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 (email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret being unable to individually answer all submitted questions.