A brief introduction to NetZero
NetZero provides dial-up, accelerated dial-up and DSL connections in the mainland United States. The company is based in Northern California and is a subsidiary of United Online, now owned by B. Riley Financial (who also owns Juno).
The company has been providing internet services to homes since 1998 and was one of the first in offering free internet access to incentivize advertisers with its target marketing abilities. NetZero hence grew fast and went public in a year.
NetZero is renowned for providing some of the best data packages around. They are friendly for constrained budgets. The free plan offered by the company is limited at around 200 MB in a month. Whereas the basic and plus plans are limited at 1 and 2 GB respectively.
There is one problem with NetZero. Its speeds are something that is not phenomenal as it only offers downloading speeds of 10 Mbps and competitors offer more than that. Despite this, it is still considered a very good provider of nice internet services with competitive pricing plans.
When users start using the internet beyond 4GB per month, NetZero eventually becomes expensive when compared to AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, CenturyLink, and others.
The company requires both existing and new users to sign up for its devices. This has proven to be cumbersome because they have to check the device’s compatibility manually.
If they do not have a compatible device, then this one-time cost would become affordable. It becomes affordable in comparison to competitors if there is a monthly rent option.
NetZero claims to offer top-class services – is it true?
The company claims to offer its customers a free mobile broadband data device and package (4G) having a 200 MB bundle which is good for use on a monthly basis. The claim is true, but it has a few catches.
It may not cost as much as what others cost (and it does not charge the monthly access charges as well). The problem is that users are often required to purchase NetZero’s hotspot of mobile broadband regardless of which data plan they sign up for.
NetZero’s hotspot can host multiple devices with relative ease. It also comes in with a one-year warranty. However, it costs around $60 each month with a one-time activation charge of $20. Some users are exempt from purchasing the NetZero hotspot, but only if they have a compatible device.
There is however one issue and that is, the company does not have a list of compatible devices. Users are left at their own mercy to test the IMEI/serial number of each device by themselves just to see if the device connects to NetZero’s network or not.
Also, NetZero’s so-called free plan lasts for just one year. Once the year is complete, users must either cancel their NetZero account (and possibly close it), or upgrade to a paid plan. Regarding this, NetZero is good for temporary use and users should only consider NetZero if they do not have any other options.
Why should users opt for NetZero?
Why should users stay avoid using NetZero?
NetZero’s internet service is not suited for those who have heavy internet usage. Regular users of mobile data may need to consider competing internet service providers in order to experience the first-class internet.
NetZero has been renowned for taking unfair charges from customers and there have been both complaints and incidences of poor customer service. There has been an incident where a customer was kept on hold for more than 11 minutes and the company representative fought with them instead of providing help.
Another incident saw a customer being forced to pay $5 for Norton Antivirus service offered as a counteroffer to prevent customers from cancel their plan. The irate customer also complained about rude behavior from support professionals who not only gave him the cancellation number but also kept his call on hold for 20 minutes and resorted to unsporting language.
The company has also been renowned to badly botch customer cancellations after trial periods. A customer complained that they used a trial period package and when trial period was over, they were told they had never signed up for NetZero. A year later, NetZero emailed them to sign up or their account would be deactivated.
After these incidents, it became clear the company’s customer service representatives were not well trained and the service quality was really bad.