Home - , , - New Sprint Prepaid MVNO Zact to Launch next Month With Flexible, Sharable Plans and Roaming

New Sprint Prepaid MVNO Zact to Launch next Month With Flexible, Sharable Plans and Roaming

Calling itself "the industry's first smart mobile service" provider, a startup named Zact announced yesterday that it plans to begin offering prepaid service next month. Zact will use the Sprint network and there will also be off network roaming. It looks like there will be no extra charge for roaming but as is typical whenever roaming is offered, there will be limits on the "amount of minutes, number of texts, and amount or speed of data services used while roaming".

Zact is a lot like Ting in that it lets users build a custom plan by choosing from different sized buckets of minutes, texts and MBs of data. Also like Ting, a Zact plan can work as a family plan with multiple phones sharing the same bucket of minutes, texts and data. Zact offers parental controls that lets parents set curfews and block specific apps or contacts

With Zact, account management, including adjusting your plan size, is done on the phone using an app. While that's convenient, it apparently prevents Zact for letting you bring your own phone. You must use a Zact phone. It looks like billing is governed by the usage monitored by the app. Zact's terms of service say that removal or hacking of the software constitutes fraud.

Right now handset choices are limited to the LG Optimus Elite for $199.00 or the LTE capable LG Viper 4G for $299.00. According to Zact, more phones, including high end models, are coming soon. They will all be Android phone as the special software only runs on that platform.

Zact's pricing seems pretty good with minutes priced at 1.9¢ to 3¢ each, texts at 2.4 to 3c apiece and data at 3.8¢ to 2.2¢ per MB depending on the size of the bucket. Zact has a huge number of buckets to choose from, there are about 50 voice buckets, 50 text buckets and 30 data buckets. That virtually eliminates my biggest gripe about the Ting pricing model which has only seven buckets with gaps of up to $18 between them. With both Ting and Zact you pay for a whole bucket even if you only use a little bit of it, but Zact's pricing is much more granular reducing over-buying.

There are some fees including a $5 per phone monthly service charge and unspecified additional "taxes fees and surcharges". There's also a $10 account activation fee plus a $5 per phone activation fee.

Zact looks promising. I'm a little concerned about the lack of a bring your own phone option and limited selection of pricy handsets. I'd also like to see more transparency about those additional fees, taxes and surcharges. Update: Zact's Savings Calculator" assumes Zact's taxes average a hefty 17.2%.

There's more information on the Zact site including details of all the rate plans and several videos. You can preorder a phone with shipping and the start of Zact service expected for the week of 6/3.

Related posts:
Sprint and Sprint MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared
Prepaid Operator Profile: Ting

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16 comments:

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  1. From the Zact website:

    A history of solving big problems

    Zact is a new smart mobile service introduced by parent company, ItsOn. Started by world leading pioneers in the wireless field, Greg Raleigh and Charlie Giancarlo, we’ve set out to fundamentally change how mobile services are delivered and consumed. The company is privately-held and funded by Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, Ag Investors, Verizon, Vodafone and Best Buy.

    Very interesting that Zact is funded by Verizon and is using the Sprint network.

    I guess this is no different than the roaming agrrement(s) that Sprint and the former Alltel negotiated before Alltel's acquisition by Sprint that Verizon inherited. So, it's not as if Sprint and Verizon are not already conducting transactional business with each other.

    The spin here is that Verizon is an investor in an MVNO that will run on a competitors network...very interesting.

    Once this get's picked up by the industry trades publications and bloggers, there will be a lot of fodder in the press as to the reasons behind Verizon's investment in Zact, especially since Zact will not be using Verizon's network, except for the possibility of roaming, but that has not been specifically spelled ou by Zact's that their customers can in fact roam on Verizon.

    At least initially, Zact will be fun to watch to see how they evolve.

    Hells_Bells

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Verizon supposedly invested some amount of money in Itson. Itson's goal was not to become a MVNO. Their product is software when installed on a smartphone will allow data without having a plan. Pay $5 for a month for only Facebook for instance. Maybe Itson decided to do it themselves because none of the big 4 were interested in the concept.

      Besides, how much did Verizon invest? Multi-millions of dollars, or a few bucks as a tax write-off? Could be that Itson is only using Verizon as a name-dropper.

      Since everything is done with their custom app, doesn't that make one suspect that Zact will only have Smartphones? Maybe even only Android ones because neither Microsoft or Apple are too willing to allow other to customize the user experience.

      For those hoping for less expensive devices, the Optimus Elite has pretty crappy specs and that is $199. Nobody would want anything nowadays that is worse than that even it were less expensive.

      Delete
  2. yeswap now that republic wireless another sprint mvno has been out of beta for months now from the reviews have you heard if it has balanced out? you know like when it was in beta if had some problems from drop off from sprint 3g to wifi and back and forth has that been fixed? on a social network i go on they advertise heavily but from blog and tech sites i have not heard much more about them including yourself hasn't posted anything about them since beta.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Interest in Republic seems to have dropped now that the only phone that works with the service costs $250.

      The service itself doesn't seem to have changed much since the Beta. WiFi calls still drop when you move out of WiFi range. Calls that started on cellular stay on cellular with no drop when you move into WiFi range.

      Delete
  3. not bring-your-own-phone. so that's a no go for me.

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  4. I like that the buckets of voice, txt, and data are more varied than Ting and that $5 seems like a fair access fee per device, but Zact seems overly complicated and solves a problem that doesn't really exist - the need for custom service plans.

    If I had to pick between Ting and Zact I'd opt for Ting. Better phone selection including basic phones, and no added proprietary crapware to worry about when device manufactures send out system updates.

    Ting should add at least 2 more voice and messaging buckets for moderate users and at least for family plan users $5 access fee seems more reasonable. Until then tough to beat the incumbents some or all plans, especially when in network calls are typically free.

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    1. I'm with you there. If Ting reduced it's basic line fee to $5 per line that would be good. There really is no compelling reason to go with Zact. The cost for data is higher than Ting too.

      Delete
  5. it is the cdma version of a company like consumer cellular, which uses at&t 3g gsm network.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Consumer Cellular does not lock you into a choice of 2 overpriced Android phones. They allow any unlocked GSM phone, and they do not charge $10 to activate service. They also give you a 5% AARP discount; you can sign up during checkout. The only similarities I see are that Consumer also lets you change your plan during the month if you think this will save you money; they both charge taxes; and they both have a 30-day trial period (45 days with Consumer and AARP).

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  6. I ran the Zack savings calculator on their website. At first they said I would save $128 over 2 years, but that does not include the $4.99/month line charge. When I subtract that manually, I would save less than $9. But I must buy their phone for $199. So over 2 years Zack costs me $190. When I pick a phone in the calculator, it says: "Zack is more than savings." Right. Just hope that you do not lose or damage your phone, and any savings you may expect will zoom into the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You also have to subtract Zack taxes from their savings calculator result. Ting is less expensive for most people who own a Sprint phone and want to BYOD.

      Delete
    2. Ting charges taxes too. Are Zact's higher?

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    3. Zact is using 17.2% avg taxes and fees in their savings calculator.

      Delete
  7. Zact has fixed the savings calculator so that it takes into account the $4.99 monthly fee and estimated monthly taxes ($2.75 in my test). Phone selection has also improved to include the Samsung G SIII and Victory, and the LG Viper LTE. Zact will finance the phones for you. They improve upon Ting by including data roaming on Verizon. I still prefer Ting because they offer BYOD.

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  8. Is zact shutting down soon? Its website has no phone to sell for the past 3 weeks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Probably not. And you can still get a Zact phone at Best Buy. Try it for 15 days and return it if you do not like it:
      http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?_dyncharset=UTF-8&_dynSessConf=&id=pcat17071&type=page&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&fs=saas&saas=saas&keys=keys&st=zact+mobile

      Delete
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