NetZero burst onto the scene in 1998 as the first in a crop of Internet service providers that gave subscribers free access to the Web using an advertising-supported model. NetZero’s patented ad technology displayed highly targeted ads to users as they browsed the Internet at dial-up speeds, but it was forced into a freemium model when a number of other ISPs began offering free Web access as well. NetZero continues to offer basic paid dial-up and broadband services, but now the company is going back to its roots in an effort to disrupt the wireless industry as it did to the dial-up industry nearly 14 years ago. More →
Cricket will start to test the first installment of its 4G LTE network in Tucson, Arizona, the carrier confirmed in a recent interview with PCMag. Cricket’s vice president of device development, Matt Stoiber, said testing will begin during the second half of this year and that it will use Huawei’s E397 dual-mode USB modem preliminarily. The company has inked a roaming deal with LightSquared and has set a March 2012 target date for the first commercial LTE products to become available for its customers. USB modems will populate Cricket shelves first, followed by 4G LTE phones once the tech has evolved enough to make them cheaper and slimmer with good battery life. PCMag also suggested that Cricket’s next markets could include Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.
Earlier this week T-Mobile announced the Rocket 3.0, a new USB data stick built by ZTE that’s capable of running on T-Mobile’s new upgraded 42Mbps HSPA+ 4G network. As our luck would have it, the friendly FedEx guy just dropped off the Rocket 3.0. T-Mobile’s newly upgraded 42Mbps network is available in new markets 55 markets, as well as in New York City, Orlando, and Las Vegas. In our office we averaged 1.17Mbps on the downlink, and 1.07Mbps on the uplink. That’s slow, and in New York City and that throughput is a far cry from what we get with Verizon’s 4G LTE network — but again, we’re not in the 42Mbps coverage area. However, there are parts of New York City that offer optimal data connections, and we’ll be sure to visit them in our full review. The build design of the device is nearly identical to earlier webConnect Rocket products, and we definitely prefer less bulky MiFi devices to USB sticks. The Rocket 3.0 is available for $99.99 from T-Mobile now with a new two year contract. T-Mobile hopes to cover 150 million people with its 4G network this year. Check out our hands-on gallery and hit the jump to see if you’re in one of T-Mobile’s 42Mbps markets.
Verizon Wireless confirmed that it has more than 500,000 subscribers using its 4G LTE network. The HTC Thunderbolt, which launched as Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone, is responsible for 260,000 of those subscriptions. The wireless carrier said that it added about 500,000 4G LTE customers this quarter in addition to the 65,000 early adopters who signed on in Q4. Big Red will continue to build out its 4G LTE device portfolio in the coming months. In addition to the HTC Thunderbolt and Samsung DROID Charge – announced on Thursday – it has plans to launch 4G support for the XOOM, an LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab, and the Motorola DROID Bionic later this summer. It also currently offers three 4G LTE USB modems and two 4G LTE hotspot devices. More →
If the thought of browsing the internet on your laptop while hurtling down the Trans-Canada Highway at speeds in excess of 90 km/h gets you all excited (while someone else is driving, of course), perhaps it’s time you head on over to your nearest Bell dealer and take a look at the newly released Novatel Wireless U760 USB Modem. Free on a 3-year contract or $174.95 contract-free, the EV-DO Rev. A-capable U760 is meant to be used in conjunction with Bell’s Mobile Internet plans starting at $30 for 500MB and topping out at $85 for up to 5GB. Just a warning, however: if you plan to take a trip south of the border you might want to leave your U760 at home as roaming will set you back $3 per MB.
Patience Virgin Mobile subscribers, patience. Last month we scooped an upcoming mobile broadband offering from Virgin Mobile that is slowly but surely making its way to Best Buy Mobile. Shortly thereafter, we scared up some possible details as far as pricing and data cost are concerned. Well folks, it looks like we might be getting closer to launch time as one of our readers tossed on his mining hat and managed to dig up some dirt. Found camping out on a Best Buy image server, two images of an upcoming Virgin Mobile USB modem sit ready and waiting. We’ve verified their presence on Best Buy’s servers and the item numbers match so you’re indeed looking at what will be VM’s first mobile broadband accessory here in the US. To refresh your memory, Virgin Mobile will supposedly offer both prepaid and postpaid mobile broadband packages and the modem will run $150. Hit the jump for one more shot.
With rumors of a Sprint-bound tri-mode CDMA/WiFi/WiMAX handset gaining traction, we thought it might be a good time to talk about what is as opposed to what could be. Sure, a tri-mode handset would be amazing but without official word from Sprint it’s still just speculation. 3G is so 2000 and late, Sprint is the only carrier with a live 4G network here in the US… So what’s up? Hit the jump for a full assessment of where Sprint 4G is at right now and where it’s confirmed to be going in the near future.
While several other North American carriers are tossing around tales of LTE development and blazing 4G speeds, T-Mobile looks to be preparing its first entry into the realm of 3G USB modems. No matter though, T-Mobile’s 3G network is so young we’d probably fall off our seats if the company started talking about 4G beyond the stock “yeah, we’re working on it” it already handed out last year. According to a purported screen shot of T-Mobile’s internal system, the webConnect USB Laptop Stick will finally see the light of day on March 25th. It will be rated perfectly in line with AT&T and Verizon, running $59.99 per month for 3G, EDGE and HotSpot connectivity with a cellular data cap set at 5 GB. T-Mobile’s software will automatically choose the best available network on the fly which is nice, but if you move around a lot expect to be using one of the latter in most areas. The last caveat is that these modems will only be available to customers already holding a T-Mobile account. We would hardly consider that a big deal of course — if you’re using another carrier for cell service are you really going to opt for a younger, much smaller data network when choosing a USB stick? We love us some T-Mobile, but it still has a long way to go before its 3G network can compete.