On the eve of the WiMAX shutdown4, Sprint mobile broadband MVNO Karma Mobility5 has launched an innovative new plan that offers truly unlimted data, although Karma doesn’t call it that. For $50 per month Karma’s new Neverstop plan lets you use as much LTE data as you want.
The only catch is that data speeds are throttled from the get-go to 5 Mbps. But that’s fast enough for most purposes including SD NetFlix. It’s also as fast as many wired ADSL connections and not much slower than average WiMAX speeds in many locations. Neverstop looks like a good replacement for grandfathered Clear unlimited customers and anyone else who needs more than the 10 to 20 GB that most other mobile broadband plans top out at. Of course you also have to be OK with Sprint coverage, which is pretty much limited to developed areas. That shouldn’t be a problem for Clear customers or anyone happy with a WiMAX based plan as Sprint’s LTE coverage footprint is much more expansive than its WiMAX one and Karma’s hotspot falls back to Sprint 3G when LTE isn’t available. Karma is saying they aren’t calling Neverstop an “unlimited” plan because they want to be transparent about what they are offering and Neverstop speeds aren’t unlimited although the quantity is.
As Karma puts it:
We are upfront about what this $50 a month gets you: no caps on the amount of data you use at 5Mbps. Neverstop doesn’t replace Karma’s Refuel pay as you go plan which offers data that never expires with no monthly access fee at prices of $14 for 1 GB, $59 for 5 GB and $99 for 10 GB. In fact users can switch back and forth between Refuel and Neverstop anytime as their data needs change.
Karma’s data sharing feature, which lets Karma users earn credits by sharing their hotspot with strangers works a little differently with Neverstop than it does with Refuel. The basic principle is the same, anyone in range of your hotspot can connect to it, enter an email address and get 100 MB of data for free with an option to pay for more. With Refuel the data you share with others doesn’t count against your use and you get an extra 100MB added to your account every time someone new uses your shared data. With Neverstop you get a $1 credit for every new user that shares your connection. The credit will reduce to your next monthly charge. Because there’s less bandwidth to share, sharing on Neverstop is limited to three simultaneous users, instead of the eight that Refuel allows. To use Karma you need to have a $150 Karma Go hotspot. BYOD is not supported.
The price is steep but understandable as the Karma Go is a custom device designed by Karma to support its data sharing business model. Having custom hardware made in low volumes is never cheap. The Karma Go, which is pictured above, is a tri-band (Sprint Spark) device that also supports Sprint’s EV-DO 3G for fallback in locations where LTE isn’t available.
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- ^ News (www.prepaidphonenews.com)
- ^ WiMAX shutdown (www.prepaidphonenews.com)
- ^ Karma Mobility (www.prepaidphonenews.com)
- ^ Karma Blog (blog.yourkarma.com)
- ^ US Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans Compared (www.prepaidphonenews.com)
- ^ How Sprint’s Nov 6, 2015 WiMAX Shutdown Will Affect Boost, Virgin Mobile and FreedomPop Users (www.prepaidphonenews.com)