ROK Mobile is a new non-contract MVNO with a focus on streaming music that is expected to launch on July 4. ROK's main selling point is unlimited, ad-free music streaming.
ROK will have a single plan that includes unlimited calling, messaging, data and streaming music for $49.99/per month. It's not clear if the no-contact service will be postpaid or prepaid or if taxes and fees are included in the price or extra. ROK will offer iPhones and high-end Android devices and will also let customers use their own compatible phones. ROK phones will run on either Sprint or T-Mobile network, depending on the phone model.
ROK is the latest venture from billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria who founded and owns the company behind Paul Mitchell hair products and also co-founded Patron Tequila. Deloria's co-founder in the ROK Mobile venture is Jonathan Kendrick, a British mobile and entertainment entrepreneur.
ROK will let users create their own playlists from a library of 20 millions songs from the Sony, Warner Music and Universal catalogs. It can also work like Pandora or Beats Music to deliver a customized music stream based on the user's favorite songs, artists and genres. A unique ROK feature will let customers specify their "mood", with ROK modifying the music selections to suit the user's professed mood. I'm thinking this means ROK will do things like favor calming sounds when you're angry or stressed or upbeat tunes when you're in a funk.
I'm always very suspicious of any MVNO claiming to offer unlimited data. There always turns out to be a cap or a throttle. ROK co-founder Kendrick told GigaOM's Kevin Fitchard that ROK's data is truly unlimited as long as users restrict their data usage to on device consumption and don't use ROK as a home broadband replacement. That sounds like tethering and hotspot aren't going to be supported. Kendrick didn't say anything one way or another about throttling, leaving that possibility open. But provided ROK includes at least 2GB of unthrottled data per month and doesn't pad the price with post-paid style fees, $49.99/month is a very competitive price for unlimited talk, messaging, data and high-quality, ad-free music streaming. I hope to learn more about ROK when they launch next week.
It looks like ROK Mobile will only be available online initially as they don't seem to be recruiting dealers and haven't announced any deals with retail chains. You can "pre-register" for the service now at rokmobile.com.