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Thread: In Praise of the Humble Hotspot (Again)

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    Post In Praise of the Humble Hotspot (Again)

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    One of the very first posts I wrote for the front page of these fine forums was about this hotspot, the Sierra Wireless (now NETGEAR?) AirCard 763S. I still have it and I'm glad that I do—when my DSL modem died last week the AirCard stepped up as my lifeline to the Internet for more than 48 hours.

    I could have used the hotspot function on my phone, of course, but the 2600 MHz LTE connection on the AirCard is a hair faster than the LTE on my Koodo-powered phone. Perhaps more importantly, I find a dedicated hotspot to be a lot more convenient—for the two days I used it I just left it running and plugged into an outlet.

    Rogers mobile Internet ain't cheap, but my old flex rate data plan is at least better than their current data packages for smartphones. $40 CAD/month gets me up to 5 GB, and I managed to get through two days using less than 3.

    On current mobile Internet plans from Rogers that same 5 GB will set you back $60/month. Even worse, you'll have to pay $10/month just to keep the line active. I currently pay $5.

    Hotspots are a dying breed, it seems. I asked someone from Huawei Canada about their sole hotspot offering—through WIND Mobile—and they confirmed that it's a market in decline. That's a shame. I'm definitely going to be hanging on to my AirCard; I don't use it very often, but when I do it's a lifesaver.
    My mobile memoirs — free ebook available here.
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    My mum and dad can't get affordable terrestrial internet service at their cabin, so each spring I start up a $10 hotspot line for them on my 'share' plan. Overage on my plan (small business) is $10/2GB which is cheaper per GB even than Rogers' hub plans, let alone their hotspot plans. Though with the benefit of hindsight, instead of buying a $200 Aircard, I would have just put an old handset into tethering mode. I was told this wouldn't work with a data-only SIM by a CSR, but I now believe that to be incorrect.
    Lumia 950 XL dual-SIM -- SIM slot 1: Rogers (small business flex data) -- SIM slot 2: Public Mobile ($120/12GB/90 day plan)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    My mum and dad can't get affordable terrestrial internet service at their cabin, so each spring I start up a $10 hotspot line for them on my 'share' plan. Overage on my plan (small business) is $10/2GB which is cheaper per GB even than Rogers' hub plans, let alone their hotspot plans. Though with the benefit of hindsight, instead of buying a $200 Aircard, I would have just put an old handset into tethering mode. I was told this wouldn't work with a data-only SIM by a CSR, but I now believe that to be incorrect.
    For Light users its cheaper then the hub plans but anything over 20GB its more expensive. (100GB is $145 or $1.45 a GB.)

    I've been very happy with my RocketHub (in all realities this is a hotspot. It even has a battery.) since they added the extra tears on the heavy user plan. I'm a long haul trucker addicted to the internet. I now don't have to watch my data usage like a hawk. Speeds are good. The wifi in the device is pretty good if I'm doing a file transfer between devices. Overall I'm glad that it exists.
    Disclaimer: Everything I say in this forum and on this website I say as a private citizen and not as an employee of any company of which I may or may not write about. Furthermore none of my postings are done on computers or networks of the the above stated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taichanie View Post
    For Light users its cheaper then the hub plans but anything over 20GB its more expensive. (100GB is $145 or $1.45 a GB.)

    I've been very happy with my RocketHub (in all realities this is a hotspot. It even has a battery.) since they added the extra tears on the heavy user plan. I'm a long haul trucker addicted to the internet. I now don't have to watch my data usage like a hawk. Speeds are good. The wifi in the device is pretty good if I'm doing a file transfer between devices. Overall I'm glad that it exists.

    I wonder how many people get up to those levels of data usage? When you start taking over 20GB, I'm thinking home Internet not mobile. Obviously a road warrior like you might be in a different situation it they consume a lot of streaming content. I'm particular to pre-download content where possible (I make sure all my mobile devices support microSD cards!) so I rarely use more than about a half GB, and often a lot less. But I'm also rarely away from WiFi, thanks in part to the war between Telus and Shaw out West to out-do each other in free public WiFi hotspots (Shaw has over 70K, and Telus is growing quickly).

    Fair enough about the higher tiers of the hub plans. I wonder if I could slap that in my dual-SIM phone if I ever wanted to use ridiculous sums of data? Or do they tie them to the hub device in some way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    I wonder how many people get up to those levels of data usage? When you start taking over 20GB, I'm thinking home Internet not mobile. Obviously a road warrior like you might be in a different situation it they consume a lot of streaming content. I'm particular to pre-download content where possible (I make sure all my mobile devices support microSD cards!) so I rarely use more than about a half GB, and often a lot less. But I'm also rarely away from WiFi, thanks in part to the war between Telus and Shaw out West to out-do each other in free public WiFi hotspots (Shaw has over 70K, and Telus is growing quickly).

    Fair enough about the higher tiers of the hub plans. I wonder if I could slap that in my dual-SIM phone if I ever wanted to use ridiculous sums of data? Or do they tie them to the hub device in some way?
    To be honest its rare myself to hit those levels. Normally its in the 10-20GB data range because I don't stay in canada normally. (Drive in the US more often then not and of course the rockethub plans aren't valid for Roam like home.) And I'm pretty sure these rocket hubs are really designed for cottages and home usage if nothing better is an option but since I have 120v in the truck I see no reason not to take advantage of it. This month is the first time I've gotten above 50GB and that was because a week long livestream event was one that I wanted to watch. Its nice not relaying on the overly crowded wifi hotspots that can be found where I can park. Or places that don't have any coverage at all. (Rest areas and scales with overnight truck parking.)

    I know rogers claims these plans only work in a rocket hub but I have no idea how true it is.

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    Interesting point about Roam Like Home. $10/2GB is probably the best rate you can get for Roam Like Home. You might be able to sweet talk someone with the small business plan into letting you activate a data-only SIM on their plan for $10/month (plus a $20 activation fee) and pay them for your usage. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    Interesting point about Roam Like Home. $10/2GB is probably the best rate you can get for Roam Like Home. You might be able to sweet talk someone with the small business plan into letting you activate a data-only SIM on their plan for $10/month (plus a $20 activation fee) and pay them for your usage. :-)
    This month i'd owe nearly 500 dollars so I'm not sure it would be worth it. I'd love to have a single solution that would work for both Canada and the US but oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taichanie View Post
    This month i'd owe nearly 500 dollars so I'm not sure it would be worth it. I'd love to have a single solution that would work for both Canada and the US but oh well.
    One single solution would be to go with Cricket, as they now have Canadian roaming included in their two top-most tier plans. As long as the majority of your usage is in the U.S. then you'd get 10GB for $55/month USD at high-speed (with auto-pay discount) on both sides of the border, with speeds being throttled after 10GB. T-Mobile offers something similar, except their offer only beats Cricket when you hit their unlimited tier, which offers unlimited voice/text/data on both sides of the border for $95/month USD. You indicated you were in the U.S. more often than not, so these options could work for you.

    What about a dual-SIM phone? You could hotspot off of that, running a Canadian hub SIM in one slot (if it works with a smartphone, and I bet it will), and a Roam Mobility or Cricket SIM in the other.

    Apologies if you've long since evaluated all these options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
    One single solution would be to go with Cricket, as they now have Canadian roaming included in their two top-most tier plans. As long as the majority of your usage is in the U.S. then you'd get 10GB for $55/month USD at high-speed (with auto-pay discount) on both sides of the border, with speeds being throttled after 10GB. T-Mobile offers something similar, except their offer only beats Cricket when you hit their unlimited tier, which offers unlimited voice/text/data on both sides of the border for $95/month USD. You indicated you were in the U.S. more often than not, so these options could work for you.

    What about a dual-SIM phone? You could hotspot off of that, running a Canadian hub SIM in one slot (if it works with a smartphone, and I bet it will), and a Roam Mobility or Cricket SIM in the other.

    Apologies if you've long since evaluated all these options.
    I'd burn 10GB so fast its not even funny. Though back when Cricket had the 20GB for 60 I had intended to grab a sim but I never was able to find a store when I had time. (Cricket is based off ATT's network so good coverage.)

    T-mobile has poor coverage so thats not really an option.
    Roam Mobility uses T-mobile's network.

    I have access to a very expensive Verizon Unlimited account which lives in my Ipad as a roaming

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    Quote Originally Posted by taichanie View Post
    I'd burn 10GB so fast its not even funny. Though back when Cricket had the 20GB for 60 I had intended to grab a sim but I never was able to find a store when I had time. (Cricket is based off ATT's network so good coverage.)

    T-mobile has poor coverage so thats not really an option.
    Roam Mobility uses T-mobile's network.

    I have access to a very expensive Verizon Unlimited account which lives in my Ipad as a roaming

    T-Mobile's coverage was crappy, but is undergoing a dramatic improvement as they roll out low-band spectrum for the first time. You'll need a handset with band 12 LTE, and preferably VoLTE, but that's becoming an easy combination to get. Might be worth experimenting with. T-Mobile has long suffered from only high-band spectrum. Now they have both in many areas and are rolling it out aggressively.

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    I have 2 hotspots.

    I keep an AT&T Elevate 4G (Netgear 754s) at my in law's cottage in Eastern Ontario. They still have a party line phone, so any internet is good out in the wilderness. On a Rogers Data Only flex plan. Some months it costs me $5 others $40 depending upon how much use it gets.

    I keep an Aircard 770 (Netgear) for personal use when in the USA. I usually get AT&T data only sim for 1 month. 5gb for $50 and it keeps the kids from arguing while I'm driving.

    You can find unlocked hotspots on ebay for about $20 now.

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