Novatel Unveils Personal Mobile Hotspot

Novatel Wireless announced today a new connectivity solution that creates a miniature mobile Wi-Fi hotspot using your cell-phone service. The cleverly named MiFi allows multiple users to share a broadband connection to the Internet from anywhere a cell-phone connection is available—including from a moving vehicle.

The device is small enough to fit in a coat pocket and comes with a battery capable of delivering four hours of active use on a single charge, with 40 hours of standby time. It will be capable of connecting to 3G and 4G WCDMA (HSPA and UMTS) , CDMA, and GSM networks, rendering it compatible with both the EVDO service that Verizon offers and the Edge service offered by AT& T.

The device, which is aimed at the SOHO (small office/home office) and SMB (small- to medium-sized business) markets will be sold through mobile carriers. It can be configured to deliver basic IT-management functions, including VPN (virtual private network) , email synchronization, and remote device management. It will also support custom third-party applications.

Novatel expects to ship the MiFi some time in the first half of 2009 and expects it to sell it for $200, but the cost of such devices is typically subsidized by the carrier.

{{NOTE:}} This story was updated with new pricing information on December 9. --mb

  • zodiacfml
    expensive. there are some 3G phones that can allow laptops to connect through bluetooth or USB port, though this makes sense if someone doesn't have a 3G phone yet.
  • MrMick
    Well, the point of this product is that it allows multiple wireless connections using a single access point. If you just want to connect one PC to the Internet using your cell-phone account, this product wouldn't be the ideal solution.
  • mdillenbeck
    I need some clarification - is the cellular connection built in to the device, or is it just a router like my Cradlepoint PHS300?

    If just a router that you plug in a phone or mobile broadband device, then at $50 more than my PHS300 might be worth it for double the battery life - assuming it has as good or greater device support.

    If the connection is built in, how are they going to get the various cellular companies to support this universally?

    Finally, the most asked question I see about sharing mobile broadband services - with "unlimited" meaning 5 GB of data per month only, is there really any good reason you should want to share your account? (I use my PHS300 on road trips so that friends and family can get their email and such on the go - most of the people I know don't use smartphones yet).