Contract-less 3G or EVDO internet?
October 16, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Contract-less cellular wireless (3G or EVDO) for laptops -- does it exist?

I am in a major city that has good 3G and EVDO coverage everywhere. I need a contract-less wireless connection for my laptop, either a phone that I can tether but never make calls on, or a USB or ExpressCard dongle. I need to pay month to month with no commitment. What can I do?
posted by neustile to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sprint's new WiMax-based XOHM service offers daily and monthly rates with no contract. It's only available in Baltimore right now, but DC and Chicago are next. If you're in either of those places, that may be an option.
posted by jedicus at 12:21 PM on October 16, 2008

Cricket Communications offers pre-paid phone service and broadband service in many areas around the country. No contracts required
posted by lockle at 12:47 PM on October 16, 2008

I sometimes use low speed tether internet on the WIDEN network through Boost mobile. It only runs about $10 a month, but at non-peak hours the best speeds I've hit are around 60k. Just fine for email, but not much else.
posted by piedmont at 12:53 PM on October 16, 2008

Unfortunately AT&T is discontinuing their $20/mo add-on to their prepaid GoPhone service, which would get you unlimited data for a month, on Nov. 12th. Would've been a good option. If you have really low data requirements they are keeping add-ons that provide a few megs only.

I've heard that if your laptop has built-in EVDO card that hasnt been linked to an account Verizon will offer you a per-day rate, but as I remember it's a pretty high rate.

This is, assuming of course, you are in the US. Other options exist abroad.
posted by GreenTentacle at 1:08 PM on October 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips so far. In the US, out of range of the XOHM and Cricket (and cricket looked perfect!) WiDEN looks interesting but I am having trouble finding more info about it but random forum posts-- but I'll keep looking around.
posted by neustile at 3:45 PM on October 16, 2008

Verizon now offers their EVDO service without contracts. You have to pay an activation fee and you don't get an equipment subsidy. Annoyingly, some of their people still don't know it's available, but I was able to get signed up earlier this month using a USB EVDO modem I bought on eBay. The monthly charge is the same as with a contract: $60.

I hear Cricket has bought spectrum in the Seattle area, and they're a lot cheaper, which is why I didn't want to sign a contract. I want to be able to switch when they roll it out here.

Also, T-Mobile is rolling out 3G in some of its markets and they don't mind if you tether. For about the same monthly price as Verizon wants for data alone, you can get a 3G smartphone with voice data service, and tether it.
posted by kindall at 1:45 PM on October 17, 2008

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