Karma, the makers of the pay-as-you-go LTE mobile hotspot that began shipping earlier this summer, announced today a new type of data plan meant to appeal to those who more regularly use their device. Instead of topping off data as you need it, the new “Neverstop” plan will instead offer users unlimited data for $50 per month. The plan is still available without a contract, however.
The company says that it decided to release this additional option as it has seen users increasing their data usage over the years. But it’s not meant to serve as a replacement for its older, pay-as-you-go plan, now dubbed “Refuel.” Users can choose which one is right for them.
In addition, you can switch in between the two plans at any time. To do so, you can simply cancel your Neverstop subscription in the Karma mobile app and you’ll be automatically switched over to Refuel at the end of your most recent payment period.
The new plan makes sense for those who more regularly travel or who work outside the home, and are used to paying monthly for a mobile hotspot, or who don’t want the hassle of having to constantly top up their device.
Both plans take advantage of Sprint’s LTE network, as before. Plus, Neverstop allows up to three devices to access unlimited data at 5 Mbps. That is, your download and upload speeds will max out at 5 Mbps. So it’s unlimited data, but with a small catch. However, the company explains that’s enough to do most online tasks, including streaming music and video, but downloading large files will be slower on Neverstop than on Refuel.
Meanwhile, Karma’s clever “sharing” feature is not going away. This is the feature that rewards you with more data for sharing your connection. You’ll still get 100 MB of free data whenever you share your connection on Refuel, says Karma, but now you’ll receive a $1 credit when you share your Neverstop connection. That credit can be put toward your bill on Neverstop, or can be used to buy more data if you drop down to Refuel. Or you can use it toward the purchase of another Karma device.
Neverstop is launching over the next few days in the Karma iOS and Android apps, when the updated versions of the apps hit the app stores.
Karma has been around for a few years now and is backed by $7.66 million in outside funding, according to CrunchBase. (It more recently added $1.25 million in venture funding, and $2.86 million in debt financing, based on SEC filings that popped up this October. Karma says the new investment is from Formation 8’s hardware fund.)
The company’s older devices ran on Clearwire’s data network (aka Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network), but Karma later announced a new, LTE-powered Wi-Fi hotspot that runs on Sprint’s Nationwide 4G LTE network, with fallback to 3G CDMA. This newer devices, which began rolling out a few months ago, are perfect for travelers. The $149 device easily fits in a purse, pocket or bag at 2.9″ x 2.9″ x 0.47″. It offers up to 220 hours of battery life in standby mode, or five hours during use.