Karma is an interesting "social" concept. At its roots, Karma is a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot service where users purchase the hotspot device and then pay for data in bulk. Most wireless carriers have these types of plans, but what seems to make Karma stand out is that users can rack in free data by sharing their Wi-Fi connection with friends and family. You get an additional 100 MB for each person, and their connection doesn't count against your data package.
In a way, Karma is in the same league as FreedomPop, which grants free data for everyone who you sign up. Hotspot options include the purchase of a device and 1 GB of data for $99, the device and 7 GB for $149 and the device and 20 GB for $279. The same hotspot device is sold across all three plans, and an additional 1 GB of data is $14. Data also doesn't expire, so don't think you'll be pulled into a fake monthly plan.
The company said on Wednesday that it has expanded into the Sprint 4G LTE network, adding more than 230 cities across the country. The company's LTE-based device is expected to launch in the first half of 2014; the current 4G hotspot runs on WiMAX technology, is available for use in over 80 cities right now, and will remain as a cheaper, cost-effective option when the new model arrives.
"This expansion furthers Karma's commitment to bring WiFi Made for Sharing to the masses, allowing users to pay it forward by earning free data every time they share their connection," said Steven van Wel, CEO of Karma. "Karma has remained focused on delivering wider coverage to our customers. We are bringing on a world-class LTE network to expand capacity, keep up with demand and make it even easier to stay connected on-the-go, for less."
Given this network is growing, Karma isn't available in all cities. Covered areas include Los Angeles, Denver, Hartford, Miami, Honolulu, Boise, Raleigh, New York City, Las Vegas and a long list of others. Naturally, as the network spreads into Sprint territory, this number will grow. Through its MVNO enablement technology platform, Simplexity will provide Karma with access to Sprint's 4G LTE network, the press release reveals.
"Karma's unique shared WiFi model delivers a compelling value to the marketplace when coupled with Sprint's next-generation 4G LTE network," said Karen Freitag, Vice President, Global Sales, Sprint. "The ability to share Internet on-the-go amongst peers garners greater access overall and acts as the future of connectivity."
Steven van Wel told VentureBeat that one year after launching Karma, he's discovered that people are more than willing to pay for data if you give them honest pricing, a simple solution, and are incredibly transparent with customers. The company just reached 50,000 users and has provided around 10,000 GB worth of free data. Karma hotspot devices have also been on for more than 25,000 days combined, he said.
For more information about Karma, head here.