Toronto resident launches $389m crowdfunding campaign to buy out Canadian carrier Mobilicity

Toronto resident launches $389m crowdfunding campaign to buy out Canadian carrier Mobilicity

Crowdfunding is no longer just for startups — a Toronto resident has just set up a project on Indiegogo (hat-tip @WhatTheBit) to “save” Canadian wireless telecommunications provider Mobilicity, seeking to raise a jaw-dropping amount of C$400 million ($389 million).

UPDATE: The project page is no longer available on Indiegogo, though it is unclear whether the crowdfunding platform pulled it or if the creator removed it.

Valya Michael, who created the project, says that after his team will purchase Mobilicity after it reaches the targeted fundraising amount. Out of the money, C$350 million will go to purchasing the company as a whole, C$20 million will be channeled into paying off the company’s debt, and C$30 million will go to adding cell towers and a call center.

The basis for this project? Michael says it is “extremely important” to have competition in the wireless market to lower prices, add more jobs and benefit consumers by upping service standards from wireless carriers. For a donation less than C$20, you get a tweet to thank you, while a contribution of C$50 will get your name listed on Michael’s website and C$100 will get you listed on the website as a sponsor.

If the amount raised does not hit C$400 million, Michael says that he will refund the money given by donors.

It’s not clear, however, whether Mobilicity has any part to play in this and if it would want to be “saved” in such a manner. The carrier, one of Canada’s newest that was launched in 2010, has been struggling amid financial challenges. It was the willing target of a proposed $380 million acquisition by Telus, one of Canada’s larger telecommunications company, but the deal got shot down by Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis in light of federal laws that prevent large carriers from getting more wireless spectrum till 2014.

Subsequently, it was reported that Mobilicity was in takeover talks with multiple parties to try to find a buyer, with unconfirmed reports saying that Mobilicity was holding talks with US wireless giant Verizon.

It’s rare for a customer to love his wireless service provider so much (most tend to think they are out to rip money off consumers), but it remains to be seen if Mobilicity — which has about 250,000 cellphone subscribers — will inspire so many to give out of their pocket.

As of now, the amount raised stands at a paltry C$213 — though there are 30 more days to go, the likelihood of this project raising the entire C$400 million is honestly, next to zero.

Headline image via Mobilicity

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