MobileHotspot.com Editors Choice for Top 6 Prepaid Mobile Hotspots, updated July 2012
2012 has seen some great prepaid, no contract mobile hotspot options come out onto the market. Since practically everyone has a smartphone these days, most being the 2-year contract type, a lot of owners are justifiably leery about committing to another 2 year agreement for a separate mobile hotspot. The good news is that several new prepaid mobile hotspots are available that don't require any contract or commitment. Available are hotspots that feature data access for as little as $10 per month, as well and mobile hotspots that sport the newest, super fast 4G LTE mobile networks. In other words, there's something for just about every user and the features/prices they are looking for.
Mobile hotspots are proving to be one of the most practical ways for groups of people or multiple devices to connect to the internet when on the go. Portable hotspots are basically a cross between a cellular data modem and a Wi-Fi router, and are just like your WiFi at home, but with a big advantage: they travel with you and work anywhere. Mobile hotspots allow users to get online when and where they want without the restrictions that typically come with traditional Wi-Fi . From car-load of kids and their iPods to business team meetings, a mobile hotspots that travels with you can save the day. New devices like the iPad and Android Tablets don't have USB ports, so the only easy and practical way to get online when you're out of range of stationary to create your own portable WiFi zone that's powered by the new, super-fast 4G networks or older, but very widely available 3G networks.
Advantages: Very large 4G network, a wide array of prepaid data plans for different budgets
Disadvantage: Sub par 4G network speed, 4 hour battery life is below the newer devices average
T-Mobile has offered a 4G Mobile Hotspot with their contract plans for a while now, but they've also just recently released a set of prepaid plans known as a "Monthly Pass" for the T-Mobile 4G mobile hotspot. This device provides users with 4G speeds over T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The average reported download speeds are about 4 to 8 Mbps, decent for surfing the web or downloading media. The ZTE manufactured mobile hotspot has a couple of reported hardware glitches that result in lowered 4G signal strength, making it great when it works but a nuisance when it slows down. This hotspot is also super easy to configure and use....Check Current Price
Advantages: Incredibly cheap "light use" plans starting at $10 per month for 200MB great for very occasional users
Disadvantages: No 4G available, "heavy use" data plans are not really all that much a bargain, old technology: MiFi 2200 is 4 years old.
Datajack is a relative newcomer to the prepaid mobile broadband market that seem intent on shaking up the prepaid mobile market. DataJack has monthly access plans starting at $10 and uses the very reliable MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot. With good customer support and plenty of self service account info, you can get up and running in just a few minutes. Coverage is available in most areas using Sprint's nationwide map although the service itself remains through DataJack. Datajack's flagship mobile hotspot is the Novatel MiFi 2200, and old 3G device by today's standards, but a reliable and proven workhorse nonetheless. Visit DataJack.com
Advantages: The only 4G mobile hotspot with unlimited monthly data, good Wi-Fi range and battery life, 8 users can connect
Disadvantages: Only works on the Clear/Sprint 4G WiMAX network, which is rumored be shut down by 2015. Limited coverage and no 3G support
One of the ONLY 4G mobile hotspot's to have a true, no-gimmick UNLIMITED 4G data policy. Download HD video's, music and large documents to your hearts content without the stress of having to worry about data overage fees. The CLEAR Spot 4G Mobile Hotspot allows you to easily create your own personal, shareable hotspot cloud for up to 8 users or devices within a 100 ft radius. This high speed 4G hotspot is perfect for today's newest mobile devices that can connect to the internet using Wi-Fi, like the iPad and Android Tablets, Laptop PCs, Smartphones, or any other Wi-Fi enabled device. Utilizes the nationwide CLEAR 4G WiMAX network, the same 4G network Sprint uses, so you know you are in good company. Monthly unlimited data plans range from 35 to 50 bucks a month. Find out more.
Advantages: The only Dual 4G (LTE & HPSA+) prepaid hotspot. Incredible device features, awesome 8 hour battery life
Disadvantages: Small 4G LTE network, limited low cost data plan options.
This innovative prepaid 4G mobile hotspot is great "future proof" option that will please you today. Take advantage of AT&T's massive, moderately fast HSPA+ 4G network, and be ready for AT&T 4G LTE and it's wicked speeds of up to 30 Mbps when it comes to your town (if it's not already there). Not only one the best looking devices we've seen, the Elevate mobile hotspot has a terrific front panel LCD screen that allows you to manage the device and reports a host of information that is most helpful to you. Data plans start at $60 per month.
Advantages: Very large 3G (Sprint) network, choice of several fairly inexpensive data plans, strong performing MiFi device.
Disadvantages: 3G Only. Often slower then other 3G networks, sub par battery life, (reportedly) lower quality customer service.
Virgin mobile takes our #2 spot in the quest for "best prepaid mobile hotspot". While clearly not the best on any one aspect, such as speed, price, or reliability, the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 brings everything together to offer their customers what they want - a simple, no frills ways to get online just about anywhere while not spending a small fortune at the same time. Although not publicized too often, Virgin Mobile (in the USA) is actually owned by Sprint. This means when you buy into Virgin, you're actually getting the massive, highly rated, nationwide Sprint 3G network.
The Virgin Mobile MiFi mobile hotspot is based on the Novatel MiFi 2200 hotspot, which is the best-selling and most tried-and-true mobile hotspot of all time. While not as fast as some of it's newer competitors, it''s reliablity will keep you up and running when you need it. Perfect for business travelers when need assurance that they will be able to get (and stay) online wherever their travels take them. Get more info
Advantages: Incredible 4G Speeds (up to 25 Mbps) and the largest 4G LTE network, great device features, attractive device price.
Disadvantages: Data plans are bit pricey ($60 for 5GB, $90 for 10GB)
And finally our favorite prepaid hotspot...What's not to love about Verizon 4G LTE? How about a prepaid 4G LTE Jetpack mobile hotspot! Verizon finally bit the bullet in May of 2012 and started selling their MiFi 4G Hotspot (more recently re-branded as "Jetpack") 4150L mobile hotspot with prepaid data plans - needless to say this generated a lot of excitement, since it was the first prepaid LTE hotspot sold by a first tier 4G provider (Verizon). The 4150L is Verizon's slightly "older" model 4G MiFi - it does not have all the features and refinements of their brand new "Jetpack 4G", the 4620L - but this device still kicks butt and will not lock you into a long term contract.
This was the first real 4G LTE mobile hotspot that could be purchased for a reasonable cost and enjoy the incredible 4G speeds on Verizon's 4G LTE network without committing to a 2 year contract term. The Verizon Jetpack 4G is one of the top rated mobile hotspots ever sold, with an array of features like front panel controls and LCD display which comes in handy for prepaid users who need to keep a watchful eye on their data allowance. With Verizon's prepaid mobile broadband hotspot you can enjoy 4G speeds and mobile broadband plans that start out at only $30 a month. Combine the low monthly rate with a low purchase price of $120 and you have the number 2 prepaid mobile broadband hotspot. Shop for the Jetpack
Mobile Hotspot.com Assistant Editor
Category: Prepaid Mobile Hotspots