For frequent and infrequent travelers alike, nothing beats the convenience of a mobile hot spot.
Folks who travel a lot will probably want something with unlimited data and 4G service, but occasional users may want to consider a more affordable solution.
Here's one: DataJack has the MiFi 2200 mobile hot spot for $49.99, plus around $10 for shipping, when you use coupon code DEALNEWS1.
That purchase also entitles you to a free month of service, albeit with DataJack's low-end, 200MB data plan. Thankfully, there's no contract here, so you can let your service expire if you want, then reactivate it as needed.
In case you're not familiar with it, the MiFi 2200 creates a local-area Wi-Fi network for up to five devices. It also has a microSD slot for storing data, which is a handy perk.
DataJack doesn't expressly say so, but it's a good bet the company taps Sprint's 3G network. Either way, you'll want to check the coverage map before pulling the trigger.
The company offers a variety of service plans, starting with $9.99 per month for 200MB. That may not sound like much, but it all depends on what kind of devices you're using and what you're using them for. If you're just checking e-mail on an iPad, for example, that might be more than enough.
You can also get 500MB for $19.99, 1GB for $29.99, and 5GB for $49.99. To put that in some perspective, Virgin Mobile charges $129.99 for its Sprint-powered MiFi 2200, and your $10 buys you a mere 100MB of data -- for 10 days, not an entire month.
Virgin's other plans include 500MB for $20 (same as DataJack) and unlimited for $49.99 (but you only get 3G speeds for the first 2.5GB).
Meanwhile, there's TruConnect, which sells the MiFi 2200 for $99 and charges $4.99 per month minimum for service, plus 3.9 cents per megabyte of data used. (So 200MB would cost you $4.99 plus $7.80, or $12.79.)
Needless to say, when it comes to inexpensive 3G hot spots, you've got options. DataJack offers the lowest cost of entry I've seen, and potentially the lowest rates for service. I think my only reservation is the return policy, which is a bit heavy on the conditions and short on the duration (just 14 days).
What are your thoughts on this? Deal or no deal?