Battery, Charles River Fund Flat-Rate Wireless Network for Northeast

Battery Ventures of Menlo Park, CA, and Waltham, MA, said today that it is the lead investor in a $100 million venture round for Pocket Communications Northeast, a new cellular network that will offer flat-rate, unlimited-use calling plans to wireless subscribers in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Charles River Ventures, which also has offices in Waltham and Menlo Park, joined the round, as did the CEO of San Antonio, TX-based Pocket Communications, Paul Posner.

Pocket, founded in 2005, already runs a flat-rate wireless network in Texas, serving more than 250,000 subscribers in greater San Antonio and along the I-35 corridor south to Brownsville on the Gulf of Mexico. The company markets itself as a low-cost alternative to the national cellular networks, offering plans that range from $25 to $40 per month, or $30 per month per family member, with no long-term contracts. Customers can use a range of standard phones from Motorola, Kyocera, and UTStarcom.

Founder Posner previously built a chain of cellular and paging-device dealers around San Antonio, and is also the creator of Houdinisoft, a program that allows owners of CDMA phones to unlock their devices and use them on different networks.

As Pocket expands to the northeast, it plans to start by offering unlimited wireless plans in Hartford and New Haven, CT, Springfield and Pittsfield, MA, and Poughkeepsie, NY. Posner, in a statement today, said the new investors “recognize the compelling opportunity offered by an affordable, flat rate, unlimited use wireless service and are confident based on our execution to-date that we will build out the network quickly and keep customers in our target markets satisfied.”

As part of the $100 million financing, Battery partner Matt Niehaus and CRV general partner Jon Auerbach will join the company’s board of directors. “Pocket is really changing the unlimited wireless game, which has been successful against legacy wireless providers but mostly limited to single market footprints for many years,” Niehaus said in Battery’s announcement.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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