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.

AT&T Pulls a Switcheroony – New Data Plans, no longer unlimited!

It seemed like only last week when I shared my 1st month of iPad data use with you all. I started out with the 250MB/month iPad plan knowing that I could always upgrade to the unlimited data plan if I needed to. Now it looks as if the unlimited plan is going away unless you act TODAY! Starting today, AT&T will start NEW data plans for ALL Smart phone devices (including iPad/iPhone). So if you already bought an iPad 3G and thought that you might some day want to go "UNLIMITED" for $29.99/month, then you better do it now, because starting today that plan goes away for NEW subscribers. Here's the break down:


The OLD Plans (prior to 6/7/2010) iPad – 250 MB/month $14.99/month Unlimited Data Plan $29.99/month
The OLD iPhone Plans iPhone 2G UNLIMITED+200 SMS  Data  $20/month iPhone 3G/3GS Unlimited Data $30/month (+$5/month for 200 SMS)
The NEW Data Plans starting TODAY for NEW accounts (iPhones too) DataPlus 200MB/month $15/month DataPro 2GB/month $25/month
Tethering your SmartPhone (iPhone with 4.0 software)   DataPro plan $25 + Tethering $20 = $45/month



While the prices are technically cheaper, Unlimited goes away! 2GB's sounds like a lot and it probably is for MOST people, but if you plan to stream video on your device 2GB in a month can be eaten up pretty quickly. These new plans now make it so that you have to monitor your usage closely. Luckily if you do go over, you're not charged a per kilobyte fee. Instead you'll be able to add on another block of usage for a set price (another 200MB for $15 or if you're on the DataPro plan you get another 1GB for $10). So again if you do a lot of streaming, your bill could be quite high. I should also mention that all of these NEW plans do come with FREE access to any AT&T WiFi hotspots.

No iPad to iPhone tethering, yetAccording to AT&T, they have no problem with you tethering your iPad to your iPhone to share the iPhone's data connection. However, currently the iPad doesn't support it in it's OS and Apple says that the 4.0 OS update isn't coming to the iPad until the fall. So we may have to wait til then to see if the iPad will tether to the iPhone.

See the AT&T Plan details here on their site.


How much Data have I used on my iPhone or other smartphone?

Although you can look this info up on your device, I find the most accurate way is to dial *3282# from your phone and you'll get a text message with the break down of your current usage.


Don't think you're going to use that much data?

Maybe you won't, but here's some food for thought. If you're just doing normal surfing, email, etc. then you're probably fine. However, let's not forget that iTunes sells and rents MOVIES! The average movie size is 1.5GB. So if you rent a movie over 3G, you could quickly hit the limit of the DataPro plan and then start having to pay for additional 1GB blocks at $10 a pop before your next billing cycle. I know it's easy to say, "well don't do that. Download your movies while you're on WiFi." However, this wasn't an issue yesterday and now somehow makes the mobile platforms seem a little less fun.


What do you think of these New Plans?

I only used 171MBs of 3G data in the first month of iPad use

When I got my iPad WiFi+3G back on April 30th, I resisted signing up for the Unlimited 3G Data Plan ($29.99/month). Since there is no contract and you can upgrade or downgrade at any time I wanted to see if I could get by on the 250MB/month Plan ($14.99/month). My thought was "why pay more up front when you're not sure how much you're really going to use?". I was right! In the first month I used my iPad as much as I needed to/wanted to on 3G. The rest of the time I was on WiFi or traveling abroad and using it on WiFi. I only used 171MB in the first month. So technically I saved $14.99 by NOT doing the impulse thing and signing up for the Unlimited Plan right off the bat. Now that's not to say that I wan't have some months where I need more 3G data and if I do, I'll purchase more at that time. However, today I feel like I just saved $14.99 by not giving it to AT&T up front.

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