“Free” Public WiFi with WiMAX Backhaul

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Wireless startup Karma is offering a hotspot that accesses Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX network but allows users to open it up to the public, says Fierce Wireless.

According to The Verge, users pay $69 to buy a mobile hotspot and then pay $14 per GB of data. The hotspot is then opened up to the public. When a new user joins, that user is taken to a page where public users can then sign in with their Facebook account to get 100 MB of free browsing.

For every new user who signs in, the owner of the hotspot also gets 100 MB of free data. Karma calls the scheme “social telecom.” Karma, no doubt, will use the Facebook info to target ads to the user.

Clear’s WiMax, which is being phased out by Clear for TD-LTE next year, is being used by several companies for innovative data sharing:

Clearwire is expected to turn off their WiMax network in a couple of years. Clearwire covers about 130 million people in the United States. Clearwire intends to have its first wave of TD-LTE 5,000 cell sites up and running by June 2013. Huawei’s mobile hotspot, for example, is compatible with TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, UMTS and GSM and can connect 10 Wi-Fi devices through a TD-LTE connection. Sprint hopes to initiate FD-LTE later this year using their still unused “G Block” on the AWS band (1.7/2.1 GHz).

Municipal WiFi networks failed because they were generally too expensive and unreliable. City-wide WiFi coverage could cost more than $100K per square mile, requiring transmitters (and mesh networking) on nearly every block. Longer range cellular and WiMax networks could actually provide city-wide coverage for less capex and maintenance costs.

WiFi hot zones in parks, coffee shops or bus shelters are still compelling – and may be getting more so. Lower costs and higher ad revenues are two reasons. There’s a point where it probably makes good economic sense.

If bus shelters can generate $20-$50/month in ad revenue for smartphones and tablets, then “free”, solar-powered, citywide hotzones might be worth another look.

Global internet advertising expenditures will rise about 31.5% between 2011 and 2013, according to a July 2011 forecast from Zenith Optimedia. Internet ad spending is expected to total about $72.18 billion USD this year, and reach $94.97 billion in 2013.

Related Dailywireless articles include; FreedomPop: Now 500MB free/month, Sprint Brings WiMAX to Virgin and Boost Mobile, NetZero: Free WiMAX Service, Banner Ads: Google’s Next Thrust?, Free WiFi with Video Ads Expands, Free Push-To-Talk from Wave, Internet Ad Revenue Up 23%

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 8:25 am .

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