Who’s Your Cell Carrier? Me. (Yep, Roll Your own Cell Company)

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SONOPIA offers me, my and I customization to a new level. Start your own cell phone company front end. That’s right – Put your own logo on the front of the cell phone. Get a little kiosk and for your front lawn – instead of lemonade, have your kids sell YOUR BRANDED cell service. Really personalize those ringtones and wallpapers (“Is this you & the wife in Maui?”).

Okay, that’s stretching it a bit but not by much. Sonopia rides on the Verizon network. Your family, book club, neighbors, kid’s football team, church, fraternal organization, alumni, and fans of minor league baseball teams can now all be ultimate cell phone buddies. From wallpaper to special downloads to ringtones – all just for your little (or your not so little group). Sonopia doesn’t charge you anything and you get to make 5% of everything your users generate (the rest going to Sonopia & Verizon).

As credit card issuers has proved with credit cards, people don’t mind paying more or don’t mind it’s not the best value because they feel like they are doing some good when they slap down the MICHIGAN STATE credit card or coming soon, the MICHIGAN STATE ALUMNI cell service – while people will walk away from any other credit card, hard to walk away from your alumni association … or the ultmate … the THE SMITHS of 2100 Windsor Steet, Corvallis Oregon Cell Phone service. It’s also a cheap and brilliant way for Verizon to lock in customers.

Only two things wrong with Sonopia. The website looks like it was designed in Powerpoint (yea, they’re old Microsofties but who uses Powerpoint to design a website?)

And Verizon – no iPhone … well, maybe next year I’ll switch – by then the HELLO KITTY service will have launched.

Read more from BusinessWeek.

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