News by Brian James Kirk on Friday March 13, 2009.
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A new mobile network carrier, Zer01 Mobile said Thursday that it is launching a service that can offer an unlimited mobile voice and data plan for $69.95 per month without a contract on a network that is as large as AT&T's.
The Zer01 service doesn't utilize traditional circuit-switched voice calling. Instead, it routes calls through proprietary VoIP technology. In the same way that Verizon and Sprint borrow each other's networks in roaming agreements, Zer01 has made an agreement with GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile that tunnel them into Zer01's own existing network backbone. By using interconnect agreements, Zer01 can get around carriers' monthly 5GB data caps and offer truly unlimited data.
Zer01 Chief Executive Ben Piilani said that calls do not get sent over the GSM network, and that calls utilize new technologies that address VoIP latency issues, allowing for calls on EDGE and GPRS networks. Calls can be dialed by a phone's dialer application, and take advantage of a phone's microphone and earpiece. For an extra $10 per month, callers can make unlimited calls internationally to 40 countries.
For now, the VoIP application that powers Zer01 will be available for Windows Mobile 6. In the future, the network will support Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Java, and even jailbroken iPhones. The carrier plans to launch a closed beta in April and to set a commercial launch date at CTIA on April 1. [via PCMag]
Brian James Kirk
Brian is a former news editor on MobileBurn.com that freelances in Philadelphia. You can follow him on Twitter as @BrianJamesKirk.