A mobile Wifi hotspot is actually a mobile-phone-like data device and Wifi router about the size of a small mobile phone. It usually has a small display, but no microphone, speaker, earpiece or keyboard. It has all the other mobile phone technology, including a SIM, but it does not differentiate among voice, text and data.
The hotspot connects to a mobile phone network, then you connect your laptop, tablet or smartphone to the hotspot via Wifi, and you use apps to make voice calls, to send email and messages, and to browse the Web.
Usually these devices allow several computers, tablets and/or smartphones to use the Wifi hotspot connection at the same time (though the more devices connected, the slower the throughput is liable to be). As with mobile phones, you are charged for data usage on the network, but only for data usage, not for voice calls or messaging.
An Open Secret: It’s All Data!
Here’s an open secret: mobile phone networks are really just data networks. Whether you make a voice call, send a text message, or browse the Internet via your smartphone, you’re consuming exactly the same resource: time and bandwidth on the mobile data network.
The mobile phone companies differentiate these services into voice, messages and data in order to get you to pay more for each of them. They’ll offer you “packages” and “bundles” of services—200 minutes of voice calls, 1000 text messages, 500 megabytes of data—for a certain price, but really they’re all the same thing: data, data and data. The “packages” look like good value, but in fact you will reach the limit on one of them before the others, meaning that you won’t get to use the full value of the others. You will have bought more than you’ll use. That’s how the packages are designed—to get you to pay more than what you will use.
If they had flat fees for each megabyte or gigabyte of data, you’d only pay for what you actually used.
It’s just like the cable TV companies offering you a package of 100 channels, most of which you’ll never watch. It looks like a good deal, and it is—but only for the cable companies.
Mobile Wifi Devices
So if it’s all data, all you really need is a connection to the Internet through the mobile phone network. Then you can use applications (apps) such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messages, Facetime, Viber, etc. to communicate by voice, message and email, to browse the Web, and to send and receive photos and videos. You’ll just pay for the data you use.
In Turkey, several companies offer easy rental of mobile Wifi hotspots: order your rental hotspot online and it will be waiting for you a the airport or at your hotel or rental apartment when you arrive. Put it right to work, use it to communicate as much as you want, and you’ll know in advance the price you’ll pay. At the end of your trip, leave it at your hotel or at the airport.
It’s that easy!
Among the best is Rent ‘n’ Connect:
Unlike the major mobile phone companies, which also offer mobile Wifi hotspots, you may not need to purchase the device, buy a “package” of services, sign a contract, or commit to months of service.
An additional benefit of a Wifi hotspot is security: you won’t have to worry about hackers using public Wifi networks to find a way into your computer or the public data connections. (SeeVirtual Private Networks.)
However, although a Wifi hotspot is among the easiest, most convenient and most secure communications methods, it is not necessarily the cheapest. Be sure to learn the minimum rental period and/or the daily charge.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Turkey’s Mobile Phone Networks|