A new Italian MVNO called Elimobile is set to launch services on 16 May with what it describes as a blockchain-backed offering. Elimobile is a brand of its founder Mario Colabufo’s company Elite Mobile, defining itself as the first “Social Mobile Operator” combining cryptocurrencies, the metaverse and social networks. Elimobile’s launch offer on the WindTre network includes a €6.99 (US $7.37) a month Easy plan with unlimited calls, 100 SMS and 50 GB of data, the latter increased to 100 GB until 31 August for early takers.
A premium plan called Elimobile Elite with unlimited calls, 100 SMS and 120 GB of data (150 GB for early takers) costs €9.99 (US $10.53) a month, or €95.99 (US $101.14) a year (Elimobile Elite x12). The WindTre 4G+ network offers download speeds of up to 1 Gbps and upload speeds of up to 75 Mbps.
In March, Colabufo unveiled Elimobile’s official token – ‘$ELITE’ – based on the Polygon blockchain, with the company pledging to “introduce blockchain as a structural element into the very concept of telecommunications” and connect its community and services to a cryptocurrency for the first time.
MVNOs tend to look for niches or even gimmicks in order to justify their existence and attract targeted demographics to their offerings. Elimobile appears to be aiming directly at the very trendy blockchain-cryptocurrency-virtual reality constellation in an effort to gain distinction in a fairly crowded marketplace. And given the popularity of these topics, it may well succeed.
This is not the first time that blockchain technology, best known for its essential role in crypto, has been used to enhance mobile telecom offerings. Blockchain’s power to build layers of security into mobile signals has been touted for years. In the case of a simple MVNO, it may not be needed, but it certainly could do no harm. As for cryptocurrencies, it is possible to use them to pay for a multitude of things, including mobile phone bills, although why that would be an advantage in this case is not exactly clear. And finally, the “metaverse” of augmented and virtual reality is coming on fast as a medium for entertainment, although it is most likely in its infancy as a large-scale communications medium. How Elimobile will integrate whatever aspects of the metaverse that currently exist into its offering remains to be seen.
Aside from all of this, though, the new MVNO’s plan features seem perfectly reasonable and affordable, though perhaps not as cutting-edge as its marketing language would suggest.