Network Hopping the New Broadband Trend?

More Wi-Fi and mobile broadband access have me considering my network usage trends more closely. At the moment, I am a regular user of public Wi-Fi hotspots, 3G on my smartphone, WiMAX with my USB stick, and, of course, fixed broadband through my cable connection at home. But with all this broadband, I find I’m now starting to fret over which network to use when. With my Squeezebox and my Roku, am I coming close to reaching my monthly bandwidth cap with Comcast? (Probably not, but more on that later) If I continue to stream Slacker over 3G on my smartphone in the car, will I hit my Verizon wireless data cap? My $22.50/month WiMAX service is probably the least used of any of my network connections, and that’s the one that’s got no limit! Free Wi-Fi is good, but I’ve got to park myself in a public location, and that’s not always possible.

As Stacey at GigaOM points out today, mobile broadband is a difficult revenue model for carriers to sustain profitably, which means users have to be willing to pay for the convenience. I am willing, but up to what point? And how willing am I to consider what network I should be using every time I log on?

10 thoughts on “Network Hopping the New Broadband Trend?”

  1. At least, you have all those options :)

    But why so much worrying about the Comcast and Verizon’s caps? There’s no fee for going over the limit (yet) and aren’t they supposed to notify/warn you and not just cut off your service?

  2. I’m tired of paying a monthly fee every time I turn around. I currently have a USB 3G dongle AND a phone, since my iPhone won’t let me tether, and I don’t want to continue to pay both for much longer. A MiFi or whatever is nice but would you really carry it with you everywhere? What about when the battery runs out, since it won’t last all day. I just want ONE device, which can both server as my phone and as a wirelessly attached modem for my laptop when I RARELY need it. And I won’t be paying through the nose for it either. I’d rather do without. As you say, there are free wireless services out there (McDonalds, Starbucks…) even if its kind of a pain to use them when you’re moving around.

  3. Dave,
    Can you shed some light on that $22.50a month WIMAX rate? I can only figure you swung a retention rate that I have geard about a few times, or, you have 2 devices at $45 a month. Love to know how.

  4. MAri,
    Im sorry I should have been more intune and seen this was your post and not Daves. I was also surprised because Zi rember when Dave had bailed on Clear.

    Are you in the XOHM-CLEAR transistion stage? Theytotally messed mine up, and the good news is I may get a free month or so as it looks. But who can say, it was such a conversion mess.
    Thanks for the prompt response.
    A quick hint, now that they are close to launch, it may be worth getting Dave back on board and get yourselves the 2 device for $50 a month and Im told a CSR can give it up.
    Good luck!!

  5. Ron, where are you based? The situation here is weird. Clear is not offered in Baltimore (where Xohm launched) according to their maps, but Sprint does offer 4G services. Also, the DC metro area seems to be lit up… for Sprint provisioned devices, but maybe not Clear (anymore)? So yeah, messed up transition indeed.

  6. Dave,
    I am right where you used to be, Germnatown, MD. I signed up on XOHM when you discovered the service was lit up last year “unofficially”.

  7. Ron- Interesting. I’m outside Philly with Clear, but I’ve never gotten my USB modem to work when visiting family in Silver Spring MD.

    Glenn- Yes, I want one device too. The WiMAX service is on its way out for me because I just can’t justify the non-promotional $45/month fee when I need the connection so rarely.

  8. I’m an undergrad at UW-Seattle. I ride the ferries as part of my commute. Boingo is just fine. Clearwire is okay until the ferries make the turn away from Seattle. Most people tether to their smartphones.

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