What's The Best MiFi Option For Me?

Thanks SO MUCH for your in depth information!

I'm completely lost as to what MiFi option would work best for me.

If I only need access perhaps 5 times a year for a week or two at a time. What would you recommend as the best quality for the money? No need for multiple devices and I guess a pay as you go option would work best for me, but I'd acquiesce to whatever you think.

Usage would be basic email access, and the ability to view short .mov. (I'm a producer and I need to view director reels, and short rough cuts 30 to 90 second clips at a time.)

Battery life at about 8 hrs would be best.

I'm on a mac. I'm currently an AT&T customer on my phone, and Verizon as my home connection if that matters.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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Apr 04, 2013
Narrowing Down Your MiFi Options - Part 1
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is becoming a more and more common question as the need for occasional usage has increased dramatically as mobile broadband has gone mainstream. I’ll give you some feedback and recommendations, however, keep in mind that ultimately the best, most cost effective option for you will be materially impacted by the amount of actual data usage you need.

I had someone email me with a similar question, but they only needed it for less than a two week period. However, they estimated their usage during that period would be approximately 8GB! Mind you, they were expecting to share the MiFi connection with five devices, but still, that’s a lot of data for a short period of time. The point here being that while you may not plan to use it frequently, the actual data you consume can vary widely, and ultimately alter your optimal choice(s).

Here’s a breakdown of some viable options to help narrow it down for you:

- Is a newer service that is truly pay as you go. It’s currently $14/1GB, which never expires. The only caveat here is that their current modem is 4G only (Sprint WiMAX network), so you’ll need to check their coverage first to ensure that it will work where you need it to as it’s not backwards compatible with 3G. Coverage is decent, but certainly not ubiquitous. You can also earn an additional 100MB of free data each time someone shares your connection.

- This was the first true pay as you go mobile broadband in the U.S. They’re currently priced at $4.99/month access fee, and it’s 3.9 cents/MB thereafter. While the per GB cost is not the best deal around, it’s actually not that bad, and you’re truly only paying for what you use, with a minimal cost to maintain your account. You can avoid the monthly access fee when you’re not using it by deactivating your account online, and reactivating for months that you need it, however, to save five bucks a month, that may not be worth the hassle. Also, if you activate and use it for only a day or a week, you’ll still be charged the $4.99 (i.e. it’s not prorated). Note that I did confirm via online chat with TruConnect support that this is possible. Their current service is 3G, which should work clips you need to view, but not sufficient for any kind of extended video streaming (ex. Netflix). If you’re getting your clips in email attachments, or can otherwise download them, you definitely won’t have any buffering issues for short clips.

Apr 04, 2013
Narrowing Down Your MiFi Options - Part 2
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

- They currently offer 200MB/month free. I like that they offer paid monthly plans that you can upgrade to if you need more data. However, once you upgrade, you can’t get the free plan anymore. For $20 you get 1GB for 30 days. This isn’t as good as Karma, which is $14/GB with NO EXPIRY, however, unlike Karma, you can upgrade to higher plans to get more data for a greater value. Again, it will depend how much data you need in a given 1-2 week period that you’re using it. NetZero uses Clear’s 4G WiMAX network with no backwards compatibility with 3G.

Walmart Internet On The Go
- Walmart’s program is powered by TruConnect, so it’s also 3G only. What I like about their plans is that you can opt for ones with and without expiration. i.e. You can buy data that never expires, or choose a 30-day expiry for the same price, and get twice the data. Note that you can’t switch between plans per se. You need to use up all of the data in your current plan, then you can buy a refill for the other plan. This is a nice and simple approach.

Overall, what’s best for you largely depends on how much data you need, as well as your coverage requirement. If you can get away with 4G only coverage, and your usage is moderate, then Karma is probably a great option. If you need coverage that 4G WiMAX doesn’t offer, then Walmart Internet On The Go is a good option for you.

I hope this helps! Here’s a link to the Prepaid MiFi Plan Comparison table!

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