NetComm MyZone

NetComm's MyZone mobile broadband Wi-Fi hotspot shares the net with 10 users from a device the size of a stack of credit cards.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
2 min read

First impressions

Internet: it's as important as the water we drink and the air we breathe. Trying to imagine a world without the ability to immediately search for Keyboard Cat is a dismal exercise indeed. We now live in a world where internet at the home and office is not enough, we need internet for all the boring moments in between. The Netcomm MyZone is designed to get you online wherever you are, and up to nine other friends or colleagues while it's at it.

If you were to stack five credit cards on top of the other then cover the stack in piano black plastic you'd have made a comparable MyZone prototype. This compact size and shape is perhaps the modem's most outstanding feature. Those that commute on the train each day will see the advantages of this kind of device immediately. You won't need a separate 3G dongle and smartphone data contract, you just have one device and one data plan, turn it on, toss it in your bag and forget about it.

MyZone is network agnostic and features a web-based UI, making the settings of the modem accessible from any device with Wi-Fi and a browser. MyZone works on the 850MHz 3G network of Telstra and the 2100MHz network of Vodafone, Optus and 3 Mobile, and falls back onto quad-band GSM network frequencies when a 3G signal is unavailable. It doesn't, however, work on the 900MHz frequency used by Optus and Vodafone outside of metro areas.

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NetComm has forged an unlikely partnership for the launch of MyZone and will be selling the units directly through Apple exclusively for the first eight weeks. NetComm believes MyZone to be the "perfect companion" for the newly released iPad, and Apple obviously agrees. After the exclusivity period it is likely we'll see MyZone available on contract with one or more of the major telcos, but there is no official announcement at this time.

MyZone is priced at AU$299 outright and unlocked to be used on any network, just like Internode's MiFi. This differs from competing mobile Wi-Fi hotspots like the Virgin Mobile WiFi Modem, which are carrier locked.