Vodafone Idea (Vi), the third-largest telecom company in India, is offering users something known as MiFi. It is a product with a service. This is a product that you probably have heard of. If you haven't, well, it is a simple hotspot device that you can carry with you anywhere as it can easily fit into your pocket, bags, etc. A few important details that you should know about this gadget is that it only works with Vi SIM. You can't insert Jio or Airtel SIM inside the Vi MiFi. You can connect up to 10 devices through the Wi-Fi network created by Vi MiFi. It has six hours of battery life; you need to charge it repeatedly to keep it in working condition, and the product has a warranty of one year. Vi claims that this gadget can deliver a maximum of 150 Mbps speed (4G data). But the truth is, you are likely never going to see anything even near the claimed speed because the mobile networks of Vi might be the fastest in India (in download speeds), but they are just not fast enough to deliver 150 Mbps speed.
Regardless, the big question is, does this product make sense today? To answer that, let's take a look at the two plans that Vi MiFi users can subscribe to.
Vi MiFi Two Plans for Consumers
The two plans cost Rs 399 per month and Rs 499 per month. Both plans offer 200GB data rollover and then charge the user Rs 20 for each GB of additional data he/she consumes past their FUP (fair usage policy) limit. The Rs 399 plan comes with 50GB of data, while the Rs 499 plan comes with 90GB of data.
If you are purchasing the plan for the first time, then you will also have to pay a Rs 2,000 one-time charge for the delivery of the MiFi device. Vi says that it can deliver the product right at your home.
Well, the plans actually don't sound that bad. But the thing is, most users can convert their 4G or 5G smartphones into hotspot devices. There are also data-only vouchers offered by the telcos, including Vi, to give users access to lumpsum data. This could be a good product for a very limited set of users. If you have to connect your Smart TV at home for your parents and, for some reason, fixed-line broadband services are not available at your home, then you can use this device.
But again, the limitation is that the user will have to keep the device charged at all times to keep it on, and the battery capacity of this product is only six hours. Maybe Vodafone Idea should have made the product a refundable gadget (against a security deposit) because after the consumer doesn't want Vi's network services, this product for which he/she paid Rs 2000 is rendered useless. In most scenarios, the Vi MiFi is not a valuable product from the utility viewpoint of a consumer.