A Trip to Verizon- Yes, They Will Sell You a MiFi Today

33 Comments

CIMG1496I had a fun stop at the big Verizon (s vz) store near me (how often can one say that?) and uncovered some interesting information about the MiFi that will launch officially on May 17 (this Sunday). I stopped to get the answer to two specific questions, even though I felt I probably knew the answers to them both.

My first question was if they anticipated having stock, and lots of it, for the launch on Sunday.

I didn’t really expect the salesperson to know the answer, but she responded that she believed they already had stock in the store. She went on to tell me that I could go ahead and buy one today if that was the case. That really surprised me, given the product has not launched yet. She checked with two other people (all three folks were familiar with the MiFi), and they both were pretty certain the stock was in and that yes, she could sell me one.

The purpose of my trip to the store was not to buy a MiFi yet. I’m still evaluating the product using the one Verizon sent me, so I declined purchasing one today and went to my second question: Would I qualify for upgrade pricing given my current 3G data plan using the AirCard? No, it turns out I don’t qualify for an upgrade until next year, so I would have to pay the full retail price of $269 for the MiFi. I would not have to renew my two-year contract, so at least for the big bucks my contract would still run out next year. Now I know what will be involved when I’m ready to buy one of these little 3G routers.

I was glad to see the salespeople already pushing the HP Mini 1000 (s HP) they are also going to start selling May 17. They had a working demo unit on the sales floor and were pushing them to customers looking for a connected solution. They are obviously taking this whole netbook thing quite seriously. I should add that the sales folks I spoke to were excited to see a real working MiFi that I brought with me. They had not actually seen one work.

Those of you who can’t wait to get a MiFi of your very own may find it worth a trip to your local Verizon store based on my experience. Maybe you can nab one ahead of the other road warriors.

33 Comments

Lou

Have you seen the ‘pay as you go’ interface? Does it act like a hotel internet service where you connect to the wifi network, go to any web page, and that web page gets intercepted by a ‘put in your credit card here’ page?

Lou

Just to make sure I asked the right question… it still works in wifi mode (with up to 5 wifi clients) when charging via USB, right?

James Kendrick

Yes, again, it works as a WiFi hotspot while charging via outlet. While tethered via USB the WiFi is disabled to prevent others from trying to access it. It’s a typical USB modem when tethered in other words.

Frank

Is there software available with the MiFi that will track how much data you use? I can considering the $39 monthly plan to start, but since that is going to have a lower cap I would want to track how much data I actually use.

I also assume there must be a way to secure the MiFi so that not anyone can connect and use it, right?

Lou

Just to make sure they didn’t do something dumb… can I use the Mifi while it is being charged? I’ve seen some devices that turn themselves off when being charged and am hoping this product doesn’t have that flaw.

Tim Kilroy

I am foolishly excited about the MiFi. I have an AT&T USB stick and it is fine, but the process of finding it pulling it out, plugging it in seems so very 1990s. I am excited to just push a button and go. Any ideas when/if this will be out for AT&T?

Techme

Does the Verizon MiFi contain a SIM slot, so you could use overseas?

Kevin Ha

I went over to the Cypress, TX store at 290 and Spring Cypress and spoke with Jason the sales rep. He didn’t know anything about it except that they had two in stock. I was able to open it up and plug it in and stare at its awesomeness and diminutive size. The guy tried to ring it up, but price showed as $999999.99 so could not sell it to me at retail price. He is holding it for me till Sunday when the pricing will be in place.
He didn’t know that it had WiFi built in any of the details of how it worked. This store had only two in stock and I have both on hold.
He said I can swap the ESN from my data card over to this device with no issue, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Faeiz Hindi

will we be able to perform online ESN switches between the MiFi and a Verizon smartphone that has the data plan?

Grouptivity

Typically, I’m sick with anticpation for it to be Friday. But now I’m antsy with the want…nooo…NEED for it to be Sunday! It’s cute, sexy, efficient & USEFULL at the same time? Cool. But I want one NOW!

MPJ

I tried the day you posted you were in a coffee shop with one and here they didn’t have any and stated they didn’t even know when the release date was.

Richard Garrett

Its hard to imagine Apple launching something as important as the MiFi and not training its reps prior to launch — its incredible that the Verizon folks had not yet seen one work until your arrival.

Oliver

You’re seriously comparing this in importance (and market demand) to any recently launched Apple product? Just because every other post here this week is about the MiFi doesn’t mean there are going to be long lines in front of every Verizon store come Sunday.

Rodfather

I just tried to buy one at my local Verizon store. They’ve had them for a week now.
From my FriendFeed post:
‘Ack. Was ready to buy but the price wasn’t showing up in their system so they can’t sell it. Actually, they said it showed up at 109 thousand dollars. They will keep trying in the upcoming days and give me a call if something changes’

http://i.friendfeed.com/928e0631276b5e28be0a51c06a528cad30a8ec8b

It was in my hands. So close. Oh well, worst case, I’ll have to wait 3 more days.

Sam Hill

Too bad they are disabling the onboard GPS (unlike Sprint).
Typical Verizon.

Dave Zatz

I’m not be sarcastic… Would you actually use this feature in this type of device? One of my previous aircards (think it was a fat Sprint USB one, maybe 12-18 mos ago) had some sort of GPS service. Never used it once.

I will pick up the Sprint one next month (since I’m locked into a contract I’d rather not pay to break) and the GPS is not a selling point at all.

Kenneth MacDonald

A couple of years ago everybody said Sprint was better than Verizon. I’m thinking of waiting till their device comes out next month.

rssurfer

I know it……..gracias mi amigo. Just got my S5 so almost set!

rssurfer

James – thanks for checking. Did you go a store near 1960 and Eldridge?

Paolo

No luck here – told me I’d have to wait until Sunday.

smittypap

News flash.
Retail price last week = $269.
Retail price today = $399.

WTF?

Rick Huizinga

Speaking of MiFi questions, does anyone know if there is a bandwidth limit on the $15 day pass option?

Rick Huizinga

Wow! If there truly is no bandwidth cap over the 24 hour period, then this would be great for occasional travel.

When staying at a hotel, one would be able to use it to rent iTunes movies rather than paying the ridiculous in-room pay per view rate.

Oliver

Maybe the hotels I stay at aren’t fancy enough, but I rarely pay anything for WiFi… or if I do, it’s usually less than $15/day. And many of my trips are international, where this thing wouldn’t be terribly useful. To save any money at $15/day (plus fixed purchase cost) would take a really long time.

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