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NetZero to launch free wireless broadband service

Remember the 90′s when NetZero was the way to go for free internet? Well, it is almost as if it never left with the return of NetZero’s free Wi-Fi. United Online inc., announced on Monday that it will offer ‘free wireless Internet’ service under its NetZero brand.

And yes, there are some catches with the free plan (you should have seen it coming). In the 90′s NetZero operated with advertisement to offer its free service– we can only imagine how much bandwidth that really ate back then on a phone line — to customers. NetZero’s Wi-Fi will offer a free plan as a way to lure customers with hopes of up-selling them a paying plans starting at $9.95 per month. Another, somewhat, catch is customers interested in NetZero’s Wi-Fi need to purchase a $50 antenna to plug into their laptop — or $100 “mobile hotspot” that allows Wi-Fi equipped devices to connect to the internet.

Free accounts will be limited to a 200Mb data (per month) plan which is perfect for checking email, blogs and our favorite RSS feeds along with moderate internet surfing. Customers on the “free plan” who exceed the data usage will be cut off until next month’s cycle starts — and be prompted to upgrade to one of its paid plans. NetZero will only offer free-plans for up to a year, and will not be able to switch back to free afterwards.

In comparison with AT&T’s Wi-Fi plan, which costs $14.95 and a limit of 250Mb per month, NetZero’s paid plan comes in with better pricing and data usage. NetZero will offer a $9.95 500Mb per month plan, making it cheaper and with more data usage than other popular Wi-Fi plans currently on the market. With a $50 plan, subscribers will get 4Gb data usage per month — making NetZero a great choice in the long run for those who enjoy watching movies and heavy internet surfing from Wi-Fi devices — with a good verity of plans for moderate to heavy usage.

United Online will rent Clearwire Corp.’s network as the company does not have its own broadband network — which is the same network used by Spring Nextel Corp. to provide its Sprint 4G data services. There is, however, one slight problem with the network choice: the broadband technology is based on what most industry companies have bypassed — making compatible devices somewhat limited and signal penetration through buildings/structures more difficult due to the frequency the technology uses.

Clearwire is, however, no longer investing in the older network technology and is raising money for the newer industry standard such as “LTE” technology.

via AP




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