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March 2, 2011

Virgin Mobile 3G Broadband USB Stick


Long story short: a great tool.

Longer stories herehere and here.

Suffice it to say that when my power and internet went out last Friday night, I finally took Paul Biba's advice and drove to Wal-Mart where I purchased the last one they had.

Then I sat in my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot and within an hour I was online, using only my ancient (2004) PowerBook G4 laptop and this device and — bonus! — without having to use the phone.

A miracle of the first order, considering my (bored-certified) TechnoDolt™ credentials and the nature of all things internet-related.

Granted, it wasn't very fast (1.2Mps down/0.3Mps up) but that's not the point: it worked.

If I can do it, anyone can do it.

The device costs $68.17 and you get unlimited internet for $50/month — with NO contract.

There are also cheaper plans for 1 or 2GB/month.

You can stop service and restart it whenever you need access.

Nice to have when the internet goes down or you're not where it's at.

It works on Sprint's 3G network which is said by Paul to be pretty robust.

He wrote, "I needed to go into NYC [from NJ] today with my wife, so I let her drive and I updated the site [TeleRead] using one of these while driving back and forth from NY. Worked like a charm."

I don't remember who wrote the following, which I found somewhere online: "WiFi doesn't work, at least not in a conference or a large gathering of people. It is not designed for this and so can be wildly unreliable. The solution is a 3G modem. MiFis are very popular as they will create an always-connected personal hot spot. I don't like them, though, because they have a short battery life. Another thing to worry about. So I use the Virgin Mobile modem. It runs on the Sprint network which has never let me down."

March 2, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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I've had the Virgin Mobile MiFi since they first started offering it last year and love it. I considered the wifi stick but wanted to be able to share and use the connection with multiple devices. I like being able to use it with my iPod Touch when there is no wifi available.

Yes the battery life is only about 4 hours but I bought a power only cable so I can plug into my laptop and use it if the battery starts running out. I also have an external battery pack with USB connections so it could run for days.

What I hadn't noticed until reading your post was that Virgin has upped the price to $50/month with only 2.5GB - no longer unlimited bandwidth for $40 which then went to $40/month for 5GB. Bummer. I didn't think the $40 unlimited would last for long.

Posted by: HeavyG | Mar 2, 2011 7:51:54 PM

Sounds like a win-win deal!

Posted by: Joe Peach | Mar 2, 2011 4:15:26 PM

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