How do you reinvent the mobile provider? That's the question we've been trying to answer for almost a year at Karma. I've thought about it daily at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's been on my mind in the subway, at the dentist, and at the supermarket. Today, thanks to our team, our mentors, and our partners, we can finally show you the answer. Our simple and honest mobile provider has launched, with our mobile hotspot available on our website, right now.

If I had to point out the one thing about Karma that allows us to reinvent the mobile provider, it's that we've never done it before. We don't come from the telecom world, and we don't know the esoteric principles that make it up. But, we do have one great thing going for us: we were born on the web. We were raised online. Just like our customers, we see the world through an internet connection. That changes everything.

For instance, when you're born on the web, you don't expect paying for stuff to be hard. Especially when buying a song on iTunes or a book on Amazon is that easy. As such, a mobile subscription feels weird. Not necessarily because customers have to pay that monthly fee for two years, but more so because of the lack of transparency. I don't even remember what plan I picked out when I signed up for my mobile subscription, but I'm pretty sure the price on my monthly bill is never the same as the one I chose.

On those bills, you only really care about your data. Voice or text don't seem that important anymore as additional services. Consumers that were raised online are choosing Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger over voice and text every day. All you really need then is a data connection that's completely neutral. It's true: information wants to be free.

So how do you buy data in a transparent way? Karma allows you to pay for data as you go. One gigabyte will cost you $14, and that's it. You can take that data with you on our mobile 4G hotspot. The hotspot is something anyone who was born on the web likes. It takes 4G and spits out Wi-Fi, which means you can use it on any device. Tablets, phones, laptops, you name it.

Access to the web isn't limited to one of your devices, and bandwidth shouldn't be either. That's why we use Social Bandwidth, so you can take the data that's in your account and use it on any device you'd like. And, again in true web fashion, you can share it incredibly easy. For Karma that means that your hotspot has an open Wi-Fi signal on it that anyone around you can connect to. When they do, they simply have to log in to get a connection. They bring their own bandwidth, without using yours. You even get rewarded with 100MB for allowing them to do so. Because on the web, good actions can be rewarded. That's karma.

Finally, anyone born on the web wants control. We want to log in and manage stuff ourselves. This is the reason that the first interface we've ever sketched at Karma was our customer dashboard. It took us over 100 versions and a lot of nights trying to design the perfect solution. Something easy and fun to use. The version of our dashboard which we've shipped today allows you to add data to your account with just the push of a button. Or, if you'd like, without a button at all, by turning on auto-recharge. The real fun part of the dashboard though, is how it connects you with others. It shows you the people that have connected to your hotspot, or the people that have shared their hotspot with you. Their pictures are right there, on your dashboard. It's your own community, powered by a Wi-Fi signal.

People born on the web want different things. They prefer simple payment and honest service over complex pricing tables. They'd rather share their experiences than keep it to themselves. And above all else, they want control. So how do you reinvent any industry? Healthcare? Airlines? Real estate? Mobile providers? By putting focus on that kind of customer.


About Dave Ford

That guy who knows more about sports than technology