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Thread: USB Dongle

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    USB Dongle

    Anyone use this for their car/android head? I know you can pay $10 for hotspot, I've been using my phone at times without issues for years now. HOwever, I did read about in 2016 and 2017 them sending out messages about hotspotting. They still up in arms about this?

    If ATT still had the mobley I would totally get it. No one else seems to have decent cost for $20/mo or less for at least 5gb of data for listening to music/maps/etc. Really sux IMO.

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    As far as (unauthorized)hot spotting with Cricket, it depends on how much you do it and to some extent, what plan you have, imo.

    When I started on unlimited 2, I hot spotted pretty much unabashedly without repercussion. A couple months later, I switched to Unlimited Max and really went crazy with data usage via hot spot. Within a couple of days, I got the dreaded message and my service was suspended. I called and was immediately reinstated.

    I'm now back on unlimited 2. I still use hot spot when needed, but very sparingly. No warnings or suspension yet past couple months.

    I think they mainly look out for renegade hot spotting on the Unlimited Max plan. It can really burn thru data compared to Unlimited 2, especially if you turn off the 480 video throttle.

    They probably don't care too much on the limited data plans.

    Anyway, do it at your own risk.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dardack View Post
    Anyone use this for their car/android head? I know you can pay $10 for hotspot, I've been using my phone at times without issues for years now. HOwever, I did read about in 2016 and 2017 them sending out messages about hotspotting. They still up in arms about this?

    If ATT still had the mobley I would totally get it. No one else seems to have decent cost for $20/mo or less for at least 5gb of data for listening to music/maps/etc. Really sux IMO.
    Does Cricket still offer the USB modem broadband? I don't see anything in their online plan offerings. Chat popped up while I was there. I asked about USB modems. They said to call some Cricket number to ask.

    Reasonably priced hotspotting is an unmet need in the current wireless services market. My impression is that the carriers don't want to sell it now since a lot of their excess capacity got gobbled up when they all started unlimited data for phones. I expect this to change with 5G.

    I got lucky and got one of the Mobleys with $20 a month unlimited data last year. I hate paying even $20 a month for service that I barely use, but when I need it I need it bad. I justify it to myself that it is ok since my phone service with Tracfone costs me about nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dardack View Post
    HOwever, I did read about in 2016 and 2017 them sending out messages about hotspotting. They still up in arms about this?
    That was one big reason (out of several) why I left for AT&T Prepaid, didn't want to deal with the sporadic hotspot crackdowns. People are doing it anyways - at least until the latest crackdown, at which point they stop for a while then resume doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Does Cricket still offer the USB modem broadband? I don't see anything in their online plan offerings. Chat popped up while I was there. I asked about USB modems. They said to call some Cricket number to ask.
    The Cricket USB modems are available on eBay and maybe Amazon, I got one for $11 or so a while back. I don't recall the AT&T iteration of Cricket ever selling them even though they're GSM/LTE modems. I'm not sure if they are officially supported since Cricket's mobile broadband policy states users can only use "compatible Cricket authorized 3G or 4G basic phones, smartphones, or tablets", no mention of modems. The modems apparently do work with Cricket and T-Mobile service; IIRC on T-Mobile they required a tablet SIM.

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    I'm also not sure I've ever heard of them cracking down on the metered plans. I think they only care if you are on unlimited since it is fairly easy to blow through cap-less data when tethered. I've been doing it for a while on a metered plan, and recently started using it in my minivan the way you describe... as a hotspot for my car's entertainment system. I actually recently built by own "carputer" out of a modified Nintendo Wii (change the UI to a custom one, and added a media player and retro gaming platform for the passengers). Among other things, we can now stream netflix to the car's entertainment system.
    For things like music/maps/etc, I used to use a freedompop SIM card since I wouldn't use that much on local commutes, but the truth is my phone does a better job than the in-dash system does, so I just use my phone in Android Auto mode. Hotspot for Netflix.
    ...my car is fun.
    Been gone a long time. Hello, HoFo- I'm BACK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishe View Post
    I'm also not sure I've ever heard of them cracking down on the metered plans. I think they only care if you are on unlimited since it is fairly easy to blow through cap-less data when tethered. I've been doing it for a while on a metered plan, and recently started using it in my minivan the way you describe... as a hotspot for my car's entertainment system. I actually recently built by own "carputer" out of a modified Nintendo Wii (change the UI to a custom one, and added a media player and retro gaming platform for the passengers). Among other things, we can now stream netflix to the car's entertainment system.
    For things like music/maps/etc, I used to use a freedompop SIM card since I wouldn't use that much on local commutes, but the truth is my phone does a better job than the in-dash system does, so I just use my phone in Android Auto mode. Hotspot for Netflix.
    ...my car is fun.
    What modem did you use before just using your phone?

    Yes I use my phone right now (i have it rooted, pixel XL). I am on Metered so figured why do they care when it's only for amazon music/espn podcast/maps/etc. I might hit 3gb if I'm doing a lot of travel, but I never get near my 5gb. I just I have this 5th line for free I got (when I got my daughter her phone for middle school last year, I just got an extra for my Son so their numbers would be within 1 digit of each other, and then got a 3rd cause free). I have it in a "home" cell phone. But it's never actually on/used. So I thought, hmm I'm putting in this entertainment system in my old car, why not have a built in WiFi instead of using my phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Does Cricket still offer the USB modem broadband? I don't see anything in their online plan offerings. Chat popped up while I was there. I asked about USB modems. They said to call some Cricket number to ask.

    Reasonably priced hotspotting is an unmet need in the current wireless services market. My impression is that the carriers don't want to sell it now since a lot of their excess capacity got gobbled up when they all started unlimited data for phones. I expect this to change with 5G.

    I got lucky and got one of the Mobleys with $20 a month unlimited data last year. I hate paying even $20 a month for service that I barely use, but when I need it I need it bad. I justify it to myself that it is ok since my phone service with Tracfone costs me about nothing.
    I don't know if they offer. Was just buying one of those Chinese ones off amazon that have the 850 B5 for LTE. I got for 35. I could if I only wanted H+/3g get one for like 22. Figured i'd try it out. Since amazon can return if doesn't work out.

    Yes I agree that there is an unmet market or the market is too much $. Like tablet plans are $10-20 for only 1GB/month. If I could pay $10 for 3-5gb I think that would be plenty for a month of streaming music/maps and such, and I think they would make money. But what do I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishe View Post
    I'm also not sure I've ever heard of them cracking down on the metered plans. I think they only care if you are on unlimited
    I'm pretty sure that a while ago (a year or two?) they did crack down on metered plans; I remember it because it would have affected me and I was on the 5GB plan back then.

    Quote Originally Posted by dardack View Post
    Yes I agree that there is an unmet market or the market is too much $. Like tablet plans are $10-20 for only 1GB/month. If I could pay $10 for 3-5gb I think that would be plenty for a month of streaming music/maps and such, and I think they would make money. But what do I know.
    It's ridiculous that Cricket doesn't even offer hotspot on their metered plans. AT&T Prepaid even offers hotspot on their 1GB plan, for Pete's sake. I switched from Cricket's 5GB plan to AT&T's 6GB (then 8GB) plan which covers 2-3GB of phone data + 5GB of hotspot usage a month, and if I don't use it all up then the data rolls over; this month, my data allocation is ~14GB for the month. Also, thanks to the death of net neutrality, AT&T video is zero-rated on AT&T Prepaid so you get unlimited non-throttled data if you stream DirecTV Now or U-verse.

    I liked Cricket when I was on it, but if I compare my lowest cost Cricket plan to my current AT&T Prepaid plan I pay less than $2/month more for AT&T Prepaid, and IMHO it's worth it for not only the extra perks but also not having to figure out if Cricket is going to suspend my account when they randomly decide to enforce their hotspot T&C.

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    The only crackdown I've ever heard about with legitimate proof was people putting their sims into hotspot devices. That being said I'm on the original unlimited plan. I tether pretty much every day and I've never heard a peep from Cricket. I don't use a huge amount of data, usually less than 20 GB a month but what data I do use is generally tethered. I have another phone on the 5 GB plan that I use to provide WiFi for a Ring camera for well over a year now and I've never heard a peep about that one either.

    So for every person who says they (Cricket) are cracking down they'll be one or two who says they don't. Who knows?

    Bottom line, until someone posts a picture of a letter or email from Cricket saying to cease and desist I'm not going to worry about it. Since I use Google Voice I don't care about these two numbers anyhow. If they cancel me all I'd lose is the grandfathered discount I have so I guess I don't really care at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornos View Post
    I'm pretty sure that a while ago (a year or two?) they did crack down on metered plans; I remember it because it would have affected me and I was on the 5GB plan back then.
    I guess I got lucky- although I wasn't using it much, it was here-and-there usage, and I'd use Freedompop's SIM whenever possible so it was probably less often than I think on Cricket (I do know at least some of the time I was using Cricket). Were those who got in trouble using it in a setup that screams "I'm tethering" (ie, a GSM modem, or stock hotspot app with provisioning)?
    I always used mine after editing the build.prop to ignore provisioning, supposedly making the traffic look the same as any other phone traffic. Obviously they could still analyze the packets and see that you are tethering if they wanted, but I was always under the impression that the services don't bother packet sniffing unless you really go overboard, which I clearly wasn't doing. I'll definitely reign in my usage if I'm asking for trouble- I didn't think it was an issue!

    I liked Cricket when I was on it, but if I compare my lowest cost Cricket plan to my current AT&T Prepaid plan I pay less than $2/month more for AT&T Prepaid, and IMHO it's worth it for not only the extra perks but also not having to figure out if Cricket is going to suspend my account when they randomly decide to enforce their hotspot T&C.
    $2 ain't bad as a difference. But I'm curious, what are you paying on AT&T that gets you that close to the lowest with Cricket? I currently have 5 lines on a grandfathered 5 for $100 plan. I didn't see any comparable AT&T prepaid options for $22 with taxes and fees included, otherwise I'd strongly consider it!

    Quote Originally Posted by dardack View Post
    What modem did you use before just using your phone?
    I considered getting a USB powered modem or hotspot at times, but I actually used an old Nexus 4 someone gave me with a half broken display. I set up the shortcuts so that I could reach the hotspot toggle on the working half of the screen, and that's literally all this piece of junk hardware was good for. It ignored carrier provisioning by default IIRC, so SIMs that usually gave me a hard time activating tethering seemed to magically work in the old Nexus phones. Also, since it was a phone, I could throw it in a backpack. My kids would play Pokemon go as we hiked around a park, with my backpack supplying the WiFi. Later I got them their own Freedompop SIMs in cheap unlocked phones to use as a way to communicate with them out of the house, so I haven't used the Nexus in a long time. Now I just use my Moto phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornos View Post
    I'm pretty sure that a while ago (a year or two?) they did crack down on metered plans; I remember it because it would have affected me and I was on the 5GB plan back then.


    It's ridiculous that Cricket doesn't even offer hotspot on their metered plans. AT&T Prepaid even offers hotspot on their 1GB plan, for Pete's sake. I switched from Cricket's 5GB plan to AT&T's 6GB (then 8GB) plan which covers 2-3GB of phone data + 5GB of hotspot usage a month, and if I don't use it all up then the data rolls over; this month, my data allocation is ~14GB for the month. Also, thanks to the death of net neutrality, AT&T video is zero-rated on AT&T Prepaid so you get unlimited non-throttled data if you stream DirecTV Now or U-verse.

    I liked Cricket when I was on it, but if I compare my lowest cost Cricket plan to my current AT&T Prepaid plan I pay less than $2/month more for AT&T Prepaid, and IMHO it's worth it for not only the extra perks but also not having to figure out if Cricket is going to suspend my account when they randomly decide to enforce their hotspot T&C.
    How many phones on that plan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishe View Post
    $2 ain't bad as a difference. But I'm curious, what are you paying on AT&T that gets you that close to the lowest with Cricket? I currently have 5 lines on a grandfathered 5 for $100 plan. I didn't see any comparable AT&T prepaid options for $22 with taxes and fees included, otherwise I'd strongly consider it!
    Quote Originally Posted by dardack View Post
    How many phones on that plan?
    I have two lines on the $50 8GB plan. Price breakdown is $50 each for 2 8GB plans = $100 minus 2 $10 autopay discounts = $80 minus $10 multi-line discount = $70, which was the same as two 5GB plans on Cricket. AT&T Prepaid now allows you to refill your account with discounted PINs, so if your balance is covered by PINs when your autopay date hits then they'll do an autopay transaction of $0.00 and not charge taxes/fees. When Target has their 10% off sale and you have a RedCard credit or debit card, you get another 5% off for a net discount of 14.5%. Net cost for my two lines comes out to $70 - $10.15 (14.5%) = $59.85 for two lines or $29.93/line per month. The best discount I got for 2 5GB lines on Cricket was $70 minus the periodic 20% off promo = $56 for two lines or $28/line per month.

    If you don't need unlimited data and the 8GB plan is enough for you, the multiline discounts at AT&T Prepaid hit $20/line at the 4 line threshold, so 5 lines on the 8GB plan are $140; subtract the 10% discount with CallingMart PINs and you're down to $126 for 5 lines or $25.20/line. They also allow multi-line plans to have up to 10 lines if you set it up as a business plan. If you max that out, 10 lines on the 8GB plan is $240; add the 10% discounted CallingMart PINs and you're down to $216 or $21.60/line. Don't know why there aren't more Cricket-like groups over there.

    On that note, one good question is why not join a Cricket group or make one? I didn't join one because there was NO WAY I'm giving up my account PIN and control to an Internet Stranger. Threats - admittedly maybe not followed through on - to hold onto group members' numbers by people who didn't want their 5 line setups screwed up didn't inspire confidence, and I didn't want to deal with managing 3 other people's accounts, collecting money, etc. BTW, AT&T Prepaid allows members of a multi-line plan to keep and manage their own PINs so you can leave/port at any time without the account manager's permission. They can also log in independently and check account activity, etc.

    To be fair, one thing that Cricket has a distinct advantage on is online account management. Doing things like plan changes aren't exactly clear on AT&T Prepaid, but OTOH you can just call Customer Service and they'll take care of it and most changes like that are one-shot deals. And, at the moment, there's no VoLTE even though they have VoLTE support pages for 1-2 of their newer phones; IOW it looks like it's coming.

    The short of it is that IMHO Cricket is tough to beat once you hit 4-5 lines and want unlimited data, but at 1-3 lines and/or without unlimited data AT&T Prepaid is definitely competitive - plus there's the factor of how much value you place on the extras there, e.g. unthrottled data with hotspot and rollover, "real" customer service at AT&T stores (basically the same CS as AT&T postpaid), downloadable call/text/data logs, zero-rated AT&T video, etc.

    I considered getting a USB powered modem or hotspot at times, but I actually used an old Nexus 4 someone gave me with a half broken display. ... Now I just use my Moto phone.
    Yes, I don't understand the "thing" for mobile hotspots, especially in a car; just use a cheap phone with hotspot. Plus, you have an emergency phone if you need one.

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