The consensus of replies to my recent post on iPad UK data tariffs seems to be that people expected a substantially reduced device in return for signing any data contract.
But since writing that post I’ve been wondering if a data plan contract is even right for me, especially when I remembered Three’s MiFi ‘dongle’ which provides Wifi access to their mobile internet service.
Thinking over my likely use of an iPad I realised that most of the locations I’d be browsing or blogging from would have Wifi internet and that I’d only need 3G access a very few times a month at most.
That being so, almost any contract is likely to offer poor value for me.
But what if I bought the WiFi only version of the iPad and then used some of the saving between that and the 3G model to buy a MiFi ‘dongle’ (currently as low as £49.99 on Pay As You Go)?
That way I would be able to plug any gaps in the WiFi offerings of buildings I was in with my very own hotspot and without being tied into a long term contract.
Sure it means I’d have to carry around an extra item but I figure anywhere I took my iPad I’d be carrying a backpack any way so it’s hardly going to be a major hassle.
There’d be some positive side benefits as I could share my MiFi connection with any friends who happen to be with me, use it with any other devices I wanted to go online with and, as I wouldn’t be using a carrier-subsidised iPad, I’d be free to sell or pass it on when the inevitable refreshed model makes its debut.
It may not be the most elegant solution but for anyone only occasionally needing 3G connectivity it may be a viable alternative to a lengthy contract.