O2 is taking on the likes of 3′s Mifi with the launch of its Pocket Hotspot today. These little devices provide WiFi access on the go wherever users have a strong enough 3G signal.

O2′s offering enables up to five devices to connect simultaneously to share mobile internet access. Good news for people who have WiFi-only gadgets and hope to connect while on the move.

As O2 points out there are plenty of tablets, games consoles and cameras that can run on Wifi only as well as conventional laptops and so a gizmo like this in your pocket can ensure connectivity where it’s needed.

Pocket Hotspot comes with two Pay & Go data options from O2. A daily top-up and 1GB or 2GB bundles (both of which have a 30 day term).

o2pocket200 O2 joins the portable WiFi movement with the launch of its Pocket Hotspot deviceThe Pay & Go Pocket Hotspot and data deal is priced from £70.20 which includes a one-off cost of £59.99 for the device alone. The data plans are outlined as 1GB for 3 months with the device and £10.21 data or 2GB for one month for the device and £15.32 data, plus double data on first and third top-ups.

Users can also choose to buy just the device and pay for data as they choose. The Pay & Go solution means that users can also get Internet access through the device without signing up to a 12 month contract.

When paying for data, users can top up through the mobile broadband top up page from O2 using debit, credit or O2 money cards. The current tariff prices are: £2.04 for 200MB where the data is available for 24 hours, £10.21 for 1GB and the data is available for 30 days or £15.32 for 2GB with data available for 30 days.

We took the 3 Mifi for a spin at the end of last year which proved to have its frustrations on a train trip from Edinburgh to London, but the battery life was fair and when connected, the device had the same limitations you would expect from a mobile connection.

How O2 Pocket Hotspot fares is yet to be seen, but on paper it offers 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity and maximum download speeds of 21.6 Mbps and upload at 5.76 Mbps.

The use of portable Wifi hotspots is becoming more popular, keeping one with you can be exceptionally useful when you need to grab some time online and there are even services that will rent one to travellers, a nice way to control data while you are overseas. Many phones have the built-in ability to create a Wifi hotspot too.

The thing to remember of course with all of these services, no mobile signal means no Wifi for you too, and with so many free public Wifi access points opening up across the UK, it’s worth considering whether you need a device like this as a heavy user, or if you can wait to get to the next free connection for your Internet fix.

Image Credit: DeclanTM