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Networking The Almighty Buck Wireless Networking

Bad Karma: WISP Pares Back Its Monthly 4G Hotspot Plan, Again 59

Robotech_Master writes: The ongoing saga of the Neverstop plan shows that Karma Wireless just can't seem to catch a break as far as high-bandwidth plans are concerned. After starting out with a straight pay-per-bandwidth plan, "Refuel," for its $150 wireless hotspot, Karma thought it would innovate with a throttled-but-otherwise-unlimited 4G plan, "Neverstop." However, it soon discovered that users were taking it at its word and using up considerably more bandwidth than Karma expected or could afford. After experimenting with further throttling, Karma subsequently revamped the plan into a $50 per month, 15 GB plan that throttled to dialup speed after it ran out. However, now it turns out even that plan was too optimistic, and Karma has opted to dump the Neverstop plan altogether in favor of tiered monthly plan called Pulse —whose bandwidth costs significantly more. ($40/mo for 5 GB, $75 for 10 GB, $140 for 20 GB.) Karma's "unlimited" users weren't pleased the first time the plan changed, and now they're practically through the roof.
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Bad Karma: WISP Pares Back Its Monthly 4G Hotspot Plan, Again

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  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@nospAM.gmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2016 @07:38AM (#51540503)

    Karma's "unlimited" users weren't pleased the first time the plan changed, and now they're practically through the roof.

    If a company can't afford to deliver the product as sold, and they aren't bound to a contract to deliver that product as sold for more than one billing period, then what do these users think is going to happen - Karma Wireless is going to continue to provide a loss making service until the company goes under with massive debts?

    Karma Wireless tried something, it failed (mainly because they screwed up forecasting costs) and now they are moving on.

    • Karma's "unlimited" users weren't pleased the first time the plan changed, and now they're practically through the roof.

      If a company can't afford to deliver the product as sold, and they aren't bound to a contract to deliver that product as sold for more than one billing period, then what do these users think is going to happen - Karma Wireless is going to continue to provide a loss making service until the company goes under with massive debts?

      Karma Wireless tried something, it failed (mainly because they screwed up forecasting costs) and now they are moving on.

      There product probably attracted a disproportionate number of high bandwidth users who knew they would be heavy users and thus attracted to Neverstop. For light users there are too many cheaper options than Karma. For example, T-mobile offers 200mb / month for free, 6GB with BingeOn for $35, and 15GB of tethering for $50 on a phone plan. As you point out, their business model simply is not sustainable as originally conceived.

    • If a company can't afford to deliver the product as sold, and they aren't bound to a contract to deliver that product as sold for more than one billing period, then what do these users think is going to happen

      It appears they did deliver what was sold, they just could not keep delivering it, so they changed what they were swelling. But they never sold any promises the plan would continue to be offered as is. It seems they tried, but it just didn't work financially due to those who's usage model was basically downloading a full bandwidth constantly.

      It actually seems to me this company is trying to offer an option for heavy users, but the cost model just doesn't work due to a certain slice of users, and they ar

    • Back when I worked for an ISP my boss had a line he used to describe some of the competitors: "It takes no particular talent to sell a dollar for fifty cents."

  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @08:10AM (#51540563)

    The obvious lesson here would be that 4G is really not the technology you want to be using for downloading +15GB/month of data. Currently it is simply incapable of supporting that, so demand has to be throttled one way or another. Cost is as good as any.

    If you have need for that kind of bandwidth on the go, look elsewhere or expect to pay for it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Puls4r ( 724907 )
      Uh, really? Is there something inherent in 4G that somehow limits the total amount of data you can use per month? Or did you MEAN to say that the obvious lesson is that our mobile broadband companies in this country suck? Because the technology has nothing to do with the companies that are screwing folks over. 4G Seems to work for a whole lot less cost in many other places. Don't give me the old infrastructure bullshit either. You plan for huge volumes of data to be used, you make the capital outlay O
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        wireless is somewhat like the old layer 1 and 2 switches in that if one user's netflix stream is broadcasting then everyone else's traffic has to wait. granted the antenna does it very fast but too many people using high bandwidth data will slow the network to a crawl because the one antenna will have to alternate between transmitting everyone else's content and receiving data from end user devices. and that's not even going into the fact that other devices from other carriers on neighboring frequencies are
      • by gsslay ( 807818 )

        I said exactly what I meant to say, but unfortunately I can't make you read it.

        Provision of 4G is a limited resource, just like anything else. Maybe one day 4G will have no problem handling 15GB+ a month for everyone, but currently it can't. If there's any fault to be allocated about that, I don't know. But if you want to live in reality, rather than planet what-should-be, 4G is a poor choice for that volume of data.

    • The obvious lesson here would be that 4G is really not the technology you want to be using for downloading +15GB/month of data.

      I used to have Sprint's WiMax 4G service as my home ISP, same service as Clear/Clearwire but under a different branding. Downloaded on the order of 90GB some months. Worked fine for several years, other than that I was on the very edge of the service area and occasionally dropped signal in bad weather.

      4G can get bits to homes. If an ISP sets out to do that and fails because it ov

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I live in an internet backwater (central London) where my only viable option for broadband is 4G. I'm currently capped at 25GB, which is plenty for non-streaming use. It's actually much more reliable than my old landline ADSL, which would go flaky for months at a time regardless of provider. It's also pretty fast at ~70Mbps down (compared to 2.5Mbps for ADSL). Up speed is decent too at ~20Mbps. Cost is ~$35pcm (23 quid, with EE, monthly contract).

    • Huh? Baseless statement. I've been using my unlimited unthrottled (grandfathered from 5 years ago) plan from Verizon for my only home Internet for 5 years now. I use on average 300gb a month while getting average 25mbps. Don't tell me the 4g technology is the problem. It works great for me. And I cut the cable cord completely so I went from $170/mo to $20/mo and myou Internet works in my truck, in the woods (hunting mapping) etc.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Yeah, it's like satellite when nothing else is available except dial-up. :(

  • The only question that should be asked is why it cost so much.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @09:19AM (#51540775) Homepage

    Honestly you really need to read closer. IS it really they can't afford it or they can't afford it after thinking they need to increase profits by 25%. You really cant believe anything out of the mouths of the executives because they believe they are entitled to record profits and will word it as they are losing money..... losing imaginary money they want.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

      Honestly you really need to read closer. IS it really they can't afford it or they can't afford it after thinking they need to increase profits by 25%. You really cant believe anything out of the mouths of the executives because they believe they are entitled to record profits and will word it as they are losing money..... losing imaginary money they want.

      If I'm on a month-to-month contract and decide that you're not paying me enough, I quit at the end of the month. Whether I'm making or losing money has n

  • 1) promise unlimited something, quickly realize what everyone on earth already knew except for you, that is never going to work. Ever. 2) ??? 3) profit.
  • I saw this as a solution to my rural broadband access woes (no cable, no DSL, AT&T access horrible, Sprint access fantastic). Maybe I could dump my satellite TV and get into the modern world of Netflix, Hulu, and other services, and decrease my AT&T data plan.

    Alas, roughly the time I ordered my Karma the infamous blog post appeared. Just received the gadget yesterday. As I already paid for a month, I'll use my (unlimited) 15 gig before I return it.

    Shame...it's a nice implementation.

  • Karma Wireless: I am throttling the speed once you get past 15GB of data.
    Users: You said the plan was unlimited!
    Karma Wireless: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

  • by pcjunky ( 517872 ) <walterp@cyberstreet.com> on Friday February 19, 2016 @04:01PM (#51543757) Homepage

    I run a WISP in a heavily competitive area with both CenturyLink and Comcast as competitors. We sell a residential service that averages 25Mbps down and 9 up. 250GB per month for $48/per month. We use the cheapest radios available, Ubiquiti.

    I don't understand a WISP who can't make money at a $50/month and 15GB limit plan.

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