Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Zer01 gets a scathing review all round – USA

Having only recently launched their unlimited data MVNO / MVNE / VoIP service at USD 79.95 a month the wireless industry seems to have turned on Zer01. Market sentiment is that the offer is too good to be true with a techdirt article even analysing whether the new operator is actually a pyramid scheme (namely people sell the concept to people below them and they then sell it on too, with no actual value in the project the pyramid eventually crumbles and those last in lose most).

The negative revelations started when Computerworld’s Nancy Gohring posted a lengthy article about Zer01 and similar operations dated 20th July. In it she worked through the set up of the organisations and revealed many unsettling practices including non-contactable offices and fraud cases against at least one senior executive involved in the distribution setup which has amassed 50,000 paying agents for Zer01, that is 50,000 people who have paid (not been paid) to sell the product.

These are still very early days for the operator and it may prove itself to be the revolution in wireless telecoms it claims to be. But this massively bumpy start could easily be enough to see it go the same way that data focused MVNO Helio did, not that Helio was ever accused of illegal practices.