Here’s an enticing offer for students and road warriors: United Online Inc. announced its free wireless Internet service under its NetZero brand. NetZero, which kicked off the dial-up craze all the way back in 1998, is now offering the service ad-free with a 200MB cap per month in 80 markets around the United States; the hope is that the free service will eventually encourage customers into upgrading to paid plans, which start at $9.95/month for 500MB.
To participate, consumers will need to purchase either a $50 NetZero 4G Stick or a $100 NetZero 4G HotSpot. Of course, there are a few catches. The free offer will only last a year, and users who upgrade to a paid plan cannot switch back to the free one. United Online’s network capacity if currently being rented from Clearwire Corp, which also currently licenses its 4G WiMAX network to Sprint.
Customers who opt for NetZero’s new paid broadband initiative aren’t required to sign a contract and can upgrade at any time. For the free offer, users who hit the 200MB cap will get cut off entirely with the option to upgrade, meaning there is no chance for overage charges. Otherwise, data will kick back at the start of the following month.
NetZero’s 4G Mobile Broadband gives customers the option to switch the speed of their service as well, with either LightSpeed (1Mbps max), or WarpSpeed (10Mbps).
[via United Online]