The firm that promised mobile everything for a low, low price but owned no network has disappeared: My friend Nancy Gohring at IDG News Service wrote a series of articles in mid-2009 about Zer01, a firm that said it was not a mobile virtual network operator, but somehow had access to a national network on which it would offer unlimited calling, mobile broadband, texting, and other features at a rate far below what operators charge. Unlimited mobile data seemed particularly impossible, given carriers cap at 5 GB for laptop use, and only a handful have specific unlimited smartphone (no tethering) data plans.
Nancy writes today that Zer01's Web site has gone dark, referring users to Google; its press spokesperson, Ron Dresner, didn't return calls and his Web site no longer lists Zer01 as a client; and Zer01 doesn't appear to be involved in the upcoming CTIA trade show.
I reiterate to anyone who doesn't know but will listen: all these deals that seem too good to be true are invariably too good to be true.
Meanwhile, the mainstream carriers now offer unlimited calling and texting plans that, for heavy users, are relatively inexpensive compared to previous plans that used pools of minutes and messages.