I’m all about making money and will consider just about anything, as long as it’s legal. I came across a job posting on Craigslist some time ago and responded as instructed. Long story short I was told it was “an opportunity of a lifetime” but being the anal retentive a hole that I am I had to the proper research in order to find out if it was what it was being sold as.

Lightyear Wireless is a MLM based company that operates as a Virtual Mobile Network Operator on the Sprint network. There’s nothing wrong with that as there are plenty of successful companies who operate within the MLM business model and Sprint is a good company. However there was one immediate red flag that arose. A big selling point that comes from many representatives is that it’s a publicly traded company. Sure it is, but it’s also a publicly traded company that is running in the red. Since the company is still around 5 years old it’s understandable but still a red flag.

The key selling point is that you can get unlimited cell phone service, with text, email, web and tethering for only $59.99 a month and if you refer at least 5 people who take the same plan as you your only on the hook for taxes. Sounds great, unlimited cell phone service for less than $5 bucks a month….sign me up! Nah! If you would like to have the ability to send pictures within your text messages MMS as opposed to SMS that will cost you an additional $7.50 per month. Your cell phone bill is now $67.49 per month plus taxes. However, simply have 5 of your friends and family sign up for the same plan and you’re only paying the taxes each month.

Let’s take a look at the cost of becoming a Lightyear Wireless Representative. For the low low cost of only $299.99 plus a one-time $25 web activation fee your ready to roll. You even get a few websites (sites on Lightyear sub domains). Oh yeah since the “sites” are on sub domains you’ll have to register a few domain names. Domain names are cheap so tack on another $40 bucks. Better yet as a rep you’ll only need 3 referrals to get “free” service. Even better is that you’ll make a whopping $25 on each person who gets service from Lightyear. Yeah, 3 people, $75 bucks and “free” cell phone service.

Now if you can’t talk 3 people into switching their service to LightYear there is no way that you’ll ever make money with this company. Why? Based on their compensation plan you’ll need 50 paying customers a month just to pay the $50 a month they charge for their web package = break even. If you want to make real money, say $10,000 a month or so you’ll only need 1,667 customers. How does one compete with Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Metro PCS and the many other including Boost Mobile. Ah, Boost Mobile… the white elephant in the room. Boost Mobile is also a Mobile Virtual Operator that is also on the Sprint Network yet their cost is only $50 per month for unlimited service and you don’t have to pay additional money for sending pictures via text. Lightyear’s cell phone selection is terrible to say the least but they’ll be able to sell every phone that Sprint does but don’t really know when. They’re also still 3G not like the big boys running 4G right now.

The ideology behind the Lightyear MLM program is to simply get your 3 people through the door so each of those 3 people refer 5 people = 15 who also refer 5 people =75 who refer 5 people, etc., etc and to sign as many reps as possible below you. In the real world it’s not going to happen that easy. It would take years of hard work and money being spent on marketing to turn this into an actual business. If you know people who could care less about the phone they have and want decent service it may be worthwhile to sign up for to get free service but if you think this is going to be your golden ticket to riches and a new Porsche think again. No one knows who Lightyear wireless is and most people are not going to leave their carrier or pay to get out of their contract to go to a company they’ve never heard of just so they can try to get “free” cell phone service.

If you’re thinking about joining Lightyear as a rep think long and hard before you cough up your $299.99 fee, $25 activation fee, cost of domain registration plus $50 a month plus monthly marketing costs. Remember you’ll only need 1,667 customers to make that 10K a month.