This will be the second post in an ongoing series about trying to keep the internet close at hand while traveling. If you want to start at the first post you can click here to read it. Building on that first early start, we’ve progressed and improved and learned a lot in the process!

After a few months of using the Verizon Jetpack tied to my cell plan for 4G LTE internet, we quickly realized it was an emergency only situation. Of course finding WiFi around towns isn’t that difficult, but it is rather inconvenient when you want to just sit at home where you are relaxed and already in the right head space for doing things like blog posts. It’s also kind of a pain if you have to drive out somewhere to get reliable connections, and then deal with the crowd noises or food/drink bill that comes along with it, to do an important and time sensitive IT thing. Saving the tech world happens randomly and can be quite stressful – conditions that are not compatible with a restaurant full of screaming kids.

Fast forward several months and a few drops of my Galaxy S5, and I was in need of a replacement. At the same time, I started to look at some numbers and realized that my monthly bill was pretty substantial and wasn’t offering the value I was looking for anymore. Comparing numbers from other carriers I came to a decision: I made the switch over to T-mobile. This, like the Verizon/Jetpack plan, is turning out to have both pros and cons.

LG V20 phone and LG Tablet from T-Mobile

A new phone and a free tablet from T-Mobile

Before I jump into the pros and cons of the new plan as a mobile internet hotspot, I’ll first confirm that a) T-Mobile really IS cheaper for the same data service packages as Verizon. Notably so. Also, b) it really IS unlimited data, and not choked after a certain point – it just works from byte 0 to gigabyte whatever. Toss on top of that the deal they gave me on a much faster and bigger (storage wise) phone AND the free LG tablet they included, and I’m hard pressed to not be happy about the switch. Now, on the mobile internet side of things…

Pros: Tablet acts as the hotspot and can use 4G internet directly as well, which makes for a nice big map screen if need-be. Speed is GREAT when there’s signal, and surprisingly to many folks – there’s usually good signal! And did I mention, it’s UNLIMITED? ‘Cause it is.

Cons: Tablet needs to be charged, which isn’t to say the Jetpack didn’t need that, but it seems to not last on a full charge as long. The 4G signal is great most of the time, but in the far edges of civilization it drops out. If it drops down to 3G, it might as well be offline as well.

If you look close at the coverage map picture on the tablet below, you can see we went through the worst of the signal drop outs as we headed north from Colorado, through Wyoming and into Montana. Most of our travels for the next year or so are going to be well inside the coverage zones though so I think the availability con will become less of a thing.

LG Tablet hotspot with cellular network coverage for T-Mobile

T-Mobile network on a tablet hotspot

We’ve been using this setup for about 3 months now. So far I’m VERY happy with the switch from red to pink, and I don’t see that changing very much over time. We are no longer solely dependent on the pitiful wifi set ups of the many RV parks we visit. And though the T-Mobile wifi hotspot isn’t perfect, our chances of reliable connection have improved ten-fold. Even outside of the mobile data issue, I’m quite pleased with how much simpler my bill is and how much more value it presents each month. It really is so much more reasonable.

As of right now, it is a good bet that I’ll be on T-mobile from here forward. Future installments of this blog topic will most likely skew towards other additional technologies we’ll bring into the mix to improve upon our situation. But, I can’t see a reason I would jump to switch my cellular carrier and plans again anytime soon!

2 comments on “Internet Everywhere (Part 2)

  • My wife met “the nerd” while dog walking. Apparently being frustrated trying to watch TV on the lash up I had composted together, she dragged him back to the coach to show off “my successes”. After two minutes, he had diagnosed my problem, convinced me to go T Mobile, and told me what to buy at the store. Listen to this guy… he knows his zero’s and ones!

    • It was great meeting you guys! Sometime we’ll have to cross paths again and talk small business experiences again. I feel I have so much more to learn from you guys than you do from me. I hope you guys have more great travels that lead to more adventures too. Tell Scooter I said hey!

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