Jitterbug, operationally profitable, jumps onto Verizon's network

Jitterbug, the MVNO that makes phones for the elderly, announced it will use Verizon Wireless' network as part of the carrier's open development program. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

David Inns, the CEO of Jitterbug's parent company GreatCall, said in an interview with FierceWireless that the new relationship with Verizon would give Jitterbug nationwide coverage as well as access to data and location-based services. The company had previously leveraged roaming agreements with several CDMA carriers across the United States, Inns said, though he declined to name the carriers.

Inns commented on Verizon's recently introduced open development initiative, an effort by the nation's largest carrier to more quickly certify devices and services onto its network. "The device approval process was very, very efficient and fast," he said. "The thing that took the longest period of time was figuring out the contractual terms."

While other MVNOs have crumbled under market pressure in recent years, Jitterbug is still going strong, Inns said. He said over the past two and a half years the company has raised more than $100 million in venture capital and is currently operationally profitable. "We will no longer need to be raising money, which allows us to focus on the business," he said. "We're really happy to say we've gone through that critical point, and we're here for the long term."

Jitterbug's deal with Verizon will give its customers greater access to services they want, Inns said, such as the ability to get weather updates and health and wellness applications. "Jitterbug customers are not interested in the shotgun app," he said. Inns said Jitterbug is creating a services store that will allow customers to have applications automatically downloaded onto their phones.

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