Karma HotSpot: Mostly Useless June 21, 2013
Very poor coverage
I've been using a Karma hotspot for the last few months. Or more accurately, trying to use a Karma in a lot of places.
In New York City, the Karma had sufficiently reasonable coverage that it was useable.
I have not found a place where the Karma is useful in the Bay Area. Yes, outdoors in Union Square in San Francisco, there's coverage. But go into a building… and there's no coverage. There's a tad-bit of coverage at the end of Judah Street near ocean beach… but the coverage comes and goes. I have not found anywhere else that the Karma has any coverage in the Bay Area.
I'm currently sitting outside in a park a block of Telegraph Ave in Berkeley and there's no Karma coverage. The Karma Coverage Map is completely inaccurate. I have tried to use the Karma in many of the green areas and there's no coverage.
Junk for customer service
When I was having initial problems with the Karma coverage, I asked the Karma customer service folks for a refund. They said they'd send me an RMA. They never did. I guess the Karma RMA is like their coverage map… there's a big difference between what they say and reality.
TMobile is a better deal
You can get all kinds of deals from TMobile including a $3/day 200MB plan and a $30/month 2GB plan. So, buy a SIM from TMobile, buy an unlocked hotspot and you'll have better coverage, similar pricing, and better coverage. Me… I mostly use my phone as a tether.