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.
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.
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