media logos

Former partner sues Zer01, resells Page Plus services

Zer01 Mobile is one of the more disappointing wireless stories of 2009. Earlier in the year, the company hyped its services, claiming to provide unlimited voice, data, and messaging on state-of-the-art phones for $80 per month. The service, scheduled to launch in July, won Laptop Magazine’s Best Overall Product award at CTIA 2009. But when the service never took off, the magazine rescinded the award — though Zer01 still boasts the award on its website. The service still hasn’t launched, and some disconcerting information emerged over the summer. The story gets worse for Zer01, as a former partner is suing the company for unpaid debts.

Global Village, the multilevel marketing firm that set up services to sell Zer01, claims that it lent Zer01 $170,500 in late July. The funds have not been repaid, so Global Village now seeks legal action. No party has yet commented on the suit, so we only know that it exists. We do know, by the fine reporting of Nancy Gohring, that both Global Village and Zer01 “are led by executives with previous or current legal problems.”

In a stranger twist, it appears that Global Village is re-selling Page Plus cellular services without the latter company’s knowledge. Page Plus has master agents, who then sell the service to customers. No relationship exists between Global Village and Page Plus, and a Page Plus representative speculates that a master agent is selling the service to Global Village. Apparently, Global Village is selling Page Plus’s $40 unlimited plan for $80.

It’s been a long, strange journey for us as we learn more about Zer01. If nothing else, it has reinforced the cliche, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.