After 7 long months of closing out new activations to rebrand and restructure, Tesix Wireless Network, the prepaid wireless carrier founded by Chaymeriyia Moncrief, an Alabama tech founder, has officially reopened activations to the public this week. Over the last five years, the wireless carrier has generated over $12 million pre-profit, and while that’s a big number, the startup saw a number of challenges that called for a full reconstruction of the brand—and that also meant not welcoming any new subscribers for a while.
Chaymeriyia introduced Tesix Wireless in 2018 when she officially launched the telecom startup. What started as an idea when she was just 17-18 years old would later become one of the very few Black-owned wireless carriers in the United States.
The startup was born out of her frustration with her own wireless bill during that time. She had just gotten her first contract phone when turning 18 years old and was shocked at how the pricing, the plans, and bills worked with major carriers. Things were excessive and way more than the 18-year-old could handle.
“I was 18 years old, working at Taco Bell and making less than $450/month. I was finally old enough to get the phone I wanted on a contract. I thought everything was ‘pay-as-you-see’. I thought I would be paying $90/month — Something I thought I could handle, but to my surprise, I had so many diﬀerent fees that were resulting in $150 or more bills,” she remembers.
Already working on the idea of launching her own smartphone (Which she later did in 2020), that’s when it hit her: Why not create a phone service that would be more aﬀordable for kids her age? Easier said than done, the idea never left.
“The frustration kind of got worse over time because I found myself spending my entire work checks just to get my phone back on. It finally got to the point–I had to go prepaid. That pain point kind of stuck with me in the launching of Tesix Wireless years later because of course, launching a wireless carrier was easier said than done,” she says.
When it comes to creating, building, and launching a telecom company, the biggest issue lies in securing access to cellphone towers, land, and of course hundreds of millions of dollars to build these things. Like every major carrier in the world, each owns the infrastructure and towers that their service runs on and every prepaid carrier utilizes those same towers without having to purchase their own.
“When I learned this at 18 years old, I realized it was nearly impossible to get this kind of access or even that kind of money to launch a carrier. Expensive wasn’t even the word for it,” she expresses. “I left the idea alone pretty quickly and it wasn’t until a few years later that I realized I needed to lease space on the other major carrier’s tower to create a prepaid carrier.”
Once a full understanding was reached by the founder, she now knew what she needed to do and set out to become one of the youngest African American founders to launch a prepaid wireless carrier. Just 25 at the time, it was a huge milestone and breakthrough moment that isn’t commonly seen in the telecom space.
Over the last 5 years, the founder admits that the road has not been easy and that many hurdles were met. Running a wireless carrier in such a picky and brutal space — challenges are inevitable. But despite the challenges, the company has lasted far beyond what the average startup does and celebrates that very simple aspect, and has continued to grow.
Over the last year, the founder has spent time rebranding and completely restructuring the company’s backend. Integrating various aspects that will allow it to scale and has begun preparing the carrier for the future of wireless. From bringing the ability to activate instantly to integrating various AI features into its new mobile app to create easier account access and plan metric tracking — the 2.0 launch is a huge step forward for the company.
“This year we will be putting heavy focus into our marketing, more than ever. The key for us is to continue building brand awareness and increasing our brand credibility because, in this space, that credibility means everything to our growth,” she says. “I am very excited about the future of the company and everything that’s to come.”
Regarding working in the telecommunications and tech space, Chaymeriyia comments, “Being in this space has been a major eye-opener over the last 5 years. I’ve learned a lot that will allow me to move forward to really build an amazing brand going forward. Tech and telecom are a major part of the future — one that we are already entering, and running my startups has allowed me to really position myself for what’s to come in the space and to fully understand that there are no limitations.”
She adds, “The consistency and drive required to succeed in telecom when you’re among giants that take up more than 90% of the space may be very intimidating, but I’ve learned that if I can make it 5 years here, I can build something even more incredible.”
Learn more about her company at TesixWireless.com