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Zer01 Launches Unlimited Voice, Data Service

The mobile virtual network operator is using mobile VoIP to offer unlimited voice, text, and mobile data for $70 a month.

Zer01 Mobile has launched its nationwide mobile voice and data service, and the company said it can compete with the major carriers by offering unlimited voice, text, and data plans for about $70 a month.

The company purchases mobile data connections from GSM carriers in the United States, and it uses that to provide Voice over Internet Protocol to its mobile customers. Mobile VoIP has been around for many years, but the voice quality has generally not been great on anything besides a Wi-Fi connection. Zer01 said it has implemented proprietary defragmentation engines and algorithms to handle latency and quality assurance issues.

The service is being offered on a prepaid, month-to-month basis, and users don't have to sign contracts or pass credit checks. Depending on where the user is, they can get HSPDA mobile data speeds, and there are no data limitations. The company only supports a handful of Windows Mobile handsets at launch, but it is looking to have any GSM BlackBerry, Symbian, Android, or webOS device be capable of using its network within a year.

The company has a chance to poach away subscribers from AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless due to its pricing, as the nearest rival's unlimited voice, text, and data plan costs about $100. Additionally, Zer01 will enable its users to tether phones to provide a mobile data connection for laptops or computers.

The company is facing multiple challenges though, as recent history is filled with failed MVNOs, including offerings from ESPN, Disney, Voce, and Helio. Additionally, it is unclear if Zer01 will be able to draw exclusive devices like the iPhone 3GS or the Palm Pre, and these types of smartphones have proven to be a consistent draw for carriers.

Smartphones and applications like VoIP are low-cost and low-risk technologies that can boost the productivity of a mobile workforce. InformationWeek examined how enterprises can equip their road warriors without breaking the bank, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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