Short term (1 month) pocket hotspot recommendation for NYC?
July 24, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I have a friend from overseas who is going to be visiting NYC for 1 month starting next week. She is going to be staying in a Bronx apartment without internet access of any kind and really needs a way to get online with her laptop & foreign iphone while here.

Unfortunately the apartment she is going to be staying in is also in an area of the Bronx with minimal coffee shops & libraries, so free public wifi, Starbucks, etc, is not going to work well in this situation.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a contract-free pocket hotspot service? I was looking at Clear, but then read their Yelp reviews here and they are all quite terrible. Ideally the service would have a high/unlimited data allowance. (she might need to access some streaming media to complete coursework from back home while here.) Obviously the cheaper the service/device is, the better as well.
posted by dcjd to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Virgin Mobile has both usb-dongle and freestanding hotspot versions. The dongle is cheaper to buy ($48ish), the month-to-month (or daily) data plan depends on what you want. (All their plans have unlimited 4G, it's the 3G you have to buy in blocks. So you may want to confirm good 4G coverage in that area first.)

She might could even sign up for it with a dedicated email account and then sell the device and account on to someone else when she's done.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:55 AM on July 24, 2013

Best answer: Yelp notwithstanding, I'll recommend Clear. For one month of service I doubt you'll find a cheaper option.

I've had Clear as my ISP for 4 years now,
posted by zinon at 10:50 AM on July 24, 2013

Best answer: Clear is often crappy, but it's also one of your better options.

However, I know from firsthand experience with Virgin and Clear customers that relying on it for streaming media is often very unreliable. If your friend's schedule allows, I'd seriously recommend looking at traveling to a library or coffeeshop for that coursework if necessary, rather than relying on something that might cut out just when she needs it.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:57 AM on July 24, 2013

Best answer: freedompop would be the cheapest to purchase and run for this scenario. It's on clearwire's network, the unit is only $20 iirc, and they give you around 2gb free the first month.

Clear sucks, but all the LTE units like this cost a lot more to purchase/run and possibly want you to get a contract, and it is a lot better than 3G.

I still don't understand how they stay in business or do anything but lose money, but might as well take advantage of it while they still exist.
posted by emptythought at 11:41 AM on July 24, 2013

AT&T Gophone Sim card. For $65 you get unlimited talk and text plus plenty of 3g data for the month. You can buy a sim card at any ATT store in the city, or better yet order one online before arrival for pennies on the dollar.
posted by wile e at 3:47 PM on July 24, 2013

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