DataJack launches USB modem with $40/month unlimited 3G data plans

If you want a USB modem that will provide mobile broadband access in the US, you’ll usually have to sign up for a 2 year contract and commit to paying $60 per month for up to 5GB of data transfers. Or, you can sign up for a new DataJack modem which costs about $100 up front and $40 per month thereafter for unlimited data. Oh yeah, and there’s no contract, so you could use the service for a month or two, cancel it, and then sign up again half a year later.

On paper, DataJack has me second guessing my recent decision to pick up a CLEAR WiMAX modem. That’s especially true since while my mobile WiMAX modem works great, the home modem isn’t as fast as the DSL service I was hoping to replace, so I’m thinking of canceling the home service which means I’d end up paying as much as $45/month for WiMAX service that only works in a handful of cities when I could be paying $40/month for 3G service that is available nationwide.

But this time I think I’ll try not to be the early adopter and wait to see how well the service works for others before signing up.

via Chip Chick

  • HP

    Before anybody gets too excited, do yourself a favor and click the “About Us” on the bottom of the page, then Google on the parent company.

  • http://www.netbookfreaks.com/ Jonas

    Any word if this is really unlimited, or more of the telco 5 gb that somehow passes for “unlimited.”

  • NAMO

    Did that, nothing weird noted. Am I missing something?

  • HP

    No? Then you're the perfect candidate to sign up! :)

    Holy cow… someone was invoking PT Barnum a couple of blog posts back. Make that a double scoop, pleeze.

    Succinctly, yes. Quite a bit. Even if you don't know anything about OTC-traded companies, at least check on Quamtel, then WQN.

  • HP

    Why don't you call the toll-free number and ask?

    While you're at it, ask them where the bandwidth comes from?

    :)

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  • mlabrow

    From the ToS and coverage map it looks like they're a Verizon reseller. I'll have to confirm that though.

  • mlabrow

    Could you please cite your sources? I've done searches on WQN, Attomic Guppy Inc, and Quamtel and come up with nothing that would justify the level of derision you have for this company.

    They were a card reseller, specializing in international calls. They're silver rated with the BBB, which isn't great, but… They're not listed as crammers or slammers. And their VoIP offering, from what I can tell, isn't beloved but isn't hated either. It looks like they're buying service off of Verizon and reselling it, at a reduced rate, like a number of companies have already done in the cell side of the industry. What do you know that I can't find? Please share.

  • HP

    Conducting due diligence would require more than simple Google searches, but we'll just go with Google 101 and fortify it with some common sense and see what we get:

    DataJack's OTC symbol is QUMI.OB. You can read their first and only 10Q here:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/e/091116/qumi.ob10-q.html

    WQN is a VOIP reseller…”A substantial portion of WQN's revenue is derived from the sale of prepaid service to customers calling from the United States to India.”

    For the 3-month period ending 9/30/09, their gross rev is roughly $500K, compared to roughly $900K for prev year period. They have a net loss of about $1.5 million. Some of this is due to one-time expenses of forming a new company (Quamtel), and some is due to “increased competition.”

    There are more financial nuggets if one wants to read further. Suffice it to say, they are an OTC company, they aren't making money, and now they've just formed a new company to resell 3G bandwidth, at a cost lower than the telco's for “unlimited” use.

    Hey, if none of these pop up any red flags for ya'all, then count me in with PT Barney bloke.

    A little more?

    According to Yahoo Finance, Quamtel do not exist until 9/09. The website, quamtel.com, is not functional. The quamtel.net domain is still up for grabs.

    From here,

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/200912290

    they hired their first PR rep yesterday.

    Hey, sounds like a boomin' biz, eh? B-but, they have a nice looking web site! With prices and everything! And even a coverage map!

  • mlabrow

    Correct, before that date they were Atomic Guppy Inc, which merged with WQN, to form the new holding company which owns DataJack Inc.

    I'm following all that, and everything you've stated, I saw doing Google Searches. If you look at Atomic Guppy, they're actually increasing there share price quite a bit. They are currently at 2.64 per share. The last major purchase transaction on the OTC:BB before the merger, and the 10 to 1 reverse split was at twenty cents a share, which works out to a current share value of two dollars even. The last major sales they've had were in job lots of five hundred thousand (fifty thousand of the current shares) by what appears to be an individual person, who sold at twenty five cents per share ($2.50 post split), at what was the hight light of Atomic Guppy Inc's final year (Q3 09), when the company ONLY hemorrhaged eight cents per share, there best record in five quarters.

    So they're fiscally unsound. Gotcha, point taken. If this doesn't work out for them they'll have to merge with someone else, and move on to something else, or go under. Looking at the corporate history, I'm guessing the former.

    That's not really the issue I have. The issue I have is what you call the PT Barnum act of buying wholesale blocks on carriers, and reselling it for less than the carrier will.

    The name for what they're doing in the Telecom world, is selling service as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MNVO). The largest MVNO in the world is Virgin Wireless UK, who resells T-Mobile service for LESS than T-Mobile charges, I'll link Wikipedia since it's fairly accurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_net
    There are a LOT of companies who do this internationally, they buy minutes, wholesale, and resell them, but it's failed to take off here, and I'll leave you to speculate why, but as a hint, I wouldn't argue that it's because the model doesn't make sense.

    In the US the FTC governs the relationships between a MVNO and an MNO (standard Mobile Network Operator, i.e. Sprint or Verizon), and it appears that DataJack Inc, has in fact filed their Form 4 for a Section 214 license to resell data. So they're legit there. This means that they possess a block of service which will last at least one year. If the company should fold, the MNO, which I believe is Verizon (but I've been unable to confirm this the only other option is Sprint from what I can see), would then be obligated to continuing providing service until the wholesale block is expired, at which time you would either have to sign with them, or move to a different provider using similar technologies… Again Sprint or Verizon, since it looks like the Modem is CDMA, although it can get data off Edge 2.5 networks so you could probably go to Cricket as well… This however is ALL GUESSWORK, I can't confirm any of this until at least tomorrow, if I have time, and the energy to do so, so for all I know they're using GSM.

    So yeah, it's a gamble, this is a brand new startup, based on a company with a proven track record of loosing money by steadily moving up the MVNO ladder, first by selling prepaid cards, then reselling VoIP (as Rocket VoIP btw, not a nobody, although they do have a history of having hidden bandwidth limits), and now by reselling wireless data. They are apparently following the same model that Virgin Mobile USA is following, only they have Sprint as their MNO.

    My speculation is that Verizon gave these guys, (and I'm guessing there will be a ton more of them) sweet heart deals on bandwidth to get people who would be interested in this kind of thing, locked up ahead of the Virgin Mobile deal, which only cleared the FTC two months ago. That is a WAG though.

    We'll have to see how it works out. They'll be at CES, maybe someone who is going, should swing buy and talk to them before we rush to judgement. Based on my own research I'd be hesitant to try them, and I'd make DAMN sure that I could use the modem on another MVNO or MNO network if they failed to provide service.

    But the thing is, that I personally think the business model they're using, is more credible than you're making it sound. We can continue to quibble on the company though, they're definitely fair game.

  • HP

    In online quibbles, I fully understand it's easy to take the other's words out of context. Still, I have to ask you to not put words in my mouth. No where did I say that this outfit is a fraud, nor that their business model isn't credible.

    You don't have to know much about business or business models to understand that a company that just pop up pretty much overnight, with a track record of losing money, isn't one to rely on for something as critical as your communication needs, not when you're paying $140 up front, and $40/month.

    That, and any modicum of common sense should tell you that reselling “unlimited 3G data” for substantially less than the telco, at a time when the telcos' 3G networks themselves are straining under the load of just the smartphones' 5GB/month requirement alone. That USB modem is to be hooked up to a computer, and a heavy PC user can burn through 5GB in a day. The phrase “too good to be true” should set up the biggest red flag of all. But may be you're the adventurous type with some cash to burn, eh?

    The PT Barnum reference is actually about the suckers, not about the con man.

  • RedsGT

    If you look at their coverage map, it matches T-Mobile'ss exactly.

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  • http://moremobileinternet.com/ Steve

    This is a GSM service…not Verizon, people. They refer to EDGE in the FAQs and, if you look at the map, the only actual 3G coverage is Yellow… not much at all, just like AT&T. Also, since it says “The Data Jack rides the Fastest Growing AWS 3G Broadband Network” That means it is on AT&Ts network. AWS = AT&T. Datajack is promising a lot when they say you can do VOIP, and video confrencing and anything else. Yes, you CAN do it..but how good will it sound? Big difference.

  • oryoki

    The USB data modem appears to be the Option Icon 452:
    http://www.option.com/en/products/products/usb-

    The 452 is available from a few USA resellers for more than $150,
    so the Datajack.com offer of $99 for the hardware looks attractive.

    It also appears that you can try the service for 14 days with minimal
    risk:

    “If you are not happy with your DataJack for any reason, you can return it within 14 days of purchase. To receive a full refund for the equipment (minus a $15.00 restocking fee), the DataJack must be in the original package and must not be damaged.”

  • http://liliputing.com/ Mikez

    Lucky post 13.
    Written by one of the founders of the very first communications reseller in the USA.
    (Yeah, before that, I had an honest job.) ;)

    Just a couple of points come through to me from the viewpoint of past experience…

    * I would not buy stock in the company, even if they gave it to me. ;)
    * It is possible to make a honest and ethical business in this field,
    but these people's past behavior does not inspire any great confidence here.
    * You can't tell if they have a practical business plan from the outside numbers.
    Sometimes you can't tell that looking at the internal, financial planning, spreadsheet back in the office. ;)
    These people's track record suggest _not_, but you can't tell from here.

    The public service pricings have no connection with reality -

    Saying: “These are selling the same thing for less than Those” is just
    arguing about which side of Alice's mirror your looking at. ;)

  • AnalyzeThis

    Thats a native TMobile coverage map.

  • andy

    How about the VoIP brands? Did you find anything about those, like Voip Inc closing down with debts in millions, then WQN somehow emerging? Your Verizon guess would be unlikely against that context.

  • Johnny

    Data Jack Seems To Be A Fraud. There has not been any activity or response from their company or customer service and they supposedly have been “out of stock temporarily” for the last two months. Maybe they bit off more than they can chew or they don't know what they are doing. I knew this sounded too good to be true. Check out their website and see what I am talking about. http://www.datajack.com.

  • Gardoglee

    Other information (please don't ask me to list each of the dozens individually) indicates that Datajack did have a contract to resell T-Mobile, not Verizon. However, the hangup seems to be that they had a falling out with T-Mobile shortly after beginning their service, and T-Mobile pulled their authority to sign any new customers. T-Mobile is honoring existing customers and continuing service for the time being, but will not activate any new subscribers sold by Datajack. Hence one can interporet the “out-of-stock” notice as a cover for the real problem, which is “looking for another carrier”. All of which is depressing.

  • Gardoglee

    Other information (please don't ask me to list each of the dozens individually) indicates that Datajack did have a contract to resell T-Mobile, not Verizon. However, the hangup seems to be that they had a falling out with T-Mobile shortly after beginning their service, and T-Mobile pulled their authority to sign any new customers. T-Mobile is honoring existing customers and continuing service for the time being, but will not activate any new subscribers sold by Datajack. Hence one can interporet the “out-of-stock” notice as a cover for the real problem, which is “looking for another carrier”. All of which is depressing.

  • Gardoglee

    Other information (please don't ask me to list each of the dozens individually) indicates that Datajack did have a contract to resell T-Mobile, not Verizon. However, the hangup seems to be that they had a falling out with T-Mobile shortly after beginning their service, and T-Mobile pulled their authority to sign any new customers. T-Mobile is honoring existing customers and continuing service for the time being, but will not activate any new subscribers sold by Datajack. Hence one can interporet the “out-of-stock” notice as a cover for the real problem, which is “looking for another carrier”. All of which is depressing.

  • Gardoglee

    Other information (please don't ask me to list each of the dozens individually) indicates that Datajack did have a contract to resell T-Mobile, not Verizon. However, the hangup seems to be that they had a falling out with T-Mobile shortly after beginning their service, and T-Mobile pulled their authority to sign any new customers. T-Mobile is honoring existing customers and continuing service for the time being, but will not activate any new subscribers sold by Datajack. Hence one can interporet the “out-of-stock” notice as a cover for the real problem, which is “looking for another carrier”. All of which is depressing.

  • Anonymous dude 2011

    Actually to be honest with you, I have not had anything less than high class service from DataJack. I have tried the other “big name providers” and all they want is to get you in a contract and screw you over. Datajack doesnt have unlimited prepaid broadband anymore but neither does anyone else, and on top of that. They don’t require any credt checks, how can you beat that?

  • uri

    you know whats just fd up too boot is that alot of folks especially were i live atm which is down a buncha dirt roads back in a very rural area.. really would like to have a unlimited data plan on a usb modem or something even like clears service but none of them are here yet clears close but i doubt it will be avalible for another few years…

    its the broadband2go service that is just out right horrible worst service all around ever.. or you can get a data caped service which charges you an arm and a leg for next to nothing 5gbs or 10gbs is plain bullshit even if your speeds stay around 100kbs you can blow through that in a day or 2 just watching you tube videos…theres a desire for this kind of service but no ones willing to step up to the plate and make a good company… there all freaking half a$$ worthless pieces of garbage crap, that offer you a taste and then try to rob you blind.