ItsOn, a startup that aims to allow mobile carriers to offer more customizable mobile service, is ending the Zact service it had launched to showcase the technology.
Sprint, meanwhile, will soon launch its own ItsOn-powered prepaid service and Zact customers will have the option to transfer to that offering. Zact customers have been told that a new service is coming and, in the meantime, are being offered Zact for free until details of the new Sprint service are released.
While most cellular service offers customers a fixed monthly bucket of megabytes or gigabytes, ItsOn operates a cloud-based service designed to allow much more granular control, such as, say, unlimited email and two hours of streaming music. It could also allow parents to give children access to only certain types of functions at certain times. Zact, which ran on top of Sprint’s network, offered some of those kind of options.
ItsOn CEO Greg Raleigh told Re/code that Sprint’s service will use the technology to offer somewhat different customization options than Zact had offered, but said that Sprint’s scale will allow it to reach far more customers.
“Sprint is in a position to do things for users that we can’t do,” he said in an interview. “They know more about what consumers want.”
ItsOn won’t say how many customers it has for Zact, but said signups had exceeded its internal plans and were pretty good for a small mobile virtual network.
The new deal with Sprint is clearly good for ItsOn, which has always said its primary focus was selling its service to carriers — not being in the business of directly signing up customers. What it means for Zact’s customers is a bit unclear as Sprint isn’t offering any details on the ItsOn-powered prepaid service it plans to launch later this summer.
Zact stopped signing up new customers at the beginning of the month and on Tuesday it will tell existing ones that their service will end as of August. Customers can either adopt Sprint’s new service or seek a new provider, but Raleigh said ItsOn doesn’t plan to offer refunds to those who purchased devices.
Sprint and ItsOn announced plans to work closer together last month.
Raleigh said ItsOn continues to work to see its technology used by mobile operators globally, with good progress being made around the globe. At least one more announcement should be made this year, he said, with the company aiming to have its technology in use by at least one carrier in Europe and Latin America and either Asia or Africa by the middle of next year.