Top 5 List: Mobile Broadband Cards May 2011
Here is the May List of the top 5 Mobile Broadband Cards currently available from the 4 National Cellular Carriers that own their own networks, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T. We don’t list smaller regional carriers, or ones who borrow their networks from the 4 above who actually own them. These type of carriers have a history of being here today and gone tomorrow. Even Virgin Mobile’s offer was changed from Unlimited to 2.5GB. Lot’s of Virgin customers feel like they got the classic “Bait and Switch”. That is one of the problems with pre-paid – they can switch the terms at ANY time, and you are stuck with the device you paid $150 for.
Many factors are considered in the ranking, such as device capabilities itself, as well as the carriers current coverage, network speeds, and monthly price plans. Lastly we factor in the lowest device pricing on the web that can be found right here on More Mobile Internet. The best choice for you will depend greatly on where you plan to use the device, so check our Coverage Maps before making a final decision.
Here is the list, in order:
1) Verizon Samsung 4G HotSpot – Verizon’s first 4G LTE Mobile HotSpot. By now it’s pretty apparent that Verizon’s 4G network is faster and more solid coverage wise than all the other carriers. For this reason, the Samsung wins top honors this month. Couple that with Verizon’s $50 plan for 5GB with just $10 per extra GB and you have a winning combo. However, if you are going to be sharing a lot, the $80 plan for 10GB may be a smarter plan for you. Device Cost: Free with a 2 year Agreement.
2) T-Mobile 4G HotSpot – Everyone, into the 4G HotSpot pool! Finally, all the carriers are responding with a 4G HotSpot of their own. T-mobile’s advantage is a decent plan: $49.99 for 5GB with no overage. This just means that the speed may be slowed down after 5GB, but you won’t get hit with extra charges. For you power users, T-Mobile now has a $85 plan for 10GB as well. Device Cost: $50 with a 2 year Agreement.
3) Sprint 4G MiFi – The Novatel 4G MiFi is Sprint’s latest 4G HotSpot. Early reviews are rating it much higher than the Overdrive, Sprint’s other 4G HotSpot device. Sprint has slower 4G speeds than Verizon and similar speeds to T-mobile, and is also $10 a month more than both. However, for power users, Sprint is a great choice since they are the only carrier with Unlimited service (in 4G areas only – 3G is still limited to 5GB) Device Cost: $70 with a 2 year Agreement.
4) Verizon VL600 – For those looking for a USB device the VL600 from Verizon is a great choice. It has been performing better than the Verizon UML290 in 3G areas so I now recommend it as the top Verizon choice for USB modems. The other benefit of a standard USB is that you can use it with the CradlePoint routers to create a larger, more powerful hotspot that one of the hotspot devices themselves. Device Cost: Free with 2 year Agreement.
5) Sprint 250U – If you need Unlimited Internet (and happen to live in a Sprint 4G area) then this is also a great choice since and is the best Sprint USB choice at the moment, with the same Mobile Router compatibility as the VL600 above. Device Cost: Free with 2 year Agreement.