Yesterday we had a chance to interview Zer01's CEO, Ben Piilani, to discuss rumors that Zer01 was part of a larger scam run by Mobile Verge and Buzzirk. We aren't drawing any conclusions from that interview, but are trying to seek out the legitimacy of this wireless carrier. In our interview, Piilani told us he could not confirm a carrier with us. Today we reached out to both AT&T and T-Mobile, two carriers that have nationwide GSM networks that Zer01 could potentially piggy back off of, to find out whether they had any relationship with Zer01. A T-Mobile spokesperson today said that they do not comment on existing relationships so we couldn't get a firm denial from them. However, below you will see that the T-Mobile coverage map is nothing like the Zer01 coverage map. An AT&T spokesperson flat out denied a relationship, saying "We do not have an agreement with Zer01." That's odd, considering that Zer01's data/voice map (taken today from their site) looks like an identical copy of AT&T's nationwide data coverage, with a few color changes. Take a look: AT&T's data network:
Zer01 Coverage Map
T-Mobile Coverage Map. And if Zer01 even was using T-Mobile's nationwide network, which has a smaller data plan, here's what it would look like:
This situation is getting fishier and fishier. How can Zer01 piggy back off a nationwide GSM carrier, when one of the two nationwide GSM carriers says there is no relationship and the other, while not denying it, has a completely different coverage map? We've asked their CEO for comment. Editor's Note - 8/4/09: LAPTOP has rescinded the Best of CTIA Award given to Zer01.