With dominant carriers like Verizon and AT&T reporting massive profits, it may seem tempting to start your own mobile phone company. Despite the potential for huge returns, though, the industry comes with high financial and technological barriers to entry that make starting a company difficult, and you may not see returns for a number of years.
Invest in Infrastructure
A mobile phone network consists of hundreds of cell sites. Each of these sites contains an antenna, a software-defined radio that receives, transmits and encodes calls, a switch that processes calls, data transceivers, processors, battery backups and equipment that connects the site to other cell sites, the public telephone network and the Internet. Most of this equipment is specially designed specifically for each mobile phone company, as it must operate on the company's designated frequencies and using the company's proprietary encoding. In addition to the equipment at the cell site, you need network monitoring equipment and software, billing software and a variety of network management tools.
The more network monitoring and management equipment you purchase, the more reliable you can make your mobile network.
Partner With Manufacturers
Mobile phone companies often use hardware and software specially designed for their networks, so you should partner with equipment manufacturers to make your mobile phone company a reality. You can partner with major equipment vendors like Cisco and Alcatel to get the best equipment and support for your network, but you should also partner with handset manufacturers to procure the mobile phones your customers use and make them work with your network. New mobile phone companies often initially partner with less expensive, lesser-known manufacturers, then offer higher-end handsets as their companies mature.
Hire the Right People
To grow your mobile phone company, you need to hire a variety of staff. Network support technicians and field technicians help install the network equipment and keep it running. You need a sales staff to help new customers select the right handset and get started and a customer service department to serve your customers. You also need a variety of executives and managers to run the business and manage day-to-day operations.
Set aside a large marketing budget. The success of your mobile phone company depends largely on how many people know about your company and what they think of it. An effective marketing department helps ensure your company maintains a good reputation.
Tend to the Legalities
In addition to equipment and staff, you need a variety of licenses to open your own mobile phone company. All mobile carriers must obtain licenses from the FCC to operate on public airwaves, and you need local and state business licenses for each market in which you offer services. Depending on your business structure, you may also need to file articles of incorporation to establish your business.
Consider the Alternatives
Starting your own mobile phone company from scratch is expensive and requires considerable planning. To help you start more quickly, a number of companies allow you to simply resell their mobile phone service under your own brand. Though not exactly the same as starting your own mobile phone company, these white-label solutions remove a considerable amount of expense and planning, allowing you to focus on selling, marketing and growing your business.