Fact Check: Zello App CAN Work Without A Cellular Signal -- But It CANNOT Work Without Some Sort Of Internet Connection

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Zello App CAN Work Without A Cellular Signal -- But It CANNOT Work Without Some Sort Of Internet Connection Needs Internet

Does the Zello app, which allows users to talk via a push-to-talk (or "walkie-talkie") feature, work without a cellular signal? Not unless the device has an internet connection. According to a Zello sales representative, if there is no cellular signal, the phone must have access to Wi-Fi for the app to work.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on August 27, 2021. It featured a picture of the Zello logo and read:

Great storm time back up communication app. It turns your cell phone into a push to talk walkie talkie when you do not have a cell signal for calls. You need to go ahead and download app now and add your friends and family incase you lose signal later.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on August 30, 2021:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 30 15:26:29 2021 UTC)

In a phone call with Lead Stories on August 30, 2021, a Zello sales representative said:

The device does need an internet connection of some type, not necessarily cellular.

The sales representative clarified that the device could also depend on Wi-Fi for such an internet connection. Zello even tweeted (archived here) about its functionality in the tweet embedded below:

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Mon Aug 30 15:38:41 2021 UTC)

The free version of Zello was downloaded and used as an effective communication app during natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, according to the company. The Facebook post making the incomplete claim was posted shortly before Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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