It’s just over a month since I took the decision to buy Sprint’s 3G mobile internet service using a Mifi device. Thus far I’m really enjoying the device and the service.
During my first trip with the device I racked up 1.5 GB of data transfer and was starting to worry that 5GB a month was going to be too little. But then I had two trips to Canada where the roaming fees made using the Mifi impractical. So in the first month I used around 2 GB. Not too bad.
FWIW, I saved over $100 in hotel broadband fees. I also convinced two coworkers that it was much better than gambling on the hotel broadband offering. That’s key to me one day being able to expense the monthly service charge. I live in hope.
Not long after the device arrived I got the first bill. The curious part is that I received four copies. Luckily, they all had the same account number so I think that they simply suffered a printing error.
Later, before going to Canada I tried using their online chat to ask about roaming fees in Canada. It took them a little time but they got me an answer. It was $0.002/kb on the Rogers network. That could quickly become a large sum so I just planned to not use the device while in Canada.
The experience using the online chat was pretty good. What was even better, was that when I tweeted about it someone from Sprint responded via Twitter. Nice.
On the way to Canada on vacation I made a point of trying the Mifi at DTW, then again in Alpina MI and Sault Ste Marie MI. Service at DTW was great! In Alpina, as the little airplane sat on the ground for 30 minutes, I was able to sync Google Reader using EVDO Rev A service. That was unexpected.
When we arrived in Sault Ste Marie MI I found that I could only get 1xRTT service. I guess Sprint is not built out for 3G in that area. In such a smallish place it’s easy to understand.
While in San Francisco I made some VoIP calls over the Mifi via OnSIP. I was reminded that when you’re bandwidth constrained a low-bitrate codec can save the day. Setting Eyebeam to allow G.729a made all the difference on one occasion. The signal presence at your exact location matters a lot. But when it’s good it can be good enough for VoIP.
Pity that Eyebeam doesn’t support G.722.1. It’d be nice to have a low-bitrate wideband option since we have the very capable Polycom VVX-1500 phones at the house for the moment.
FWIW, LifeSize Desktop does support G.722, G.722.1 and even G.722.1 Annex C. While it’s primarily a desktop video conferencing client it happens to make a decent soft phone. They have a 30 day free trial download that’s definitely worth a look.
Others have been making notes about their use of the Mifi device, both on the Sprint and Verizon networks. The Valley Shadow’s Rob Henshaw has some interesting commentary on his use of the Mifi with Verizon.
Thus far I don’t have any buyers remorse, but I’ll keep you apprised of the situation if it should change.