Mobile Hotspot Data

Oct 14, 2008
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Tulsa, OK
Hey all,
I've previously used Verizon 40 gb per month data plans for chase season. However, they stoped allowing the purchase of these plans unless you have an unlimited plan which I don't. Anyone know of other carriers that provide monthly mobile Hotspot data plans? I saw Simple Mobile has one but I haven't done too much research for it yet.
 
Dec 8, 2003
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Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
I was on the Verizon website this morning researching 5G-capable MiFi pucks, and everything shown had lousy user reviews. I've been using a Verizon JetPack for years and it has served me very well, so I don't know, maybe I should just keep using it. Can anyone comment with recommendations? I don't want to switch carriers.
 
I was on the Verizon website this morning researching 5G-capable MiFi pucks, and everything shown had lousy user reviews. I've been using a Verizon JetPack for years and it has served me very well, so I don't know, maybe I should just keep using it. Can anyone comment with recommendations? I don't want to switch carriers.
Keep using your jetpack - we have found the older ones much better than the Mifi
 
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Reactions: Bob Schafer
Oct 14, 2008
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Tulsa, OK
Just went into the Verizon store to get some confirmation about some things I'm reading on the website. Don't bother with the 5G capable Wi-Fi device. The person in the Verizon store said that 5G is only available in select location so it's not worth paying $400 for the Puck. I'm going to look for a used one And go that route
 
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Randy Jennings

Supporter
May 18, 2013
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Unless there is some major technical advance in 5G, I don't see that being a viable solution for chasing. Providers are struggling just to get 5G to work in cities and the short range makes rural areas seem impossible. History is also full of examples of why being an early adopter of new technology might not be a good idea - early devices aren't typically top notch and standards evolve leaving early adopters in the dust.

But I do have to admit that going LTE or 4G kind of seems like buying a PC computer today that can't run Windows 11 - sure it works now, but will it be supported a year or two from now? The vast majority of hot spots for sale today are "4G LTE". Anything labeled LTE is slower than the 4G standard. LTE is really a network that was an interim step between 3G and 4G. LTE is clearly the next network to be shut down - in fact T-Mobile is shutting down Sprint LTE on 6/30/22 (although some devices will work on T-Mobile LTE with a sim swamp and settings changes). There are currently no announced plans for Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile to shut down their LTE networks. Many "experts" say it will be a decade or more before LTE is shut down. There are good reasons to say this - namely 5G generally uses different RF spectrum than LTE and where it does use the same spectrum it can co-exist with LTE and 4G. Also given the rise of IoT devices that simply don't need 5G network speeds, it may be in the carriers best interest to keep 4G and LTE around.

I guess if I was buying another hot spot now - I would likely go with what what @Ben Holcomb suggested from Verizon. AT&T looks to only be selling 5G hotspots and T-Mobile coverage is subpar in may areas I chase. I have noticed a significant drop in LTE network coverage from Version in areas I chase (southern plains) over the last year. My chase partner and I have all 3 major providers in vehicle with us. Verizon used to beat AT&T by a hair, but over the last year I think AT&T has the lead in coverage - but them selling only 5G hotspots now - I would skip them.
 
Dec 8, 2003
1,395
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Southeast CO
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Yes. It's a great hotspot. Well built, can take a beating and works well. If I ever have an issue with it, I can just restart it and it comes back no problems. I've had a couple other ones like the 4620 and it just had issues constantly that would come and go. The 8800 just works.
"Best hotspot" and it gets 3 stars out of 5. I'm not questioning you, Ben, I'm just pointing out that apparently nobody can make a good hotspot. I see comments (on the VZW site) that the battery bulges if you leave it on 24/7. Well, my only IP at home is my Jetpack. So I'm supposed to unplug it every day? PITA. Why don't these idiots just make these things so you can operate them plugged in with the battery removed?
 
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Reactions: Andy Wehrle
Jan 7, 2006
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"Best hotspot" and it gets 3 stars out of 5. I'm not questioning you, Ben, I'm just pointing out that apparently nobody can make a good hotspot. I see comments (on the VZW site) that the battery bulges if you leave it on 24/7. Well, my only IP at home is my Jetpack. So I'm supposed to unplug it every day? PITA. Why don't these idiots just make these things so you can operate them plugged in with the battery removed?
Not to peel us off track here, but for those of you who still use Jetpacks: what is your main reason for choosing them over a smartphone? Are better data plans available for Jetpacks on some carriers? Is it the ability to plug in an external antenna (which I admittedly haven't messed with in quite a few years)?

My personal experience: the Verizon hotspots I used in the 2010s were fairly unreliable, both in terms of operation and connectivity. There were a few times I had a chase partner with Verizon cell service with me while using a Jetpack, and it often seemed like their phone was getting better coverage! Around 2017, I switched over to strictly smartphones for data. I'm now on Verizon for my primary cell service. When I decided I needed AT&T data as a backup for chase season last spring, I just bought a $100 unlocked Motorola phone from Best Buy. The hotspot feature on that crapphone has served me just fine, with seemingly good connectivity. Strikes me as a much better value than Jetpacks that are usually more expensive, don't provide as much functionality as a phone, and are usually locked to one carrier.
 
Mar 30, 2008
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Norman, OK
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That 8800 has been rock solid for me. Granted, I don't leave it on when I'm not using it. I have gigabit fiber here at the house.

The reason I use the hotspot is just that it's not a hassle anymore. It just pretty much works and I can set the hotspot by the booster antenna. I still found myself having to restart the smartphone hotspot occasionally on my last Pixel phone. The issues always seemed to be resolved by a restart. My chase equipment list still includes a Laptop as well, so having dedicated hotspots seems to perform slightly better in my opinion. I know most people just use their phones

I'm definitely paying for the convenience of a dedicated hot spot. 2 of them, but the one is built into my car.
 
Jan 7, 2006
593
819
21
USA
www.skyinmotion.com
Just to clarify: I'm using the hotspot feature on a cheap Motorola smartphone as a direct substitute for a Jetpack, not using the phone itself as my primary chasing display (I still can't give up GRx nor the larger screen size of a Windows laptop/tablet). Thanks for the replies, though.
 
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Dave C

EF2
Jun 5, 2013
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Denver
www.davidcrowlphotography.com
As several have suggested here, have you considered using your phone with wifi tethering on?

I used to travel with a 5510 Jetpack prepaid on Verizon (CDMA) and also my phone on first ATT and now T-Mobile (GSM). This was expensive, cluttered, and less reliable than what is possible today.

4-5 seasons ago I noticed T-Mobile start to have decent coverage just about everywhere I chase (TX, OK, CO, KS, WY, SD, NE, etc). Since, the T-Mobile phone has become better than the Verizon Jetpack in terms of coverage and data speed.

Now that 3G is phased out for 4G LTE and 5G, having one of each carrier type to talk to the nearest tower doesn't make as much sense unless your data needs are intense, in which case I suggest bonded data. There is a lot of improved overlap and more arrangements in sharing data from various carrier towers these days. It was common for a while for only one carrier to have towers in certain areas and sell bandwidth to others via roaming. There are still dead areas on each carrier, but they are greatly reduced, almost rare.

For my use case I no longer see the need for anything but a T Mobile phone used as wifi hotspot simultaneously (no extra cost). I have zero issues with this arrangement, where I had to restart the Verizon 5510 sometimes when it wouldn't move to new towers.

A couple long stories not worth repeating here, but I despise Verizon and dumped them as soon as I didn't need their coverage backup. It had become habit to use their Jetpack, and I am glad I moved away from it.
 
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Reactions: David Williams
Oct 14, 2008
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I've always used my phone as a tethering hotspot. I have a business where I teach people how to storm Chase and I teach them forecasting and meteorology. So I have to have something that the other people in my vehicle can tether to. Recently verizon decided not to allow my plan (grandfathered in small 2 gb plan) to be able to buy large gb packages. You have to have unlimited plans to use the 30 & 40 gb data month to month.
 
Dec 8, 2003
1,395
409
11
Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
Not to peel us off track here, but for those of you who still use Jetpacks: what is your main reason for choosing them over a smartphone? Are better data plans available for Jetpacks on some carriers? Is it the ability to plug in an external antenna (which I admittedly haven't messed with in quite a few years)?
Brett's question has probably been answered sufficiently above, but since it was seemingly, primarily, directed at me I will chime in.

I started using the 5510 whenever it was that 4G became prevalent. 2012-ish? I don't have a smartphone and don't want one. The 5510 is my only internet both on the road and at home. My plan is 10GB/mo. and I never use all of it because I never download any videos and never stream anything (using it). When I want to do any of that I wait until I am someplace where I am using somebody else's wifi, which is "frequent enough". I think it's pretty cheap at $50/mo., but the cost doesn't matter much, paying more would be okay, but it has always served me well, though I have to reboot it every now and then and had to replace the battery once, apparently due to it being on 24/7. The coverage isn't 100%, of course, but it's plenty good enough IMO.
 
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Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
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Twin Falls, ID
As several have suggested here, have you considered using your phone with wifi tethering on?

I used to travel with a 5510 Jetpack prepaid on Verizon (CDMA) and also my phone on first ATT and now T-Mobile (GSM). This was expensive, cluttered, and less reliable than what is possible today.

4-5 seasons ago I noticed T-Mobile start to have decent coverage just about everywhere I chase (TX, OK, CO, KS, WY, SD, NE, etc). Since, the T-Mobile phone has become better than the Verizon Jetpack in terms of coverage and data speed.

Now that 3G is phased out for 4G LTE and 5G, having one of each carrier type to talk to the nearest tower doesn't make as much sense unless your data needs are intense, in which case I suggest bonded data. There is a lot of improved overlap and more arrangements in sharing data from various carrier towers these days. It was common for a while for only one carrier to have towers in certain areas and sell bandwidth to others via roaming. There are still dead areas on each carrier, but they are greatly reduced, almost rare.

For my use case I no longer see the need for anything but a T Mobile phone used as wifi hotspot simultaneously (no extra cost). I have zero issues with this arrangement, where I had to restart the Verizon 5510 sometimes when it wouldn't move to new towers.

A couple long stories not worth repeating here, but I despise Verizon and dumped them as soon as I didn't need their coverage backup. It had become habit to use their Jetpack, and I am glad I moved away from it.
I can't remember what I did in 2019 (didn't chase in 2020), but at least as of last year, I was doing the same. Was on Sprint, which is now T-Mobile, and I recall the last time I did have the Verizon jetpack, my phone had data more often than the jetpack did. Did experience some data holes last season, but overall not too bad. I had to constantly restart that jetpack when leaving the range of the tower it had been connected to! Super annoying. So now I'm just using my phone as a hotspot, allowing use of GR3 on the laptop (gotta have that large screen for solo chasing).
 
Mar 5, 2010
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Cascade, CO
I used multiple wifi devices over the past few years and now am back to using my phone as a hotspot. Cheaper and connects more consistently in my opinion. I also carry a separate phone using Visible wireless. That gives me unlimited tethering data to upload videos etc.