4G Is Nearly Free With NetZero

Low-cost ISP launches a mobile broadband service, including a free tier, in the 80 markets where Clearwire has WiMax

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

March 19, 2012

2 Min Read
4G Is Nearly Free With NetZero

Internet service provider and United Online Inc. subsidy NetZero Inc. is going mobile with the help of Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), announcing on Monday a NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband service using the WiMax technology.

The company is offering the contract-free service at no cost for one year with the purchase of either a $100 HotSpot or $50 USB stick to power any Wi-Fi-capable device, including laptops and tablets. After the free year, consumers can continue on with free service of 200MB per month or upgrade for more data ranging from $9.95 per month for 500MB of data to $49.95 for 4GB per month. Once a users reach their cap, they won't incur overage charges, but rather have the option of topping up, upgrading to a higher-capacity plan or discontinuing service until the next month.

NetZero's Coverage Map

NetZero's mobile broadband service works in the 80 cities in which Clearwire has WiMax up and running. The company is promising download speeds of up to 10Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 1.5Mbit/s. As a way to lets users balance their own data use against speed, NetZero lets users switch between "LightSpeed" with slower download speeds of up to 1Mbit/s or to "WarpSpeed" with download speeds of 10Mbit/s when needed.

Why this matters
NetZero beats fellow Clearwire wholesaler FreedomPop, which also has a deal in place with LightSquared , out the gate with a free WiMax-based wireless service. (See FreedomPop Bets on 4G With Clearwire.)

The company is hoping to reach those Americans who maybe can't afford a more expensive data service, but they'll be limited by Clearwire's reach. The wholesale operator currently covers 130 million people in the U.S., but has no plans to keep growing its WiMax network as it instead switches to building out Long Term Evolution (LTE). (See Clearwire Ends 2012 With 10.4M Subs.)

For more
Read up on Clearwire's wholesale business.

  • Cricket Taps Clearwire for LTE

  • Clearwire Offers WiMax on a Stick

  • Sprint's $2B Debt Play May Help Clearwire

  • Clearwire Close to $200M in Vendor Financing

  • Clearwire Signs Simplexity to MVNO Deal

  • Clearwire's LTE TDD Buddy System

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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