MiFi. Must-Have Mobile Internet Gateway Launches on Verizon.

Posted on 07 May 2009 by

Prediction: The MiFi will be mobile gadget of the year for many many people. With it’s ability to bundle 5 non-3G devices via Wifi over one 3G connection, its tiny size, reasonable battery life, USB charging/use, built-in web server and very easy operation, it really adds a lot of value to the kit bag and puts a stop to multi-contract situations like this. Sure, built-in 3G can be better quality and the fact that it’s another gadget to carry may annoy some but the advantages, especially if you already have Wifi devices that you want to mobilise, make this one desirable mobile gadget. Which is why we gave it the Best of CeBIT 09 award over at MeetMobility.

mifi-verizon

I’m not sure how carriers are going to like it though. On one hand you gain some customers but on the other hand you risk losing contracts as they become shared which is probably why Verizon are launching it with very expensive data rates. $15 for a day pass. $40 per month for 250MB and $60 per month for 5GB although the following per-MB cost is only 5c which isn’t bad) Cost (we assume with the plans) is $150 but there’s a $50 mail-in rebate.

In Europe, you’ll get a much better deal. The Mifi will launch through third party resellers at an estimated 200 Euros but it will be unlocked and will allow you to slot your own providers SIM in giving you the choice of the best deals. In many countries you can get 30 days of 3G on a pay as you go plan for under 20 Euros. A day pass, under 2 Euro.

There’s no doubt that the MiFi will sell like hotcakes and is likely to affect the sales of 3G USB dongles. Also expect to see every coffee shop, bar and supermarket dropping these in place which could kill the European paid-for hotspot model overnight. T-Mobile Germany will have a lot of calculating to do on this one. Increased data per 3G channel, shared 3G contracts and loss of Wifi hotspot revenues could be significant. On the other hand, T-Mobile have a chance to put these out for free with a captive server inside that promotes their own content. Free 3G, paid-for TV, opt-in ad injections? It could be a few years before they work out a successful model but i’m sure you’ll see these being given away to households as a content gateway. Is the Mifi the future set top box?

One thing to watch out for though – rogue hotspots. The Mifi has a server inside which I assume is going to be hacked very soon. Public-data farming is going to happen very quickly with these battery powered gadgets around. First targets – tech expo’s.

Verizon’s MiFi will be available on May 17th.

We’re expecting to have final EU pricing and an HSDPA version for review very soon. In the meantime, you can check out a video we made when we tested the Mifi at CeBIT 09. Also check out a glowing report from the New York Times.

Categorized | News

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  • New article: MiFi. Must-Have Mobile Internet Gateway Launches on Verizon. http://cli.gs/p9GTtt

  • bkos

    How is this better than JoikuSpot for any symbian phone with wlan?

    • You don’t kill your phone in 60 minutes!

      • bkos

        I’m not fully convinced, yet, I guess I’m just too lazy to carry around ANOTHER device with me. :)

        • turn_self_off

          Another device the size of a somewhat fat credit card…

          Also, are there not issues with symbian and wlan? I could have sworn i read that one could only do ad-hoc connections using joikuspot, not proper hotposts with multiple devices connected.

  • squirrel
    • I expect these to really take off. We should see multiple models over the next 12 months and a nice pricing fight. Great for us! Thx for link.

      • squirrel

        One more moment is because of the twisted situation in Moscow with fast wireless:
        – we have WiMAX (2 carriers), pricing is comprehensible ($9 for 1Gb, $27 for unlim), but the coverage is far from 100% so you cannot rely only on it
        – we have EV-DO (1 carrier), it has good speed and coverage, but pricing is not low ($27 for 1Gb), and it works on non-standard 450Mhz frequency, so there’s a few devices for it (only dongles and smartphones)
        – we have EDGE (3 carriers) but it’s slow and 3G in Moscow will be only at the end of 2009 – beginning of 2010 and comprehensible pricing is a question (now about $27 for 1Gb)

        So ideal device must have WiMAX + EDGE (better 3G) or EV-DO. And 100% it will not be in any device. That’s why it will be great to have such 3G/4G/WiFi gate.

  • Vakeros

    I can’t wait for some “rouge” hotspots. I guess they are rogue as well.

    • I rely on you guys! Thx.

  • baap

    Perfect for the motorcycle :)

  • Joey

    Combined with a USB GPS Dongle one can create a full mobile system that most consider a hard requirement for MIDs and UMPC.

    Few dongles below:
    http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20080326/gt-730f-usb-gps-dongle/
    http://www.ultimate-netbook.co.uk/Universal-Accessories/GPS-USB-Dongle/Navisys-GR-300-GPS-USB-Dongle___758.htm

    I’m still not sure which portable unit I want to pick up, but these additional peripheral make basically all versions enabled on GPS and G3/HSPDA.
    Make Battery endurance, Performance and (Touch)Screen size the most important criteria to choose a next UMPC.

    (Maybe I should have pasted this in the 17 mobile computers thread instead :-)
    http://www.umpcportal.com/2009/05/17-mobile-computers-which-one-would-you-choose)

  • anon

    This is one device that will enable more services and ways to use it than perhaps even its creators envisioned. It has some of that disrupting quality to it… Hooking 3G on to a router has been possible before; even I already happen to own the necessary parts (an Asus router supported by a special firmware and an unused 3G dongle supported by it), but the MiFi is truly mobile, not just a home device. I myself don’t have a use for a MiFi but it still interests me!

    Fix: “it’s ability” -> “its ability”

  • Brian

    They should allow you to sync up to 5 devices to one account with embedded 3G as well than you wouldn’t need to carry it.

    -Brian

    • MPJ

      exactly!!!!

  • turn_self_off

    That rogue hotspot issue is indeed a real one.

    The only diff will be that this makes it easier then before, as it would take a laptop…

  • Corrupted Mind

    The idea of getting my Voda 7.5 without the horrid Huwei doggle is a dream I have clung to since I signed up to data. I know my iphone and touch toting companions will have three cheers for getting some free 3g action…

  • som

    just giving info to my favorite site. i am now using joiku on nokia n81. it powers my eee 900a to internet, writing this comment. at the same time, it powers my nokia n95 8gig to internet radio streaming, i am now also lisning to classical music on wsku station.
    i am in thailand. the thing in n81 is not even a proper 3g, it is just edge. and by the way, the multi-connection has now last more than 2 hours and n81 batt still has more than half of its juice.

  • JC

    At least in the US, it would be more appealing if it weren’t limited to Verizon, and if network access were cheaper. e.g., if they were comparable to the rates you suggest you’ll see in Europe.

  • Adam

    This sounds like a cool device, but I think I will stick to using WMWiFiRouter. I just downloaded the trial a couple weeks ago and it worked out perfectly on my honeymoon to Hawaii! I used my Sprint HTC Mogul as my 3G router along with my Viliv S5. It was a perfect match. My wife was a little pissed at first when I was on the beautiful balcony surfing Engadget, but she was more than happy to be watching a missed episode of The Office at the plane terminal on Hulu.

  • MiFi. Must-Have Mobile Internet Gateway Launches on Verizon. | UMPCPortal – The Mobile Internet and Computing Re.. http://tinyurl.com/qrtbhz

  • John

    I’ve been waiting for this thing to come out all year. Though, I was hoping for a choice of carriers (still hoping for an AT&T/NAM unlocked EDGE/HSPA version).

    Things I plan to use it for: not having to worry about 3G options for my non-Windows netbook (or tablet, etc.). Data carrier diversity for my Android phone. Not having to care/worry about the lack of tethering support on my Android phone (or any other phone). It basically just removes any concern about data plan options from phone choices.

    $60/mo isn’t excessive here in the states, btw. That’s pretty typical for a data card/usb stick device plan, whether you’re talking about a data card, or the cost of a tethering enabled data plan.

    (proof reading note: the sentence where you mention the $60/mo, either has an extra right parenthesis, or is missing a left one)

  • Naomi

    I’m heading to Sweden and will be back and forth btwn there and the US. I was thinking of getting a WiFi from Verizon before I leave but wonder if I should wait and get an unlocked one there. Question: If I get an unlocked MiFi in Europe, will I be able to use it on the Verizon network back in the States?

    • John

      On Verizon? no. Verizon is CDMA+EVDO, not GSM+WCDMA.

      The unlocked European version will probably use EDGE/UMTS/HSPA for data, and which frequency bands it use will determine how compatible it is with our GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile-USA). If it supports quadband GSM/EDGE, then you’ll be able to use it for EDGE with both AT&T and T-Mobile-USA. If it supports 850MHz/1900MHz WCDMA/UMTS/HSPA (also called “North American 3G” or “NAM”), then you’ll be able to use it with AT&T’s 3G service. If it supports 1700MHz WCDMA/UMTS/HSPA (also called “AWS” for Advanced Wireless Spectrum), then you should be able to use it with T-Mobile-USA’s 3G.

      Either way (AT&T or T-Mobile), you’ll need to look into getting a local SIM card through one of those carriers.

      • Naomi

        Thanks, John, and please excuse the level of my ignorance, but does this mean that if I get the MiFi here from Verizon that it won’t work in Europe?

        • John

          My expectation is that the Verizon version of the Mifi device wont work with GSM carriers (American nor European), but you should ask the Verizon dealer to be sure. Verizon has had odd deals in the past for that (phones that will work with European GSM only, not American; or when you travel, they’ll issue you a European GSM device to use while you’re gone, that kind of thing). Best bet is:

          1) don’t expect it to work in Europe.
          2) ask the dealer what your options are when you travel to Europe.

  • Mifi – soo cool. This is the answer to the Internet access problem I’ve been trying to solve while we are in Europe. http://bit.ly/1as8n7

  • David Neal

    Specs for the 2352 can be downloaded from Novatel’s website, but it doesn’t support 1700MHz. So no T-mobile 3G/AWS.

    • You mean T-Mobile USA. T-Mobiles networks in Europe should be ok.
      Steve

  • Hawaii Honeymoon

    I liked so much my honeymoon vacations :). I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  • Excited to pickup a MiFi for Europe travel http://bit.ly/ftfRj

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