I’ve owned and tried to use a Verizon MiFi for 16 months and 18 days now and today is the last time I try to use it.
I have consistently had issues with this wireless data device. I rarely had issues when I didn’t need it. But I always had issues when I needed it, i.e. at conferences. Everyone I know who has a MiFi at these events have issues also, they include Danny and Lisa. I spent countless wasted hours with Verizon tech support. For some reason, the device constantly disconnects and then reconnects, killing my sessions during my tasks. I lived with it by tethering via USB, but that is pointless, the device is meant for wireless access.
In any event, today I cancelled the device, which cost me $95 but ultimately will save me money. I spent $60 a month on this device and it barely worked, so $95 to break a contract that ends in October will save me about $325 over the course of those months.
But I can’t go wireless free, can I? Well, since iOS 4.3, AT&T now supports the iPhone personal hotspot feature. So technically, I can use the 3G connection on my iPhone to power my other devices. I can use it over USB, Bluetooth and more importantly, over WiFi!
This adds on an additional $20 or so per month to your wireless plan, assuming you have the 2GB plan already. It gives you an additional 2GB of data for the personal hotspot. The cool thing is, if you do not need it, you can downgrade your plan and save the $20 or even lower your plan down to the 200MB plan and save even more.
So instead of the $60 per month, I will just activate the extra $20 or so when I need it. AT&T will prorate stuff and adjust my bill for my actual usage and I can save a bundle with this.
Even more importantly, I’ve tested this out on Friday and it works. I do not disconnect, it is fast and it is easy to use. Plus, I tested it with using the phone at the same time, while checking email on my phone and surfing the web on my laptop, all off the same 3G connect. It all just works! (Note: Verizon Wireless can’t currently do simultaneous phone and Internet but AT&T can.)
I’ve used the Nexus S with Android’s hotspot feature when in Israel and that worked well. I was very happy to not have multiple Internet devices. I can empty my bag of one more internet device and really have a single device for it all, an iPhone.