Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zero1 Communications, the Magic Jack of Mobile Wireless

Zero1 Communications Communications, a Las Vegas, NV based mobile communications company, is planning to launch a new mobile service with unlimited voice and data. The deal looks very lucrative and hard to believe. This is one of a kind deal compared to what other operators are offering in terms of pricing. All this comes with no contracts or commitments and is priced affordably at only $69.95 per month with taxes and fees included. How does this work? In short Mobile VoIP. Zero1 routes all the voice calls via GSM operator’s data network. I guess we could call this as a Magic Jack of Mobile phones. To me it looked like an MVNO. But Ben Piilani clarifies that they are a new type of communication carrier.

Zero1 relies on major GSM cellular carriers to the data links and uses the same to transport Voice. I’m not sure which GSM cellular carrier is providing them with the data link. It downloads client software on the handset and assigns its own IP address. A VPN (virtual private network) or encrypted data tunnel is established between the handset and its switches. Except for those "last mile" wireless connections, the service runs entirely over the company's own switching and backbone network infrastructure. I’m a little skeptical about this whole Voice Over wireless data network for two reasons. One is the QOS and other coverage. I don’t think operators have 100% data network covered across North America. So this will be a big show stopper for a service like this to succeed.

To start with, they have bunch of windows enabled handsets. However, they plan to support additional platforms like Google Android, Blackberry and iPhone phones.

Here is what Ben Piilanie has to say about the service:

"We are the first mobile service to offer consumers a true national unlimited voice, data and Internet plan without any contracts or commitments that is priced affordably at only $69.95 per month with taxes and fees included. We have licensed patent pending proprietary Veritable Mobile Convergence (VMC) Technology that allows each smart phone user to make voice calls or transmit data by sending voice communications through a VoIP system," explained Piilani, CEO, Zer01 Mobile. "Zer01 Mobile is not a new mobile virtual network operator (MNVO). We are a new hybrid-communications carrier."

Check out the video:

It seems to be an interesting solution. I’m sure the success of this company would depend on the Voice Quality, Coverage and ease of use. It would be interesting to see how operators would react to such a service. Since Zero1 relies on operators data network for voice calls, they are definitely at the mercy of operators. All the said, I wish Zero1 success.

Digg this


Andrea said...

This is the first good article I've seen on this company. I've got friends who are already eager to sell this product without knowing much about it. Your blog states the pros and cons, and it's refreshing to read a review, not a sales pitch!!

omfut(Ravi) said...

Thanks Andrea:
Surprisingly I didn’t see much publicity for this company. I don’t see a bright future for this company, unless, they come up with their network like magic jack.