NetZero Returns From Oblivion To Offer Free Wi-Fi Service For One Year

Remember NetZero? Back in the day, and by that we mean the 1990s, they wooed customers with free dial-up service. And now, after some time lying low in the Internet game, the company is coming back with an offer for one year of wireless broadband service with no contract.

Contracts are so annoyingly binding, which is why NetZero is trying to lure in customers with its super low price for Wi-Fi, says USA Today. Cheap or prepaid plans give consumers another choice beyond the major wireless carriers.

The no-contract plans for laptop and tablet owners will come in several pricing tiers from NetZero. The “free” plan only lasts for a year, and includes a $50 fee for a wireless USB card, and up to 200 megabytes per month. That’s just enough for email and surfing the webbernets, but not good enough for video streaming.

Up from there is a $100 “mobile hot spot” that allows for up to eight Wi-Fi devices to connect to the Internet, and up to 200 MB of data per month. If you go over, the gates come down and you have no service until the next month, with convenient messages suggesting you up your plan.

It’s basically all a tease to get you to sign on for bigger and better things, data-wise, but for some Internet users, it could be a perfect, if not temporary, fit.

NetZero offers free Wi-Fi ‘teaser’ service for 1 year [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Juno email anyone ? (free)

  2. GTB says:

    Netzero returns with useless, ultra-restrictive plans, mislabeled as “free,”

    *golf clap*

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      How are they useless or ultra-restrictive? Sure, if you want to do a lot of streaming, this won’t help, but if you travel on occasion and want to check email, surf the web a bit, etc., 200MB/month will work just fine.

      • GTB says:

        200MB is exactly enough to check email and nothing else. You might be able to browse the web for an hour… maybe. Longer if you disable images in your browser, I suppose, or only use the mobile version of websites.

        So yeah. Useless.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          Not hardly. Consumerist homepage is

          Just because something doesn’t meet YOUR needs, doesn’t mean it’s “useless.”

          • NeverLetMeDown says:

            Consumerist homepage doesn’t like less than signs, it seems.

            Let me try this again:

            Not hardly. Consumerist homepage is under 100kb. You’d need to surf at less than 2 seconds a page to use 200MB in an hour.

            Just because something doesn’t meet YOUR needs, doesn’t mean it’s “useless.”

    • Brian Cooks says:

      It’s clear without the unlimited……..I see clear got rid of their plans that had roaming 3g as well. What a pitty….

  3. framitz says:

    This truly sounds like a crap service. I hope it is rare that anyone has to resort to this crap to get internet access.

  4. scoutermac says:

    The way things are going with Sprint this won’t be an option for long.

    “NetZero doesn’t operate its own wireless network but will rent it from Clearwire, which also serves Sprint Nextel.” – Source:

    • kethryvis says:

      From the article:

      “The risk they could go bankrupt has gone up but that‚Äôs a very very low risk,‚Äù said Pacific Crest analyst Steve Clement.

      The article also states in several places that no one is expecting a Sprint bankruptcy anytime soon, and only one analyst is anywhere close to predicting that.

      It pays to read the articles to the end.

      In a related story, if it’s the same wireless network that Sprint uses, man this NetZero is going to suck more than advertised. i have Sprint and the unlimited data is practically worthless. i can sit at a table with friends on different networks, all of us try to load the same page and mine is nowhere near loading, when everyone else is already reading the page. i haven’t had data this slow since my 56k days.

      • cowboyesfan says:

        It’s the same network as CLEAR. Sprint owns about 50% and Google just sold their investment.

        $34.99 for 1.5gig down, no contract, no data cap.

        Nice deal.

  5. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    So – you can pay $50 for 200 megabytes per month, or you can pay $100 for 200 megabytes per month? The only difference is you can have multiple devices using the data at the same time. Hmmm…

    • scoutermac says:

      Either way Virgin Mobile has a better plan. And yes this is also Sprint.

      • jeb says:

        How so? Virgin Mobile offers no free plan, and the data limit is lower (and have less time to use it in) than these plans do.

        Would I ever use this for my primary internet connection? No. But traveling, it seems like a good option versus hotel wi-fi, unreliable bus wi-fi, and the like.

        • scoutermac says:

          Virgin mobile offers $10/10days 100MB, $20/month for 500MB, and $50/month for Unlimited (3G speeds for up to first 2.5GB)

          You can also go to Kroger and get a USB card that is $10/month for 2GB

          • jeb says:

            What card is $10 for 2GB? There’s no Kroger around here, and I can’t find anything about it on Google.

            • SBR249 says:


              It’s a Kroger subsidiary apparently

              • jeb says:

                Okay. Unfortunately you have to have cell phone service through them in order to get the $10 add on for a wi-fi hotspot.

                I still see the NetZero plan as good for infrequent to semi-frequent travelers that may not need data everywhere, but would like to have access to their email or what not when they do travel.

    • sparrowmint says:

      Not exactly. You can’t plug the $50 USB modem into an iPad or iPod touch or several similar things. If you’re wanting mobile internet mainly for devices like that, the “up to 8 devices” is a secondary issue.

  6. Hi_Hello says:

    it’s a neat idea… 10 bucks for 500mb

    It would be awesome if they over free unlimited low speed wifi with advertisement for 10 bucks a month.

  7. DanKelley98 says:

    200mb? That’s it? Jeez, for the price of a cup of coffee, I can get unlimited data with a local coffee shop’s wi-fi….

  8. Thassodar says:

    Aww I was hoping for a un-close-able banner at the top that changes ads and hogs all your RAM. My teenage memories are ruined!

  9. Cat says:

    Just don’t.

    They were the last dial-up provider I had. Getting through to cancel was an hour wait. And they never did succeed in canceling it, they just kept billing my cc, I’d call, wait 30 mins to 1 hour, they tell me it’s cancelled, call my CC company and dispute the charge – repeat every month.

    Until I changed my payment method to PayPal. They kept billing it for months, but there was no money in the account. Finally they gave up.

  10. mtwmtw says:

    Heh, I still have a Netzero email account I use as a throwaway.

  11. Gardius says:

    I still have Netzero Free Dial-Up for power outages. I keep my old laptop fully charged (it has a modem, my new one doesn’t) and when the power goes out during a storm, I can get updates online (even if it is slow as molasses). This seems like a pretty good deal. If I am reading this correctly, you are paying $50/year for 200MB/month, correct? So it equates to $4.17/month or $0.02/MB. That’s pretty good compared to mobile carriers, at least here in Canada.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      No, it’s $50 for the hardware and the service is free the first year. It’s at least 10/mo after that.

      And a cheap UPS will power your cable modem/DSL/whatever and wifi router for a really long time. I can’t imagine using dialup for a power outage.

  12. Yankees368 says:

    This isn’t Wi-Fi. This is clearwires Wi-Max service. Much different than wi-fi.

  13. samonela says:

    Prodigy or GTFO!

  14. Shine-runner says:

    NetZero 4G Stick‚Ñ¢
    (One time charge)
    $49.95Shipping & Handling$19.95Sales Tax$0.00

    Today’s Total$69.90

    They must include a brick in the box for shipping to be that much. I always looked at handling as a rip off.

    • Cat says:

      I want to go into the “Handling” business.

      [picks up package and holds it] “That’ll be $19.95, please!”

  15. DrRonster says:

    I discovered that when I set my T-Mobile Windows phone to an unlimited hotspot that it disconnects from the wifi and uses the cellular connection. The hotspot is included in my plan but is throttled down over 2GB. I’m only 5 days into my current month and am at 1800 MB. The phone’s hotspot has encryption (WEP?) making it more secure than free wifi. I’ll be plugging my phone into my 10″/2lb netbook by USB and when in the car will be using an inverter (DC-AC) and at airports, the wall outlet. The $200 ASUS netbook is now loaded with Windows 7 Pro X86, Office Plus 2010, MapPoint 2011 and can last 2hrs unplugged with full power settings and has 3 USB ports as well as an SD slot. I swapped out the 1GB DDR3 module with a 2GB unit specific module from for $14.

  16. Harold Kint says:

    Netzero. Fine if you don’t care about privacy or heinous advertising.