AT&T is joining the MiFi game. The mobile carrier will soon offer a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, which draws Internet connectivity from a 3G data network, in a market currently only served by Verizon and Sprint.
MiFi device sales have continued to increase in the US as consumers need to stay more and more connected on the go.
AT&T's introduction of a MiFi device not only highlights the growth of MiFi technology, but also AT&T's product differentiation moving forward. It's widely assumed the carrier will lose its exclusivity with the iPhone, which means 2011 will be an extremely rough year for it. The mobile provider is seeking new ways to keep its energy level high.
However, when customers think of buying a MiFi device, they may have a tough time going with a company that's known to have a spotty 3G coverage area and consistently ranks at the bottom of the list for reliable connectivity.
Regardless, the carrier does have millions of subscribers, and its main focus moving forward will be simply to not lose the customers it gained with the iPhone. Enticing them is job number one.
AT&T's MiFi will go on sale November 21. Customers will need to pay $150 up front but will get a $100 mail-in rebate. They'll also need to sign up for a data plan, which is available at a $35, 200 MB monthly limit, or $60 a month for 5 GB.