NetZero began life offering free Internet access in exchange for displaying ads to its users while they browsed the Web, and now the company has begun offering 4G mobile broadband service. NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband utilizes Clearwire's WiMAX network with coverage in over 80 cities nationwide, including the likes of New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, and pricing starts at the low, low price of free. Yep, just like when NetZero offered dial-up Internet service for free, it's also got a free mobile broadband plan. What's the catch? Customers on the free plan are limited to 200MB per month, the free option can only be used for up to one year, and if you switch from the free plan to a paid tier, you can switch back to the free plan. Here's how NetZero's full list of plans breaks down:
NetZero also allows its customers to select between two different network speeds: Lightspeed, which yields up to 1Mbps down and 384Kbps up, and Warpspeed, which offers up to 10Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up. A user can switch between the two whenever he or she would like, though folks on the Free and Basic plans can only access Lightspeed service.
Finally, NetZero has two different devices for customers to choose from when it comes time to get online. The NetZero 4G Stick is priced at $49.95 and plugs into your computer's USB port. There's also the NetZero 4G Hotspot, which pumps out a Wi-Fi signal that up to eight devices can connect to simultaneously. The NetZero 4G Hotspot will set you back $99.95. Both devices are offered without a contract.
NetZero's 4G mobile broadband service sounds it's something worth considering if you're looking for data connectivity for your computer or other devices. It is kind of a bummer that the coverage isn't more widely available, but the 200MB free plan is tough to beat if you're a light data user and live in one of the cities where service is available. NetZero's cheaper plan options aren't bad either, especially considering that you don't need to sign a contract for the hardware. If you want to learn more about NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband, you can find the press release below and the official site right here.
UNITED ONLINE LAUNCHES NETZERO 4G MOBILE BROADBAND SERVICE
NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Offers Disruptive Pricing, Fast 4G Speeds, No Contract-No Commitment Data Plans, and Secure Internet Access
Woodland Hills, Calif. – March 19, 2012 –NetZero Wireless, Inc., a subsidiary of United Online, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTD), today announced the launch of NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband, a fast, affordable and protected Internet service for laptops, iPads® and other tablets, and netbooks.
This new service, which launches today in over 80 cities nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Miami, lets consumers create their own personal Internet connections without being tied to unsecure public hotspots at places like coffee shops, airports and hotels. And unlike public Wi-Fi networks, where credit card numbers and other personal information may be exposed to hackers and data thieves, the NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband service delivers a protected, private Internet connection anytime, anywhere within its coverage area.
NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband data plans start at just $9.95 per month. Customers are not required to sign a contract, and can upgrade their data plan at any time. Each plan delivers 4G service with download speeds of up to 10Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1.5Mbps.
"NetZero is bridging the digital divide by letting consumers purchase a secure, quality, mobile broadband service at very affordable prices with plans designed to meet the consumers' data needs," said Mark R. Goldston, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Online. "Our service gives customers the freedom to take the Internet anywhere in our coverage area, without being tied to public Wi-Fi service or having to purchase higher-cost, sometimes multi-year plans offered by other mobile broadband providers. With NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband, there are no contracts or commitments, and our customers can even try our service for up to one year for free."
All data plans, including the free plan, require the purchase of one of two affordable access devices: the NetZero 4G HotSpot™ and the NetZero 4G Stick™. The NetZero 4G HotSpot simultaneously supports up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including iPads® and other tablets, within a 150-foot range. The NetZero 4G Stick supports a single laptop or netbook via a USB port. The NetZero 4G HotSpot costs $99.95 and the NetZero 4G Stick costs $49.95, much less than the cost of most comparable contract-free devices available today.
NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband includes an innovative feature that lets customers switch the speed of their service to meet their data needs. NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband subscribers can set their service at either LightSpeed, which delivers download speeds of up to 1Mbps, or WarpSpeed, which provides download speeds of up to 10Mbps. Customers in any of the service plans can toggle their speed setting to LightSpeed (to conserve data) or WarpSpeed (to maximize speed) at any time, allowing them to match the speed of their service to their current activity and maximize their data consumption.
With NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband, there are no overage charges. Customers cannot accidently exceed monthly data allotments. An alert lets customers know when they reach their monthly data limit, at which point, they have three options. Option 1: If customers are on a pay plan, they can buy extra data "Top Ups" that they can use through the end of their current billing cycle. Option 2: Customers can upgrade to a higher capacity data plan. Option 3: Customers can wait until the next month to utilize the service with a fresh allotment of data according to their existing plan.