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Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s flagship flat rate prepaid service, has put the MiFi 2200 by Novatel Wireless on clearance for $19.99. It has been succeeded by newer 3G/4G WiMAX mobile broadband hotspots.

But Virgin Mobile’s $5/day, 200 MB plan enables people in a pinch to fire up a laptop, put down a $5 one-time, and get the job done. A $20, battery operated hotspot might be a good backup to have sitting around for unexpected trips. You can buy 100MB of data over 10 days for $10.

The MiFi 2200 offers 3G, EV-DO Rev A speeds. The $79 MiFi 2200 units sold at Walmart, however, have an additional $20/1GB per-month rate plan, which the non-Walmart MiFi 2200s lack, says PhoneNews.

T-Mobile’s 4G Mobile MiFi hotspot may get you faster speeds, however, with HSPA+. It features a MicroSD memory card slot for added external memory and is text-message enabled. T-Mobile’s Pre-paid Monthly4G $30 Unlimited Web & Text also features 100 min of talk.

Several new business models offer “free” or low-cost wireless broadband:

Verizon’s new prepaid smartphone plan with 2 GB of data costs $70 per month. Verizon is also offering a new $60 per month prepaid smartphone plan with unlimited voice, texting and 500 MB of data. Customers can purchase an extra 1 GB of data for $20 when their data balance reaches 100 MB or lower.

A new smartphone isn’t necessary to take advantage of Verizon’s prepaid plans. Often, a no-longer-used smartphone sitting in a drawer at home can be activated on a prepaid plan with no annual contract.

T-Mobile USA, Sprint’s Boost Mobile, Cricket and others offer unlimited talking, texting and a bucket of data for $50 or less per month. MetroPCS simplified its plans and now offers unlimited voice, texting and LTE data for $60 per month.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Netzero: Free Data for Facebook Users,Great Deals on Prepaid Wireless Broadband, “Free” Public WiFi with WiMAX Backhaul ,FreedomPop: Now 500MB free/month, Sprint Brings WiMAX to Virgin and Boost Mobile, NetZero: Free WiMAX Service, Banner Ads: Google’s Next Thrust?,

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