Aside from the Casio G’zOne Ravine, Verizon had another announcement today, this time concerning a mobile hotspot device. Verizon’s FiveSpot, that was announced today, brings a unique twist to the space: it’s a global device.
That means that while you’re in the US it will connect to Verizon’s CDMA network at 3G speeds. But it can also connect to GSM-based HSPA networks around the globe, so when you leave the US there’s no more need to buy a 3G modem for each country you visit. The FiveSpot even comes with a preinstalled SIM card so wherever your travels may take you, you’re just good to go.
At least that’s the theory. The problem here is, as always, pricing. So let’s take a look at that.
Inside the US, the price tiers are, let’s say, decent. Certainly not the lowest, but not mind-bogglingly high either. You pay $39.99/month for 250 MB of data and $59.99 for 5 GB of data. Ok, so the former plan is grossly overpriced, but the latter isn’t anything out of the ordinary. The aim here is for you to go for the more expensive tier, which is understandable.
Pre-paid plans are also available. These are: $15 for 100 MB (one day of use), $30 for 300 MB (one week of use), $50 for 1 GB (30 days of use), $80 for 5 GB (30 days of use).
When it comes to actually using that SIM card that Verizon will kindly provide you with when you buy a FiveSpot to connect to the internet internationally, well, things start to fall apart.
You’ll pay $129.99 for a plan that gives you 5GB in the US and Canada and a whopping 100 MB in “select countries” – so not even everywhere.
$219.99 gives you the same 5GB for North America, but doubles the international data (in “select countries”, remember) to an astonishing 200 MB.
International pay per use pricing is also available, and if you decide to use the FiveSpot in any country other than the US, Canada or Mexico you will be paying $0.02/KB, which turns out to be $20.48/MB or $20,971/GB. No typo there. Twenty thousand dollars per gigabyte. Verizon do say this pricing is meant for “occasional use”, and clearly no one in their right mind would use this heavily.
The FiveSpot is manufactured by ZTE and will be available on October 7th online and in Verizon stores for $99.99 (after a $100 mail-in rebate) with a new 2-year contract.
The FiveSpot allows you to share that 3G data connection, via WiFi, with up to 5 devices (hence the name, I guess).
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