In a new twist on old pre-paid data plans, WalMart and TruConnect have partnered to offer “Internet on the Go.” The service offers pre-paid 3G data in small buckets for use with a MiFi. The data you purchase never expires, so it’s attractive for occasional use.
Verizon calls its line of LTE MiFis “Jetpacks” and one of the newest is the Novatel 4620L. I used one for a few days and found it to be a vast improvment over my old original MiFi, also built by Novatel Wireless.
When Apple announced the new iPad, it touted that the new iPad will be able to offer “mobile hot spot” like features, allowing you to share your wireless connection with five devices. This prompted folks at Fool.com to ask: did Novatel and Sierra Wireless get Garmin’d?
Introduced in 2009, Novatel Wireless’s MiFi sales topped the 3 million mark on Monday. The big number is no surprise because of the MiFi’s simplicity and utility: press a button and share a mobile broadband connection over Wi-Fi. Smartphones and software could mute future sales, however.
MiFi mobile hotspots aren’t new, but not everyone wants the two-year data contract that comes with one. TruConnect launched a new 3G MiFi on Monday for $90 that uses Sprint’s 3G network, doesn’t require a contract and costs $0.039 per megabyte; great for a Wi-Fi tablet.
How does Verizon’s MiFi 4510L stack up on the carrier’s LTE network? Quite well, after my hands on testing that covered every connected activity I could think of. Aside from the faster network speeds, this MiFi has some nice upgrades over the prior 3G models too.
As mobile broadband subscribers are about to surpass those on wires, you’d think that sales revenue for Novatel Wireless’s MiFi would be up. But it’s not and it’s about to face challenges from an increasing number of smartphones that will double as personal mobile broadband hotspots.
Notebook makers are still adding embedded 3G and 4G radios in laptops, but in a world of MiFi devices and Wi-Fi gadgets, does the embedded mobile broadband model still make sense? MiFi sales are up and consumers simply don’t want a data plan for every device.
Novatel Wireless today has announced the securing of a trademark for the MiFi name for its brand of wireless hotspot devices. Brand awareness is certainly important, but customers also need to understand the value brought a MiFi device, which shares a data connection with five devices.
While global sales of mobile broadband devices are up 55 percent in 2009, there’s was a surprising drop in sales of personal hot spots — a reported decrease of 28 percent from 2008. Two key reasons are the likely driving force behind the lower sales numbers.