Why are Broadband Access Cards Getting Overlooked?

This is a really short post. I’ve had two broadband access cards for my laptop in the last 6 months (one from AT&T and one from Verizon) and I have to say that these cards are the most useful work-related communications tools I’ve found since I got my first Blackberry. Aside from allowing me to connect just about anywhere I can get a mobile phone signal, the data rates are very fast and the boot time on the cards is barely noticeable.

1. I have almost no interest in free or cheap wi-fi. It just doesn’t matter to me anymore. If you have a card that can get on the net quickly just about anywhere, why hunt for free wireless access? An added benefit is that the card allows you to work where others cannot – no more muscling others to get that prime table at Starbucks or your local coffee shop.
2. I use my broadband access card in lieu of corporate wi-fi at times because the card connects so quickly and delivers such great data rates. Why bother waiting to negotiate security settings and wait for my WLAN card to connect when I can just plug in and get access straight away?
I’m surprised that more people aren’t pointing to these cards as a real threat to municipal wi-fi or paid wi-fi subscription/a la carte services. Sure, the cards are expensive – they don’t have much of an installed base and the current adopters aren’t exactly the most price sensitive lot. But everyone I know who has one of these cards loves them and will tell you the benefits at length. Given that so many of the pitches I hear about the for profit public wi-fi use case rely on the “road warrior” as an adopter, I think they’re missing a growing trend.

  • Which card was better: AT&T or Verizon?

    It’s interesting that these cards aren’t getting press (although not that interesting – it’s a pretty boring story on the whole; not like ‘Company founded by 23yr-old college drop-out *supposedly* gets $10Billion valuation from Microsoft’). A more interesting though would be what the cell companies could do with them. I’m sure they’re getting some uptake from business users. But what happens when they can really integrate this technology with their phones (when they get a decent opsys anyways)? They’re doing well in marketing them with new Dell computers. But it seems as though there’s more icing on the cake then you may be giving credit for.

    And free wifi? I don’t know. Even phones, water, and electricity aren’t free.

  • Doug

    Which card was better: AT&T or Verizon? It’s interesting that these cards aren’t getting press (although not that interesting – it’s a pretty boring story on the whole; not like ‘Company founded by 23yr-old college drop-out *supposedly* gets $10Billion valuation from Microsoft’). A more interesting though would be what the cell companies could do with them. I’m sure they’re getting some uptake from business users. But what happens when they can really integrate this technology with their phones (when they get a decent opsys anyways)? They’re doing well in marketing them with new Dell computers. But it seems as though there’s more icing on the cake then you may be giving credit for. And free wifi? I don’t know. Even phones, water, and electricity aren’t free.

  • Suzanne

    Hi. I am looking at getting a broadband access card. Do you know if you have to enter a contract with the phone companies or are they month to month? Which do you recommend – Spring, Verizon, AT&T?

  • @Suzzanne, Have your tried ringing the customer service team of each to find out. I think all the broadband providers do offer both contract and month by month tariffs.

  • Is it not possible to use a dongle? I've found mobile broadband dongles to often be a lot better at providing a consistent connection. But ofcourse this all depends on your provider.

  • PAYG Mobile Broadband

    Is it not possible to use a dongle? I’ve found mobile broadband dongles to often be a lot better at providing a consistent connection. But ofcourse this all depends on your provider.