Samba offers free 3G mobile broadband to U.K. iPad owners willing to watch commercials.
Earlier this year, we reported on the plans by NetZero and FreedomPop to offer free 4G mobile broadband in the U.S. over ClearWire’s WiMax network. Both companies planned to operate on a freemium basis where users get a limited amount of data each month and can buy more if they choose.
This week, a company in the U.K. called Samba joined the free broadband bandwagon with a model that’s ad-based and freemium in nature, making it somewhat similar to NetZero’s original business model from the good old days of dial-up service.
NetZero launches freemium contract-free 4G service
NetZero made a name for itself in the late nineties by offering free ad-supported dialup Internet access before turning to a low-cost model (still available for dialup and and basic DSL). NetZero is returning to its free/freemium roots with today’s announcement of a contract-free 4G service. The service offers several tiers of data use with the first one being free beyond purchasing a 4G device.
While intriguing, the free service tier definitely illustrates the “you get what you pay for” addage. Some of the other tiers are attractive, but there are some downsides and, quite frankly, a Verizon 4G iPad may be a much smarter investment in the long run.