I'm looking for a cell modem/service for a laptop to be used when
traveling. It would be nice to be able to shut off the service when not
using it without huge penalties. Anyone here using such a beast.
I think the first place to start is to determine where you're
going to use it and need the service. In many cases, if the
coverage is good or even available at all in the area can be the
On 10/11/2011 9:38 AM, email@example.com wrote:
That's an excellent point, one I hadn't thought of. Thanks for
bringing it up. There are other pay-as-you-go providers who offer this
service, so the OP ought to do a little google-fu and figure out what
provider is most likely going to meet his needs.
Except that would be the worst choice for a lot of areas since it only
uses Sprints network. Sprint is a little better than tmobile but not
spectacular. And in some areas say where I live they only deployed 3G on
a few core cells and everything else is still 1X speed.
All the major carriers offer some sort of pay-as-you-go data plan.
The only problem is, the data blocks you buy are "use it or lose it."
You have X days to use the data block, depending on the size you
With pay-as-you-go cell phones you buy the minutes and they're good,
period. You can buy 60 minutes of airtime, use the phone for 5
minutes, come back a year later, and the 55 minutes are still there.
If there was a data plan like that, I'd be all over it.
On Tue, 11 Oct 2011 13:30:48 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It costs them money to carry you as a customer, so what you want isn't likely.
However, PagePlus is close. They require that you purchase minutes every
three months but all minutes roll over. They're on the Verizon network, so
the coverage is good, too. I'm four years into my two year contract on
Verizon. I may switch to PagePlus. It would save me money almost every
On 10/11/2011 4:30 PM, email@example.com wrote:
The cell operators are really competitive on minutes but they know data
is their future.
It seems a few days of pay as you go will buy a month of service.
I used to have an aircard and a smartphone. I turned the aircard off
when I got the my latest smartphone. I almost never use the notebook
anymore because I can do almost everything on the smartphone. If I do I
can tether from the smartphone and the smartphone data plan is 50% of
the aircard dataplan.
You should discuss this with your cell-phone provider.
You may be thinking of an "air card". Your cell-phone provider can supply
those. I've had one for years (currently a USB Sierra Wireless Compass
597). I "connect" and "disconnect" as desired.
Plans obviously vary by provider, but with my plan there is a $60/mo basic
charge, then it's by megabyte after that. Work pays for it, so I have no
idea what my monthly bill is. I do know that once I "disconnect", the MB
I need wireless access anywhere, and am often in areas with no Starbucks-
style "free" wireless, so my air-card is essential to my work.
If it is possible for you to be in range of the very many Starbucks-style
free wireless access-points available these days, it would probably be
advisable to just use those and not pay extra for an air-card.
Here's a tip: Go around with your laptop, anywhere you wish, and
periodically refresh the wireless-network list. You may be very surprised
to find quite a lot of wireless networks that will allow you to connect to
them, some of them completely unsecured.
Thanks for all the discussion. It led me to search out a few
possibilities. One would be to replace my present Verizon dumb-phone
with a new dumb-phone capable of tethering in the 3G world. Verizon
will allow you, in this case, to turn on and off the data plan whenever
you like, with a reasonable rate. As the phone which I now have
(Verizon), is piece of junk, this should be pretty painless. Verizon
has been bugging me to "upgrade" my phone for the past year. I'm sure
that Verizon really wants me to get a smart phone, however, with a
computer available pretty much all day negates any need to pay for a
data plan for the entire year.
The second possibility would be the Virgin Broadband pay-as-you-go plan,
as was mentioned. It too, allows you to active whenever you want within
a 12 month window. If you don't add data, which usually expires in a
month, for 1 year, they do drop you. You do have to buy a modem for
about $80. Virgin uses Sprint towers which have very good coverage
along the Interstates, but if you go slightly perpendicular, you'll be
without service. I used to have Sprint voice and it seemed very good
until we drove from the Interstate to an RV park about 1/2 mile away.
Here the service was very spotty.
Both of these are 3G and, according to their web sites, should give
between 700k to 1.4 meg downloads. Not too bad for reading emails and
going to a few sites, while traveling in the RV. Of course, most RV
parks offer wi-fi ... most of them free. The Verizon coverage seems to
be much better. I'm sure there are other options from other companies.
Thanks again for all the discussion and info.
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