Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s flagship flat rate pay-as-you-go prepaid service, has put the MiFi 2200 by Novatel Wireless on clearance. It was the carrier’s first 3G mobile hotspot, and has since been succeeded by 3G/4G WiMAX mobile broadband hotspots.
But it’s the price-point that we find interesting, $19.99 including shipping.
We like this deal especially because of Virgin Mobile’s $5/day, 200 MB plan. This enables people in a pinch, when the cell phones are out of power, and you have to rebook that flight that was just cancelled, to fire up a laptop, put down a $5 one-time, and get the job done. In other words, even if you’ve got 4G LTE out the wazoo, at $20 for the device, it can’t hurt to have as a just-in-case backup.
As to the MiFi 2200, it’s a device we’re pretty familiar with. With optional USB tethering, the device works well even when Wi-Fi is horribly congested. While not the strongest in terms of signal strength by today’s standards, the MiFi 2200 was, and still is, a strong performer for its time, thanks in part to its Qualcomm EV-DO Rev A chipset.
The only caveat we’d like to point out is that MiFi 2200 units sold at Walmart have an additional $20/1GB per-month rate plan, which the non-Walmart MiFi 2200’s lack. Considering the newer price plans at $35/$55 for 2/5 GB, respectively, it’s not as much of a concern, and doesn’t factor into the backup-device equation.
As this is on clearance, you may want to act fast, once it’s sold out, Virgin Mobile says the device will be gone for good. The 3G/4G rate plans, however, will still work.