Avis To Offer In-Car Wi-Fi
$10.95 gets you a 3G Wi-Fi router in a box
Avis will soon begin offering renters a Wi-Fi hotspot in a box for $10.95 a day
, provided by a company dubbed Autonet Mobile
, who is debuting the service at this year's CES. The article above notes the service uses "the 3G cellular network,"
but doesn't specify which one -- hopefully it's not Verizon, since such mobile Wi-Fi 3G routers are prohibited under that provider's terms of service. Also noteable is the fact that you can't take the device away from the car. We profiled a similar service
recently that ran over Verizon's network, requiring users shell out $1,995 and the $60-$80 month for EVDO service.
Distracted Drivers I can see it now on the 5 o'clock news. "Driver ran head-on into a Semi while reading his e-mail."
Like there isn't enough to distract drivers already. They have the cell phone, the radio, the screaming kids in the back seat, the 1/2 pound of French Fries in their lap, and the quarter pounder from *insert fast food chain name here*.
That said, this also could be a good thing. The passenger can check their email, watch youtube, and other internet related items (read=pr0n) while on the highway. I think this could also push the cell company to make a faster and more reliable network. $10.95/day seems a little on the steep side though. If it were about $2.00/day I might actually do it, but that is just too much per day.
Hot Jamz @ Mile High Radio »cjaiceman.is-a-geek.com/hotjamz/hotjamz.pls
Re: Distracted Drivers It's Avis rent a car, which is geared to the corporate traveler. Most travelers will expense this without flinching. To reiterate fiberguy's observations, many hotel charge 9.95/day for Hi-Speed internet access (Hilton/Doubletree), and the Starbuck's in CA charge anywhere from 7.95-9.95/day, as well as many airports.
While some of the responses bring comical light to the potential hazazrds, it would be invaluable, as my own broadband card has paid for itself time and again, to continue working while traveling (cup holder AC Inverter also good investment for max screen brightness), and be able to pull up traffic web sites on-the-fly to check traffic and look at alternate routes (L.A.), or, get to an appt. early and check your mail in the parking lot, ESPECIALLY if you're waiting on a quote/proposal.
As for who it is, it may vary by location, however from a coast to coast traveler's perspective, the most consistent connectivity, and broadest reaching is Verizon. It may not be the fastest everywhere, but A connection is better than NO connection. Cingular's EDGE is very fast, but it's very limited in scale. Sprint's network is fast, and many times because not as many are on it, but it's also not nearly as far reaching as Verizon. If I'm deep in a Data Center, 9 times out of 10, Verizon phones and cards will have connection/signal when others don't. I've traveled through the mountains of NC/TN, and had no signal on my Nextel phone for miles, but my Verizon card is still chugging away.
That said, if you were to look at it from a holistic perspective and not just your corner of the world, Avis would have better service, fewer connectivity/signal related complaints from Verizon based service across the country. I use a Kyocera 650 with a suction-cup external antenna attachment, and a buddy has the Sprint card. They both have performed wonderfully, and sitting side-by-side in an Applebee's testing the speed, they were very comarable. The Kyocera had the best upload performance though.
Re: Distracted Drivers Cingular's EDGE is less then mediocre at best. EDGE has reasonable speeds with a good signal, but with Sprint's 1xRTT network I can always get at least 64kbit even with a signal of about -110dBm. I recently tried a few data cards and found that the Cingular card doesn't roam-AT ALL. Nationwide coverage, yes, but don't look at their partner coverage. I'm not sure about Verizon's footprint being larger than Sprint's, seeing as they roam on eachother, and Sprint roams on Alltel (not sure if Verizon also does). Cingular's HSDPA was laughable, and spotty within the cities that it was offered. Driving through the heart of Columbus, I should never lose my signal, but it repeatedly dropped back to EDGE. Your phone showing Cingular doesn't mean it's really Cingular towers you're using, so the data coverage won't be what you might expect.
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