Zact: The best no-contract wireless plan yet?
Is owning a smarthpone smart if the monthly bills put you in
the poorhouse? Not so much.
Like cable companies that charge you the same amount even if
you don't watch every channel, most phone companies charge you the
same amount even if you don't, say, talk a lot, or use a lot of
data, or send a lot of text messages.
Zact affords a more a-la-carte approach, letting you adjust
(right on your phone!) the number of minutes, messages, and
megabytes you get each month. Better still, each Zact plan will
notify you if you need to add more service, and will actually give
you a refund at the end of the month if you stayed under the limits
of a cheaper plan.
The service also caters deftly to parents, offering
device-specific limits for your kids' phones and tablets. You can
also easily add or remove devices from your plan.
Speaking of which, check out Zact's plan chart
which shows you the various configurations. For example, I could
easily get by with 100 talk minutes, 500 text messages, and 1GB of
data--which would cost me $31.44 per month. That. Is.
So, what's the catch with all this? As of now, Zact offers
only two older, somewhat underpowered phones: the LG Optimus Elite
($199) and LG Viper ($399). Both run Android, and both run on
Sprint's sagging 3G network.
Even so, I have to agree with Gizmodo's assessment that this is how every wireless plan should work
talk very little on my iPhone, use a medium amount of data, and
send a lot of text messages. Yet AT&T charges me an arm and leg
for all three, every month. Here's hoping Zact catches on in a big
way, prompting other carriers to adopt similar a-la-carte
And while we're at it, here's hoping cable companies will do
the same. I mean, seriously, Comcast, I don't watch Lifetime. Why
must I pay for it?!Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC
World and Wired.