United Online (NASDAQ:UNTD) launched on Monday a free 4G wireless service that it hopes will lure in customers to its high-end plans.
United Online subsidiary NetZero Wireless says it will provide the free mobile broadband for personal use on laptops, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products and other tablets and netbooks anywhere within its coverage area.
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The company hopes the free service attracts consumers to its data plans starting at $9.95. While NetZero did not say how much data each plan provides per month, more data is given to pricier plans. If customers run out, they won’t face overage charges but will be invited to pay for an upgrade.
Customers need to purchase either the NetZero 4G HotSpot, which supports up to eight WiFi enabled devices at the same time at a 150-foot range, for $99.95, or the NetZero 4G Stick for $49.95.
The company describes the service as one that allows customers to create “their own personal Internet connections without being tied to unsecure public hotspots at places like coffee shops, airports and hotels.”
“Our service gives customers the freedom to take the Internet anywhere in our coverage area, without being tied to public Wi-Fi service or having to purchase higher-cost, sometimes multi-year plans offered by other mobile broadband providers,” United Online CEO Mark Goldston said in a statement.
NetZero says the service, which launched in more than 80 cities across the country on Monday, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Miami, is protected and private.
It competes with the more traditional contract plans offered by telecom giants including AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).