recommendation request for cell data service and device

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tibbitts
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by tibbitts » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:49 pm

I'm about to lose access to my eployer's Sprint Spark hotspot. I only have prepaid service for calls and text on my personal cell phone now - I don't use it much, I just use Google voice with wifi or with the Spark. When I'm home, I have conventional cable internet, but frequently spend time where I get one bar exactly on the Sparc, after placing it in exacty the correct window location. The Sprint coverage map actually runs right through my window - not really an exaggeration, as near as I can tell my location is exactly on the fair vs. no service boundary. The one-bar performance is totally adequate for me and totally reliable. Of course if possible I would like reasonably priced and convenient international data - or even phone/text if possible, particularly in Canada. But as long as I have data with Google Voice, I'm okay with just that. I don't care if the access is via a hotspot or phone-as-a-hotspot, although I suppose only have a phone to deal with would be handy.

My usage pattern might be very little cell data for several months, then up to 25GB data per month for couple of months, then very little again, in a repeating cycle, with an occasional busy couple of weeks thrown in.

I'd appreciate suggestions for service as well as for a device, since my common away-from-home location is also on the very edge of several other coverage maps, like T-mobile. So good reception could be critical.

mhalley
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:02 am

Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by mhalley » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:21 am

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Last edited by mhalley on Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

mhalley
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Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by mhalley » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:24 am

Try Clark Howard’s recs.

https://clark.com/cell-phones/best-cell ... ans-deals/
Black Friday cell phone deals should be starting soon.

Topic Author
tibbitts
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by tibbitts » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:11 pm

mhalley wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:24 am
Try Clark Howard’s recs.

https://clark.com/cell-phones/best-cell ... ans-deals/
Black Friday cell phone deals should be starting soon.
Thanks, but my understanding is that most of the comparisons don't consider, and better cellphone deals don't include, hotspot data - either on a separate device or using your phone as a hotspot. if that's not the case hopefully someone will correct me. So that's really what I was asking about, plus the relative performance of different devices for data reception, since with at least two networks, I'm literally right on the edge of coverage.

rolandtorres
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Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by rolandtorres » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:50 pm

You should probably post this to something like the nocontract subreddit on Reddit https://reddit.com/r/nocontract/

It's hard to follow what your needs are exactly. It sounds like you had a Sprint hotspot device that you're trying to replace for coverage at home and that this would be in addition to your home cable internet. I'm guessing you're looking to do this as cheap as possible.

If you're willing to jump through some hoops (assuming that's true because of your hotspot situation), I'd look for that $35/mo unlimited AT&T "tablet" plan and use that with to a Nighthawk modem/router as described on Reddit. Of course, this is dependent on AT&T coverage where you need it so you can test that with a prepaid option for a month.

If you don't want to jump through hoops, I'd just go with Google Fi. $20/mo on months you dont use data, top rate of $80 for your high-usage data months. Calls should route through wifi from your cable internet at home and otherwise through mostly T-mobile and Sprint cell networks. Canada coverage included too.

stan1
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Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by stan1 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:02 pm

I have an unlimited plan with ATT for $55/month with a layered autopay and 10% employer discount.

At that price it is nice not to have to worry about up and down months.

GAAP
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Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by GAAP » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:24 pm

I used to work for a wireless carrier -- but my first recommendation would be to choose an unlocked phone. I would choose Android over Apple, and I would choose a google phone simply because it gets the latest software sooner and isn't loaded with a bunch of junk I don't need.

As for carriers -- that depends on the coverage where you expect to use the phone.

International can vary a lot, depending on where you go. An unlocked phone would let you use a local SIM for international locations. Canada is probably available fairly cheaply on domestic plans -- it certainly is from my prior employer.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee

zlandar
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Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by zlandar » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:55 pm

ATT prepaid:

https://www.att.com/buy/wireless/prepaid/select-plans

If you prepay $300 you get 12 months of service ~$25/month. Unused data rolls over for one month so you can have up to 16 GB/month.

If you feel like you really need 24 GB of data during a month than wait for the double data promo to come back (currently expired):

https://www.att.com/prepaid/double-data-offer.html

This is what I am on. You can have up to 24 GB of data in a month as long as you leave 8 GB of data to rollover the month before.

Both of the above plans allow calls/text/data in Canada and Mexico for free. You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. Supports WiFi calling.

You may need a new phone if your current one doesn't support GSM. I'm an iPhone user but you can use any Android/iPhone of your choice.

Topic Author
tibbitts
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by tibbitts » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:54 pm

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - I'll research each one further and choose one to try. The amount of data is somewhat of a worst-case based on what I use at home now.

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JD Leonard
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Location: Jersey City, NJ

Re: recommendation request for cell data service and device

Post by JD Leonard » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:46 am

Google Fi's pricing model is well suited to your usage.
- JD Leonard

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