A new virtual operator powered by Sprint promises to offer fine control over the amount of voice and data service used in a given month – right down to the cent. Zact promises people total control over voice and data access costs per month and it does this through a dedicated app that requires Android devices. The provider has also released a promo video detailing the service.
Unlike other services, the crux of Zact is the capability to control service costs for mobile service in real-time, either through an online portal or through an Android app and compatible phone, both of which are surplus Sprint models from LG in the Viper 4G LTE and Optimus Elite. Due to the way the Zact real-time usage and management application is integrated into the devices, it will take longer than normal to add more devices to the sparse lineup and will mean that the iPhone will not be offered.
Two key advantages of this model that Zact is pioneering is the capability to do away with general data access and only purchase access for specific applications and services, such as purchasing data access solely for checking email, browsing Twitter, or even GPS for network-based services and only those services, potentially making data access costs much cheaper than the current average, as monthly per-application data access is a relatively new idea, at least in the US.
The other key advantage is that you can sign up for a large bucket of voice, messaging and data access at the beginning of service in order to gauge usage patterns, and you will only be charged for what has been actually been used for the month regardless of the packages that were initially purchased, making monthly costs much less expensive than expected.
In the off-chance that you do go over your preset budget for the month due to heavier than expected activity, topping up voice, data and messaging is also trivial and is broken down to the cent, making overages much cheaper than current standards. Finally, the operator will credit customers back for the unused portion of their monthly access, adding to the savings promised.
Overall, Zact sounds like the culmination of the Pay As You Go model, with the addition of real-time cost control for each service to fit nearly every kind of usage model instead of relying on either the monthly flat-rate of unlimited service, which many people don’t use to the fullest extent, or relying on the availability of increasingly more expensive Pay As You Go Options without the level of control found on Zact.
Whether it will be taken seriously remains to be seen, as the current trends point to increasing growth for flat-rate unlimited prepaid service, though this service definitely serves a niche for families and users with specific needs outside of just needing flat-rate access, such as sharing voice, messaging and data access. However, owing to the fact that the CEO insists that this is not yet another MVNO and is touting the advantages of the cloud platform that powers Zact, it may take even longer for the public to catch on.