By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – MVNOs Zact and FreedomPop see opportunities for carving out niches in the hypercompetitive cellular-voice market.
Redwood City, Calif.-based startup Zact began offering its flexible-plan cellphone service through its website (Zact.com) but is looking for retail distribution. The company promotes flexible, adjustable voice, text and data plans that consumers can customize to their needs and adjust on the fly from their device at any time.
Zact’s no-contract service is available with the LG Viper 4G LTE and LG Optimus Elite Android smartphones at unsubsidized prices of $399 and $99, respectively.
Key service-plan features include the ability for consumers to “create their own unique mix of talk, text and data and can even forego buying a data plan altogether to instead buy an app-specific data plan for maximum savings,” the company said.
For its part, Los Angeles-based MVNO Freedom- Pop recently launched free 4G mobile-broadband service and free wireless home-broadband service. Now it plans to offer free cellphone voice and text service.
The FreedomPop Phone service, which runs over Clearwire’s Mobile WiMAX network, will launch sometime during the summer. The service will offer 200 free anytime voice minutes per month, free unlimited texting, and free 500MB of 4G data. FreedomPop users will enjoy free unlimited voice calls to one other. The service will eschew traditional circuit-switched cellular technology for standard VoIP calls placed through “several popular Android phones” equipped with FreedomPop’s VoIP app, a spokesman said. Consumers will also be able to bring their Sprint-network WiMAX phones to the FreedomPop network.
Phones and service will initially be available directly through FreedomPop.com, but additional outlets will be announced “in the near future,” the spokesman said. The company’s other free services are available directly from FreedomPop and via Amazon.
Consumers who want more airtime voice minutes than the service’s free 200 minutes can pay $9.99/ month for unlimited voice. Additional data is also available at a price.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.