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Created in the Corridor: Ready Wireless
CEDAR RAPIDS,Iowa (CBS 2 / FOX 28) - The telecommunication industry continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. If you find it challenging keeping up with all the latest gadgets and applications, imagine an environment that produces those products and services. There’s a local executivewho thrives on the changing landscape at his national wireless company, Created in the Corridor.
"The low point was, the Culligan guy came and took the bubbler,” laughs Dennis Henderson who recalls the hardships as he negotiated to buy Ready Mobile from its previous, financially-strapped owners. They had fired everyone in the company, including Henderson. But the never-say-die entrepreneur had a staff that had his back. Remembers Henderson, "I came in Friday morning and every single employee was here. They did not have a job and they were here working."
Inspired by that spirit, Henderson and co-founder Fred Haumesser completed the buyout and launched Ready Wireless in 2008. They expanded their prepaid cellular phone services to 32,000 retail outlets nationwide. "Those customers buy prepaid because it's convenient, it's economical, and it's easy to budget," says Henderson.
But with big carriers like Verizon jumping into the prepay market, Henderson’s retail business faced severe pressure. So his Hiawatha company adapted, becoming a wholesale supplier. "Really,” clarified Henderson, “we're like a white-label provider of wireless services." This means they get all the mobile units, handle the software and set up the pre-payment plans for any business that wants to launch a retail cell phone brand. And they’ve come a very long way. "Two years ago, when all we operated was our retail brands, we had about 50-thousand end-user subscribers. Today we have about 300-thousand end-user subscribers."
Henderson says the company is on track to reach a million subscribers by the end of next year, due in no small part to his employees. Rachel Carlson has been with Ready Wireless since the beginning. "We're a small company but we have big dreams,” says Carlson. “I think we're a tight group and that's how we're able to be so successful in what we do."
Ready Wireless also is one of only about 20 companies approved to administer the federal Lifeline program which provides discounted cell phone service for qualifying low-income users. You can learn more about the company by visiting the News
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