Today, mobile phone service provider RingPlus announced that it intends to shut down all accounts on Feb 17 at 6:00 PM ET. According to an email sent out to their customers, RingPlus is suing Sprint, its provider, and this lawsuit is related to the shutdown.
RingPlus is an MVNO for Sprint -- they provide billing services for their customers who use the Sprint network. Their communication to customers doesn't say specifically why they will be shutting down service. In a statement, they wrote the following:
RingPlus has an open line of communication with Sprint regarding this issue. RingPlus has requested that Sprint give us all 30 days before service is turned off to allow you more time to find another wireless provider.
RingPlus Sues Sprint
For those with access to PACER, the filings are here. In them, RingPlus claims that Sprint has infringed on its intellectual property and has engaged in "unlawful and intentional conduct to harm RingPlus." It appears that RingPlus believes that it has patents or other intellectual property protection that protect its business model. RingPlus argues that Sprint has infringed on those.
The court filings in the case also say that Sprint was co-investing in growing the "RingPlus model" nationally on the Sprint network. RingPlus is arguing that Sprint knowingly provided inadequate technology (which resulted in a delay between talking and hearing on the phone), and that the technology problems meant that the RingPlus service was unusable for customers.
These circumstances forced RingPlus to develop new technology to fix the in-call delay problem by going around the in-call delay inherent in the Sprint System. RingPlus asked Sprint to compensate it for these problems and development, but Sprint refused to share the financial burden of this stage of development of the RingPlus Model as a co-investor.
Instead, Sprint ran up RingPlus' bills in order to extort, and attempted to extort, money out of RingPlus by threatening that, unless RingPlus paid Sprint more money for the truly inadequate Sprint System, Sprint would turn off wireless phone service to all of RingPlus' subscribers, and turn off RingPlus' API access to Sprint to activate new subscribers.
RingPlus says that it will keep customers up to date regarding the court case and access to their services. The company is requesting a grace period so that customers have time to move their service to another mobile phone provider.