If you have the cell phone hot spot, you can also share the connectivity with others. ----- Original Message ----- From: Allison and Chip Orange To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:38 PM Subject: [tabi] Re: buying a mobile wi-fi service Hi Lynn, Well, I can’t remember if you have an I-phone; or any cell phone, but if you do, some of them will act as a mobile hotspot (there’s a slight charge from your cell carrier), but perhaps the first thing to look at is: can your cell phone act as the mobile hotspot, and how much will they charge you? Give your provider a call. Be sure to ask if you can take a voice call at the same time you’re using it as a wifi hotspot; it may keep you from receiving calls, I don’t know. If that does not work out, I’m afraid what I know isn’t all that good: you can buy a mobile wifi unit such as the Mi-Fi from Walmart. It’s made by Virgin Mobile, is 3g technology (uses CDMA if that’s meaningful to you, and Virgin Mobile resells you time on the Sprint cell network). You don’t have to have a contract with Virgin mobile, you can pay as you go, but the minimum payment is $20 per month, and your time doesn’t build up from one month to the next. Even if you don’t use it at all in the month you paid for, your time is gone at the end of the month. And for this $20 you get half a GB of data. (If you buy your Mi-Fi unit from Walmart, there’s a deal where Walmart customers will always be given twice the amount of data you pay for, but you still have to pay the $20 a month my memory says). There’s a competitor’s portable hotspot unit which uses 4g technology (GSM if that’s meaningful). It’s usually faster. The unit itself costs more, but I think the monthly charge, on the pay as you go plan, is still a minimum around $20. I think T-mobile makes it. Here it’s T-mobile (and maybe AT&T?) who offer the pay-as-you-go monthly data plans, so you’ll have to call each one of them up to see what their minimum charge is. I think though it’s for a month, like VM, so that at the end of the month, any unused data just disappears. I seem to recall they will sell you smaller amounts of time for a smaller minimum (something like $10 for a week sticks in my mind). These are great if you just want your I-pad to work the two weeks your on vacation and away from home; but if you want it to work all the time regardless of where you are, I have the idea from when I looked into this a year ago, that you’ll end up paying at least $20 a month. Just in case you didn’t know, the units like the Mi-fi allow you to have up to 5 devices connected at once, so if you have an I-pad and a laptop, or someone else, you can share the hotspot; I’m not so sure if you use your cell phone that more than one is allowed; if that’s important, you’ll want to ask. Sharing does impact the speed, so you won’t want to have two people trying to download movies at the same time; but sharing the connection among many devices is one of the big advantages over just turning on the cell data service for the I-pad. Alternatively, there are websites which will help you find all the public free wifi spots in your city, or near a specific location; maybe you’ll find enough free hotspots so you won’t have to buy a plan? I know that’s no help if you want this to work on dial-a-ride. I hope this was of some help; let me know if I need to clarify anything. Good luck, Chip From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Lynn Evans Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:20 PM To: TABI Mailing list Subject: [tabi] buying a mobile wi-fi service I think we may have talked about this topic back in May. I am looking into purchasing a mobile WI-FI hotspot for my I Pad. Right now I just can’t manage paying for a cellular account with AT&T at maybe $30 a month. My way of understanding this technology is I broke it down into 2 parts; the hardware or base unit and the data plan. I am hoping this will be cheaper than a cellular plan. I would own the mobile unit. I would only use the data plan when the tap is on so to speak so I wouldn’t have to pay anything when not in use. I am still trying to get a grasp on the terminology. If I buy the base unit from a retail store it would be up to me to choose a data plan. This is provided I don’t purchase the unit from Verizon or AT&T or another provider. Buying the base unit may be the easy part. I found one on buy.com today for $29 marked down from $79. The hard part would be to choose the data plan. It would be nice to just go to “Data plans are Us”. So to you who are knowledgeable about such things I invite you to put forth your best arguments on this topic.