Verizon Launches New Flagship Hotspot: Jetpack MiFi 7730L by Novatel

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The new 7730L is Verizon's first hotspot featuring a touch screen user interface.

It has been over a year since Verizon last released a flagship mobile hotspot.

Our current top pick, the Jetpack AC791L by Netgear, was released in September 2015 - and just this week we were discussing how long it had gone without a replacement, wondering if a more advanced update would ever come.

As if on queue, Verizon yesterday announced a brand new flagship - the Jetpack MiFi 7730L by Novatel.

With more advanced LTE technology supported than any prior Verizon hotspot and a number of other promising new features, this seems to at last be a worthy rival for our "Top Pick" crown on Verizon's LTE network.

The key features of the 7730L include:

  • LTE-Advanced Cat 9 Support (see below)
  • Simultaneous Dual-Band 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-Fi - 802.11ac Support
  • 24 Hour Battery Life
  • Can double as an external USB battery pack for other devices.
  • MiFi File Sharing - You can connect a USB drive and remotely access files.
  • Global Roaming - Compatible with networks in 200+ countries.
  • LTE Bands Supported: 2,3,4,5,7,13,20,28,66
  • Two 'test ports' - not officially antenna ports. Should support MIMO, although test ports in the past have been a bit delicate. (Confirmed, thanks to MIA member who rushed out and purchased one!)

The Jetpack MiFi 7730L is available immediately at Verizon's online store for $199 (or $49 with a two year contract), and should be available in Verizon retail stores soon.

Verizon's First LTE Cat 9 Hotspot

Devices that support LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation can combine multiple LTE bands together for blistering fast speeds.

The new MiFi 7730L hotspot is Verizon's first to support LTE Category 9, which allows combining up to three separate LTE bands to enable a max theoretical communication speed of 450Mbps.

The former flagship AC791L was a Cat 6 device with dual-channel carrier aggregation support for a max theoretical top speed of 300Mbps, and all other Verizon hotspots were Cat 4 at best - maxing out in lab conditions at 150Mbps or 100Mbps.

Real world speeds of course will always be much less.

But even outside of a lab, the jump from Cat 6 to Cat 9 has the potential to be a substantial leap - and as Verizon's cellular network is upgraded to support this technology in more places it should give the 7730L a significant fundamental advantage that will only increase in the future.

Worth Upgrading?

The AC791L is over a year old, but there is no need to rush out and upgrade just yet.

We can't say for sure until we have had a chance to test it hands on, but on paper the Novatel 7730L looks to be a major advancement in core LTE technology over the former flagship and our current top pick on Verizon - the Netgear AC791L.

The AC791L is still a very solid hotspot, and officially has two MIMO antenna ports. At the moment Verizon has only just begun to roll out 3 channel carrier aggregation to cell towers that would let the 7730L's technical advantages pull it ahead.

So if you have an AC791L now - there is certainly no reason to rush out and upgrade. 

But if you have an older Verizon hotspot like the Novatel MiFi 6620L or especially the Pantech MHS291L - it is time to consider moving to something that supports LTE-Advanced technology.

We expect to get a Jetpack 7730L in for testing soon - we will be sharing all our experiences in the Hotspot & Modem Review Center.

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