Prepaid Wireless Internet - No Contract Required!

Don't you dare sign a contract; please consider prepaid wireless Internet!  Following a long struggle, prepaid wireless plans have entered the mainstream, leaving traditional contract carriers working hard to stay relevant.  Fortunately, prepaid doesn't stop with smartphones!  No contract wireless Internet is now the latest growth segment in the industry.  It's also often referred to as wireless broadband or mobile broadband.  So what is it?  ThinkPrepaid Wireless Internet of your high speed Internet access at home that you get either through your television cable provider or your phone service (referred to as DSL).  Now take that high speed Internet experience and make it mobile!

Note that this is very different from what people have traditionally talked about when they discuss wireless Internet or WiFi.  WiFi allows you to take a broadband connection like cable or DSL, and broadcast it wirelessly so that you can connect to it with your laptop or other WiFi enabled mobile device (ex. iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab) without having to plug any cords into your computer.  This type of connection is only for your home or office, and doesn't extend past 100 feet or so.  The wireless Internet that I speak of here is actually cellular, which means that you're not confined to your home or Starbucks HotSpot as is the case with WiFi.  You can access the Internet wherever you would normally have cell phone reception; now that's mobile Internet!  And even better is that you can now have prepaid wireless Internet with no contracts.

Prepaid Wireless Internet To The Rescue!

Most people already have a smartphone plan these days, and while we would like to have mobile Internet, we're resistant to committing to a contract to get mobile broadband, particularly because we may not use it as regularly as we do our phones.  Then in comes prepaid Internet to solve our needs!

Although you'll see some laptops with wireless (i.e. cellular) advertised as having Internet built-in, the most common approach is to buy a USB modem that plugs into any computer with a USB connection, or a mobile hotspot.  Depending on your wireless provider, and the type of modem you have, you'll experience speeds that can meet most of your needs.  Especially when you have 4G coverage, you can easily stream movies or do online gaming (if you purchase a sufficient data bucket).

At one point I actually canceled my high speed cable Internet at home, and exclusively used my wireless broadband card.  If you're the type of person who's always on the move, you're likely to find this service absolutely invaluable!  And if you're not interested in being committed to one carrier with a contract, or just want to try it out, prepaid wireless Internet has proliferated now offering a myriad of options.  As this segment has been growing, the market is highly competitive, which means great pricing for us customers!

Personally, I don't feel that the available pricing and data allowances are sufficient for most people to be able to cancel your home Internet service.  So, think of a Prepaid Mobile Hotspot or USB device as being a tool for when you're truly on the move, and don't want to drain your smartphone by using its built-in hotspot (a.k.a. tethering) capability.

What Performance Can You Expect?

In terms of performance, it's important to note that not all wireless networks are created equally, even if they're all 4G.  So even the same modem model can perform differently on different carriers.  You can visit the Prepaid Wireless Broadband page for more details about mobile broadband technology and speeds.  You can also read an interesting discussion about the Definition of Broadband.  I also recommend that you compare the reported speeds on the provider's website, and be sure that they have at least a 2-week to 30 day return policy so that you can take it home and test it out in your normal environment.  When comparing plans, you'll also want to be cognoscente of carriers that throttle speeds, which is pretty much the norm these days.  Most now offer higher speeds for a given number of GBs, and throttle thereafter.  Unfortunately, gone are the days of truly unlimited high speed data plans.

Initially, the convenience of wireless Internet was not available to prepaid customers, however, that's certainly no longer the case.  There are a LOT of options available to us now!  Virtually every carrier offers some type of prepaid offer.  While some are much better priced than others, the great news is that we now have a lot of options to choose from, and at reasonable prices.

Other Options For Travelers

If you're traveling in the U.S. for only a short period of time, or only have a need for mobile Internet on rare occasions, there's another option for you to consider.  You can look at aircard rental services.  Renting means that you can not only avoid a contract (compared to postpaid), but you can also avoid having to invest in purchasing the equipment (compared to prepaid wireless Internet).  Learn more about Wireless Broadband Rental now!  Also, if you're traveling abroad and looking for the best deal on a local prepaid broadband service, compare mobile broadband plans by visiting International Wireless Broadband.

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