NetZero launched service on the Sprint 3G EVDO network today. Up to now NetZero only provided mobile broadband on Sprint's 4G WiMAX network. NetZero expects to begin offering Sprint LTE service in the third quarter of 2014 which is a good thing as Sprint plans to shut down the WiMAX network sometime in 2015.
NetZero also announced today that it won't be offering service on the Verizon network after all. In August, NetZero said that it had signed a three year agreement with Verizon to resell Verizon 3G mobile broadband, but that deal has been canceled.
Pricing for NetZero's 3G service is as follows:
200 MB/month - free for the first 12 months, not renewable
500 MB/month for $9.95
1 GB/month for $19.95
2 GB/month for $34.95
4 GB/month for $49.95.
Those prices are similar to NetZero's WiMAX plans but the $19.95 and higher plans only include half as much data as the WiMax plans at each price point.
To go along with the 3G service, NetZero will be selling a mobile hotspot for $99.95. For a limited time the hotspot is available at half price for customers who sign up for a $19.95 or higher plan. NetZero is vague about the capabilities of the hotspot. FierceWireless says it's a NetGear device, but based on its picture, it looks more like the venerable Novatel MiFi 2200, a 3G only device.
It looks like you can only sign up for NetZero 3G service in areas where there is no WiMAX coverage. On the NetZero site if you enter a zipcode like 94103 that has both WiMAX and 3G service, the site only shows WiMAX plans and devices. To see the 3G plans you need to enter a zip such as 93401 that doesn't have WiMAX.
Sprint's 3G network provides much greater coverage that WiMAX which is limited to just 80 cities. That should help NetZero to expand its user base. Pricing is fairly competitive although fellow Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is a better deal at most price points and offers LTE and devices that support both 3G and WiMax and 3G and LTE. See US Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans Compared for details of all provider's mobile broadband offers.
For More information see this press release and this FierceWireless story