Anyone who finds themselves in airplanes a lot has blanched more than a few times at the astronomical prices charged for in-flight Wi-Fi — for something that, understandably, doesn’t always have a stable connection. Getting connected in the air is getting a little more reasonable this week, with wireless carrier US Mobile introducing a $10 Wi-Fi plan that covers 35 million hotspots around the world, including many in-flight hotspots.
Paying for a Wi-Fi plan seems like a rip off on its face — free Wi-Fi hotspots are common now, especially in stores, cafes, and airports. Why pay? Well, there are a lot of Wi-Fi hotspots run by other providers like AT&T and Time Warner Cable that subscribers can access, and sometimes those can be found where you’re not in range of free Wi-Fi networks. US Mobile has partnered with both of those providers, along with a handful of other similar providers throughout the world, to give US Mobile customers access to all of their hotspots.
They’ve partnered with hotels, too, just in case you have the misfortune of staying with one of the chains that doesn’t give guests complimentary Wi-Fi. Most importantly, though, the partners include in-flight providers like Boingo and Gogo, which could really save a lot of money for travelers who need to get work done in-flight.
Subscribers to US Mobile’s Wi-Fi plan will have to install and use an app to connect to these hotspots. That app is called iPass, and it seems like that’s US Mobile’s one actual partner here — iPass is a service that aggregates Wi-Fi networks and sells them on as packages to other businesses.
The bottom line is that for $10 per month, you can get connected to a whole lot of Wi-Fi networks that would otherwise be inaccessible or would cost for one-time use. In a world awash with free Wi-Fi networks, that probably still doesn’t make sense for most people, but if you find yourself in the air at least a couple times a month, it seems like a sure-fire money saver.