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May 14, 2010
Illinois-based MVNO PlatinumTel Wireless in late April won its lawsuit against a rival prepaid provider, but collecting the $15.3 million judgment could prove challenging. That’s because the companies in question – EZ Stream Inc. and U.S. Mobile Inc., both part of the Quick Com Chicago series of businesses attached to Ramsey Natour – are all but impossible to find.
EZ Stream never even had a Web site for customers, according to one mobile phone-centric Internet forum. And indeed, there’s no such page to be found. In addition, the Better Business Bureau of Illinois maintains an “F” rating on both EZ Stream and Quick Com. There’s no information for U.S. Mobile. (PlatinumTel, incidentally, boasts an “A+” BBB rating.)
PlatinumTel sued the Natour-run firms in early 2008 and then added to the complaint last November. Two years ago, PlatinumTel said it posted seven-figure losses in 2005 and 2006 because of EZ Stream and U.S. Mobile’s fraudulent advertising. PlatinumTel beefed up the fraudulent advertising allegations in late 2009. Among the accusations: that EZ Stream and U.S. Mobile misrepresented the amount of minutes in PlatinumTel’s prepaid wireless plans and misled consumers about PlatinumTel’s prepaid international calling cards.
PlatinumTel now has the courts on its side. Yet, until the company can get hold of that $15.3 million, the victory remains merely symbolic. In a statement to VON/xchange, PlatinumTel said it working with the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois to seize “any and all assets that correspond with the judgment. The whole impetus for filing a claim…was to protect consumers and the industry.”
Of course, PlatinumTel’s legal costs also remain uncompensated. The MVNO hopes to address that issue as well. “In the event we are able to collect on the judgment beyond our investment in this case, further economic benefits will certainly be passed on to our customers,” the company told VON/xchange.
PlatinumTel was founded in 2001. The privately held provider serves an unspecified number of subscribers in the Chicagoland area; it says its 3G network reaches 280 million people. PlatinumTel competes with the likes of Cricket Wireless, T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular.
Read more about:Agents
Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC. Follow her on LinkedIn at /kellyteal/.
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