One effective way to beat your competition is to buy them. This seems to be the strategy of Australian born USA based entrepreneur John Milton, CEO of UnlockBase, the largest cellphone unlocking site on the web. In the past month he has bought gsmliberty.net and now his latest acquisition is Unlocking.com.
Unlocking.com was founded by Irish entrepreneur John McLaughlin in*2002, and was originally known as uniquephones.com. The site was subsequently sold in May 2011 to Vietnam born, Australia based Nguyen Thuy Hoang. Mr. McLaughlin was among the first site owners to unlock Apple iPhones in 2007. Mr. Hoang has since diversified and has the exclusive right to sell*MBAs from the UK in a number of Asian cities. Hoang bought the cellphone unlock site in 2011 but admits he struggled to make his investment profitable due to the complexity and ever evolving nature of the cellphone unlock industry.
Make no mistake, cellphone unlocking is a tough and fast moving business” explains Mr. Milton. “If you’re not right on top of what you are doing it simply won’t work for you. At UnlockBase we pride ourselves on having some of the best reverse engineers in the business as well as a fast and responsive customer service that is open 24/7 365 days a year, always with a human being present to help and quickly resolve problems.
Unlocking.com started out as a small project to allow users to “modify” their handsets. The site created tools to allow customers to change fonts, edit menu text, and change default clipart on their handsets for free. They then reverse engineered any Nokia handsets they could find. During this time the owners discovered all sorts of hidden data on the hand sets, including how they could be unlocked. In the winter of 2002 Unlocking.com was the first company in the world to offer phone unlock codes online. Within a few weeks the site was unlocking 8,000 handsets per hour, all for free. They only began charging users for unlocking in October 2004 and in the summer of 2006 they started to expand beyond Nokia.
Today Unlocking.com enjoys global reach aided by numerous online publications. The site has been featured in Google News, The Irish News, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal as well as Polish, Norwegian and Austrian newspapers and magazines. This has resulted in an impressive 4 million unlock codes delivered to customers in 165 countries. The site supports several handsets from over 750 carriers worldwide.
John Milton indicated his potential interest in purchase Unlocking.com began as early 2013. Eventually Mr. Hoang reached the decision to sell after some three years and Mr. Milton managed to acquire it for a quarter of what Hoang bought it for 5 years earlier.
We will now absorb the Unlocking.com database into our own.” said Mr. Milton. “As with gsmliberty.net, we anticipate unlocking.com customers will be delighted with the service we can offer. We like to be competitively priced, quick to react, versatile and offer what we believe is the largest database of phones and service providers anywhere on the net. I admit it is hard for some smaller sites to compete with our product offering – but we have been doing this a long time – fully 15 years.
UnlockBase operates worldwide and frequently receives cellphone unlock requests from countries as small as Kiribati, or as wealthy as Kuwait. To assist customers, the site offers a full suite of online paying services. This is of great importance where customers live in countries without easy access to credit or debit cards.
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