updated 05:39 pm EDT, Thu June 14, 2012
Hotspots grant public access and give owners credit
Startup company Karma is creating a service offering pay-as-you-go 4G wireless hotspots with a social element. The unit will charge by the gigabyte, but in a move similar to Fon, will be open to public use, according to The Verge. Users without an account accessing it gets 100mb of free service and also credits the hotspot owner by an equal amount.
The TechStars NY startup offers small 4G hotspot units to its users for $70 excluding data, and will charge in advance a further $14 per gigabyte of usage.. The contract-less hotspot would likely appeal to occasional internet users that do not need nor afford a contract version.
The hotspot is automatically open to public use with other Karma account holders accessing and using their data allowance as normal, but non-customers can access as well. The public can log in with their Facebook account and have 100mb of usage for no charge, which in turn gives the account holder that owns the hotspot an extra 100mb to use.
Currently, Karma runs through the Clearwire network, providing WiMax 4G to 80 cities in the US, however there have been talks with larger carriers about adopting the service. Karma is to first be released in New York at the end of the year, with 500 hotspots being issued to interested parties.