Sungod17 saidI'm looking into this for when I travel this fall. I have a Samsung netbook that I use when on vacation, not the latest or greatest but it works. The hotel I'm staying at in Waikiki charges $9/day + tax for in-room internet, so for the 16 days this Oct. it's $150+. I can purchase a 3G USB stick modem from Virgin for $30, and get 10gb of data for $60, which is good for a month with no contract. And then I'd have the stick for the next time I travel, which would be Vegas in Nov.(Planet Hollywood charges $14/day for in-room internet!).
I'm not a heavy user on vacation- it's mostly for email, surfing, keeping up on 6 letter word game, etc..
I was wondering if any of you guys had used this and what your experiences were with Virgin Mobile.
10GB of data for $60? Wow. Where are you getting these rates? Their website only has 2 plans
Anyways, I bought the MiFi 2200 hotspot last year. There's a special deal with WalMart. If you purchase/activate the hotspot from WalMart, you can get 1GB of data for $20 for 30 days. Normally, $20 will only get you 512MB of data. For me, 1GB is more than enough for basic web browsing, email, and some image uploading to Flickr. Well, at least for a 4 day trip. For heavy web surfing and streaming, I usually freeload from the hotel wifi in the lobby or find a nearby Starbucks. Generally speaking, mobile broadband is really shitty for video streaming and even worse for Skype/webcam. The latency makes for a pretty bad experience.
Performance is ok. Virgin Mobile is owned by Sprint, so you'll be using the Sprint towers. As long as you're in a major metro area, you will get decent signal and speeds. Coverage was really spotty for me when I was traveling between LA and Las Vegas. I guess Sprint doesn't have enough towers out in the desert. But once I got to the Strip, it was fine. I'm not sure about coverage in Waikiki though.
And maybe it's just the MiFi, but I occasionally have to power cycle the unit because it will lose connection for whatever reason. And I hate that it doesn't have a built-in display that shows battery meter and signal strength. This info is only viewable in the web interface. But no biggie.
Overall, I'm satisfied. I think Virgin Mobile offers the best value for prepaid mobile broadband. ATT and Verizon offer prepaid broadband too, but it's such a rip-off. I'm not sure why they even bother.
Oh, and your Virgin Mobile account is good for a year from your last refill. So let's say you use it for your trip this month. You don't have to refill it to keep your account active. You can just set it aside somewhere and then refill it whenever you need it again. If you let it lapse over a year without refilling, then you will need to re-activate and register it again. Not a big deal.