Want Mobile Broadband With No Contract?

Here’s How To Get It In 3 Simple Steps

If it weren’t for that jail-cell of a 2-year contract, you’d have probably gotten mobile broadband already. After all, you’ve already seen how it can help you.

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You could be on vacation with 3G speeds happily checking email & surfing the web without worrying about paying for another 11 months of service you don’t need.

Heck, maybe you might use it for the next 11 months but you’d just like the freedom of being able to cancel when you like without a $200 fee.

Either way, all you want for your birthday is mobile broadband with no contract. In other words, prepaid mobile broadband.

QuotePrepaid mobile broadband is like a prepaid cell phone.

It’s good for just about anywhere but you’ve got to remember to ‘top up’ or pay in advance. Also, you buy (as opposed to rent) the actual cell phone".

There are 2 kinds of prepaid mobile broadband:

  1. Mobile Broadband With No Contract for Short-term use
  2. Mobile Broadband With No Contract for Long-term use

As the names suggest, short-term prepaid mobile broadband is intended or occasional and/or intermittent use.

Occasional use may be taking a vacation for a week or going on a business trip or conference. Intermittent on the other hand, comes in when you know you’ll need it just a couple times per year. It might be that regular trip down to your summer home or visiting family halfway across the country. Sure they might have the internet but it’ll be much more convenient for you and them if you just have your own connection.

But what if you need it regularly?

That’s where long-term prepaid mobile broadband comes in.

It’s just like 2-year contract mobile broadband plans but without the contract. Essentially, it’s a month-to-month mobile broadband plan that you can use regularly without having to ‘recharge’ your credit.

That’s enough prepaid mobile broadband 101 for now. You’re here to actually get the thing so let’s get to it:

 

How To Get Mobile Broadband With No Contract In 3 Simple Steps

 

Step 1: Pick a Prepaid Mobile Broadband Provider

There are a bevy of prepaid mobile broadband providers to choose from. While most offer short-term plans, a few offer long-term mobile broadband with no contracts. Here’s an easy cross-reference adapted from the Prepaid Mobile Broadband Comparison:

 

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Comparison (Regular Use)

Cricket Prepaid Mobile Broadband
Millenicom
Clear 4G WiMAX
DataJack
Plans
4 Stars
4 Stars
5 Stars
5 Stars
Plan Options & Prices
5 GB for $40
5 GB for $60 |

10 GB for $60 |

Unlimited Data for $70

2 GB for $35 |

Unlimited 4G Data for $45 |

Unlimited 4G Data & 5 GB of 3G for $55

Unlimited Mobile Broadband for $40
Speed
4 Stars
4 Stars
5 Stars
4 Stars
(average

download)

600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
600 Kbps  – 1.4 Mbps (3G)

3 – 6 Mbps (4G)

700 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
(average

upload)

350-500 Kbps
350-500 Kbps
350 Kbps – 500 Kbps (3G)

1 Mbps (4G)

350-500 Kbps
Coverage
3 Stars
4 Stars
2 Stars
3 Stars
Network
Possibly Sprint or Verizon
Sprint / Verizon
Sprint / Clearwire
T-Mobile
Devices
2 Stars
4 Stars
4 Stars
1 Star
Device Options
USB Broadband Cards
USB Broadband Cards / Mobile Hotspot
USB Broadband Cards / Mobile Hotspot
USB Broadband Card
Best For
Regular Use
Regular Use
Regular Use
Regular Use
Comments
Cricket’s 5 GB limit is a ‘soft cap’. If you exceed 5GB your speed might be limited but there are no overage charges.
Millenicom plans can be expensive to start (over $150). Their 10 GB plan is exclusive to the MiFi mobile hotspot.
Clear’s 4G coverage (that gives you unlimited data) is limited. If you’re not in a 4G area, you’ll rely on the plan that includes 3G and be limited to 5 GB.
As a very new company, they isn’t any track record. Read the full review before hopping on the bandwagon.
Rating A B+ B B-

 

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans’ Comparison (Occasional Use)

Virgin Mobile Broadband
ReadyBroadband
Verizon
AT&T
Slingshot
Plans
3 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
2 Stars
N/A
Plan Options & Prices
100 MB for $10 |

300 MB for $20 |

1 GB for $40 |

5 GB for $60

200 MB for $25 |

600 MB for $45 |

1 GB for $75

75 MB for $15 |

250 MB for $30 |

500 MB for $50 |

*Unlimited for $15 / day

75 MB for $15 |

250 MB for $30 |

500 MB for $50

N/A
Speed
4 Stars
4 Stars
4 Stars
5 Stars
(average

download)

600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps

600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps

600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
700 Kbps – 1.7 Mbps
N/A
(average

upload)

350 – 500 Kbps
350-500 Kbps
500 – 800 Kbps
500 Kbps – 1.2 Mbps
N/A
Coverage
4 Stars
4 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
N/A
Network
Sprint
Sprint
Verizon
AT&T
N/A
Devices
1 Star
1 Star
5 Stars
3 Stars
Device Options
USB Broadband Card
USB Broadband Card
ExpressCards, USB or Mobile Hotspots
USB Broadband Cards
N/A
Best For
Occasional Use
Occasional Use
Occasional Use
Occasional Use
N/A
Comments
Airtime is purchased as needed through ‘top-up’ cards like a prepaid cell phone.
Airtime is purchased as needed through ‘top-up’ cards like a prepaid cell phone
While plans aren’t spectacular, they have the widest range of devices available.
AT&T’s prepaid plans are identical to Verizon. Their only advantage is having the fastest 3G network.
Due to a current lawsuit with Sprint, Slingshot cannot make any sales. A full review is still available.
Rating A B C C N/A

 

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Comparison

Using the information above, you’ll want to narrow down your potential choices to one (at most two) potential providers. Once you’ve done that, it’s time for:

 

 

Step 2: Review Your Options for Mobile Broadband With No Contract

Study

Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’ll need to review them to see if they’ll really get the job done.

Like Sherlock Holmes, you’ve got to ask the right questions to get the right answers. While you’ve probably got a few specific questions you’d like answered, here are the essentials:

 

1. Is It In My Budget?

If you’re picking Cricket Broadband for their long-term plan, then you can skip this part. You already know just from looking at the price if you’re cool with it or not.

While you can see the prices plain as day above, you need to get an accurate picture of how much it’ll cost you.

  • How long will you be using it for?
  • How much data will I use per day or for the entire trip?
  • Will I need to purchase ‘top-up’ cards in case I use more than I expected?

To get the answer to these questions, check out "How Much Is 5GB and Is It Enough?".

While it’s geared towards mobile broadband with contracts, there’s a table that breaks down how much data regular online activites eat up. The 2nd thing to check out is the real world example, that shows you how to work out your data use.

After you run a few simple calculations, you’ll know realistically how much data you’ll need. Based on the data you’ll need, you’ll see how much the provider you chose will charge you.

 

2. Will I Have 3G Coverage Where I Need It?

For some prepaid mobile broadband providers (notably Cricket), 3G coverage is their Achilles heel.

In their defense, the order process requires that you enter your zip code to prevent you from getting service where they don’t offer it. However, what happens when you enter your home zip code (where the item would be shipped to) but it’s different from where you’d actually use it?

Problem.

That’s precisely why you need to check if your mobile broadband with no contract will also have no coverage.

Doing so is pretty easy.

While each provider doesn’t have an actual map for you to plug your address into, they usually piggyback on a major carrier’s network. In those cases, you can use the ‘parent’ carrier’s 3G coverage map to see if you’ll have coverage where you need it.

Here’s a roundup of the coverage reviews I’ve done on each.

Each review either has an interactive map embedded or a link to the correct map you’ll need to use. They also open in new windows/tabs so you can come back to finish up the last step.

 

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Coverage Reviews & Maps
Cricket Prepaid Mobile Broadband
Millenicom
Clear 4G WiMAX
DataJack
 
Virgin Mobile Broadband
ReadyBroadband
Verizon
AT&T
 

 

 

Step 3: Buying Mobile Broadband With No Contract

 

Now that you’ve figured out if it’s in your budget and you’ve reviewed your choice, the last step is actually getting prepaid mobile broadband.

Depending on the provider, you may have an option of which broadband card to get.

If you’ve got an older laptop with a PCMCIA slot, then you know you’ll need a PC Broadband Card. If you’ve got USB slots on your laptop, then you’ll probably end up with a USB Broadband Card.

If you’ve got a laptop running Windows then you’ll most likely sail smoothly with whatever you pick. If you’ve got a Mac, then you’ll probably want to run a search (at the top of this page in the banner for the particular Broadband Card to make sure that it works with your computer).

Here’s a round up of providers. Click on your choice to pick it up and get mobile broadband with no contract.

Cheers to your success.

 

Pick Up Mobile Broadband With No Contract

     Cricket Prepaid Mobile Broadband      ReadyBroadband     Millenicom  DataJack

AT&T     Clear 4G WiMAX Virgin Mobile BroadbandVerizon

Full Disclosure: If you decide to get mobile broadband through one of the links above, I do make some money.

Get Mobile Broadband

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. olin small says:


    Typo bud, Data Jack comments should read “there isn’t any” not “they”.


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