I have an unlocked Nexus One with a pre-release of Android 2.2 “Froyo”, and I have a T-Mobile mobile data plan from Google; I imagine that, like most big companies, we get a pretty good deal on it. As of now, I’m never paying for Internet in a hotel or airport again.
You can turn the Nexus One into a WiFi hotspot is a matter of a couple of clicks. It turns out that other Android phones like the Evo and the Droid X offer this capability, but because they’re sold through and locked by the network operator, you have to pay extra for it. Similarly for modern iPhones. For a heavy traveller, the amount you pay extra may well be less than you’re currently paying some combination of hotels and Boingo or equivalent.
But if you get an unlocked phone, the network operator would have to go to considerable extra work to detect that you’re doing this and prevent it. An unlocked modern phone will run you something in the $5-600 range. But you know, if you’re a heavy traveler who’s been paying for Internet several times per month, maybe that’s cheap.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Brian Deacon (Jun 25 2010, at 09:12)
I believe you mean, "As of now, I'm paying a lower price to somebody else for the internet I use in hotels and airports."
From: Robert Accettura (Jun 25 2010, at 09:15)
How long do you think it will take until hotels start using paint and cell blockers to reduce or kill the signal to hotel rooms?
Seems like WiFi is a very profitable offering for hotels, considering it's cost and what they charge for it.
From: Tom Lazar (Jun 25 2010, at 09:23)
If one is willing to jailbreak his/her iphone, the same can be achieved using a software called MyWi (http://rockyourphone.com/index.php/mywi.html)
I've had great success with it. The best being is, that it allows me to tether my (non-3g) iPad.
Having tethering enabled adds noticeable battery drain, but I still get several hours out of it. How's that working for you on the Android?
From: Chris Swan (Jun 25 2010, at 09:33)
What about roaming? Even with an unlocked WWAN card, MiFi or SmartPhone getting hold of local (PAYG) SIMs is a royal pain.
From: David Megginson (Jun 25 2010, at 10:49)
I prefer USB tethering to WiFi tethering on my Nexus One -- that way, the phone's battery is charging rather than draining while I'm online.
From: Peter (Jun 25 2010, at 19:51)
@Robert: if I figure that a hotel starts taking counter measures, I will not stay in this hotel ever again and make sure others know about it by sharing my experience on sites like TripAdvisor.com and twitter (already doing that).
From: Jack Tanner (Jun 26 2010, at 11:48)
The Nokia N900 can be had for ~ $370 new and unlocked in the US. Linux-based OS, 3G on T-Mobile. Pretty damn sweet.
From: Anton (Jun 28 2010, at 02:28)
Re: Cheap unlocked phones
(Only if I could build my own Android phone..! Keywords: free, open, unlocked, no-secret, public)
From: Nick Johnson (Jun 28 2010, at 07:40)
Unless you only ever stay in hotels in your home country, it's likely that you'll be paying in the region of $5/MB for roaming data. That's certainly the sort of rates I see, and it's way pricier than nearly all hotels charge for internet access.
From: gordon anderson (Jun 28 2010, at 21:37)
the iPhone 4 will be sold unlocked in Canada, direct from Apple. You can get service in Canada from whomever gives you the best deal, and pick up local SIM cards when you travel.