Hertz hearts MiFis: rent unlimited UK internet with your car

By John Walton, September 8 2011
Hertz hearts MiFis: rent unlimited UK internet with your car

Heading to the UK and wondering how to avoid paying through the nose for data roaming on your smartphone and laptop?

You could do a lot worse than the offer from rental car company Hertz, which is now offering 3G+Wi-Fi pocket hotspots for rental.

These pocket modems (known as "MiFis" in some countries) suck down Internet access over 3G mobile networks, and then generate a short-range Wi-Fi hotspot so you can connect your laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android device, BlackBerry or anything else that uses Wi-Fi to it.

The devices on offer from Hertz are from the UK's Vodafone network, which is among the best for coverage and speed.

Hertz is renting the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot devices for £9 per day, with a minimum charge of £35 -- that's just under four days of coverage -- although the UK VAT (Value Added Tax) will be added at a whopping 20 percent.

VAT brings the cost up to £10.80 (A$16) per day, with a minimum charge of £42 (A$63).

Still, if you'll be in the UK for a short trip of more than four days, this is a convenient offer, especially since Hertz is offering unlimited data.

Our other suggestions for the UK include a similar device from Tep -- although Tep restricts you to 150MB a day unless you pay extra for unlimited roaming. (Tep was ahead of the curve in predicting that 3G+Wi-Fi hotspot rental would become as common as hiring a rental car or booking a flight.)

If you're just going to be using mobile data on your phone for maps and basic email, 150MB may be fine. But if you plan on using your MiFi device as a mobile office, your laptop is likely to suck down 150MB in under an hour.

A four-day Tep rental including unlimited roaming works out to £41.78 (A$63): basically the same price as Hertz.

Other UK MiFi options include Droam, or you might consider a Tesco mobile SIM card if you have an existing device (whether laptop with 3G built in, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or 3G USB modem) if you'll be in the UK a while.

But if you're renting a car, the convenience factor of being able to pick up your Internet when you get to the car hire desk is a big plus.

For more on the best ways to access the Internet abroad, plus how to save time, effort and money when getting online overseas, don't miss our extensive coverage on global roaming.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

15 Jan 2012

Total posts 1

With the price of prepaid MiFi's down to $99 in Australia including 3 months and 5GB, surely there must be options of purchasing the same type of deal in UK or Europe rather than renting, especially if travelling for a month or more in the same country.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Hertz hearts MiFis: rent unlimited UK internet with your car