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The Power of MiFi in the Tablet Era

Verizon Wireless (s vz) is trying to cash in on AT&T’s (s t) latest toy. Calling Apple’s (s aapl) iPad “an opportunity for VZW,” the nation’s largest carrier in a memo obtained by Engadget is coaching its sales staffers to encourage customers to pick up the much-hyped tablet but skip the 3G option and connect it to Verizon’s network with the $100 MiFi.

At first glance, it’s a compelling pitch. Consumers can save $130 on the iPad by forgoing AT&T’s troubled cellular network, and high-powered users might be swayed by the fact that the MiFi can power up to five gadgets simultaneously. But the MiFi is packaged with a 5GB data plan that costs $60 a month, while AT&T offers its unlimited iPad data service for only $30. Regardless, though, the effort is a timely reminder that with its MiFi Verizon be well-positioned to leverage the flood of iPad-like devices slated to come to market later this year — even if those gadgets aren’t actually sold by Verizon.

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Image courtesy Flickr user nDevilTV.

7 Responses to “The Power of MiFi in the Tablet Era”

  1. i just have real hard time seeing longterm appeal of the mifi. i just seems so obvious to me that eventually wifi tethering to the cell phones people already carry will dominate mobile broadband. at least when 3G is not built into the device.

    i see a day coming soon when it no one will buy(or sign a service contract for) a smartphone unless the device and service contract support unlimited wifi tethering at a reasonable price.

    • Colin Gibbs

      When it comes to the long-term you’re right, Tom. But we’re a long way from the kind of Wi-Fi footprint that will be necessary to dominate mobile broadband usage. MiFi won’t have much appeal for those carrying a single device, but for road warriors with multiple gadgets it could be an attractive alternative.

  2. Another good option would be the Overdrive by Sprint. Gives you 3G and 4G coverage (if you are lucky enough to live in a 4G city). 4G is unmetered bandwidth–3G has the same 5GB cap–but a 4G iPad sounds like a good device.