Want to get a 3G capable notebook that works with AT&T’s network but don’t feel like signing up for a long term service contract? You’re in luck, because while up until today that wasn’t an option, AT&T has just launched a new pay-as-you-go service called AT&T DataConnect.
The prices aren’t all that cheap, especially given the rather low bandwidth caps associated with each plan, but the fact that you don’t have to pay a cancellation fee when you want out is rather nice. Here’s how much a DataConnect plan will cost you:
- Day Pass (100MB): $15
- Week Pass (300MB): $30
- Month Pass (1GB): $50
AT&T is also adding three new portable laptops to the list of 3G capable notebooks you can purchase from the carrier. You only get the subsidized prices if you sign up for a two-year service contract.
- Acer Aspire AS1830 for $239.99: 11.6 inch machine with an Intel Core i3 dual core processor and Windows 7 Home Premium
- Acer Aspire One 532h for $39.99: 10 inch netbook with an Atom N450 CPU, Windows 7 Starter and a 3 cell battery
- Dell Inspiron Mini 10D for $39.99: 10 inch netbook with HD display, Atom N450 processor, 6 cell battery and Windows 7 Starter
from a german perspective that’s WAY overpriced, especialy with the bandwith caps given.
typical pay-as-you-go prices over here are:
Time based : $0.12/min. (0.09 EUR)
Day Pass (1GB): $4.58 (3.50 EUR)
Month Pass (5GB): $26.15 (20 EUR)
and if you go over cap on the day/month passes you will neither be charged extra nor cut off but will be throttled to GPRS speed.
Data point: Virgin Mobile is now offering $40/mo no-contract “unlimited” plan via USB or MiFi device. (I quote out of cynicism, and because you sure can’t slurp as much data this way as with a FIOS pipe, say, no matter how hard you try.) I have it now (the MiFi has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so the most I could be out if I decide to return it is $40), and in my limited testing it’s varied from middling-but-acceptable to impressively good. Virgin uses the Sprint network; while it’s not *everywhere* (smaller coverage than ATT), for most people who are within their range, it makes $50 for ONE gig pretty ridiculous. Even Verizon’s currrent WiFi plan is $60 for 5 gigs.
(And I’ll take a MiFi — multi-device capable, WiFi connection, no special drivers — over a 3G SIM-based, device-specific interface any time. I’d rather that specific devices have wireless cards and communicate with one MiFi or other WiFi beacon, rather than each need a special connection to the data source.)
I’ve been considering the Virgin MiFi, but not sure if they got the network issues sorted yet. So you’ve been happy with yours for the most part? What geographical region are you in?
For now, I’d be happy with device-specific 3G if the price is right. If the iPad 3G plan is $25 a month, and the Galaxy Tab is supposed to compete with the iPad, can they really charge much more than that?
I’ve been using the Virgin-branded, Sprint-network MiFi in Eastern PA and New York City. Oddly, the performance was poorest (some dropped connections, but it was a short test, and perhaps I had bad luck … or perhaps I had good luck to’ve connected at all!) while sitting still in the Harrisburg area, whereas it was nice and zippy while on the moving train to Philly. (I’d expected the opposite.) Going to try it in a few more states before I decide whether to keep it.
$50 a month? That’s twice the cost of their iPad monthly no-contract plan! What are they going to charge for Galaxy Tab?
–Empty the Warehouse–
This seems like lowering the restrictions to get the warehouse full of these out the door before they offer more tablets. They might as well put these in people hands and sell some data plans in other words. In six months will a netbooks be something someone wants to get from AT&T on a 3G plan? It seems like all the talk will be iPads or other tablets.
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