Karma Offers Wireless at $14 a Gigabyte, Straight
Latest MVNO Attempt to Disrupt Pricing
There's no shortage of new wireless MVNOs emerging this year promising to do something a little different on the pricing front. Republic Wireless
plans to lower prices by offloading most of the daily traffic to Wi-Fi. FreedomPop
promises to offer users a basic free tier of service with low priced data and voice options layered on top. Tucows' Ting plans to focus on customer service, using auto plan downgrades to save users money
Now this week a Clearwire MVNO by the name of Karma is unveiling their attempt at price disruption: a $70 hotspot where each gigabyte just costs $14
. $14 per gigabyte sounds pricey until you realize that's all you'll pay each month, whereas most incumbent carriers charge a flat fee and then tack usage on top of that.
There's one interesting twist to this equation, and that's the fact you can gain free data in 100 MB chunks by sharing your connection:
The twist is that Karma makes your hotspot into an open Wi-Fi network. When a new user joins, they are taken to a personalized page about the owner of the hotspot. Strangers can then sign in with their Facebook account and get 100MB of free browsing. For every user who does that, the owner of Karma gets 100MB of free data credited to his account. The company calls this "social telecom."
The problem is that MVNOs don't exactly have a strong track record of success in fighting entrenched duopoly carriers with significantly better wireless footprints. Still, it's refreshing to see somebody trying to do things with pricing the incumbents refuse to do (like actually offering cost savings).
| |cdruGo ColtsPremium,MVM
Fort Wayne, IN
Re: I see some bad karma here
said by SysOp:Beggars can't be choosers I guess. If you don't like it, pay for your own connection.
Open Wi-Fi network using facebook for auth?
Anyone else using a private VPN proxy when they connect to a open wi-fi?
Or am I just paranoid?
| |newviewEx .. Ex .. ExactlyPremiumReviews:
Re: I signed up for the beta
said by SysOp:Oh yeah ... I rarely use the phone anyway, mostly email, but need one "just in case". That's exactly why I have a "pay-as-you-go" plan for when I'm out about town, and Vonage for at home. Just a side note .. My monthly Comcast usage rarely exceeds 20gb a month of their 250gb cap. This offering from Republic Wireless will more-or-less combine the two plans into one and use the internet connection that I already pay for 90% of the time.
Can you keep your usage below 4gb a month? I know if I was home 90% of the time I couldn't.
Re: and do you have to pay for that new users data???
said by Duramax08:Lol, the mac address is easier to change then a Facebook account, lol. I wonder how they do authorization though?
"Can hotspot users just switch facebook accounts and get another 100MB?"
Doubt it, it probably keeps tab of your mac address.
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Ah, Clearwire If I remember correctly, Clear WiMAX covers about 135 million people in the U.S., nominally. Assuming that, at any given time, all 135 million are outside...because in-building service just doesn't do well.
I wouldn't bash the network as much as I do, except that I own a phone that does WiMAX and I can never seem to get online reliably, with decent speeds, in areas that are supposed to have service.
Note that I'm ragging on Clearwire here; Sprint's slowish 3G network, which also hosts scads of MVNOs (which can also access WiMAX), is at least available nearly everywhere I go. But not Clear.
And they'll never be available wherever I go, because even after they switch to LTE (rendering WiMAX devices obsolete...they won't be building any more WiMAX sites in the future...not enough money) they will still only cover urban areas. Actually, subsets of urban areas. Basically, Sprint will want to use Clear to add TD-LTE 2600 cell sites in areas where Sprint's own LTE network, due to lack of spectrum, won't be able to keep up with demand. Where Clear does add these cell sites, speeds will be phenomenal (better than ANY other wireless carrier, including foreign LTE beasts like TeliaSonera), however the range on these sites will be low due to the frequency used, maybe even covering something as small as a stadium or conference center.
Where does that leave folks wanting to use Clear as their primary provider? Well, Clear will probably upgrade all of its WiMAX towers to the new LTE tech, in addition to any "hot zones" it creates. However due to their cash-strapped profile, I wouldn't expect any new service, which means that the system continues to be of little use to me (compared to T-Mobile and Verizon's respective "4G" networks, which each cover around 2x the number of "pops" as Clear...and they do it reliably!).
Would this really save $$$? I mean look at it this way, yeah you don't have to pay a monthly "access fee" however you're paying $4 per gigabyte over what any other carrier charges... and really you're paying $70 per 5GB which to me isn't really cost savings when you look at plans from other carriers... Infact compare this to VZW's 10GB plans ($80 for single users, $100 for shared data plans) and this company is losing as they are charging $140 per 10GB... In my opinion this isn't saving money at all...
Now If you're always in a public area sharing with 4 other people, or just taking it to public places and turning it on and letting 5 people connect (and could modify the connection URL to pay $10 for use) this is where you can get real savings, 5 people? half a gig free, 10 people? almost 1GB free, 100 people? Almost 10GB free, of course I'd hate to get that $140 bill...
EDIT: One thing I'd like to know, let's say you sit somewhere for an hour, and 100 people connect and use your device so you get 10GB's free (this is just an example I know it's not a reality) does that mean that those same 100 users once they use their free 100MB can eat away at your free 10GB?! I'd have to know more about that, because if not, you could technically cheat the system if you had a way to factory restore due to login info being saved on the device, and then just keep connecting your phone or something with fake Facebook accounts, only use like 20MB and then keep doing that over and over again, it's going to be interesting to see what kind of tracking they have for devices and etc to ensure users aren't gaming the system to virtually get free service 24/7...
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