After two stabs at unlimited hotspot data -- which involved severe limits on data speeds, as well as heavy throttling -- Karma is calling it quits. As a replacement, the startup is launching a new series of tiered plans dubbed Pulse, which start at $40 a month for 5GB of data. If you need more data, there's also a 10GB plan for $75 a month, and a 20GB option for $140 a month. Having learned its lesson from extreme restrictions, Karma says it won't be throttling or limiting bandwidth for Pulse plans (expect speeds between 6 megabits per second and 8 Mbps, instead of being stuck at 5 Mbps). You'll also be able to connect up to eight devices, just like Karma's "Refuel" pay-as-you-go plan, rather than being limited to five connections.
"The time isn't right for this service," Karma CEO Steven van Wel wrote in a blog post regarding the cancellation of the Neverstop unlimited plan. "We like to dream big, but this time we went too big. Karma is a young company, and we want to focus on what we can do well. No fine print. No contracts. Seamless access."
All of Karma's existing Neverstop customers will be transitioned over to the Pulse plans, or they can opt for the company's original plans. If you're intrigued by the new offerings, you'll need to pick up the Karma Go hotspot for $149 to get started.
It's a shame that Karma give up on unlimited data, but it's not as if we didn't see this coming. U.S. carriers have proven over the past few years that their business models don't support truly unlimited mobile data. Sprint (which Karma relies on for network access) and T-Mobile only manage to do it now by throttling users who go past certain bandwidth milestones (23GB and 21GB, respectively).