Karma, a startup from TechStars NY startup accelerator program, wants to make 4G data more accessible to users even to the point of making it free.
The idea, “social telecom”, is you purchase a Karma hotspot at $69 powered by the Clearwire network. Users then pay $14 per gigabyte of data they use, without monthly fees or minimums. Your hotspot turns into an open Wi-Fi network, allowing strangers that log on with their Facebook accounts to access 100MB of free usage after looking at a profile page about you. In turn, you as the hotspot owner gets credited 100MB credited back to your account. In essence Karma is proposing a Dropbox approach for mobile data.
With just a little under $1 million from various investors, the Amsterdam-based start up is hoping to have 500 hotspots ready to go in New York City for sharing before the end of the year.
So what type of tiered pricing are we talking here? Average smartphone users use 221MB per month, which translates to $3.09 per month on Karma. Compare that to Verizon’s newly announced tiered data plans which start at $50 for 1GB a month. AT&Ts Data Plus provides 200 MB for $15 a month in addition to other commitments.
Karma has met with major providers but hasn’t said whether they’ve made agreements with any carriers other than Clearwire. Here’s hoping.
Sounds like a novel idea and I’m really glad I learned how to share, Thank you Mr. Rogers. Would you buy into Karma’s data sharing plan?