they use in their promotions?) Currently here are Lightyear’s quoted rates.
$99.99 a month for “anytime” unlimited calls. $20 a month for unlimited texts. $39.99 for their Smartphone data plan. So we’re at $159.98 a month through Lightyear before any additional charges such as taxes, fees, etc. Again, the contract coverage map is indeed far superior to the no contract coverage, but it’s still not looking as awesome as it first appeared, right?
Now the business. That’s the main focus for our purposes here anyway, but I thought it was relevant to point out price/coverage comparisons since that would have to be factored in by you if you were to run a business with Lightyear Wireless.
Can you make money with Lightyear Wireless? Yes. Do people make money? Yes. Though I do not view Lightyear Wireless as a business opportunity I would recommend, I will say I do not view them as a scam. It’s a legitimate company, and they do have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.
As with all MLM companies, there are multiple ways you can profit from running your Lightyear Wireless business. Three main income streams are Immediate Bonus Income, Monthly Residual Income, and Leadership Income. You can start at different levels, but the main recommended level costs $299.99 to get started.
This makes you a “Senior Manager”, and allows you to get a $100 bonus for every Senior Manager you enroll. You get more for each step “up” from there: Regional Manager, Presidential Director, etc., up to a Sr. Vice President. That is the “immediate bonus income” income stream they promote.
You also can make monthly residual income. When you become a Lightyear representative, you get their Web Store System which costs you an additional $49.99 a month. Some tools this includes are 3 websites, multiple lead capture sites, email auto responders, web hosting, free leads per month, etc. Basically you can make up to 10% residual income from your customers’ cell phone bills and 1-4% of your team’s customers cell phone bills each month.
Plus the leadership income, which has numerous bonuses such as promotional incentives and additional customer bonuses, a revenue sharing pool, travel expense accounts, etc. As I mentioned, there are many ways to get compensated depending on the work you put in. As they themselves say, it would take a long time to describe every possible revenue stream – but if you are interested in more details you can of course go to their site.
So if I were to decide to join Lightyear Wireless and run a business, here is what I would be looking at. I’d have to buy a phone from them, and the “smartphone” I’d want would be around $500. Add $300 for the marketing system to join the business, plus $50 a month to keep the websites going.
I’d need the additional $20 for roaming – again assuming I’d want the prepaid, no contract plan… and I already discussed why that might not work for me. There appears to be a $25 activation fee, plus an additional annual $50 website renewal fee.
So it appears my cost would be around $1,750 for the first year with the prepaid no contract plan. Of course if I got all my needed referred people to sign up and stay active, I could at least get my $59.95 a month wireless plan for free. (That is, as I mentioned, the major selling point to get people in.)
Any people I sign up as a Lightyear rep would be paying a similar amount. So “free” isn’t really free. The comparisons between the “free” service and the more expensive contract services though other companies don’t hold up in my opinion.
The promotions for Lightyear Wireless tell you “the time is now” to get involved with them, but though parent company Lightyear Network Solutions is a publicly traded company, I will say their stock hasn’t exactly risen over the last couple of years.
I won’t get into specifics here as this is not a stock review site and it would be somewhat unfair to do that here anyway. But I will say for myself personally, there are enough concerns with Lightyear Wireless that I am not going to do it myself, and I am not recommending them to you.
I do not recommend “Lightyear Wireless”
Thanks for reading.
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