Unlimited Mobile Voice And Data For $70

Here’s the sell: For $70 a month, you can get unlimited voice and data service on your cell phone, with no contract.

What’s the catch? Not much, except that the voice service isn’t your typical offering: It’s Voice Over IP (VOIP), which works on the regular data network. All you need is a GSM-capable Windows Mobile 6 phone (the company is happy to sell you one if you prefer) to get started.

The company’s called Zer01, a telecom startup piggybacking on the AT&T network with a proprietary VOIP application, and its all-data service plan is perhaps the first of its kind. While its initial service offering (the company is currently in private beta) is via a custom Windows Mobile application, the company says you’ll eventually be able to get Zer01 on phones running Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java, and even iPhones — after they’ve been unlocked of course.

Such a plan immediately raises some questions, namely about what performance will be like with VOIP, which is notoriously prone to cut-outs at even the slightest hint of a network delay, running over the relatively slow EDGE and dog-slow GPRS networks. But the company says it has “specific algorithms in our technology that address latency issues” on these networks. The proof, of course, will be in the testing once reviewers dig their teeth into the thing. If voice service isn’t absolutely perfect, $70 will immediately be seen as too much to pay.

Another question: It appears that $70 fee doesn’t include increasingly-critical SMS text messaging services, nor does there look like there’s a way to add them to your account.

Zer01 says it will announce a formal launch date on April 1 at the upcoming CTIA show.


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