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MiFi Opportunities About to Increase



With a word, Steve Jobs has ruled out tethering the iPad to the iPhone. In an email he basically just said “no.” On some levels that makes absolutely no sense, but then when you consider AT&T’s well chronicled network woes it makes all the sense in the world.

I’m in the same camp as Kevin Tofel. Should I choose to buy an iPad, I’ll be tethering up to a Sprint MiFi Card for connectivity when I’m not around a WiFi hotspot. In thinking about that it makes me curious as to why the MiFi (and to a lesser extent its 4G enabled descendant the …… ) aren’t more prevalent options as we hear folks debating on whether or not to purchase a 3G enabled iPad or not.

I guess my surprise is that Novatel, Sprint, and Verizon don’t push MiFi cards harder. If you ask me, they’ve got a ready made market about to pop wide open with the iPad and other Tablets. And since everyone including Steve Jobs sees the iPad as “another device” instead of replacing a device you already have, it seems like a golden opportunity. AT&T has said that they view the device as being used on WiFi more than 3G, and I’ve said before that I think the $130 premium you pay for a 3G version is meant as much as a deterrent as it is anything else.

In my usage case, Sprint (the flavor of the MiFi card I use) has very good connectivity in locations where I could see myself using an iPad, or any other Tablet like device, so from my perspective this seems like a no brainer.

Perhaps after the iPad is released we’ll see a push on the MiFi front. Like I said I think there is an opportunity there.



  1. Sumocat

    03/09/2010 at 12:43 pm

    The MiFi approach makes sense only if you already have one or can otherwise justify its use independently of an iPad. Cost for MiFi service for a two-year unlimited plan is ~$1440. Cost for 3G on an iPad for the same period, including the $130 premium, is ~$850, and that’s flexible since there’s no contract with the iPad. MiFi is a serious commitment that most people will not make.

  2. Martin

    03/09/2010 at 1:12 pm

    Hey guys,

    you can buy a MiFi als *without* any contract. In Germany I paid 180 EUR, approx. 250 USD, for the 2352.


  3. tivoboy

    03/09/2010 at 1:25 pm

    one can also get one of SEVERAL 3g/4g dongles on a month to month contract and just plug it into one of the petite cradlepoint routers. Carrier agnostic and would actually help to SAVE battery power on the ipad.

  4. maxrobes

    03/09/2010 at 1:28 pm

    If you already use a Mifi I can see your arguement. But for those that don’t here’s why not to. Why spend $99 for a device and then lock myself into a contract for 2 years at 50 bucks per month and have a cap of 5gb per month when I can spend an extra $130, pay 30 bucks per month for unlimited use without a contact? That is why.

  5. tivoboy

    03/09/2010 at 2:38 pm

    for one, the mifi is much be leveragable across other products, one’s iphone, laptop, work, travel, etc.

    One can get another portable router type and get a MTM wireless broadband product for 40$ a months, or less.

  6. Warner Crocker

    03/09/2010 at 4:04 pm

    All good responses. For maxrobes keep in mind. Unlimited is usually defined at 5GB. I hate that and you should too.

  7. Phillip B

    03/09/2010 at 7:39 pm

    I am thinking about the iPad with 3G mostly so I can have a giant GPS attached to my dash (not windshield). I use my iPhone for nav but the buttons are a bit too small. I have a MiFi already. It would give my a wireless connection but not aid the GPS build into the iPad. That is correct isn’t it?

    I think the iPad will shine in the car…Yes I know the dangers of driving and doing tech, but its size will make things much better.

  8. Irked Inker

    03/09/2010 at 10:00 pm

    “when you consider AT&T’s well chronicled network woes it makes all the sense in the world”

    Nope, still makes no sense. Whether you’re piggybacking off an iPhone’s connection or using a standalone 3G radio, your iPad will still be clogging AT&T’s tubes. Serving data to single device per user (their iPhone) might be easier on the network than serving data (or data + voice) to 2 separate devices at the same time.

  9. Stuart

    03/09/2010 at 10:53 pm

    I think the next generation of MIFI will be nice when it adds GPS and location based services but when you can get a phone that does the same thing via software…I don’t really see the advantage of the device. But since I only use GSM i love the flexibility of putting my SIM in any device and when the iPad comes out I am sure there will be micro to regular sim adapters and then people will be taking that $30/month unlimited prepaid plan and using it in all sorts of devices.

  10. tivoboy

    03/10/2010 at 8:23 am

    doesn’t the current MIFI have GPS? most devices now do, I know all my sprint and verizon dongles support it, with my cradlepoint portable routers. The question is, does the client device make use of it?

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