NetZero’s 4G Mobile Hotspot Provides Reliable WiFi in Major Cities

For less than a hundred bucks — just $99.95 (and marked down 50% off for holiday shopping!) — the NetZero 4G Hotspot provides a 4G connection to up to eight devices, plus a totally FREE starter data plan the first year.

I reviewed the product and found it to be a great on-the-go hotspot for me when I am in meetings in Washington, DC or Baltimore, or for travel to one of the major metro areas covered by NetZero. One of the ironies as I travel more for work as a blogger is that online industry conferences and events often have unreliable connections.

The free data plan included with the hotspot will be completely sufficient for my personal or family travel, or use as a WiFi backup for those infrequent times our cable broadband service is down. (Hey, if we have room for a generator in our garage, we have room for a deck-of-cards-sized hot spot in a desk drawer in case of another Snowmaggedon!)

I will admit that I had BIG dreams of canceling our lightning-fast cable broadband service and having our family utilize the NetZero hotspot for all our Internet needs. What a savings! Just $100 the first year, right? Well, at my suburban home, though just a few miles from DC and not far from Baltimore (two of NetZero’s coverage cities), my hotspot only offers about two bars. I asked NetZero hotspot users on my neighborhood listserv about their own connectivity, and three users responded that they too used it only as a backup at home, but that at their offices in downtown DC and Baltimore their connection speeds are fast (four-five bars). NetZero customer service was very forthcoming about the signal strength at my home address when I first signed up, which I appreciate.

So I am not canceling my cable, but if we lived in the heart of DC, I might consider using NetZero’s mobile hotspot as our main Internet connection. However, my husband and I both need a good deal of data, what with me working from home and Chris needing to be available online when not in the office, so we would invest in the Platinum data plan of $49.95/month for 4 GB of data. There are other data plans that should work for other family’s needs that range in cost. Roger Yu of USA Today writes that the free, included-with-the-hotspot, 200 megabytes plan is “…enough for e-mail and Web-surfing but insufficient for video streaming.”

However, Rick Broida of CNET says that compared to other mobile hot spots and plan prices, “NetZero gives you a significantly faster hot spot and cheaper overall data rates.” He recommends starting with either the free plan or NetZero’s Basic plan of $9.95/month for 500MB  to see how much data you really need, and he likes that users can “…hop back and forth between plans as needed, and there’s no contract involved.”

Cool holiday savings:

From now through January 3, the NetZero 4g Hotspot is 50% off, just $49.98, and you get your first month of your data plan free!(Data plan purchase required.)

There is also the NetZero Stick — a portable 4G USB modem that can be plugged into a PC or Mac laptop or tablet — that is also half-off right now. It is marked down to $24.98 from $49.95 until January 3, and the deal also included one month of data free, data plan purchase required.

Both of these items make for innovative, useful gifts for adults and teens.

Does the NetZero 4G Mobile Hotspot plus a year of service, valued at over $300, sound great to you? Then enter this giveaway!

TO BE ENTERED TO WIN:

  • Visit NetZero’s webpage and come back and leave a comment here on this post stating how a NetZero mobile hotspot would make your life easier.

  • Follow NetZero on Twitter.

  • Send a Tweet @NetZero_4G and me @Jessicaapiss (so I can count your entry) and the hashtag #NetZero4G.

The lucky winner will be drawn on Tuesday December 18, 2012 at 8 p.m.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network and NetZero partnered in support of this campaign and I was selected to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.