Hello all. First time poster here - so please bear with me regarding the length of this post. I've searched the forums for a complete answer to this question, and called Verizon customer service and can't seem to nail down a firm answer - so I'm trying this avenue.
I am thinking about upgrading to a Mifi because we are going to be purchasing my step-son a netbook for Christmas and want the ability to use my laptop at home while he is surfing or gaming on his netbook.
Just a bit of background information: Before we went with Verizon broadband access, we had a cable modem and a wireless router. I went with Verizon for the following reasons:
1) The price of my Verizon data plan is the SAME as what it cost us with the cable provider we have to have in our area
2) The price of my Verizon data plan is the SAME as what it would cost us to go with DSL, and we would be required to have a home phone line (which we do not want)
3) We like being "unwired" in our house
4) We like the capability of being able to take our broadband access with us on the road (in the car, on vacation, visitng in-laws and grandparents, etc)
I have called Verizon and confirmed that when upgrading to the MiFi, I do not have to change my current data plan that I have with the USB720-which is unlimited Mb usage (I have an old, grandfathered plan). I just have to renew my CURRENT contract for 2 more years to get discount pricing. This was also confirmed by going through the ordering process online with a Verizon rep, and it did not require me to sign up for the 5GB limit on data. I had a little tab that I could click on at the bottom of the page that said - I want to keep my current plan, just upgrade device.
So - here is the kicker to my scenario -
I am also thinking about journeying into the smartphone age (want a querty keyboard, want to be able to synch with my work Microsoft accounts and use Word, Excel, etc on the go), and am very interested in the smartphone with integrated wifi. This would allow me to use a smartphone to check email, answer email, web browse, etc using my Mifi as a Wifi hotspot at home or on the road.
What I have seen on the web & been told by Verizon customer service is that if I want to buy a NEW smartphone from Verizon (anything newer than Nov 2008), I will still be required to by a smartphone data plan, ON TOP of the data plan I already have with the Mifi ($60/mo), and I'd have to give up my current friends and family plan to buy a smartphone plan too ($79.99 with 450 minutes + a minimum of $15 for data - totaling a minimum of $95 month).
Is this accurate? I don't really understand, if I already pay for data with the Mifi, why I have to pay for data again for the smartphone, if I'm only going to use it when I'm using the Mifi (via wifi hotspot). Seems like having to pay double for the same product?
I know I can buy an older smartphone (Smasung i760 - although they say that Mifi's firmware has not been updated to allow for wifi connection with the i760 yet) - VX6800, VX6700 and Samsung i730 and have the broadband data feature on these phones disabled with Verizon, so that they only can access the web via Wifi - and then I won't have to pay data -
But - you can only find these guys used, refurbished, and out of warranty - which is kind of scary to me because you still have to pay $80 - $100 for a decent used or refurb phone.
Is an older smartphone really my only option to be able to phone surf using my mifi and not have to buy a smartphone data plan?