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Karma, the shareable hotspot, finally supports private networks

Only a few months after killing unlimited data and rolling out new subscription plans, Karma is now ready to offer its customers a long requested feature: private networks. The company made a name for itself with shareable hotspots, which always broadcast publicly and allow anyone with a Karma network to hop on. Now, it’s finally giving you more control over your hotspot network. The only catch? It’s a part of the company’s new premium features, which are an additional fee on top of its existing data plans.

Customers on Karma’s pay-as-you-go Refuel plan ($15 per gigabyte) will have to pay $15 a month for premium features, while it’ll cost people using its Pulse subscription plans (starting at $40 a month for 5GB) an additional $5 a month. Refuel users can try out the premium features for $10 for their first month, while Pulse members will get it free for one month. And if you’re just getting started, you’ll have to pick up the company’s $149 Karma Go hotspot as well.

Karma’s private network feature works just like any other hotspot: It’ll let you secure your network with a password, allowing only the people you want to join in. Naturally, you’ll be able to change the name of your hotspot, and you can even add emojis to the name (something not every hotspot and router supports). Another plus to having a private Karma network? You can actually connect other devices that don’t have web browsers (think set-top boxes, wearables and the like).

Of course, with a private network you won’t be able to take advantage of the free credit Karma offers when people connect to your open network. Currently, Refuel customers get an extra 100MB of data whenever someone else connects to their hotspot, and Pulse members get $1 off their next bill. It’s a shame to see Karma back away from its core concept, but it also makes sense. Sometimes you just need to have more control.

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Devindra Hardawar


  • Avoid this company. They are the worst kind of scam. First they pulled a bait & switch (changed service mid-contract), then they convinced anyone who didn’t like it to mail them back the hotspot for a full refund. Conveniently, they never provided the refunds. You won’t see complaints on their Facebook as they remove even polite questions about the event. They report your tweets to Twitter if you try to call them on it as well. Check /r/yourKarma on Reddit for more stories.

    If this comment gets posted, I expect that they will write a strong letter to Engadget as well. I hope that Engadget has the right values and allows this comment to remain in place.

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