Hotspot on fire

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. My tablet PC works great when I am in range of a Wi-Fi router, but it’s almost worthless when no internet connection is available. My mobile phone provider says I can solve this problem by subscribing to its mobile hotspot for $50 a month, but this option is just too expensive. Is there a less expensive alternative for solving this problem?

A. FreedomPop (freedompop.com) is a relatively new company that offers free high-speed mobile broadband internet; you just need to purchase one of its hotspot devices (prices starting at $19.99). Thereafter, the free broadband internet service (which is available in 4G cellular areas) includes 500 megabytes of free data each month with a 2-cent charge for each additional MB. Additional service plans are available ranging from $3.99 to $19.99; these plans include 3G access, up to 2 gigabytes of free data, and 1.5 cents per MB thereafter.

Other organizations claiming to provide free wireless internet access include internet.org (initially offering free internet access in Africa and India); Juno (juno.com) (first 10 hours each month are free); and NetZero (netzero.net) (first 200 MBs of data are free; hotspot devices from NetZero are priced starting at $49.95).

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

Submit a question

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to jofatech@aicpa.org. We regret being unable to individually answer all submitted questions.

SPONSORED REPORT

Revenue recognition: A complex effort

Implementing the new standard requires careful judgment. Learn how to make significant accounting judgments and document them and collaborate with peers for consistent application.

VIDEO

How to Excel pivot a general ledger

The general ledger is a vast historical data archive of your company's financial activities, including revenue, expenses, adjustments, and account balances. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, shows how to prepare data for, and mine data with, PivotTables.

QUIZ

News quiz: Taking an economic snapshot and looking to the future

Recent news included IRS actions that affect individuals and partnerships and a possibly influential move by a Big Four accounting firm.Take this short quiz to see how much you know about the news.