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Rental car company Hertz is branching out into mobile Internet, with pocket wifi devices that suck down 3G data and pump out a short-range wifi network for your iPhone or Android device, laptop, iPad or other tablet for rent in Australia.
It's a handy option for domestic travellers who don't have their own mobile Internet connection, but who need to be online when travelling -- and it's a reasonable recommendation for visiting colleagues or business contacts based overseas too.
You can add a pocket wifi unit (sometimes called "mifi" devices) to your car rental for $12 a day plus GST, which gives you 150MB to use daily.
That should be more than enough for most people's smartphones, and a light bit of tablet or laptop use, but heavy laptop users or anyone slurping down streaming video should probably think again.
Given Australia's ripoff hotel Internet rates, $12 a day for 150MB is a reasonable price for the convenience on a quick trip, aimed at travellers who don't already travel with their own 3G or 4G connections and who want a "switch on and go" Internet connection.
But what happens when you reach that 150MB limit?
Hertz says customers get a warning as they approach the 150MB mark, and once past that "you’ll normally get a few extra MB to finish what you’re doing and then it cuts out" a Hertz representative told Australian Business Traveller.
"At this point a portal appears where you can use your credit card to purchase more data."
That'll cost you:
- $4.95 for 50MB
- $9.95 for 100MB
- $12.95 for 150MB
- $29 for 500MB
But the extra data is valid for the whole rest of your rental.
So, if you're on a short trip and just want to check your email, Facebook and Twitter, and perhaps Skype home for a bit at night, this might be for you.
But if your trip is more than a few days long, or you travel frequently, we suggest you start looking into picking up your own pocket wifi device and slot in either a contract or pre-paid SIM card -- it'll be much better value.
For all the latest information on keeping yourself connected while travelling, follow us on Twitter! We're @AusBT.