Karma has always tried to be a different kind of wireless carrier. It built its name on providing ways for people to purchase ubiquitous access to the internet without having to commit to contracts or monthly plans. Its pay-as-you-go plans let you purchase data in chunks that never expire, letting you potentially use every last megabyte of access purchased. Further, if you were to share your mobile hotspot's access with other people, you'd get rewarded with even more data at no cost. (That's where the whole Karma name comes from.)
Today, the company is announcing a slightly different data plan for its customers, one that's perhaps more familiar to those used to paying for monthly service from a traditional carrier. Called Neverstop, the new plan is a monthly subscription that offers unlimited data at 5Mbps speeds up and down for $50 per month. It uses Sprint's LTE network for access, just like Karma's other plans, and doesn't require a term commitment or contract.
Karma CEO Steven Van Wel said in an interview that the company expects its heaviest users to be the first to adopt the new plan. Prior to Neverstop, a single gigabyte of data from Karma would run at least $10, making the new plan very attractive to anyone using 5GB or more each month. It also provides a predictable way to manage a budget if your usage fluctuates from month to month. It works with the same $150 Karma Go hotspot as Karma's other pay-as-you-go options.
Neverstop plans have no usage limit and no throttling
Van Wel is quick to note that Neverstop is not going to be marketed as an "unlimited" plan, simply because of the confusion around the term that's arisen thanks to deceptive marketing practices from other carriers. (Sprint's recent $20 per month unlimited plan is a prime example of this.) Neverstop plans will never run out of data, nor will they be throttled to a slower than 5Mbps speed. Van Wel says the speed limit was chosen based on the average speeds of Karma's other plans and that it's fast enough to stream video and download files, but it's not intended for 4K video or online gaming purposes. Karma hotspots on the Neverstop plan will be limited to three simultaneous connections, which is less than the eight connections supported by the pay-as-you-go plans. Van Wel says that future Neverstop plans may offer faster speeds or more simultaneous connections at a higher per-month cost.
Since Neverstop plans have no limit on how much data you can use, Karma has tweaked its sharing rewards for them. Instead of earning 100MB of data each time they share their connection, Neverstop users will simply get a $1 bill credit.
Sharing your connection with a stranger earns a $1 bill credit each time
Neverstop won't be the most popular plan in Karma's lineup — Van Wel expects most customers to still choose the pay as you go plans — but it does provide an option for those that have shown an interest in Karma's offerings, but might have stayed away because of its untraditional plan structure. And if you're a data hog on a budget, it might be the most compelling option around.