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Old 09-27-2020, 06:25 PM   #1
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Recommend cell carrier

Iíve been using a ZTE Mobley hotspot with unlimited AT&T cellular for a couple of years and it normally works very well. However, as we continue our motor home trek near the Blue Ridge Parkway, weíre finding that AT&T coverage is sparse to nonexistent around these mountains. Iíd like to add a secondary carrier that might fill in the dark areas.

We need unlimited if possible. Iíve read about Verizonís plan that throttles at 25gb, so that wonít work for us. Sprint has an attractive unlimited plan through FMCA but I wonder if the coverage would be any better than what Iím already getting with AT&T? Really not ready to spend $80-$90/mo for another hotspot. Suggestions? Would adding a Sprint hotspot work better than AT&T in some areas on the BRP or will it be a draw?

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Old 09-27-2020, 08:01 PM   #2
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Many full-timer RVers maintain accounts with more than one cellular carrier for the reasons you cite, among others. Personally, I can't see going with a 25GB plan when there are unlimited plans, such as Visible by Verizon, available for less money. As for T-Mobile/Sprint, just because there's a cheap plan, I'd want to make sure that there's coverage in places you expect to be. My own experience with T-Mobile has been unsatisfactory, but that may be due to my location.

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Old 09-27-2020, 08:49 PM   #3
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Have you tried moving the sim out of the Mobley to something like a Netgear 815S or Nighthawk M1? I moved mine years ago and never had a problem. Along the Blue Ridge Pkwy your not going to have great reception with any carrier, your in a national park with no cell towers. Sprint/T-Mobile generally doesn't have coverage outside of metro areas. That leaves Visible (Verizon) as your only alternative, check them out.
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Old 09-28-2020, 01:54 AM   #4
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I go to the Smoky Mountains several times a year. I camp in remote locations and a postpaid Verizon plan always has better coverage than anything else. I plan where I camp by checking the Verizon towers in the area first.

I'll be back up there in October.... this time I'll take several plans to try out. More info in two weeks...
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:55 AM   #5
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Recommend cell carrier

My wife and I switched from ATT to Visable a few months back to save $. We were always happy with ATT but hoped to save a lot of $.

We have found that unless we have four bars we are either getting throttled back to where we have extremely slow internet access or no access at all. We also discovered that throughout most of the Michigan Upper Peninsula we had zero cell service or very limited with few bars. Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota were pretty much the same.

Things have improved through South Dakota along I-90 and in or near cities.

Unless you know that the area you intend to be in has reliable Verizon towers, I would recommend against Visable.

Visable has been an interesting experiment but when we return to Michigan next month we will be switching back to ATT.
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:00 AM   #6
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Unless you know that the area you intend to be in has reliable Verizon towers, I would recommend against Visable.
With all due respect, your problems appear to be primarily because of a lack of Verizon service in the area where you were. That problem wasn't caused by Visible; if the signal strength was low it probably wouldn't have been any better if you had had a Verizon account rather than a Visible one.
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:03 AM   #7
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This is not the northern states and if you don't have a Verizon plan you may cry like a baby.

The towns like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, etc. have more cell options.... but I don't go camping in the city.
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:08 AM   #8
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You don't say what phone plan you're using, but if it's Verizon then maybe you could increase your data package and use your phone as a hotspot?
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper25 View Post
I go to the Smoky Mountains several times a year. I camp in remote locations and a postpaid Verizon plan always has better coverage than anything else. I plan where I camp by checking the Verizon towers in the area first.

I'll be back up there in October.... this time I'll take several plans to try out. More info in two weeks...
Good to know. I guess if I go with the cheaper Visible account, it might not be as fast, but still use the same Verizon towers.

Our two month trek has slowly taken us down the BRP (we don't drive the motorhome on the BRP). Started at the north beginning and ending at Maggie Valley, NC, where we go every year. Then head back to south FL first of November.

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Old 09-29-2020, 10:46 AM   #10
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We rely on an ATT plan with Mobley for our wireless, it seems to do OK. We are able to stream etc.
As a comparison we have Sprint as our mobile provider. The nearest tower is to the east but is slightly obscured by a ridge and woods,iIf I drive 1/2 mile to the east I can see the nearest tower, there are also towers to the west but are obscured by a a ridge line.

I was having a terrible time with keeping my cell phone connected during a call in the house, if I walked from the family room to the kitchen it would drop a call. Complained several times to Sprint and the last time the customer service rep agreed to send me a "Magic Box" which has helped a little. I will drop some calls. I have and Iphone 8 and my wife has a Iphone 10 and she doesn't have a problem so it may be phone related.

I did have different carriers for work and overall ATT seemed the best. No carrier will be perfect for an RV'er as each company has decided what customer base they want to serve and invest in towers to suit their needs.
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:07 AM   #11
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My setup is:
Visible.com (Verizion reseller) unlimited for $25/month after Party Pay discount (there are many Facebook groups where you can get the 4 members to make your party)... I bought a used Verizon 7730L and after initializing the Visible sim in my IPhone I put the sim into the jetpack (You munst change the APN in the jetpack setiing to Visibles APN) I also bought Netgears ~$30 Mimo antenna that pluges into the jetpack and aids reception...

For secondary backup my phone has a Red Pocket ATT sim that gives me unlimited calling a 3gb of data for $19/month... This can be turned into a hotspot in places where the Verzion coverage is not good but ATT is...

Monthly cost $44... Not tax on either plan...
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:58 PM   #12
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With all due respect, your problems appear to be primarily because of a lack of Verizon service in the area where you were. That problem wasn't caused by Visible; if the signal strength was low it probably wouldn't have been any better if you had had a Verizon account rather than a Visible one.

True for the most part and that is my point. If there are no Verizon or shared towers in the area that you are in than your Visable is not going to work.

Actually docj, many of my problems are related to Visable as evidenced while traveling with friends who are Verizon customers. We have experienced little to no service sitting across from each other at our campsite while they text, call, email and use their data while the best we can expect is the receipt of an occasional text.

Visible does feature some other restrictions the OP should be aware of. Visible reserves the right to slow down your data speed when Verizon's network is congested. Like Verizon's least expensive unlimited plan, Visible caps video streaming at 480p resolution.
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:39 PM   #13
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Actually docj, many of my problems are related to Visable as evidenced while traveling with friends who are Verizon customers. We have experienced little to no service sitting across from each other at our campsite while they text, call, email and use their data while the best we can expect is the receipt of an occasional text.

Visible does feature some other restrictions the OP should be aware of. Visible reserves the right to slow down your data speed when Verizon's network is congested. Like Verizon's least expensive unlimited plan, Visible caps video streaming at 480p resolution.
Verizon differentiates between its postpaid and prepaid plans of which Visible is one. AFAIK all the prepaid plans rank below the postpaid plans with respect to network management. We have postpaid phones just for that reason; the phones have the best possible service. But our phones have strict hotspot data limits so they we can't used them for daily streaming.

We use unlimited prepaid hotspots including Visible for our routine streaming. We deal with the "ups and downs" of such connections by using several of them at one time in a Load Balancing configuration.

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Old 10-14-2020, 06:35 PM   #14
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How much do people pay?
I pay 70 for prepaid unlimited Verizon
150 for ATT phones with 15Gb limit
100 for home internet
?? For 2nd or 3rd hotspot

This is insane. I am having issues with sub 1gb downloads on my supposedly unlimited Verizon plan. 3 days of run around. One sales rep said I have used 980 GB in billing period. No tech person has said.

I have only been on the road one week.

Seems that Verizon is treating me like a data cap customer not a grandfathered unlimited plan.
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