Verizon Beyond Unlimited hotspot plan

I chatted with a salesperson from Verizon Wireless and got a number of concerns addressed and questions answered. Thought some of it might be helpful here. I looked into Verizon specifically because they’re known for having the best coverage in rural areas, and I plan to spend a lot of time in the middle of nowhere.

  1. 4G/LTE speeds are somewhere from 5Mbps to 50Mbps, but usually between 5 and 12. She couldn’t answer this with a number so I had to go look it up.
  2. The Beyond Unlimited plan is truly unlimited. However, once you use > 22 GB / month, you will be deprioritized if you’re on a congested tower. When you get deprioritized, you will be stuck at 3G speeds (600Kbps). You will never be charged or disabled for extra usage, no matter how much. The 22GB limit is reduced to 15GB if you get the regular Go Unlimited plan instead of Beyond Unlimited.
  3. If the tower you’re on is not congested, you will still get the full 4G LTE speeds (or whatever your signal will carry), no matter how much you use. It is unclear how they define “congested”.
  4. If you get just the hotspot, it’s $85/mo if you enable paperless billing and auto pay. There are discounts beyond that if you also have phone(s). She quoted me $20/mo if I’m also paying for two phones.
  5. 4G/LTE hotspots are able to connect to 3G-only towers, if that’s all they can find.
  6. Hotspots support plenty of devices connected at the same time; 10 to 20 of them depending on the device types.
  7. Once you reach your 15GB or 22GB limit, only the hotspot is deprioritized; phones are not.
  8. Verizon allows signal boosters, but you are required by law to register them. Which gets tricky since you’re supposed to tell them where you’ll be using it.
  9. You can buy a “Data Boost” once a month. It will increase your limit by 5GB for $35.
  10. If you travel to Mexico or Canada, the plan is 512MB/day instead of 15-22 GB/mo. However, if more than 50% of your talk, text, or data usage in a 60-day period occurs in Canada or Mexico, they may limit or remove your service in those countries.

I also found this FAQ which frankly answers more questions than she did. Hope this helps.

Note: I am not a Verizon customer yet, but I plan to be as part of my transition into vanlife. When I do, after I’ve had enough time to evaluate it, I’ll either update this post or add a new post. Hopefully I’ll remember to link it from here.

Backup Systems

Things are going to break. Things are going to fail at the worst possible time. Therefore it’s critical to have backups for everything, especially if you’re going to be dispersed camping in the middle of nowhere.

Below is a list of things you’ll need to consider, and some options for each one. For each system, you should consider having at least two choices while you’re on the road. These are just the ideas I’ve found. Continue reading “Backup Systems”

Cell phones, Internet, and Wifi

You’re probably gonna want to stay connected. You need your phone for work, and without the Internet, most people these days would likely go insane. You may also be one of the lucky ones who get to telecommute. So let’s examine what exactly it takes to get a signal.

First off, if you’re going to be Urban Camping, then you’ll probably always have a cell signal and a variety of open Wifi access points. So this article is going to target the Dispersed Camping folks. Continue reading “Cell phones, Internet, and Wifi”

Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life

  • AllStays Camp and RV (Android | Apple)
    • Campsites (Army Corps, National/County/State/City Park, Forest, Independent, KOA,  BLM, overnight parking, Walmart (and even suggests whether they allow overnights; but check with the manager anyway))
    • Visual map with icons and icon filtering
    • GPS-aware; shows you what’s nearby but you can look around beyond that; shows your current location in relation to the things on the map
    • Look up data by type, state, city
    • Photos and reviews
    • Primitive spots that other apps don’t show
    • Truck and rest stops
    • Weather
    • Dump stations
    • Supplies
    • RV service
    • Low bridges
    • Many parts of the app work even without service

Continue reading “Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life”