hostspot

A good amount of our business is done on the road. Whether we're between cross-town projects, or in dark attics we need to have an Internet connection to use many our our tools. For example, we use many of 37signals.com's products, as well as Onsip.com for our phone service (both highly-recommended), which all require an Internet connection.

Until recently, we've relied on Clear's 4G service. For the most part, we loved it. It's fast, and has decent coverage around ATL, albeit not as good as our AT&T iPhones. We decided last month to try the new Personal Hotspot feature from AT&T to see how it compares. Keep in mind the Personal Hotspot feature requires the iPhone 4, not any of the previous iPhones.

We just cancelled our Clear accounts today and I'll tell you why:

  1. The AT&T 3G connection has surprisingly decent speed. Not as fast as 4G, but decent.
  2. It's actually cheaper. Clear's services are around $40/mo per user, whereas the Personal Hotspot only adds $15/mo to a typical iPhone plan.
  3. Less devices. No more USB dongle that sticks out of our laptops, getting Internet is built into the iPhone.
  4. We can share the connection. Yes Clear has a hotspot service as well, but not for the $15/mo you'd be paying for AT&T. BTW, AT&T allows 3 devices to be connected to your phone simultaneously.

Of course, your city may vary on connectivity, and your iPhone plan may not be just like ours, so I'd call AT&T to get your specific rundown (Dial 611 from your AT&T iPhone). One downside to "upgrading" to the Personal Hotspot service is that we lost our unlimited data plan. We're now capped at 4GB per month per user. It turns out, I was only using about 1GB/month on average on my iPhone, and I've yet to get near the new 4GB limit. (Your online AT&T account can show your monthly data usage on a graph.)

What are you currently using? Do you like it? We'd love to know.