iPad buyers face a difficult decision: to 3G or not to 3G? After all, the entry-level 3G iPad costs $629, plus $14.99/month for a 250MB data plan or $29.99/month for unlimited. You don't have to sign up for a contract, which is great, but the fact remains you're paying yet another wireless bill for service on a single device.
There is another option. With a Verizon MiFi card, a combination wireless modem and Wi-Fi router, you could choose the cheaper Wi-Fi-only iPad and still enjoy 3G Internet just about anywhere. Plus, you get to share that connectivity with up to four other users/devices.
However, that's a much pricier solution: The MiFi locks you into a two-year Verizon contract and charges you a minimum of $39.99 per month--$59.99 if you choose the unlimited data plan.
That's why I'm hitching my wireless wagon to Virgin Mobile's Broadband2Go, a pay-as-you-go service that requires no contract and no monthly minimums. (Here's my hands-on review of the service in case you're interested.)
Broadband2Go works with a Novatel-made USB aircard that sells for $99.99 (or $88.54 at Walmart). Obviously you can't plug it directly into an iPad (the modem was made with laptops in mind), but there's a workaround: the CradlePoint PHS300.
Plug the Broadband2Go into this compact, battery-powered Wi-Fi router and presto: You've got MiFi-style functionality from a pay-as-you-go provider.
Plus, the PHS300 supports up to 16 simultaneous users/devices, versus just five on the MiFi. It's not quite as elegant a solution, but it's definitely cheaper in the long run.… Read more