ItsOn Launches Zact, a Customizable, Contract-Free Wireless Service
Raleigh is no stranger to the industry. In fact, much of it seems built on his back. He said that Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a direct result of some of the academic papers he wrote at Stanford University in the 1990s. Additionally, some of his early startup companies created the core technologies in WiFi and 4G, he said, and while at Qualcomm he created the Gobi modem, which enables connections between devices on 3G, 4G and LTE networks. "It should be simple to add a device to the network. You should be able to share a service plan amongst phones. It should be intuitive to add services [such as international roaming] right on the phone," said Raleigh. "We believe the world needs this." As of May 13, consumers can preorder Zact phones, which will begin shipping in June. For now, Zact is offering only two options—the Android-running LG Viper 4G LTE for $399 and the LG Optimus Elite for $199. By the end of the summer, Raleigh expects three more manufacturers to be on board, and to have eight by the end of the year. (He wouldn't say which ones.)The minimum monthly ZACT bill is $4.99 per line, which a spokesperson said is what it costs ZACT to support the line. Raleigh said he used to be a Verizon Wireless subscriber, but the phone was a business expense and he never looked at the bill. When he finally did, he saw that, given the features he'd added over time, it was $210 a month. Now, he says, his bill is "about $33 to $35 a month." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
According to Nielsen Research, the average person in the United States spends $93 a month on wireless services and each month uses 644 voice minutes, sends 764 texts and uses 568MB of data. Were a Zact user to sign up for those amounts, said the company, the monthly bill would be approximately $37.