Verizon Does Mi-Fi, Rhymes with Wi-Fi

Remember that concept of personal area networks? Where users have a personal cloud of broadband that they carry around with them and use to connect multiple devices? Verizon Wireless has eschewed the conventional wisdom that the idea is too complicated by rolling out Mi-Fi.

The operator is leveraging a $99 device from Novatel Wireless that creates a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that users can use to connect up to five devices, like gaming devices, netbooks, cameras or the iPod Touch. The MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot links up to Verizon’s EV-DO Rev. A network to enable the service on the back end, and is tiny enough to be truly portable: It comes in at 3.5″ x 2.3″ x 0.4″.

The service will launch May 17 for $39.99 per month, with a 250mbps bandwidth allowance. Overage charges come in at 10 cents per megabyte.

In the absence of widespread 4G rollouts, it slakes the thirst for anywhere, anytime data – ABI Research has found that 77 percent of mobile phone users want WiFi in their handset – but it also has the potential to create a disruptive VoIP model.

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