It took awhile, but AT&T (NYSE: T) is finally a player in mobile hotspot connectivity.

The wireless giant announced that it would begin offering Novatel Wireless' (Nasdaq: NVTL) MiFi come Sunday. The MiFi hotspot is about the size of a deck of cards, but it's a portable router that allows up to five devices to go online at the same time.

AT&T is late to the MiFi revolution. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint (NYSE: S) have been offering MiFi gadgets for over a year, and Sprint's Virgin Mobile division turned heads this summer with a prepaid model complete with a rock bottom price on unlimited data.

We know that "unlimited data" and AT&T aren't bedfellows anymore, making the MiFi through AT&T attractive only for the lightest of data sippers. In other words, this won't necessarily dent MiFi's existing wireless carrier partners, but it's also unlikely to be much of a boost.

Novatel has its own challenges these days. Rival Sierra Wireless (Nasdaq: SWIR) was late to the mobile hotspot niche, but it beat Novatel to the 4G punch when Sprint came out with Sierra's Overdrive hotspot earlier this year. HTC's Evo -- fueled by Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android -- became the first 4G smartphone through Sprint, and it comes with built-in mobile hotspot functionality.

The best that Novatel can hope for through AT&T is that it reaches out to green wireless customers that are loyal to AT&T and have no idea that mobile hotspots even exist. Novatel can use the business. Now that the 2009 hype has died down, investors are looking at a company projected to post a wide deficit this year on essentially flat top-line growth.

The AT&T addition may not be much of a market, but it'll have to do now that Novatel has the domestic wireless giants covered.

Do you have any good or bad experiences with mobile hotspots? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Novatel Wireless shareholders since 2009 and a user since 2010. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.