Zero1: Too Good to be True?
Zero1 is a new cellular service that we recently learned about that seems to have more questions than answers. Zero1's nationwide unlimited calling and data plan is reported to only cost $70 a month and on top of that you can sell the same service to friends and family and get $10 a month for each person you sell to.
Too good to be true? Follow the break for more information that may make you think twice about how much control of your mobility with Zero1.
Networkworld.com did some digging to see if this was one of those "if it's too good to be true, then it's not" type schemes. Zero1 is part of a conglomeration of companies including Buzzirk, Global Verge and Unified Technologies Group.
The important fact to know about Global Verge is that their CEO, Mark Petschel, is currently on probation after pleading guilty in 2005 to securities fraud. Petschel is also on the losing end of several contractual disputes where he's been ordered to pay $50,000 by a St. Louis County, Missouri, Court.
Add to the confusion, Global Verge claims to have 50,000 sales associates who are all tossing out different sales pitches. There are claims that Zero1 will be utilizing the 2100mhz frequency which they own but no record with the FCC of Zero1 acquiring any licenses. None of the partner companies own a 2100mhz license either.
For Zero1 to have any success nationwide, they will need to establish partnerships with existing carriers which Zero1's CEO Ben Piilani claims they have but according to the Networkworld.com article, AT&T and T-Mobile stated they don't have a relationship with Zero1. Without AT&T and T-Mobile it is unlikely Zero1 will provide nationwide coverage.
To say the least, there is a lot of concern over this upstart cellular service. Since questions were raised about Zero1's, the company has stripped their website down to only the basic information about its partners.
Zero1 is aggressively addressing these reports. In the Computerworld.com report, Piilani states that he had only recently found out about Petshel's criminal record and that Petschel would be stepping down from his role at Global Verge.
In an interview with Laptopmag.com Piilani explained that the conflicting reports and sales pitches were due to the lack of a compliance officer. Piilani claims that the associate base grew too quickly before any compliance was put in place.
Responding to the allegations that partnerships with AT&T and T-Mobile don't exist he states,
"T-Mobile didn't deny it, they said they can't make a comment. If you were to contact the carriers I'm sure they would give you the "we can't make a comment," [[answer]]. I’m not saying we don’t have a partnership. I’m just saying we aren’t going to comment on who our partners are and what relationships they have."
In addressing the claims that Zero1 doesn't have a 2100mhz license Pillani responded,
"We are piggybacking on GSM networks. We never made comments that we bought any, or acquired any, specific frequencies. The funny thing is, everyone is making a big deal about frequencies when you and I know just as well it doesn’t matter what frequency you’re on. It’s just a radio frequency inside a spectrum. We never made the comment that we ever bought spectrum."
There's simply too many questions out there to instill confidence in this new wireless provider. Too many questions creating doubt that Zero1 can deliver quality, nationwide unlimited voice and data services and too many questions raising doubt as to the companies stability and legitimacy.
According to Piilani devices using their service will be available to select journalist and sales associates in the coming weeks. If this time table holds true it won't be long for us to see if Zero1 is legit or too good to be true.
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Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!