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Summary:

Novatel Wireless today has announced the securing of a trademark for the MiFi name for its brand of wireless hotspot devices. Brand awareness is certainly important, but customers also need to understand the value brought a MiFi device, which shares a data connection with five devices.

Novatel Wireless has secured a trademark for the name MiFi, which applies to both the hardware and software found in its line of wireless hotspot devices. But trademark or not, a lack of consumer knowledge on the product capabilities of the credit card-sized 3G data routers has been hurting sales — customers know what a MiFi is, but they don’t quite know everything a MiFi can do.

I’ve seen firsthand just how solid brand awareness of Novatel Wireless’ device line is. I purchased a MiFi to carry everywhere I go and quite often people stop me to ask, “Is that a MiFi?” I try to explain that it’s a personal hotspot, but in the end, people seem to equate a MiFi with wireless Internet connectivity. They tell me they don’t care about the technical mumbo-jumbo — only that they can get online with their devices.

But while the brand does indeed equate to easy online access, I’m not sure that customers understand that a MiFi supports several devices simultaneously. Instead of a USB dongle that provides connectivity for one computer, the MiFi shares its data connection with up to five devices over Wi-Fi. For the same monthly fee as that USB dongle, the data pipe of a MiFi is leveraged across multiple machines, providing a better value. Novatel Wireless announces quarterly earnings on Thursday of this week, so perhaps we’ll get a glimpse if the company is battling consumer perceptions of the MiFi capabilities or not.

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Image courtesy of Novatel Wireless

  1. [...] Accessories, Devices0Do You MiFi? What About for Ministry? Posted by John Saddington on May 4, 2010Novatel recently acquired the MiFi trademark and it’s becoming more and more of “hot” item to have, especially at locations [...]

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  2. [...] By James Kendrick May. 4, 2010, 11:45am CDT No Comments      0 Novatel may not get enough public airtime, and news coming out today is probably not the kind they want. The MiFi is often touted as one of [...]

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  3. [...] this year, I noted that MiFi sales were down in 2009, likely because consumers didn’t know what the devices were or what they could do. I’m still asked by curious passer-bys about the MiFi I use on my [...]

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  4. [...] device more attractive to carriers and customers and therefore revenues would likely still increase. I think that folks still don’t know what a MiFi is, which could be hurting adoption. In any case, exact sales numbers in terms of units aren’t available, so let’s consider [...]

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