By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Redwood City, Calif. – Startup MVNO Zact, which launched flexible-plan cellphone service on June 6 through its web site, has begun offering its phones and no-contract, low-cost service through more than 400 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores nationwide.
Best Buy Mobile is Zact’s first U.S retailer.
Zact-service smartphones available at Best Buy Mobile specialty stores include the Samsung Galaxy S3 at a suggested retail price of $499 and the ZTE Awe at a suggested retail price of $199. They operate on the Sprint network.
For a limited time, consumers buying Zact phones through Best Buy get an introductory holiday offer of four free months of service, which Zact values at $100.
Zact offers talk, text, and data plans that start as low as $3.49 per month. Single subscribers on average spends $21.88 per month for a plan, and for a family of four, the average bill is $60 to $80 for a plan, the company said.
Zact offers customizable no-contract service plans in which consumers choose their own mix of voice minutes, number of texts, and amount of data, each of which is independently selectable.
Consumers choose from among buckets of minutes ranging from 30 to 4,000 minutes, buckets of text messages ranging from 25 to 10,000, and buckets of data ranging from 50MB to 2GB. Consumers can adjust their plans on the fly directly from their device at any time.
Zact notifies users if they are close to exceeding their plan’s limits so they will be able to order more airtime if needed. And Zact offers a Never Overpay Guarantee, which credits a user’s account if the user bought too big of a plan and a smaller one is available, the company said. Zact also lets an account holder share plans with as many users as they want at a cost of $4.99 per line per month.
Built-in parental controls let parents set curfews, and restrict apps, browsing and contacts on a child’s phone from their own phone. Parental control of a Zact phone can be managed remotely from a parent’s Zact device or on Apple and Android smartphones using a downloadable app.
Zact’s parent company is ItsOn, which four years ago launched cloud-based technology for mobile service providers. The company is privately held and funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Ag Investors, SV Angel, Verizon, Vodafone, and Best Buy.
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