Will Mi-Fi spell the end for mobile broadband?

Will Mi-Fi spell the end for mobile broadband?

What is Mi-Fi?
Mobile Wi-Fi, or ‘Mi-Fi’, is essentially a portable hotspot. The devices are generally the same width as a credit card and around half an inch in depth. They can provide connectivity within a 40ft range for up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices at one time, including laptops, mobiles, iPods and digital cameras.

What offerings are on the market in the UK?
As Mobile exclusively revealed in August, Carphone Warehouse is in talks with two operators and expects to be selling the Novatel Wireless 2352 Mi-Fi hotspot within the next month. Meanwhile, 3 announced its own offering last week – simply called Mi-Fi.

How much will it cost?
3 is selling the modem on contracts for £69.99, which includes 5GB of data at £15 per month. Alternatively, you can pay £100 up front and get 3GB worth of data for three months, before continuing on a pay as you go basis. Carphone is yet to announce pricing.

How does Mi-Fi measure your data usage?
It does this through a Sim card that plugs into the back of the device. Regular cards won’t work, so users will need to buy a specific Mi-Fi Sim.

When will Mi-Fi be available?
3’s offering will be sold via telesales and online at www.three.co.uk from Thursday 17 September, while Carphone is also likely to stock the devices this month.

Will Mi-Fi spell the end for mobile broadband?
It looks increasingly likely that Mi-Fi will be backed by the major operators and retailers, which will probably spell the end for the mobile broadband dongle. Mi-Fi has the obvious advantage of providing connectivity to multiple pieces of equipment, which also makes data transfer between those devices much easier than with a dongle.

…and fixed-line internet connections?
It’s quite possible, although this is a bigger ask than ousting mobile broadband, which is generally used by more tech-savvy users who could easily be persuaded to switch to Mi-Fi. Educating traditional fixed-line users on the benefits of Mi-Fi would require a huge marketing spend, akin to when mobile broadband was first introduced.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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