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US Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans Compared

Prepaid Mobile broadband lets you use your laptop, tablet or smartphone anywhere there is mobile data coverage. Most providers give you a choice of using a either USB stick modem that works with single device, usually a laptop or a mobile hotspot (image) which lets multiple (typically up to five) WiFi equiped devices (phones, tablets or PCs) share a single connection.

Not surprisingly most of the best values use the Sprint, T-Mobile and Cricket networks which also have the smallest coverage footprints. Be sure to check out the coverage maps to be verify that you will have coverage where you need it.

Speed varies depending on the on the network technology. Typical real world download speeds are:
LTE: 8-40 Mbit/sec
WiMAX: 3-10 Mbit/sec
HSPA+: 3-10 Mbit/sec
EVDO: 0.6-1.6 Mbit/sec

Many of the plans listed below use Sprint WiMAX. Sprint has said that its WiMAX network will be shutdown "by the end of 2015". Plan accordingly.

Here's a table summarizing the current offerings by the major US mobile broadband providers.
Operator USB Modem Cost Mobile Hotspot Cost Network Coverage Price Use own Device
AT&T GoPhone Mobile Broadband 
icon
N/A $99.99 (HSPA+, LTE 4G) AT&T (GSM, HSPA+, LTE) Nationwide (map) $15/7 days
250 MB, overage $10/100 MB;
$25/mo 1.5GB,
overage $10/ 500MB;
$50/mo
5GB, overage $10/1GB
Yes
AT&T Mobile Broadband N/A $169.99 (HSPA+, LTE 4G) AT&T (GSM/HSPA) Nationwide (map) $15/1 day/100 MB;
$30/7 days/300 MB;
$50/mo. 1 GB
Yes
Data Jack N/A $79.99 + $9.85 shipping (EVDO 3G/ WiMAX 4G) Sprint (CDMA, EVDO, WiMAX) Nationwide (same as Virgin Mobile map) $4.99/mo. 100 MB 7;
$9.99/mo. 250 MB; $29.99/mo. 2 GB;
$49.99/mo. 5 GB
No
Virgin Mobile Broadband 2 Go $24.99 (EVDO 3G, WiMAX 4G) $59.99 (EVDO 3G, WiMAX 4G)
$99.99 (3G, LTE 4G)
Sprint (CDMA, EVDO, WiMAX. LTE) Nationwide (map) $5/24 hrs 250 MB;
$25/mo. 1.5 GB;
$55/mo 6 GB
No
NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband $49.99 + $19.95 shipping (WiMAX 4G) $99.99 + $19.95 shipping (WiMAX 4G) Sprint (WiMAX) 80 Cities (map) "free" 200 MB/mo. 4;
$9.95 500 MB/mo.;
$19.95 2 GB/mo.;
$34.95 4 GB/mo.;
$49.95 8 GB/mo.
No
ChitChat Mobile Broadband N/A $49.99 (EVDO 3G/ WiMAX 4G) Sprint (CDMA, EVDO, WiMAX) Nationwide (same as Virgin Mobile map) "unlimited" $29.99/14 days; $49.99/30 days 9 No
NetZero 3G Mobile Broadband N/A $99.99 + $19.95 shipping (EVDO 3G) Sprint (EVDO) Nationwide (map) "free" 200 MB/mo. 4
$9.95 500 MB/mo.;
$19.95 1 GB/mo.;
$34.95 2 GB/mo.;
$49.95 4 GB/mo.
No
FreedomPop 4G only $39.00 + $6.99 shipping (WiMAX 4G) $39.99 + $6.99 shipping (WiMAX 4G) Sprint (WiMAX) 80 Cities (map) free 500 MB/mo.;
$17.99/mo
2 GB;
$28.99/mo
4 GB;
$34.99/mo
5 GB;
$59.99/mo
10 GB
No
FreedomPop 3G/4G $49.99 + $6.99 shipping (WiMAX 4G) $39.99 + $6.99 shipping (WiMAX 4G)
$149.99 + $6.99 shipping (LTE)
Sprint (EVDO, LTE WiMAX)  Nationwide (same as Virgin Mobile map) $3.99/mo 500 MB;
$19.99/mo
2 GB;
$28.99/mo
3 GB;
$34.99/mo
4 GB
No
Internet On The Goicon(Walmart) NA $79.88 (EVDO 3G)Sprint (CDMA, EVDO) Nationwide (same as Virgin Mobile map) Use Whenever (never expires):
$10 500 MB;
$25 1.5 GB;
$45 3 GB
No
H2O Bolt 4G $100 $100Sprint (WiMAX) 80 Cities (map) $50 -Unlimited No
T-Mobile Pay In Advance Mobile Internet Passes $48.00 (HSPA+ 4G) $82.00 (HSPA+ 4G) T-Mobile (GSM, HSPA, LTE) Nationwide (map) $10/1 day 500 MB;
$15/7 days 1GB;
$10/mo. 1 GB;
$20/mo 3 GB;
$30/mo
5 GB 5
Yes
Red Pocket Mobile Internet N/A N/A T-Mobile (GSM, HSPA) Nationwide (map) $10/30 days 1 GB;
$30/30 days 3 GB;
$50/30 days 5 GB 6
Yes
Simple Mobile Wireless Broadband N/A N/A T-Mobile (GSM, HSPA, LTE) Nationwide (map) $20/30 days 1.5 GB;
$40/30 days 4 GB;
$60/30 days 6 GB 6
Yes
Selectel N/A Free with $30 activation fee and $50 plan purchase Verizon (CDMA, EVDO) Nationwide (map - select Data) $20/mo. 1GB;
$35/mo. 3GB;
$50/mo. 5 GB
Yes (Verizon 3G devices)
Verizon Prepaid Mobile Broadband N/A $99.99 (EVDO 3G, LTE 4G) Verizon (CDMA, EVDO, LTE) Nationwide (map - select Prepaid) $15/week 250 MB;
$60/mo. 3 GB;
$90/mo. 10 GB 2
No
Millenicom N/A $99.99 + $15 Shipping & $49.99 activation fee Verizon (CDMA, EVDO, LTE) Nationwide (map - select Prepaid)  $69.998/mo 20 GB No
Straight Talk (Walmart) NA $79.88 (EVDO 3G)Verizon(CDMA, EVDO) Nationwide (map - select Prepaid) $15/30 days 1 GB;
$25/30 days 2 GB;
$40/60 days 4 GB;
$50/60 days 5 GB;
$75/60 days 7GB
No
1 For T-Mobile devices purchased at Walmart, $35 refills purchased at Walmart are good for 60 days instead of the usual 30 days.
2 Verizon prices shown are for 4G LTE devices only. 3G device users get 100 MB for $15/day, 300 MB for $30/week; 1 GB for $50/month or 5 GB for $80/month.
4 Only free for the first year.
5 Additional T-Mobile monthly plans: $50 7 GB, $60 9 GB, $70 11 GB, $80 13 GB
6 Red Pocket $30 and $50 plans include unlimited throttled data after hi-speed allotment is used.
7 DataJack $4.99 "Pay As You Go" plan is auto pay only and charges  2.9¢/MB overage,
8 Millenicom price increasing to $89.99 effective 5/1/2014
9 ChitChat "unlimited" reportedly cut off  at 10GB/month.

Updated 29-Aug-2014: New Selectel $20 and $35 plans added.


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114 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Great info! Thanks so much

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,
    Has anyone used the T-Mobile 4G Mobile HotSpot "$129.99 HSPA+ 4G" (as mentioned above) with the "Web Day Pass" at $1.49 a day? I want to know if thay will work together before I buy the HotSpot.
    Thanks,
    Dj

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used it but returned it after a few days because it was quite inferior.

      Delete
  3. Great info, nice chart, very helpful.

    Virgin Mobile's prepaid broadband USB adapter seems to have a good plan with a 10 day plan available for $10. Great for trips or short vacations when you want to use your laptop. I am not sure how great the speed is, as I am still waiting for the device to arrive. Wal-Mart sells fill-up cards to add more days/data for cheap. There is a $40 plan for 30 days that has faster speeds, then ramps down after so much usage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe the Tmobile day pass has been discontinued

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is correct the $1.49 Web Day Pass was discontinued and replaced by $2 2G and $3 3G Day plans.

    Those are all phone plans not mobile broadband ones. As far as I know, none of them with with T-Mobile branded mobile broadband USB modems or mobile Hotspots although they may work with some generic unlocked mobile broadband devices

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can use the $2 or $3 per day plan in a Tmob phone that has the mobile hotspot feature. You get 200mb per day full speed.

      Delete
  6. Hi Yeswap!

    Congratiolations to your great website! It´s great for tourists, who are interested on mobile internet in the United States!

    I´m looking forward to my holidays in Arizona, California und Nevada.

    Unfortunately i couldn´t find all answer about my questions.

    We have four unlocked mobile Devices (iPhone4S, iPad 2 Wifi, HP Touchpad, HTC Desire HD) which we like to use on the mobile Internet.

    I own an Mifi-Router Vodafone R201 (HSDPA/WCDMA 900/1900/2100 MHz
    GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz).

    So here are my questions:

    1. Tethering is not allowed on the GoPhonePlan, so I think the AT&T Mobile Broadband Plan für 50$/1GB would be fine for us. How can I buy this plan? I don´t have a U.S. credit card. Are there top-up-vouchers beeing sold?

    2. Do you think I need another Mifi Router to use 3G/HSDPA or will i just be fine with 1900 Mhz?

    3. How do this CDMA-Mifis work? Are they locked to one provider or can i just buy one on ebay and use it?

    Thanks a lot for helping and sorry, my english ist horrible!

    Kind regards from Germany
    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  7. You can get a SIM for the Mobile Broadband Plan and pay for the service at any AT&T store. I believe the stores will accept most non-US credit cards but if not you can use cash. You can top up the plan at an AT&T store or online using a prepaid credit card that can be purchased at most chain grocery or drug stores and many gas stations and mini-marts.

    There's plenty of 1900 mHz AT&T coverage in California and in Reno and Las Vegas NV and Phoenix and Tucson AZ. Most of eastern Nevada is 850 only and also 3G only so you would get no service at all there. A portion of south central Arizona is 850 only but there is Edge coverage which you could use. See AT&T 850 vs. 1900 MHz Coverage Maps (dated but probably generally valid), AT&T Coverage Map.

    CDMA MiFis only work with the operator they are sold by or for.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great! Thanks a lot Yeswap!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am going to spend a month in Florida. I think cricket $65 plan would be the best for me. I checked the coverage and saw that both Miami and Orlando are covered, but... No matter what zip code I put on the Cricket website, I always get message "We're sorry, Cricket Broadband is not offered in your area."
    I tried also some Californian and Oregon zip codes - same effect.
    What is going on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miami and Orlando are partner (roaming) areas for Cricket. The broadband devices are only sold and activated in areas where Cricket operates its own network. For example San Diego (zip code 92101).

      Delete
    2. So, even if I order a new sim card and send it to Florida, I won't be able to activate it there? Damn... :-(

      Delete
  10. Boy that comparison chart looks like it could have a wealth of info on it. Too bad the last few columns are BLOCKED by the advertising crap and comments on the right side of my screen. Can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of it or at least shrink it down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see what you mean. It only seems to happen with some browsers and certain zoom levels. It looks fine in Chromium on Ubuntu which is what I normally use.


      I'll fix it. Which browser and OS (Windows XP or 7 Mac OS version, etc.) are you using? I'd like to test the fix in the same combination if I have it

      As a workaround, click the "Smartphone Site" link in the top left corner of the page. That version seems to work in all browsers.

      Delete
    2. The truncated table problem should be fixed now in all browsers. If you are still seeing it please reply with browser and OS name and version.

      Delete
  11. did the price go up on the walmart internet on the go? all Im seeing is 500 MB $25 - 1 GB $45

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are probably seeing a page that hasn't been updated yet. The current rates on the Internet on the Go web site match what's in the table above.

      Delete
  12. You might want to look at ting.com. They charge $6/mo per device + $60/3GB, data never expires. I don't talk much, but minutes are cheap too (2-3 cents) if you want to talk. They use the Sprint network.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ting can be a good choice for people who fit Ting's pricing model, especially light users and families.

      However, it's not true that data never expires. Ting has a tiered pricing structure where the more you use the lower the per unit price becomes. For example, the first 100 MB in a month costs $3. Use more and you are are automatically moved to the $13 500 MB tier for the current month. The other data tiers are 1GB - $25, 2GB - $42, 3GB - $60 but they are all monthly, there's no rollover.

      Voice and SMS work the same way. The smallest voice bucket is $3 for 100 minutes so if you only talk 10 minutes you are paying 30¢/minute not 3¢.

      Personally I think Ting's pricing model is too complicated and unfairly penalizes people who only use part of a tier but are charged for the full tier. I'd think they'd do better with true pay as you go pricing i.e; 4¢/min, 2¢/text and 2.5¢/MB

      Delete
  13. I don't think the att mobile broadbands are correct. I have been using broadband plans on galaxy tab 3 GB for $30 for 30 days... Check dataconnect plans. Or may be we need a separate line for this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. should add you have to buy them on the tablet or online at att.com search buy a session.

      Delete
    2. 3GB for 30 days is a tablet plan. You can't use it with mobile broadband devices like hotspots and USB modems.

      It looks like AT&T may have discontinued prepaid mobile broadband plans for devices other than tablets. I can't find them on the AT&T site anymore.

      Delete
    3. Update I found the page for AT&T's prepaid mobile broadband plans. The prices are as shown above in the article. I need to do a piece on tablet-only plans.

      Delete
  14. Very confusing ATT way of presenting things... See here...it would seems the eliminated the low level plans and only kept the 5g/$50 for broadbands devices: laptops/notebooks, netbooks, USB modems, and Mobile Hotspots.
    But have more choices for tablets. See here.
    http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/plans/dataplans.html

    I wonder if the difference is PostPaid Broadband vs Prepaid Broadband. If that's the case then here's the deal: There's now only one choice for laptops/notebooks, netbooks, USB modems, and Mobile Hotspots in postpaid no contract month to month: 5gb/$50 vs 3 choices for tablets in postpaid.
    For Prepaid for laptops/notebooks, netbooks, USB modems, and Mobile Hotspots the choices are the 3 you have in your table while the tablets prepaid get to enjoy the better choices which are the same as they get in postpaid month to month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny...when you go into ATT store they do not have a way of selling you the Prepaid broadband for tablet. Some reps have even insisted to me that they do exist only for Ipad. I always have to tell to give me the SIM only and let me activate it from the tablet or online.

      Delete
  15. Clear Spot Voyager WiMax with $35/mo. unlimited is advertised at 1.5 mp/s as shown, but consistently delivers 1.75 mp/s in my area. Enough for Skype chats and most of the time for movies. Once in a while a movie pauses at times. $50/mo. unlimited delivers 5+ mb/s. Both of these speeds are in a "good" reception area, yellow modem light, vs. green light.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Have bad experience with NetZero4g.
    Using it rarely and stayed within free limits. Then once bought 500 Mb for $9.95. Understood this as one time purchase. Instead, they started 0charging me $34.95 per month for couple of months without me even using netzero at all. Have only myself to blame -didn't pay attention to credit card bills.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Activate Tmobile Mobile Broadband Plan in your iPad (10 Steps):
    1. Order Tmobile microsim, the one for phone plans. Put it in your iPad
    2. Buy a prepaid Mobile Broadband Refill Card
    3. Call Tmobile Prepaid Tech Support. Tell them you want to activate a Tmobile microsim on the Prepaid Mobile Broadband plan
    4. Give Tech Support your SIM number, Name, zip code
    5. Tmobile will do a workaround on their system, since the Mobile Broadband Plan is supposed to be activated on Tmobile broadband devices
    6. Get your new phone number, which you will only use for MyTmobile account setup and/or refilling your account. Give Tech Support a 4 digit security PIN and the PIN from your Tmobile Prepaid Mobile Broadband Refill Card
    7. Write down the Refill phone number, 877-720-5195. Remember that wen you call, there is a 2-step process to recharge. First add money, then buy the month pass. Do NOT hang up before completing step 2
    8. If you have access to a cellphone that will work with a Tmobile microsim, set up an account on My.T-mobile.com website
    9. Switch the microsim to the cellphone. Record the temporary password for the account. Switch the microsim back to the iPad
    10. (Optional) Log into your new account, and change the password. You can use the site to refill your account now, if you want

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The account password will come to the cellphone by text message. Tmobile does not have a way to send it to an iPad at this time.

      Delete
  18. Hi Yeswap, Thanks for all the hard work you put into your site. I visit it quite frequently. I wanted to mention that Freedom Pop has new plans for home broadband service. They have one that's free up to 1 gb (1 cent/mb overage) another for $9.99 that gives you 10 gb at up to 1.5 mbps and the highest plan is $18.99 for 10 gb but you get speeds up to 8 mbps. The overage on the paid plans are only 1/2 cent per mb. My understanding is that these are only for the home router only but pretty awesome prices nothingness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These prices only apply to the home modem. I have the mobile modem and get 500mb free, with up to 6mbps. I am waiting to see their official plans to allow trade-in of current WiMax equipment for LTE equipment when the turn on that service later this year.

      Delete
  19. I read in Fierce Wireless that the speed with the $18.99 plan can be up to 12 mbps. Maybe they will have a speed+ option for the 8 gb plan.
    They also have a new option within your account for $3.49/month that lets you roll over any unused balance each month, up to 20 gb total.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I read somewhere that when Freedom Pop starts offering LTE that you would just pay the difference between what you paid for the Wimax device and the cost of the LTE device.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TheVerge reported that last October. A lot can change. They are still in beta test. They had to spend >$500k and counting for FCC cert testing of the iPhone sleeve, which is still not done. If they burn through the equity funding they might just jack up the price of the LTE modem. I have 7 months left to return the WiMax modem, and I should know before then.

      Delete
  21. With the home price plans the modem ($89) pretty much pays for itself in a few month compared to the competition. Not a huge risk for someone who needs an internet connection right now verses waiting a year for an LTE version to come out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The break-even depends on your monthly usage. It might never pay for itself or have a very long b/e if you use a lot of data/month.

      Delete
  22. I just put a Ptel Pay-go SIM into my Tmobile broadband 4G hotspot and clocked 8mbps down and 2.4 mbps up. I switched to my Fios wireless router connection, and the best I could do was 8.3 down and 3.9 up.
    Do all Tmobile network SIMs work in their wireless broadband hotspots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. T-Mobile blocks SIMs activated on phone plans from working in T-Mobile branded hotspots, USB modems and tablets. A T-Mobile mobile broadband plan is required. As far as I know, T-Mobile MVNO SIMs don't have any such restrictions.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I will use Ptel in the hotspot to provide more mobile data for my wife's iPhone. She uses the Tmobile $30/1500/30mb plan.

      Delete
  23. Virgin Mobile today updated its Broadband2Go Terms and Conditions. There is also a new $10 plan for 10 days of 100MB 3G and and 5GB 4G data.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great to find your site.
    Can someone please tell me why you don't have simple inexpensive prepaid phone plans you can pick up at your international airports that make sense for travelers?
    I'm about to spend 11 days in the USA on business and really, I can't see the sort of plans that are available in New Zealand and Australia. Even 2 years ago, when I ended up in Sydney unexpectantly due to volcanic ash in the air over NZ, I was able to purchase a prepaid micro sim for my iPhone 4 with unlimited text & local calls, 1 Gb Data and for Aus$30, valid for 30 days conveniently at the airport, when & where I needed it! In NZ you can get similar for NZ19.
    Last year I picked up a T Mobile prepaid plan micro simm from a store, that cost US$50, for about 10 days use!
    Why isn't this convenient arrangement available at the airport in LAX or is it now? You have to track down a suitable store or kiosk away from the airport. I haven't been there for 11 months, so has it changed?
    Does anyone know?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Use your favorite search engine: 'cellphone store LAX terminal'
    TripTel is one convenient source at LAX for SIMs.
    Tmobile now includes 500mb, not 100mb, in their monthly unlimited 4G plan.
    Their unlimited daily plans cost $2 or $3 depending on data speed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Need an update to add the Karma hotspot... another Sprint 4G option but like the Walmart "Internet to Go" in that the data never expires from the account.

      Delete
    2. Karma only has one plan, and it costs $4/month more than the same amount of data from FreedomPop. You can buy an option from FreedomPop to let your unused data roll over for $3.49. So Karma always costs more. I do not see any reason to add them.

      Delete
  26. Today I got this message from Tmobile CS about my prepaid mobile broadband (MBB) pass:
    "Dear Customer,
    Your broadband pass has expired and you will be charged $0.20 per MB for all data use until you buy another pass Don.t worry, you will only be charged the $0.20 per MB if you use your Mobile Broadband service without buying a weekly or monthly pass."

    Tmobile has an informal Pay-Go option for MBB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting change. Thanks for sharing. This might be useful for occasional light usage on a tablet. I wonder how the overage will be funded? If the broadband pass has expired, there would be no funds in the account.

      Delete
  27. NetZero will be selling service on the nationwide Verizon 3G network soon. They just signed a 3-year Vz deal and 5-year Sprint deal for 4G LTE and 3G.
    http://www.fiercebroadbandwireless.com/story/netzero-wireless-signs-mvno-pacts-verizon-sprint/2013-08-02

    ReplyDelete
  28. Went to the FreedomPop website, they have with purchase of a mobile device, 2GB mo. free with a extra 2GB free for the 1st month.

    At the check out they charge $3.99 if you want rollover, else the monthly charge is $0.00, so it looks like (unless I am being misled) FreedomPop is now offering 2GB/mo for free?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only the first month of 2GB is free. You have to switch to the free plan before the end of the month to avoid being charged $17.99 or $19.99 for the next month

      Delete
  29. Can the Freedompop Home 4G Internet router be taken and used on a road trip, or does it only work at your home address?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It should work anywhere you have power and Sprint/Clear WiMax signal. For use ON the road, you need the Sprint Overdrive 4G-3G or the new LTE modem with 3G. But you will not get a WAN port.

      Delete
  30. Clear is now part of Sprint, can't order a device from them anymore, click on just about anything and your sent to a Sprint website.

    Looks like Sprint wants you to buy devices with a 2yr agreement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can activate a Clear device instead. $35-60 to buy a Voyager now on eBay.

      Delete
    2. Clear still offers the same $35 and $50 unlimited plans, but you will have to buy your own Spot or home modem.

      Delete
  31. Does Freedompop allow you to have both a Home router with WAN port, and a portable 3G-4G modem for the road?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you can buy both. Use a different email address for the second account.

      Delete
    2. So FreedomPop does not care if you use the same name, address and credit card # for the 2nd account?

      Delete
    3. I don't know ;-) Go ahead and test that and let us know what you find.

      Delete
  32. The Economist has a fun chart that compares the cost of prepaid mobile broadband around the world. You can also compare the cost as a % of gross national income per person. I believe they only priced the dominant players in the US, Verizon and AT&T.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/10/daily-chart-5

    ReplyDelete
  33. Tmobile has completely changed its Pay In Advance Mobile Internet passes; the table should be updated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. T-Mobile plans and pricing has been updated, thaks for letting me know.

      Delete
  34. New GoPhone Mobile Hotspot
    www.att.com/gen-mobile/press-room?pid=25012&newsarticleid=37204

    ReplyDelete
  35. You have your Straight Talk/Walmart entry as riding on the Verizon network, but in the next cell you point to the Virgin Mobile map... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wait..so with the AT&T GoPhone mobile broadband, you can't bring your own device? What happens if I already own the Unite hotspot (bought before AT&T created this new plan) that AT&T is selling for their GoPhone mobile broadband. Can I not buy a GoPhone mobile broadband SIM card and then activate it with my Unite hotspot?

    $50/5gb sure beats the $50/1gb that I paid over a month ago for service I needed over a weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure but it looks like the $50 5GB deal might be another Walmart exclusive deal like Virgin and T-Mobile have where the plan pricing only only applies to devices from Walmart. I'm will contact AT&T and see what the conditions of this deal are.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for looking into this. I wonder if the gophone sim cards for phones can be used in a hotspot. It'd be nice to get on the new gophone plans since paying the same amount for more is always good.

      Delete
  37. Dennis: T-mobile ZTE 4G mobile hotspot at my local Walmart now come with (what I believe is) 5GB of free data good for 3 months from date of activation. I was trying to get a photo of the Mifi box, but because of the high theft (aka shrinkage) the box had a anti-theft device that covered the box.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip. I will check that out.

      Delete
  38. One correction:
    Overage for AT&T GoPhone Mobile Broadband is $10/100MB for $15/7 days/250 MB plan, $10/1GB for $50/mo/5GB plan.
    This is a great plan for a short-time occasional use, because it lets you use LTE, and tethering with iPad/iPad Mini (even for a week-long plan) and some Android devices (not all, though). Can be also used with iPhone and smart phones for data-only uses. And, it is much more economical than AT&T's Prepaid DataConnect plan ($50/1GB).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, you're right about the overage rates. I've corrected the post.

      Delete
  39. BTW, GoPhone Mobile Hotspot plan IS NOT Ealmart Exclusive.
    Go to http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/gophone.html
    and click "Activate Mobile Hotspot" near the upper right of the page, then, select GoPhone® Mobile Hotspot and proceed.
    I used the AT&T Elevate IMEI number to activate my unactivated AT&T SIM which I already had purchased through eBay. After activation, I tried the activated SIM with Elevate,Unite, Original iPad Mini (Verizon version), iPad Air (T-Mobile version, though it would not matter which version), iPhone 4, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 7 LTE. All works. The tether option is hidden for Nexus 7 LTE and did not work with iPhone 4 (and presumably all iPhone's), though. The APN is broadband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Self-correction:
      I mean, "NOT Elmart Exclusive" -> "NOT Walmart Exclusive".
      So, "Use own Device" for "AT&T GoPhone Mobile Broadband " is a definite YES.

      Delete
    2. Nice, thanks for reporting your experiences. It sounds like you can active the GoPhone Broadband plan using any AT&T SIM and the IMEI from any AT&T Broadband device. Actually I wonder if you even need a Broadband IMEI or if you can use any IMEI?

      Delete
  40. Oh...nice. Good to know that one can activate the GoPhone mobile broadband plan on BYOD. SWEET. I guess I'll have to purchase a new SIM to test it out when I need to use my hotspot again.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  41. You need to update the DataJack plans. They offer a pay as you go plan for $4.99/mo + 100mb free, $9.99/mo for 250MB, $29.99/mo for 2GB and $49.99 for 5GB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've updated the Data Jack plans and rates. Thanks for letting me know.

      Delete
  42. You need to update the AT&T Mobile Broadband PREPAID to include pricing for TABLETS and GAMING devices: $14.99/month 250MB, $25.00/3 months 1GB, $30.00/month 3GB, $50/month 5GB.The prices you have posted are for COMPUTERS,NETBOOKS,AIRCARDS,AND OTHER

    ReplyDelete
  43. Is there any way to tell how much data you've used on the Red Pocket 4G Mobile Internet plans? The 1GB over 30 days for $10 sounds like a pretty good deal.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Typo: Millennicom provides Verizon LTE, not WiMax.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Millennicom price adjustment effective May 1st to $89.99 for 20GB. Thats more than a 25% increase.

    ReplyDelete
  46. AT&T GoPhone Mobile Broadband added a $25/1.5 GB/month option to their plans:

    http://www.att.com/att/gophone-mobile-hotspot/en/index.html#fbid=F3ykOlXhDTr

    ReplyDelete
  47. Why two AT&T mobile broadband profiles
    Also the H2O website says Unlimited plan is $50/mo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would have to ask AT&T why they have two different brands of prepaid mobile broadband with wildly different pricing.

      Thanks for pointing out the H2O Bolt discrepancy. It looks like H20 replaced their tiered Bolt plans with a single $50 unlimited plan quite a while ago. However, I don't know how "unlimited" it really is. H2O has a history of undisclosed throttles and caps on their phone plans. According to one Amazon review the Bolt plan is throttled to unspecified speeds after 1GB.

      Delete
  48. Many services on this list are still selling WiMax modems and Hotspots what will happen when Sprint shuts down WiMax in 2015 will everyone who buys a WiMax device today have a modem that will no longer work next year and have to buy another device in 2015

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sprint has said that WiMAX will be shut down "by the end of 2015" which sounds like it could happen at anytime. But based on Sprint's iDEN shut down which they said would happen "by June 30,2013" and actually occured at 11:50 PM, June 30, WiMax will probably be around until 12/31/15 which is 20 months away.

      WiMAX based services tend to be the least expensive so they can still be cost effective even if you will have to buy a new hotspot in less than 2 years. FreedomPop is blowing out their WiMAX devices for $15-$20 so there's not much of a risk.

      Delete
  49. Chit chat mobile says it has Unlimited broadband for $50/mo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I've added it. Someone on DSLReports says ChitChat cut them off after 10GB. I'm not a fan of companies advertising unlimited when it's not.

      Delete
  50. Hello anyone know what I can do I want pay as you go net service but I use about 150GB every 30 days and I cant find anyone to cover that large.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That much mobile data will likely cost you hundreds of dollars per month. If you use most of your data in one place wired broadband (cable or DSL) should be under $50/month.

      Delete
    2. You might be able to use Clear.com. Buy a used Clear mobile router and sign up for unlimited Sprint WiMax for $55/month. Coverage very spotty, so check that first.

      Delete
  51. Can't find note 10 for H2O Bolt
    And will the New Cricket GSM have mobile broadband like the old Cricket and is the CDMA broadband going to be shutdown

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Note 10 was a mistake. It doesn't exist.
      I haven't heard anything about New Cricket having broadband. I wouldn't be surprised if they do. There's a demand for it and dealers will want to be able to offer it.
      The Cricket CDMA network will be shut down around the end of 2015.

      Delete
  52. Is there any Unlimited wireless internet service like Clear used to have

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No really, there are a couple that claim to be unlimited but I believe they both either throttle severely or cut you off somewhere between 5 and 10GB

      Delete
    2. Clear does not cut us off, and they do not throttle on the $55/month plan.

      Delete
    3. Is the Clear unlimited plan still available to new users?

      Delete
  53. FreedomPop has new plans and now offers LTE

    ReplyDelete
  54. Can I guy a Verizon MiFi or a Sprint Mobile Hotspot device from craigslist and then purchase a plan from the provider? Or are should I be concerned about the device having a bad esn like some stolen cell phones do? - Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  55. You can activate a used Verizon hotspot on Verizon prepaid or postpaid mobile broadband or a used Sprint hotspot on Sprint prepaid or postpaid mobile broadband.

    Like phones, hotspot ESNs can be bad if the device is reported lost or stolen or the previous owner didn't pay their bill or ETF.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi, red pocket is now offering 512 MB mobile broadband refills for $5. Sim cards are a dollar with the promo code "summer". Does anyone know if the mobile broadband sim card works in a smartphone and if the $5 refill lasts for 30 days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just tried ordering a SIM with the code and got the error "Coupon code "summer" is not valid"

      RedPocket mobile broadband SIMs will work in phones for data only, no talk or texting.

      The $5 plan is a 30 day plan.

      Delete
    2. The summer promo code is good on SIMs for Red Pocket GSMA (AT&T) phone plans. It doesn't work with the mobile broadband SIMs.

      Delete
    3. Seems as though this service might only be good for the light user (despite their "unlimited" monthly plans. No audio or video streaming allowed? Really?

      D. Red Pocket Mobile™ service plans may ONLY be used for the following purposes: (i) Person to Person Voice Calls (ii) Text and Picture Messaging and (iii) Internet browsing through the Red Pocket Mobile™ web service. Red Pocket Mobile™ service MAY NOT be used for any other purpose.

      Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous mobile to mobile or mobile to landline voice calls; (ii) automated text or picture messaging to another mobile device or e-mail address; ****(iii) uploading, downloading or streaming of audio or video programming or games;**** (iv) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing; or (v) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services and/or redirecting television signals for viewing on laptops is prohibited. A person engaged in prohibited uses may have his/her service terminated without notice or a refund.

      Delete
  57. Hi,

    I love your chart and the fact you respond to all the questions, however, I'm still confused(yes, I'm blonde...lol)

    I am looking for a simple plan that allows me to access the web if I am somewhere that doesn't have Wi-Fi, like Costco or on the road and I'm faced with construction(maybe once a month).

    I would just need access to google something. I won't be downloading music, posting anything, etc.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

    Happy Day!

    (I'm also confused about how to "Comment As", so I'm just doing anonymous.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good choices for occasional light hotspot usage include AT&T GoPhone ($10/month 100MB), T-Mobile ($10/month 1GB) or Straight Talk ($15/month 1GB Verizon network).You can activate and suspend the service as needed. With AT&T and T-Mobile the SIMs will expire after a period of inactivity (90 days on GoPhone, one year on T-Mobile) but you can activate a new SIM easily.

      To comment using a name choose the Name/URL option. The URL is optional, you can leave it blank or enter you Twitter, Facebook, blog URL if you have one you want to share publicly.

      Delete
    2. Dennis,

      It looks like the minimum on AT&T GoPhone is $15/month 250MB.
      I don't see the $10/month 100MB as a choice.

      Delete
    3. Actually it's $15/ for 250MB good for a week (not a month) with the option to add more at $10 per 100MB (the overage rate). I've added semi-colons between the plans to make it clearer that the overage rate applies to the preceding plan.

      Delete
  58. Any comments on Ready Mobile? I saw some devices being sold on eBay which is how I found out about them. Apparently they use Sprint network.

    ReplyDelete
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