Get a MiFi without the monthly data plan charges: Pay as you go!

I love my MiFi! However, the minute I tell people about it they get turned off when they hear that it runs $60/month. Luckily for me this road warrior perk provided by my employer. Even though I couldn't think of going on a trip without it, I can certainly see how someone that doesn't travel as often as I do, wanting the convenience of a MiFi. It's easy for me to justify a MiFi for work: At $60/month I look at it as that's 6 nights worth of hotel internet at $9.99/night (and that's if you're lucky. Yes I know some hotels offer it free, but most don't). So if I use my MiFi at least 6 nights a month instead of hotel internet it's a wash. Let's say you don't travel much. However, when you do travel you want the freedom of having your own mobile hotspot without paying a monthly fee or the ridiculous tethering charges that AT&T and others charge to use your smartphone as a modem. 


Virgin Mobile Has the Right Idea

Pay as you go! Buy a MiFi from them for $150 (great price). Then only pay for it when you need to use it:

Even the 30 days/300MB at $20 option is probably more than most people would need for a two-four week trip. 


If I suddenly found myself having to pay for a MiFi out of my own pocket, I wouldn't think twice about going this route. I don't use it every day and this way I can buy the device once and use it/pay for it when I need it.

Check it out here.

Thanks goes out to Jim Nichols for the lead to this offering.

21 Replies to “Get a MiFi without the monthly data plan charges: Pay as you go!”

  1. Terry how fast is the Virgin MiFi? And how is the coverage. I could not find the specs…. I love my iPad + Verizion MiFi combo….

  2. Another very good option is the Cradlepoint personal WiFi hotspot. It will turn(almost) any smart phone with tethering capabilities into a WiFi hotspot. If you’re already paying for tethering this is a solution to be able to connect multiple units(even wifi only iPads). You can find it here:

    and I found it at Microcenter for $159… fairly reasonable considering you don’t have to pay an additional monthly data fee(outside of your data usage on your phone).

  3. Have you tried it outside of the US? What’s the coverage like both in the US and overseas? I see it’s on the Sprint network and haven’t heard much about their coverage, dropped calls, etc. I’m in the process of looking for a plan without a contract and a device that doesn’t cost too much considering I’m a light traveler.
    Thanks Terry!

    1. I haven’t tried it all. I’m on a GSM version with an AT&T SIM card so that I can have global coverage.
      I haven’t had much experience with CDMA based devices outside of the US. My guess is that it would be very limited depending on the countries you were traveling to.

  4. Terry:

    But what about the unlocked MIFI you reviewed a few months ago where you pop out your iPhone 3Gs sim card and plug it in to your Mifi?! Did you bail on that already? That’s basically a free plan! Or did AT&T put a stop to that fun?

    1. Keen, as I stated in the post, I’m all set with my WiFi that I love and continue to use. This information was provided for people that don’t need one all the time and want to pay as you go. By the way I don’t use my iPhone SIM for this. I only did that as a test to see if it works (and it does). I use an AT&T 3G datacard SIM in my MiFi full-time.

  5. Hi,
    Brought a Huawei E5830 from China and it is unlocked. Live in California and would like to know the cheapest way to use it.
    Virgin Pay as you go? Add a line to AT +T, despite coverage issues? Can I buy a $25 month Virgin plan and put the sim card in and use it?
    I have no problems in Asia, but seem to have more issues trying to use MIFI here. I love the convience of it in China. Thanks so much

  6. In the past 5 years I’ve been to Ontario, New York, Florida, Tennessee, Washington DC, all over Ohio and everywhere in-between and I have NEVER found a hotel or motel that didn’t offer free wifi. Even the cheapest motels have a fair amount of free bandwidth. Where on earth do you travel?!

    1. While it’s true that many hotels (and I guess motels) do offer free Wi-Fi there are many more that don’t. If you have a choice in where you stay that’s great. Often times I have to stay where the event is located and most Hiltons, Marriotts, Westins, Grand Hyatt’s, etc. charge upwards of $9.95-$24.95 a night. Even on my last personal trip to Cedar Point (Sandusky Ohio) the hotel didn’t have WiFi at all that was this year Summer 2010. If you find it for free that’s great, but don’t assume that everyone can or has the choice.

  7. Do I just buy the Virgin plan for 20 $ and stick the gizmo in the side of my dell insipiron 1525- how much is the gizmo? I am in Akron

    1. The MiFi is a WiFi hotspot and does NOT go inside your computer. It’s an external device. You’ll have to check with Virgin for the current plans and coverage.

  8. Terry:
    I have wireless in the states, but overseas have had a lot of trouble, especially in more remote areas of SE Asia. I looked for a MIFI unit in Bangkok, even in upscale centers, and they had not heard of it. I guess it is pretty new there. That was last July.
    Question is this:
    if I want to buy an unlocked MIFI unit here, is there a difference in protocal for the unit I should by: asia vs N. America?
    it is easy to buy pay as you go aircard minutes in Asia, and wireless plans are much more reasonable than here. Would a wireless plan fire up my MIFI or does it require a dedicated WIFI specific plan?

  9. PS: Terry:
    last sentence of recent comment should have been :
    ‘would it require a dedicated MIFI [not WIFI] specific plan.

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