TheUnlockr’s Alternative to a MiFi, Read Before You Get a MiFi

So I went into a Sprint and a Verizon store today and asked them about the MiFi, after they told me about it I got to thinking… trouble I know… but here’s what I came up with.

A Sprint or Verizon MiFi will cost you the same up front, have the same monthly cost, and have the same 5GB cap on usage.
So my only issue with this is the price per month and the data cap (mainly the data cap, 5GBs? I’d use that in a day… I have a disease, I think.).

So I found out that you can get an unlimited data only plan on a phone with Verizon for $49.99. Sprint doesn’t have such a thing, but their lowest plan with unlimited data is the $69.99 450 Everything Data Plan.

So then I looked around the store to find their cheapest smartphone with Wifi (already know where I’m going with this? 🙂 )
I find the cheapest smartphone with Wifi at Verizon is the Samsung Omnia, which costs  $49.99 upfront (w/ 2 year contract) and the cheapest smartphone with Wifi at Sprint is the Blackberry Curve 8350, which costs $99.99 after $100 Mailin Rebate (w/ 2 year contract).

Now, what if I just put a Wifi Tethering app on either of those phones? I could use the phones 3G connection and share it with up to 10 people connecting to the phone (instead of 5 with the MiFi) with Wifi by using the Wifi Tethering app to produce a Wifi network from the phone. Pretty much would do the exact same thing as the Mifi, but without the data cap (and in Verizon’s case, save me $10/month).

So let’s use a table to recap, shall we?

Traditional Mifi
Company Upfront Cost Price Per Month Usage Cap
Sprint $99.99 $59.99 5GB
Verizon $99.99 $59.99 5GB
TheUnlockr’s Mifi Alternative
Company Upfront Cost Price Per Month Usage Cap
Sprint $99.99 (After $100 MailIn) $69.99 Unlimited (plus Unlimited Texting)
Verizon $49.99 $49.99 Unlimited

So instead of getting a MiFi from either company, you could just buy their cheapest Windows Mobile phone with WiFi, get a data only plan, load a Wifi Tethering program, and get an UNLIMITED MiFi-like device.

Want to know how to turn the Windows Mobile phone into a MiFi with a Wifi Tethering program?
Check out our How To Turn Your Windows Mobile Phone into a WiFi HotSpot procedure.

Don’t care about Verizon or Sprint? Want to use your own carrier instead? No problem, just find the How To Root (Necessary for Android only), How To Load a Custom ROM, and the Wifi Tethering App procedures for your phone on our site and do them in that order and you are all set!

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  • Excellent information! Thanks for researching the MiFi. Cool commercials can’t cover up the absurdity of capping data at 5Gb. And only allowing 5 users? Silly.

  • Greg Ozuna

    I just rooted my G1 and subsequent SPL and HERO custom rom (w/ wifi tethering built in), and I love it!!!! It was simple. I followed the how to videos and I was done in a snap, and believe me I’m no tech genius. BIG THANKS to; keep up the great work. You just earned a follower for life.

  • Ventz Petkov

    This information is not quite “true”.

    Every carrier, if you read the fine print, limits the cellphone data. More over, if you tether, because of the constant bursts of large data, you will get kicked off the network — this has happened to many people that i know (on Verizon, Sprint, and ATT).

    So, I wouldn’t stay that you get truly unlimited. It is more than 5GB though, and they are pretty lenient. Back in the old days when Sprint just came out with the “TRULY UNLIMITED”, i use to put about 20 or so GB a month.

    • Hello Vantz Petkov,

      I myself use this method and have never been kicked off or stopped (especially nowadays where handheld devices are better at displaying the internet, carriers are realizing that high GB rates are becoming normal even when using a handheld). I have also never seen anyone get kicked off, but I have seen people have their internet SPEED limited after a certain amount of data, but that doesn’t stop you from surfing (and the limit was after they hit close to the 20-25GB mark like you mentioned, and didn’t really effected them except when downloading files of course but wasn’t too bad).
      Maybe it’s different in different areas/carriers/etc. who knows, still think it’s better than using a MiFi, but eh each his sound lol

  • VR

    now thats using you head. i love my g1 for this

  • Rick

    It would be nice with Android/Tethering, if it was AP Mode and not AdHoc, because not every device can connect to an AdHoc device.. for example, a second G1 can not connect to the internet via the first G1’s data plan via tethering. 🙁

    • Hello Rick,

      Most laptops can though. Real quick, why would you connect one G1 to another? lol

  • your awesome dude thanks

  • Ali

    Great information, i just got the mifi yesterday and not very happy with the cap, other than that its a great little device, was wondering since i am with Tmobile and using an iphone. how do you get the andriod phone (in tmobile’s case the G1 or MyTouch3G) to only have data plan and not voice? i called tmobile yesterday and they said it is impossible to get Data only on a phone, it has to be data and voice, if i do that, it would be more expensive than the mifi.

    In my situation i have iPhone with tmobile, and i wanted to open another line with them and get a G1 or MyTouch3G and just have data with it and tether from it all the time.

    Any info would be appreciated

  • Ali

    I went to the T-Mobile store, they said i could only activate the internet deal with smartphones, G1 and MyTouch3G are not considered “Smart phones” and if i get one then i have to get voice with it, i dont want to get a smartphone because they will sign me up with 2 years contract, plus have to pay for a phone, at the end it will equal out to the same price like mifi, but lets face it, verizon’s 3G is way faster than tmobile’s since tmobile is restricting their connection to 1mb/s but with verizon i get about 2.2 to 2.7 mb/s download. also i got the verizon mifi free 😀 just paying monthly.

    you can go to the verizon store and tell them that amazon is selling the mifi for free if you sign up with 2 years and they will price match amazon’s deal ;D

  • fester60613

    A friend and I are starting up a company that will require a mifi application to connect computers in the US, Europe, Asia, and possibly South America. Do you have any data on mifi appliances / get arounds in Europe and Asia? Thanks!

  • JOE


    • Unlockr

      your best option is to switch off the caps lock

  • AquaBoy

    This is exactly what I’m doing with my wife’s phone and my own. Wife has a HTC Droid Eris and I have a Motorola Droid. We are out in the country where we have no high-speed internet anywhere near. Only thing is satellite. But we get 3G coverage through verizon. My droids warranty was gone the day I got the phone for a custom rom and wifi tethering. lol It’s great. If I don’t mind a little bit of lag I can play games like COD: Modern Warefare. We have two phones and two sources for internet at out house for the same price as paying satellite internet per month and far less up front.

  • Ron

    I just went to do this and discovered Verizon no longer has a data only plan for general public. However, if your company has a corp plan with Verizon and 5+ lines, then you can still get the $49.99 data only plan 🙂 that is exactly what I did. Not only that, but as of April 1, 2010, you can get Palm Pre and Pixi plus models for nothing, on a 2 year contract. Both of those models now have the WiFi hotspot feature enabled for free!!! So, I now have a MiFi on steroids.

    I have used MiFi before and returned, because battery life was miserable and the battery indicator is useless. Half the time, it would not charge.

    One important thing to note on the phone data only plan is that it is unlimited for all phone use of data, but as soon as you start tethering or sharing wifi to others, you start a 5gb/month meter. All direct phone use is stil free for data, but something to be aware of. If I need to grab a large file for my PC, I just download on the phone and then transfer it.

    Thank you for posting this awesome tip!!

  • Nic

    I live in an area where the cable lines dont run out here and ive been looking for an unlimited plan forever. I got the mifi with a 5 gb cap but it sucks because i cant play any of my pc games on it. I really don’t know what i can do at this point. ive been looking it up for weeks and havent found a garunteed solution. Please give me the best alternative because the 5 gb cap is going to drive me nuts.

  • Virgin $50 unlimited