Verizon has launched what’s probably the world’s first dual mode portable hotspot. They’re calling it the Fivespot because it gives up to 5 devices a WiFi connection. If you’re not familiar with portable hotspots, they’re a remarkably simple concept. Instead of device manufacturers having to shove SIM card slots in anything and everything they want to have access to the internet, you buy a little credit card sized device that takes the wireless signal provided by your operator and then converts it to WiFi for devices such as your Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle. Google’s Android, as of version 2.2, has this capability baked into the operating system itself so you don’t even need to carry a separate device!
Back to the Fivespot, it’s made by the Chinese firm ZTE and supports CDMA 1x, EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. 0 on the 800 and 1900 MHz bands, WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA on the 850/1900/2100 MHz bands, and it also does quadband EDGE/GPRS in case you’re out in the middle of nowhere and want to torture yourself by downloading a 20 MB PDF file at 1.4 Kbps. It measures 3.92 x 2.11 x 0.55 inches and weighs 2.82 ounces. It’ll cost $200 to buy it, you need to sign a 2 year contract, and Verizon will hook you up with a debit card loaded with $100, so you’re looking at $100 total.
If you plan on using it in the USA, here are the rates:
- $39.99 monthly access for 250 MB monthly allowance and $0.10/MB overage
- $59.99 monthly access for 5 GB monthly allowance and $0.05/MB overage
- Prepaid Mobile Broadband plans are also available: $15 for 100 MB (one day of use), $30 for 300 MB (one week of use), $50 for 1 GB (30 days of use), $80 for 5 GB (30 days of use)
And if you’re going abroad:
- $129.99 monthly access (5 GB allowance for the United States and Canada, $0.05/MB overage), 100 MB allowance in select countries ($0.005/KB after allowance)
- $219.99 monthly access (5 GB allowance for the United States and Canada, $0.05/MB overage), 200 MB allowance in select countries ($0.005/KB after allowance)
- GlobalAccess Pay Per Use for occasional use must be purchased with a $59.99 Mobile Broadband service plan in the United States. The Pay Per Use rate is $0.002/KB in Canada, $0.005/KB in Mexico, and $0.02/KB in more than 200 other destinations.
Tissues for the tears that will inevitably run down your face when you get your phone bill: Not Included. My advice: Wait, LTE modems will be coming out sooner rather than later, and just buy prepaid SIM cards in the country you’re visiting. Save yourself the money.