Talk

Advanced search

Mifi or 3G/4G with new ipad 4?

(15 Posts)
pureandwise Wed 31-Oct-12 19:37:31

I'm about to buy the newest ipad and wonder whether to get the 3G version, or buy some kind of mifi system to use with the ipad and other devices when camping away from wifi. I would need 3G only occasionally, mostly when camping so I'm looking for an inexpensive solution. Does anybody have experience of these mifi hotspot devices? What's the best answer? The mifi would enable my old ipad (wifi only) to be used, kindle to be connected etc at the same time I suppose?

As you say mifi will allow you to connect all your wifi enabled devices, but I suspect that if you are camping you will often find poor/no 3G signal. You should get GPRS in most places, but that won't give you broadband speeds. Your chances of getting a 4G signal when camping are roughly nil.

APMF Wed 31-Oct-12 23:28:03

Yes, the newest iPad is 4G capable but a) 4G is not widely available in UK at the mo and b) the iPad is designed for 4G in USA which is NOT compatible with UK 4G. No doubt when UK 4G is up and running Apple will change their hardware but at the mo it doesn't make sense to manufacture a UK model.

As for 3G coverage, I often go walking in places like Wales and the coverage hasn't been a problem.

But getting back to your actual question about 3g v MIFI, I surf off my tablet a lot so I like the convenience of having just one gadget to carry and one to charge but in your case a mifi would make more sense. The premium for the 3G just isn't worth it where you are concerned.

APMF Wed 31-Oct-12 23:30:02

I meant that the 3G model isn't worth the more expensive price tag.

pureandwise Thu 01-Nov-12 11:37:45

Thanks for the answers.
Does anyone know anything about cheap tariffs for mifi? 90% of the time we will be in range of wifi, but, say, 4 times a year if we go away would it be possible to buy one month / one week worth of 3G from o2 or someone? Or is there a pay as you go that just charges for exactly what you use and doesn't cut off after a month?

And - am I being too optimistic? Would it be possible to use it abroad?

NetworkGuy Thu 01-Nov-12 13:01:15

Three have bundles which comprise a USB stick and a SIM preloaded with an allowance of 3 GB for 3 months (whichever comes first).

That would cost a fair amount and you don't actually want the USB stick, but on Ebay there are sellers offering the 3GB SIM for around 12 pounds.

The MiFi unit seems to cost around 70 quid (but Three tends to sell it on contract, which will cost a lot more [eg ~11 quid a month for 18 months) while some searches suggest you might get a unit at closer to 50 or 55 pounds. LambdTek (www.lambda-tek.com) has lots of units in stock and sell the MiFi with 3GB data SIM for 52 to 60 pounds, possibly down to the model / speed.

Do a search for 17598 and you'll get a list. In subsequent hols just look on Ebay as a top-up works out more costly (and no-one needs to know the SIM's 'phone number' though it can be used to accept SMS if you really want [at least it can in the USB stick]). Do be sure when looking on Ebay that you are getting a 3GB SIM on Three, and not a 3GB micro SIM [which would work in some phones or tablets]

Obviously it is difficult to be sure you'd use up 3 GB - much depends on what kit you take with you. Remember the MiFi can normally handle only 5 wireless devices so a sixth won't get a connection.

Something like the Talk Mobile PAYG tariff could be good value, 30p per day, but a limit of about 24MB per day, IIRC. I would use a cheap Android phone as a MiFi unit. I assume you could just drop the SIM in an unlocked MiFi unit, but I could be wrong.

pureandwise Fri 02-Nov-12 07:49:05

Thanks everyone. DH is off now to John Lewis to be first in the queue to buy the ipad 4! For now I think we are going to try tethering to my iPhone or his Blackberry and see if it gives us what we need. Hard to know how much we will need 3G ; I have visions of long lazy days camping and just tinkering a bit on iPads, reading online newspapers etc. We will see!

NetworkGuy Fri 02-Nov-12 09:28:31

Does that PAYG tariff allow tethering? Would be a shame to try it at home and have it working, but then find the network had placed a block on it, so while away find it won't work...

Only ask because I know the GiffGaff network has in recent months put on their blog that they would be making software changes to detect and block tethering (as the 10 quid GG 'goodybag' that included 'unlimited internet' was being abused, so not only blocking tethering unless you paid for it, but increasing the price for the 'unlimited' and making the existing 10 quid top-up have a limit of 1 GB, if memory serves).

I don't use GiffGaff but know it was popular because some would tether and download tens of GB, which is why the network has reacted, as this level is 'unacceptable'... (Mind you, TV ads must cost them a bundle, so maybe the 'bottom line' is not quite so positive as they had hoped and heavier network users have been the cause. I doubt they are likely to 'go under' any time soon.)

VivaLeBeaver Fri 02-Nov-12 09:41:22

I camp with an ipad and a kindle. I use my android Samsung phone as a wifi hotspot and can surf the net, download books, etc using that OK. Its sometimes noticably slower, often quite OK and once I was internetless for a whole week which nearly drove me insane. I had to buy a paper book!

As it's a low limit, I wouldn't expect Talk Mobile to be concerned about tethering, however I haven't actually checked.

NetworkGuy Fri 02-Nov-12 10:49:05

Does that PAYG tariff allow tethering? Would be a shame to try it at home and have it working, but then find the network had placed a block on it, so while away find it won't work...

Only ask because I know the GiffGaff network has in recent months put on their blog that they would be making software changes to detect and block tethering (as the 10 quid GG 'goodybag' that included 'unlimited internet' was being abused, so not only blocking tethering unless you paid for it, but increasing the price for the 'unlimited' and making the existing 10 quid top-up have a limit of 1 GB, if memory serves).

I don't use GiffGaff but know it was popular because some would tether and download tens of GB, which is why the network has reacted, as this level is 'unacceptable'... (Mind you, TV ads must cost them a bundle, so maybe the 'bottom line' is not quite so positive as they had hoped and heavier network users have been the cause. I doubt they are likely to 'go under' any time soon.)

NetworkGuy Fri 02-Nov-12 10:50:17

Sorry, no knowledge as to how that went in twice!

Yes, it is a low limit, so they probably don't care.

A I have now looked at the TalkMobile terms and conditions, it's only fair to warn you that the data rate, if you exceed 25MB on any one day is £0.10 per MB. That could hurt if your phone and/or other devices decide to download any large updates.

NetworkGuy Wed 07-Nov-12 18:48:19

That's definitely worth knowing.

I think it was similar on the Three contract data SIM I used for 4 years (I only went over the 15 GB limit a couple of times, but it still stung!)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now