If you're constantly on the go and don't want to be without your internet connection, then MiFi might be a great solution for you. By carrying a small device in your pocket you can have internet service wherever you have mobile phone coverage. Sound simple? It really is. A MiFi device is bought on contract or as a PAYG option from a mobile phone service provider. You carry the device with you, and switch it on when you want to access the internet.
The device harnesses the 3G mobile signal and creates a mini WiFi hotspot around you. You wait for your laptop (or iPad, or mobile gaming console) to detect the wireless signal, click on the connection, and off you go. You can even connect multiple devices to the same signal. Unless you're an extremely heavy and constant mobile internet user, getting MiFi on contract is probably not a good deal, since you'll end up paying for far more data than you need. In fact, most companies don't provide contract MiFi options, although a few do.
PAYG, or pay as you go, is a much better deal, letting you pay for data top ups whenever you need them, in the same way as you would use a PAYG mobile phone. But what are your options? Below we've outlined the three main options that you have.
O2 have a couple of MiFi options. With both of these choices you will initially have to pay for the MiFi device itself, which will cost you £59.99. Then you have daily or monthly options. The daily option costs just £2.04 per day, and has a data limit of just 200 MB for each day. The thirty day option is available in two sizes. You can have a 1 GB monthly data limit for £10.21, or a 2 GB monthly data limit for £15.32.
The first UK operator to offer MiFi, Three firstly asks that you pay £49.99 for the Huawei E5331 Value MiFi device. That price includes 1 GB of preloaded data that must be used in a thirty day period. For 3 GB of preloaded data and the device you will pay just £59.99. After that, data charges are £10.87 for 1GB of data, or £15.99 for 5 GB of data in a thirty day period.
Vodafone MiFi is the same kind of deal as with O2, but slightly cheaper. They offer the Mobile Wi-Fi R205 device for just £49 initially. Then a 2 GB data limit thirty day rolling plan costs you just £20 for the data.
What's the Best Choice?
Choosing the best option is extremely subjective, since it depends a lot on your location and mobile phone service in your area. It's best to go with the network that offers the best mobile coverage in your local area, since without mobile coverage you won't have internet coverage either. So your best plan really does depend on where you spend most of your time, and how close you are to mobile service masts. The closer you are to a mast, the better reception and therefore better signal strength you will have.