5 Comments

Summary:

On paper, Rovair’s pitch sounds pretty good. The company procures 3G modems with contracts and then doles them out to individuals that want connectivity for a short term but don’t want the typical two-year plan commitment. Rovair offers 3G for as little as $5.95 per day, […]

LogoOn paper, Rovair’s pitch sounds pretty good. The company procures 3G modems with contracts and then doles them out to individuals that want connectivity for a short term but don’t want the typical two-year plan commitment. Rovair offers 3G for as little as $5.95 per day, which is a reasonable price when compared to a WiFi day pass, for example.Unfortunately, that $6 daily price is for a 30-day period: if you do the math, that means $180 for a month of 3G without any additional commitments. I priced a four-day rental to see what it would be and Rovair would charge me $14.95 per day, for a total of $59.80. Adding in another $29.90 for shipping brings the total to nearly $90. While I like the idea, I can’t see it working well unless Rovair offered pickup kiosks for the devices; the shipping costs alone really hit the wallet. Still, it’s another option for those needing full-time connectivity for a trip.(via Web Worker Daily)

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  1. Mike Whalen Friday, May 2, 2008

    If I travel one time per month and stay at a location for one week, then the service is pricey. However, for one-offs maybe once every couple of months? It might be okay. I keep thinking about buying an EVDO modem with Verizon, but shy away from the $300,000/month fee (or whatever it is these days).

  2. Hello,

    I am the president and CEO of Roviar. We realize that we are not a service for everyone, however, our service certainly makes sense for many. Mike’s comment above offers a good example. Going forward, we intend to offer the 30 day pricing in a prepaid format, so that you could prepay the 30 days, however, take it in whatever daily increments that you would like.

    We also have a plan to put a kiosk model in place. For more on the breakeven analysis, please visit Chris Elliott’s Blog from a couple weeks ago.

    http://www.elliott.org/blog/heres-a-clever-way-around-pricey-hotel-wireless-charges/

  3. Kevin C. Tofel Friday, May 2, 2008

    Tom, thanks for stopping by and sharing thoughts on your company and the service it offers. I like the idea of the 30-day prepaid pricing, assuming you can pick and choose the days of usage over a long period. Thanks again!

  4. Hmmm. For the coverage maps, the site just links to the three major 3G carriers. When going through the order process (until I hit the credit card page), no where did it let me choose which carrier I wanted… or ask me where I want to use the card. So how does this work in practice? I hope customers don’t end up with a random card. Also, since different cards in my experience use different drivers, would one end up installing new software for each rental if the carrier (and maybe even device) gets randomly selected? The FAQ doesn’t really seem to answer this.

    What I am wondering is why the big three don’t offer this type of service themselves. I wouldn’t mind dropping by my local Sprint store on the way to the airport to rent a card for the trip and pay a reasonable amount by the day (plus deposit).

    Oh, and @Tom: Your company’s name is Rovair, not Roviar :)

  5. Oliver,

    Thanks for pointing out the mispell, yikes!

    Anyway, in response to your comments above, we currently only offer Sprint and Verizon. We have used all three services extensively, and have found AT&Ts coverage and speeds to be inferior. As they improve, we hope to add their service.

    In terms of giving you a choice, it is on the horizon! In the meantime, we will state that specific brands available upon request only, and subject to availability. We have found Sprint and Verizon are of equal quality in speeds, Verizon coverage is a little better in outlying areas; however, in metro areas, Sprint and Verizon are equally comparable.

    Currently, the majority of our cards are Sprint. Soon we will incorporate an inventory management system into our reservation system similar to that of a hotel or car rental reservation system. until this happens, we take requests for Verizon only, as we don’t want to offer something that is not available. Bear in mind that we just launched our ad campaign in March, as we go forward, there will be many more bells and whistles on the website, and more pricing options.

    In terms of the carriers offering this type of service, that is the risk that we took before entering the business. The only thing I can say is that we strive for the highest level of customer services (see http://www.thejohnsonblog.com/2008/03/25/wireless-broadband-rental/), something the carriers have a hard time with. Verizon currently offers a day pass option, IF you want to buy the card at retail ($250) and pay $15/day with no long term discounts, we will have a similar option available shortly, but with much better equipment prices. Finally, we are working on improving our distribution model, Look for us at a place near you!

    Hope that helps!

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