Paul checks the market and enjoys an afternoon glass in the boonies

Having teased you for almost 2 months since I originally made mention of an exciting internet upgrade, I figured it was finally time to pull back the curtain and unveil the prize. Now, for those of you who’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll know we used to use a Verizon Pantech UMV190 data modem boosted by an external antenna and amp. This set-up kept us happily connected ~95% of the time in our first 2 years of RVing. Using the Verizon network was absolutely the right choice (and still is), but going under contract was absolutely not. Towards the end we were constantly hitting the 5Gb limit on the stick, and the stupid contract was keeping us “locked in” to the deal. Grrrr!This annoyed me so much it became item #6 of 10 Thing I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing. So we waited, and waited, and patiently waited until we could get rid of the darn thing and take our own advice…which happened just about 2 months ago in Eugene, OR. We’ve been testing the new service ever since and I’m happy to say it’s been working fabulously so we’re finally ready to make the big reveal!

Our solution was the Millenicom 3G/4G MiFi 20Gb HotSpot plan, boosted by our old external amp and antenna. We also upgraded our charging system with a handy 12V charger so we can use it without turning on the inverter in the boonies.

This is our step-by-step of what we wanted and why we chose what we did.

1/ We Did Not Want A Contract

Nooooo more contracts!!!

Millenicom only do month-to-month deals with no long-term contract. Once you buy the device you can stop it at any time, plus you can even suspend service and place it “on vacation” for 3 months out of any year. After 2 years of being locked in to a contract that really didn’t suit us having that flexibility was something we definitely wanted. Who knows what our internet needs will be a year from now? Who knows what the provider map will look like? When you’re on the road and rely 100% on your internet for a living having the ability to switch and change if something better comes up is priceless.

2/ We Wanted To Be On The Verizon Network

Gee…I wonder who’s network I’m on? Firing up the Millenicom 3G/4G Novatel 4620L HotSpot

If you’re travelling nomadically cross-country Verizon is by far the best coverage out there. AT&T may boast more 4G coverage and there may be certain spots other providers are better, but Verizon LTE is fast catching up and their overall coverage map is still the most superior on the market. Now Millenicom, being a reseller can’t officially tell you who they’re working with (it’s part of their deal with the providers), but you can tell which provider you’ll get based on the device. Right now, if you get their 20Gb 3G/4G Hotspot plan using the Novatel 4620L MiFi I guarantee you it will be on Verizon (their current 3G Advanced Plan with Novatel U760 stick is also on Verizon). Their other plans (e.g. unlimited) are on other providers so don’t be tempted into buying them. We had no doubt we wanted to stay with Verizon’s network, and unless you’re travelling in limited spots (where you know your coverage) I’d advise any fulltime RVer to do the same.

Note/ If you want to learn more about the differences in 4G technology check out Technomadia’s post HERE. You can also download their excellent app Coverage? and check out the provider coverage maps for yourself.

3/ We Wanted More Data

You may not think you’re a data monster…but you will be…

After 2 years of 5Gb contract we were rapidly hitting our limits and needed to expand. No matter what you might think now, if you’re fulltime RVing and using the internet for work (or even play) your data usage over time will go up. Let’s say you start streaming some music, or perhaps looking at a few videos…these are all data intensive. Also as 4G expands to more areas, data usage will increase even more. Many media websites can detect your speed and will feed you higher quality streams on faster devices, plus faster internet access encourages more browsing. As a result many folks who switch from 3G to 4G see a sudden “jump” in their usage even through they’ve not significantly changed their habits.

The Millenicom 20Gb plan quadruples our current limit and is just right for us (for now). Since we’ve switched we’ve enjoyed pretty-near unlimited internet time plus the ability to stream a few TV episodes in the boonies on Amazon Prime.

Note/ Before you say “I’ll NEVER need that much data” just think back 10 years or so in computer history. I still remember using a computer in the late 80′s with a 5Mb hard drive that was cutting edge, while these days I need a 1Tb drive just to hold all my pictures. The data monster is everywhere!

4/ We Wanted To Have Access To 4G

4G is pretty frikkin’ cool!

Most of our travel is still in “the boonies” which means most of the time we’re in regular old 3G areas, so in theory we could have stayed with a 3G plan through Millenicom. However 4G is expanding rapidly and the higher speeds are supremely attractive, plus my prediction is that it won’t be long before 3G users start to feel throttled. In many places 3G networks are over-subscribed and the providers are actively pushing to upgrade people to the bigger 4G pipelines. Late last year Verizon starting cutting speeds of their “top” 3G users with their very sneakily-named “Network Optimization” plan (AT&T annouced a similar plan) and we felt the effects of this on our old Verizon-plan 3G data stick and 3G phone. After only ~2Gb of usage our data speeds would often drop precipitously, a real problem for someone who invests for a living. So we wanted out of the bottleneck and into the new technology. If you’re starting out now and rely on the internet for a living I’d advise doing the same.

Note/ Millenicom users on 3G plans are, so far as I know, not currently throttled by the provider (the resellers are not held to the same limits as direct customers), but they’re still at the mercy of overloaded towers.

5/ We Needed To Be Able To Boost The Signal

During our 3 years of travel we’ve come to appreciate how important it is to have signal boosting capabilities for our cellular internet. Our old antenna/amp has helped us get a usable signal in many, many spots where we’d otherwise have almost nothing and our new system absolutely needed to have the same capabilities. The new Novatel 4620L was the first MiFi on the market with an antenna port and this sealed the deal. All we needed was a cheap adaptor cable and we could use all our old equipment….at least to some extent. Our existing Wilson Omni 21″ Trucker antenna is both 4G/3G compatible (700/800/1900 Mhz), but our Wilson amplifier can only handle 3G (800/1900 Mhz). What this means is that we can boost our signal anywhere we’re 3G with both antenna/amp, but can only use the antenna to boost in 4G areas.

We’ve decided, for the moment, that this is acceptable.  4G boosting is still in its early infancy. There are a few options currently out there (for example the Wilson Sleek and this 4G LTE amplifier) but lots of new amps are being developed and it won’t be long before tri-band (3G/4G) amps are out. So far this has worked out perfectly. Whenever we’ve been in 3G areas, we’ve used our old boosting system extensively but in the rare 4G areas we’ve been we’ve (so far) not found the need to boost. At some point we will buy a new amplifier, but we’ve decided to wait until the technology matures before we invest in one.

Our new upgraded Internet system

Note/ We use this particular set-up because we wanted to repurpose our old antenna/amp, but if you’re creating a new system from scratch you’ll want to look at all the antenna/amp combos on the market. I still like the Wilson Omni antenna, but would likely wait for another amp if we were starting over. Also there are really good directional antennas, wireless amps and other options to boost your system. Check out Jack Mayer’s page for details.

6/ We Wanted Battery Capability & Easy 12V Charging

We’re very happy with our new Rocketfish charger

Our last 2 months on the road we’ve not had any hookups and one of the things we’ve really come to love about our new MiFi is its battery capability. We can run the MiFi for ~4 hours without a charge, and when we DO need to recharge all we need is a USB cable. We recently bought an iPad Rocketfish™ Premium Charger with built-in USB port that pretty much does it all. It fits into the 12V socket in our dash and can now charge our iPad and MiFi at the same time without the need to turn on our inverter. The USB port also can be used to charge our mobile phone too. Coool! For those wanting even more battery power there’s an extended battery you can get for the MiFi which will give you even more boonie-power.

7/ We Needed Support For Several Devices

Our tech paraphernalia currently includes 2 laptops, an iPad and a smartphone. The Novatel 4620L MiFi support up to 10 devices -> more than enough for our needs, even if we expand.

8/ We Wanted It ALL For The Same Price!

Apart from being locked into a contract, one of the things that really bothered us with Verizon was their pricing system. We originally had 3 Verizon devices (USB stick, iPad and phone) on 3 separate plans and they were using ~8-10Gb of data a month combined. We looked at moving onto a “Share Everything” plan, but that would only save us ~$10 with no upside in data allowance and the potential for alot more $$ if our data usage increased over the next 2 years (a practical given!). By getting rid of our old Verizon 5Gb/mo USB data stick and switching to the 20Gb/mo Millenicom plan we got rid of a contract and quadrupled our data allowance for the same price as our old plan. Deal!! The other nice thing about Millenicom is that the price you see is the exactly price you get. There are no “hidden” telecom, state or other weird charges. So our bill is exactly $69.99 every month. Neat!

Note/ If you’re a small data-user, but make alot of phone calls the “Share Everything” plan might still make sense for you, especially since it gives you unlimited phone minutes. For us data usage faaar exceeds our phone minutes (I use Skype for all my family calls to Europe) so getting the most out of our data plan was way more important.

The MiFi gave us usable internet even out here

We’ve been testing the MiFi for the past 2 months and have been perfectly happy with the performance. We looove the battery capability, looove the small size (you can stick it in your pocket and take it into town if you want), loove the speed (3G speeds are exactly equivalent to our old device, and 4G is smoking!) and looove the ease of use. The only possible negatives I could give is that the antenna port is tiny and gives a very “loose” connection (there’s no “snap” when you plug-in the antenna and the cable will sometimes fall out on its own), plus the blinking light on the MiFi is rather too bright. This is annoying, but it’s a minor inconvenience and has not so far dampened our appreciation of the new device. We’ll probably add more upgrades down the line (new 3G/4G amp when they’re out, possibly a flag pole extender for the antenna and perhaps a WiFi Ranger), but these will come as we need them.

That’s it folks. If you want to read more about internet connectivity and other boosting options on the market I highly recommend Jack Mayer’s RV communication page HERE.

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120 Responses to Internet Connectivity On The Road -> Our New Rockin’ No-Contract 4G Upgrade!

  1. Great info… thanks so much!!! I don’t understand why or how Verizon would let a “reseller” undercut them, but if they do… I game.
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. Ingrid says:

    Thank you…..great info. Checking my Verizon contract date…hate those contracts!

  3. Cherie - @Technomadia says:

    Excellent overview of the Millenicom advantage :) We’ve been fans for a long time.

    We are also way overdue on posting about our latest and greatest connectivity gadgets since we went 4G over the summer (I’ve been poking Chris for weeks now to get it done.. maybe your post will finally do the trick??). Thanks for the link love too, much appreciated.

    We’re also using the Verizon plan from Millenicom and love it, as well as the Wilson 4G Sleek booster.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, tell that man I’m waiting for his update too!! It was actually thanks to you guys we finally made the jump to the 4620L…your updates on Facebook finally got us to pull the trigger.
      Nina

  4. spurandgair says:

    Nina, your timing on this post is awesome for us. We ordered a coach and are desinging the communication system right now. We had seen the Millenicom connect approach, but thought it was too good to be true and had to have a catch. So we were thinking Verizon Share Everything… not anymore. We are planning a Wifi Ranger and will also do a wireless cellular antenna/amp system like you all have. Do you have a phone that is on a voice/text service other than the Millenicom (data) plan? Thanks a bunch!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi there,

      Millenicom is used by alot of savvy fulltime RVers. I actually got the idea from several another fulltime couples and wish we’d known about it earlier. Lots and lots of satisfied customers out there, so you won’t be dissapointed.

      As for our antenna/amp I should point out that we currently have a wired/direct-connect setup which means we *only* boost the WiFi (we don’t boost cellphone signal). You can certainly get wireless antenna/amps, but we haven’t gone that route. Jack Mayer’s page is a good place to check out all the current technology on wireless boosting.

      And for our cellphone we’re still on a Verizon contract there. Millenicom doesn’t offer anything for voice (they only do data). My phone is grandfathered into the old unlimited dataplan and I like to stream movies on it, so we’re sticking w/ Verizon on that one until we get throttled out. You can buy cellphones from resellers that run on the Verizon network (for example Walmart’s straight talk program has several phones that run on Verizon). If we ever decide to switch that’s probably the route we’ll take.

      Hope that helps!

      Nina

  5. Chuck says:

    Geri is ‘grandmothered’ in on an old AllTel contract that Verizon bought out. As at the time, she was a Florida resident, somehow she (now we) get our unlimited Mifi for $49.95. Every time we go into up grade phones/wifi to mifi, the dealers (not Verizon employess) tell us to never change your #s or upgrade your contract as we have a plan that is no longer offered(unlimited phone & wifi) and if we change it, bye bye good $! Now if they’d just get rid of all those taxes and fees and misc charges……. Great post !!!!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Niiiiice! Being grandfathered into an unlimited dataplan is definitely something you want to hang onto. Precious stuff!
      Nina

  6. Rusty & Kelly Glen says:

    Hi Guys
    Thanks this info is perfectly timed, ive been stewing over internet options as we are about to hit the road and we needed to sort what we were best to use.
    Our first tour will be around 3-4 weeks as we head back from vegas with the RV via old 66 en route to MO.
    So can I jsut rock up to a virizon store and get the MiFi you have and get on that deal ?
    Cheers
    Rusty

    • libertatemamo says:

      Rusty,
      No, you can’t get this particular deal from Verizon. They do offer the same MiFi, but their plan is a two-year contract, it’s less data and it’s more expensive. If you want the 20Gb Millenicom deal you have to order it through Millenicom. Just follow the links in the post.
      Nina

  7. Jerry B. says:

    Where do you keep your Wilson trucker normally mounted? I don’t want to drill the roof, so I have it on a home made pvc pipe that I bungee to the mirror but I don’t like running the cord thru the door or window. Not a problem if you’re anchored for several days but a bother when moving around a lot. I have a small Wilson antenna that I usually use, if needed, stuck to the front of the MH but it doesn’t pull in like the trucker. Thanks for the great article, I had to sign up for another 2 yrs so I could get my new S3 toy.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We kinda move it around. Sometimes we have it just sitting inside in the front window, sometimes we’ll go on the roof, strap it to the antenna & run the cord thro’ the window, sometimes we strap it to the back ladder. It all depends where we are and how the signal is. We haven’t found a “permanent” spot for it yet. Our goal is eventually to get an extendable pole for the back ladder and mount it permanently on that. That way we can automatically extend it above the RV roof everytime we use it.
      Always lots of projects on the wish-list!
      Nina

  8. Sherry says:

    Thanks so much for this. I love everything you blog about that adds to the possibilities of boon docking in the middle of nowhere.

  9. Mark Gehring says:

    Seems like there may be a few potential problems with this, but I’m sure you’ve already thought of these:
    1. Since you are month-to-month, they can raise the rates on you any time – lack of a contract is a two way street
    2. Since they don’t guarantee you are on Verizon, they can also change carriers any time too.

    • libertatemamo says:

      #1 is a potential possibility, #2 is not really. Millenicom have alot of customers and a really good reputation. I suppose they could raise rates, but it hasn’t happened so far (they’ve actually gone down over the past years). As for #2 unless they switch devices they have to stick w/ Verizon. The 4620L only works on the Verizon LTE network (since Verizon uses it’s own special 4G frequency band, different from the other suppliers). Either way, given it’s month-to-month I can always just ditch them and go with someone else!
      Nina

  10. Mark Gehring says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Being a radio designer, it seems unlikely that the booster amp is specific to the 3G technology. Have you actually tried the amp in an area that has 4G, and verified that it won’t work? Sometimes these things are marketing hype, like “HD antennas” when HDTV came along. An antenna is an antenna – there is nothing special about so-called HD antennas. I can imagine a radio architecture that would “lock you in” to 3G, but it would be expense and I think unnecessary, but I am not an expert on cellular data repeaters like this. I would expect it to be a few RF filters and some broad band amps, and that’s it. So, whether its 3G or 4G should not matter, since they are all in the same band. But, I am the first to admit I may be missing something subtle. Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

    • libertatemamo says:

      3G and 4G are different bands. Our 3G amplifier only works with 800mhz/1900mhz bands. Verizon 4G LTE runs on 700mhz. So, you need an amp that can handle those bands. Our antenna, on the other hand is versitile and will handle all 3 bands. Like you said, nothing special about antenna design and the different bands don’t bother it.
      Nina

      • libertatemamo says:

        I should add that amplifier technology is a little more specific than antenna technology (which is really just a “dumb” static design). The cellphone amps carry both data & voice so they need to provide a clean signal (remove noise) & amplify the signal both coming and going back to the tower (be bi-directional). If the amp doesn’t clean-up the signal you’ll get dropped data & the like. So, there’s a little more to it than simple radio amplification. Hope that helps explain it :)
        Nina

  11. Mark says:

    We switched our Verizon 3G unlimited mifi to the new Verizon 4G LTE mifi last March when Verizon called us and offered the new 4G service with 20 GB of data monthly for same amount of $62.10/month. We can put it on vacation stops for up to six months a year while we are back in Canada and pay nothing while on vacation stops. Verizon simply adds the time on vacation stops to the end of our 2 year contract. They even included a glass antenna which helps boost our signal somewhat. Still looking at adding an amplifier though. So far the 4G mifi has performed flawlessly. We’ve also decided to not renew our satellite Internet contract as it just does not offer the same value for money as what we currently have with Verizon.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow, you guys got a sweet deal with that upgrade! I guess Verizon needed a good pull to get you off that 3G unlimited plan. Nothing like that on offer from Verizon these days and can’t imagine other folks would be able to get that same deal unless they were grandfathered into an old unlimited plan. Better hang onto it!
      Nina

  12. Rowanova says:

    Great article, thanks.
    1. I was thinking of looking into satelite internet solutions for boondocking, but it seems you wouldn’t agree with that method. What would b e the reasons?.
    2. When using the MiFi unit, is it password protected against unauthorized users
    .

    • libertatemamo says:

      Regarding satellite we explained most of our reasons in this post. Basically it’s the upfront expense and latency issues. We simply prefer the lower cost and flexibility of the cellphone carriers.
      As for #2, yes you can set password protection.
      Nina

      • Rowanova says:

        Thanks for the informative reply. I followed the link to your previous post about the satelite internet solution, and was WOWed! at the price as you were too. Makes the Millenicom solution all the more appealing. I still would havesome concerns about service availability in remote boondocking locations I easily find places that are miles and miles away from any cellular signal at all. I guess it comes down to economics and convenience choices. hanksfor the info.
        An FYI to some other posters here: you are NOT locked into those 2 year contracts. You can get out by paying the early termination fee. Do the math to determine the costs vs. the savings, while bearing in mind the added amount of bandwidth you will be receiving. I suspect you may be pleasantly surprised.

  13. Janna says:

    We’ve been Millenicom users for almost two years and have been perfectly satisfied. We also totally left Verizon and their contracts behind by going to a Wal Mart Straight Talk phone. We are not phone talkers and find Straight Talk’s plan with 1000 nationwide talk minutes, 1000 text messages and 30mb of data for $30 per month fits our needs perfectly. Great post Nina.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, Straight Talk is a pretty compelling deal and will be what we choose if we ever get rid of our Verizon phone. Many of the Straight Talk phones run on the Verizon network…just make sure you chose a phone model that does.
      Nina

      EDIT UPDATE/ There are some limitations to the Straight Talk Plan which users should be aware of before they make the switch. First you have to chose from the selection of phones that Walmart provides, plus you will be limited to the Verizon Prepaid Coverage Map (link HERE). ST phones cannot access 4G or the extended network (i.e. no roaming).

  14. Allison says:

    Timing is everything. We just went with a new Verizon contract in August, so we’re in thrall to the evil empire for the next little while. Thank you for explaining why our usage jumped so much, I had no idea that the data sender would tailor what they’re pushing to our network speed.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, the “jump” in data usage going from 3G to 4G surprises alot of people. As websites get more media-savvy 4G users will see even more increases. Sorry you got sucked into a contract. It’s not so bad if you don’t use alot of data like we do :)
      Nina

  15. JC Lewis says:

    Great post; but what do you do for cell phone service? I presume it’s one of Verizon’s non-internet plans; Please elaborate.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ve got a cellphone w/ Verizon that has a grandfathered unlimited dataplan on it so we’ve stuck with that. I like to stream movies over the phone when we’re in the boonies, so the unlimited dataplan comes in handy there. If we didn’t have that plan already locked-in we’d either just go straight cellphone (no dataplan) and use the MiFi for data, or look at one of the resellers (like Straight Talk).
      Nina

      • Rowanova says:

        Does Straight Talk allow a customer to bring in their own phone(BYOD) and signup for service? To my knowledge they don’t sell the iPhone, which I currently have. If I buy a new, unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple and go to Straight Talk with it, they should be able to sign me up. Does anybody know if they allow this?

        • libertatemamo says:

          Haven’t done it myself, but a quick google on the interenet looks like it’s possible. The iPhone 5 uses nano-SIMs so there’s some cutting involved, and a few of the sites I looked at say you lose visual voicemail feature, but it seems most everything else works.
          Have a look at this:
          http://www.duglin.net/2012/09/how-to-use-straight-talk-with-iphone-5.html
          I’m thinking that if you do this you’ll end up on the AT&T network (*not* Verizon) since that’s GSM-based & uses SIM cards.
          Nina

  16. Upriverdavid says:

    Thanks Nina…I needed this info..and the step-by-step picture with arrows…I find it hard to understand all these new-fangled items..
    David

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy it’s helpful. We have a very simple set-up (compared to others) and like to keep it that way. As long as it works, we’re happy RVers!
      Nina

  17. jil mohr says:

    perfect timing….and right on…have been looking at Millenicom for awhile now…just need to wait for my contract to end..then I an do the math…

    • libertatemamo says:

      They’re a great outfit. I couldn’t *wait* for our contract to end. The last couple of months on the old 5Gb plan were painful to say the least!
      Nina

  18. Len Schattler says:

    Nina…we’ve been on the Verizon 3G unlimited data plan since 2007, and have been reluctant to give it up. Recently, we’ve noticed that regardless of where we are, we get frequent slowdowns, even when signal strength is 4 bars, and while using our Wilson Omni antenna and Wilson Sleek amp. I suspect throttling as the culprit, but have been unable to justify switching to Verizon’s 4G LTE plan with limited data and a contract. Millenicom seems to offer an alternative, which I will definitely check into. I may drop our pay-as-you-go Verizon cellphone plan for Straight Talk too. Thanks for this very informative post!

    Len Schattler

    • libertatemamo says:

      Len,

      Yup we were seeing the exact same slowdowns on our old 3G plan and I’m pretty sure it’s throttling. Since you already have an unlimited plan and Verizon are really trying to push upgrades you may want to negotiate and see if Verizon will grandfather you into an unlimited 4G plan provided you buy your own device? Or ask if they can give you a deal like Mark got above? It’s always worth a try.

      If you decide to go Straight Talk make sure you spend some time researching the phones. Walmart resells for several providers (I think they partner with AT&T, T-Mobile Sprint & Verizon). The model name will help you narrow down which phone goes on Verizon. Best place to check is online (e.g. on the mobile forums like HERE). That will give you the latest low-down.

      Nina

  19. Nina… Thanks for sharing all this great info. This will be a great help as we work to “upgrade” our connectivity.

  20. Melissa R. says:

    Hi Nina,
    We are new to your blog and love it! We just bought our rig and will be living in it full time by the end of the month. We will not be traveling much until we can retire (anywhere from 3 months to maybe 2 years if we have to). I’ve been very interested in this issue so…great timing. We shouldn’t have to worry about signal strength for a while yet. I also do not want to get locked into a contract. It seems very reasonably priced as well.

    Thanks Nina and all the other great comments from others sharing their experiences.

    Melissa

    • libertatemamo says:

      Congrats on the upcoming fulltiming! Glad the post was helpful and lovely to have you along for the ride on the blog.
      Nina

  21. Carol says:

    Thanks for the update on the internet. We’ve been thinking about switching to Millenicom. We currently have a Sprint Hotspot. I foolishly gave up my unlimited data plan with Sprint to switch to the hotspot last February. Now I’m trying to figure the most cost effective way to get out of my contract since I haven’t been able to connect since May! We also have the same antenna and amp so it’s good to know it will work with the MiFi from Millenicom!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Soooo sorry to hear about your Sprint issues. They’ve got a pretty weak coverage map, so as soon as you’re out of the main cities it’s hard to get connection. Hope you get it all worked out!
      Nina

  22. Caroline says:

    Very good information! I still have my Droid X with unlimited data and use the Foxfi app to connect our laptops to the internet. This is a great app and works well for me everywhere I have tried it. Can you add any great apps you have found since your “going to the dark side with a Smartphone” post in 2011?

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ve used FoxFi on occasion too (great app!), but if you use it on a phone with an unlimited dataplan (without paying the extra $$ for the hotspot feature) it’s a breach of contract and you risk loosing your plan if Verizon finds out. Not likely to happen if your usage is light, but if you’re consistently above the range it could possibly get detected. We use a good deal of data and just couldn’t risk this as our only internet support which is why we decided on the MiFi.
      As for other apps, we like sanidumps, google sky, weatherbug (best weather app EVER!), irv2 app (forums).
      Nina

  23. Caroline says:

    I was under the impression that if the app was on the phone it was OK to use. They can cancel me if they want but they have a cash cow in us. Never use half our 700 minutes and the most data I have ever used was under .5GB for a month. I pay them $124 on time every month and have been paying them for 11 years. Straight Talk is who I would go with if I was choosing a new carrier today.

    • libertatemamo says:

      According to the TOS (Terms Of Service) you can only officially use it with “shared” plans. If you have an unlimited dataplan you’re supposed to pay an extra monthly fee to turn on the feature (and then your hotspot data is limited).

      From the Verizon site:
      “You may use Mobile Hotspot or any other Wi-Fi hotspot or tethering service to use your smartphone or basic phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot or to tether it to your computer or tablet. If you subscribe to a data plan or package with an unlimited data allowance, there is an additional monthly fee to do so.”
      http://youreguide.vzw.com/legal-customer-agreement/

      Like I said it’s not likely to be an issue if you’re using a small amount of data, and 0.5Gb/mo is definitely a small ammount! If we used this as our internet solution we’d be hogging more like 8-10Gb/mo and be raising all kinds of red flags :)
      Nina

  24. Caroline says:

    Good to know, thanks for the information. Still have fond memories of our visit to see you while you were in McKinney Falls in Austin.

  25. John says:

    Nice tidbit about the trucker antenna! I’d inquired with a vendor who was sure it wouldn’t work on Verizon 4G. :-( We’ve had the 4620 with Millenicom for three months now (love it!) and the Wilson Sleek just showed up today.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, antenna designs are really pretty “dumb”. They can accept many frequencies without a problem, so you can use them for all the 3G & 4G services. Seems to be lots of good reviews out there on the Wilson Sleek…I think you’ll like it!
      Nina

  26. Ethan says:

    Just got around to reading this one today. Thanks. I have been looking into Millenicom but wanted a good review prior to pulling the trigger. I also appreciate the link to your antenna and amp posting from 2010.
    You sound as if you are making do, however, with your old setup. If you didn’t have the current antenna and amp have you looked into what you would get? This part of the equation still has me researching.
    Thanks again and have an awesome day!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well like I wrote above there’s not a ton of options for boosting 4G at the moment, so our 3G set-up is working fine. Many people just buying the MiFi now are looking at the Wilson Sleek so that’s probably the device I’d advise if you were just starting out. In our case we’re sticking w/ our Wilson Trucker Antenna (still like it) and will wait & see what kind of tri-band amps come out on the market in next 6 months.
      Nina

      • Ethan says:

        Thanks. I did reread your post to read about your findings in the amp setup. That’s what I get for trying to read late at night. I’m a morning person. That being said, I ordered the Millenicom MiFi and will see how it goes. Thanks again for your review and impression.

  27. Dale says:

    I’m going to make that same upgrade in a month or so. I broke my old sprint modem last month on my grandfathered sprint account. I’m good at fixing arcane broken rubbish, so I fixed it (sorta), but the modem currently looks like something Rube Goldberg would build if he hung out with Timothy Leary for a month; so, I’m going to switch to the plan you mentioned soon. I’m not signing another two year contract for a network that seems to be getting more and more substandard (regardless of the grandfathered account – which it looks like I’d loose anyway with the new contract and modem), So Millenicom here I come.

  28. Erin says:

    We’ve been on the Millenicom/Verizon airstick plan (20GB) for nearly two years and just ordered the 4620L — our set up is similar to yours, so your glowing review was great to read.

    To M/Gehring’s comment re: price increase. I suppose it’s possible; but it didn’t happen for our previous plan, so we’re keeping fingers crossed the pricing for this plan will remain equally stable.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s always nice to hear from satisfied Millenicom users. I’ve met so many fulltimers who’ve used them and they’ve all had glowing reviews. Glad you’re making the upgrade to the 4620L. It’s really a very neat MiFi.
      Nina

  29. We have the exact same set-up; Verizon 4G Jetpack, Wilson antenna/booster, but still on the Verizon 5 GB plan ($50). Sounds like you’re paying $19.99 more per month for a lot more data. Thanks, will look into Millenicom when our contract expires. Lynda

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, it’s exactly the same set-up. The MiFi we have is a genuine Verizon MiFi (Millenicom simply put a sticker over the “Verizon” name), so there is no difference between what we have and what you’d get directly from Verizon…except for the price & data limits.

      The only feature I don’t have on our MiFi is the ability to check our data usage online. This is one feature you get through Verizon direct that you don’t get through Millenicom. You can e-mail Millenicom and they will get back to you within the day with your usage, but you can’t just go and check yourself online. This hasn’t been an issue for us so far (with 20Gb of data we’ve got plenty of capacity, plus the Millenicom limits are “soft” limits so that if you DO go over they don’t charge you more or cut you off), but I know it bothers some folks. Millenicom tell us they’re working on getting on-line usage for their customers so perhaps in a few months this will become availible.

      Nina

  30. Rowanova says:

    Wow, Nina! With the incredible response you’ve garnered with this posting and all of you great followups/replies, have you considered another category near “About Us” and “Boondocking”, for RV Tech? Or maybe call it “Fulltimers Tech”? And write a post each week or every two weeks? I think many of us would love it, as gauged by the response here. Good work, and continued health and happiness.

    • ostslibertatemamo says:

      Well these posts take alot of doing, so I only really update whenever we have a significant tech piece to add. But I can probably re-organize my old posts somewhat so they’re easier to find. Always lots of ideas and too little time. We’ll see :)
      Nina

  31. amanda says:

    We are new to your blog and sure appreciate all the time you put into it. Especially timely is this topic as we’ve been contemplating switching to Verizon for some time now. We’ve been on a grandfathered unlimited Sprint 3G for quite a few years but as you know, the Sprint network is not good at all compared to Verizon. We will definitely be looking into the Millenicom option. We did have questions about going the Millenicom route but you’ve answered just about every question we’ve had in the “Comments” banter here on this thread. Millenicom sounds like a no-brainer …almost too good to be true.

    One question that we do have not about Millenicom but with the Walmart ST plans is that even though some of their phones run on the Verizon network, which Verizon network will it be on? Verizon has their regular native network which their contracted services uses and lets their contracted users roam for free in areas of significant population. However, on their own prepaid plans, they do not allow for that free roaming and charge extra for roaming in those areas. Would you by any chance know if the Straight Talk plans that use Verizon use their prepaid network or their fully-covered network that includes free roaming? The reason it makes a difference to us is that a large area of western Arizona is not in their native network and Verizon prepaid coverage charges roaming for towns like Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, etc. where we spend quite a bit of time. Their contracted service allows you to roam in this area for no charge. Would you happen to know the answer to this off the top of your head or if not, can you recommend a good forum to find which coverage it would be? We’d assume that the Straight Talk plans that use Verizon would not work for us as we may not be able to use the phones when in Lake Havasu or Bullhead City if they go strictly with the Verizon prepaid coverage map.

    Thanks, Nina, and we will be following your blog now that we have found it. Keep up the good work!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Good questions Amanda!

      Having read around on some of the forums it looks like the Straight Talk phones will ONLY run on native Verizon 3G network. So, 4G and their extended network is not covered (i.e. ST doesn’t do roaming). From what I gather the Verizon Prepaid Map is the best way to see coverage for Straight Talk phones. There’s a thread on Howard Forums (the best forum for all thing mobile) that talks about it in more detail HERE. With Straight Talk you are also limited to the selection of phones that Walmart sells (you can’t bring your own device if you want Verizon coverage) & you can’t make international calls (if that’s important to you). So, definitely some limitations to consider for those looking at the ST plans.

      Now interestingly enough several forums mention Page Plus as another third party reseller who run on the Verizon Network. Seems these guys have a little more flexibility than Straight Talk. Again coverage is the same as the Verizon 3G prepaid network, but apparently Page Plus allows access to roaming areas (extended network) for an extra cost plus you can bring your own device & make international calls. Haven’t looked at their plans in detail so can’t comment more, but wanted to throw it out there as another possibility.

      Everything is a compromise in some way :)

      Nina

  32. amanda says:

    Thanks for your comments, Nina. After doing some research on prepaid plans, I’ve come to the conclusion that roaming is not included in any plan prepaid plan offered by either 1) going directly to one of the major carriers for service, or 2) going with a MVNO or a third party reseller.

    Some MVNOs will accommodate roaming for a fee and some will not let you roam at all. Some major carriers will allow for roaming for a fee and some won’t let you roam at all.

    For example, Verizon’s pre-paid plans allow for domestic roaming at 20¢ a minute. Sprint’s Boost Mobile apparently won’t let you roam at all and forces you to use the Sprint native network only (which is horrible). Page Plus charges 20¢/minute for domestic roaming (while going out of Verizon’s native network) while Virgin mobile doesn’t allow roaming at all (if venturing out of Sprint’s native network).

    Having stated all this, I still don’t know for sure whether Straight Talk handsets using Verizon will allow for roaming or not and if they do, it’s almost certain that they will charge for it (most likely, the same 20¢/minute that Verizon charges).

    Conclusion: for an RVer, it’s probably best not to chose a prepaid plan (either direct from the major carriers or a MVNO), as you will be forced to only use the native network of one of the major carriers and if roaming is allowed, you will be charged for it. Being in various areas of the country, an RVer may find themselves forced to either pay roaming charges or have no service at all in some areas. Therefore, it’s best to probably use contracted service; namely Verizon’s as it appears to have the best coverage in the nation and will allow free roaming when out of their native coverage. This is important to many RVers as they won’t always know where they will be and may likely find themselves out of the coverage area of a prepaid plan. We will probably opt for Verizon’s contracted voice service because of this.

    Millenicom is definitely the way to go for data service, however. Thanks again for sharing information both about Millenicom and your setup!!

  33. RVwanderer says:

    Thanks for all of the info. So if you were going to buy a booster now, what would you buy? We have the Verizon Mifi and the trucker antenna, but no booster, and in our current situation, we could use one. What do you suggest?

    • libertatemamo says:

      Tough question. If it were me right now I’d probably wait until more amps come out on the market. At the moment you can only buy a wired/direct-connect amp that *either* boosts 3G *or* 4G, but not both. If I were to recommend a 3G only amp I’d go for the Cyfre (see Jack Mayer’s page that I linked to above). For 4G I think there’s only one wired amp on the market at the moment.
      OR/ You could ditch the entire wire amp idea and go for a Wilson Sleek. That’s what most folks are currently using to boost their MiFi.
      Nina

  34. We are feeling the pain. We still have a year with our Verizon contract. With your wealth of information here we feel we have enough to go with for our next purchase. Our Verizon MiFI needs to be thrown in the ocean and not to be retrieve. We had been off the grid for several days now and luckily my only peeve is delayed postings and no real business to worry about. But thanks to your detailed information Steve is seriously looking at it.

  35. Michelle says:

    Great blog and great post about the ever evolving internet connectivity world!
    We just started our full-time/boondocking/RV/biking adventure and while we’re working through all the things one must learn along the way, we’re confident that it will all work out just fine!
    We’ve been fortunate enough to have a Verizon Mifi card with an unlimited data plan for many years, and are not quite ready to give it up. Despite the fact that we gobble up more than 50Gb of data each month, we haven’t felt throttled by Verizon at any point. But then again, we have been living in rural areas for the past few years that never gave us access to full-speed connections anyway. (Always “happy” when we see 1.5mb speed.)
    Recently I just added a tether.com subscription to our internet access quiver, which provides a 4g AT&T connection to my laptop when the verizon Mifi isn’t cooperating. It works pretty well when in a good area (most of the time), cost is $30/year, and is a good supplement to our needs.
    However – here we sit 10 miles outside of Moab (beautiful – by the way) with a very quirky miff connection, no 4g access for the tether alternative and are getting 1.5mb one minute, .05 the next minute and then sometimes nothing at all.
    Hoping for some advice on what we “should” do to improve our connection and get the most out of what we currently have.
    Since Millenicom runs on Verizon, I don’t know if we’ll get any faster speeds than what we’re getting at the moment, given our location. (The mifi app I use on my iPhone that tracks my mifi connection says we have 1x out here.) I can’t upgrade my card (Mifi2200) with verizon (without losing my grandfathered unlimited account) which I think is generally too valuable to give up at this point in time.
    I was wondering if you (or any other tech nomadic types out there) are aware of any antenna that would increase signal without requiring a plug-in adapter. Preferably something that would boost the signal so that both the Verizon mifi and the AT&T iPhones & iPad would have a better connection for voice &/or data.
    I’ve architected a few extended range networks for clients in the past, but it was a while back, and although I’ve heard a little about signal “boosters” on the market, I am hoping someone might have some real-world experience with what we’re trying to accomplish.
    ~ Michelle & Lance

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…an unlimited Verizon Mifi…that’s definitely precious equipment and rare stuff these days. Regarding your question on boosting.

      I guess the obvious thing is first of all you can only boost what’s already there. If you’re in an area with over-loaded towers or zero signal at all, a booster is not going to help you much. There’s got to be *something* there to begin with for the boost to help. However boosting can really help in areas w/ marginal signal where you just need it to be a bit more stable or solid. I’m not sure what options are availible on the MiFi2200. Does it have an external antenna port? If so you can buy a wired amplifier and antenna that plug into the port (like the diagram to our system I linked above). If it doesn’t have a port there are inductive “patch” antennas available, as well a cradles and wireless amps. Have a look at Jack Mayer’s page. Also you can call a good store like 3G Store and simply ask them what’s availible for your particular MiFi. They have a really great staff and will advise you over the phone….always been happy w/ their support.

      Hope that helps.

      NIna

      • Michelle says:

        I never thanked you for your input… Thank you!

        We’ve been in Boulder City, NV for a while and definitely have a better connection with the Mifi Card. However – I’m seriously considering adding the Milenicom to 1) give it a try, and 2) see if it makes sense to add a better option for actually getting work done.

        My question is…
        I’ve read on a couple of blogs to go with the 20gb account instead of the Unlimited account. Can’t find the post that says why, so I thought I’d ask you directly for your thoughts on the subject.

        Back to the question: Would you recommend the Milenicom 20gb account or Unlimited account and why?

        One last thing – we’re heading to Phoenix for a couple of days. Any tips on camping around Apache Junction? :-)

        Love all your posts!

        Michelle

        • libertatemamo says:

          The 20 Gb plan is the one that runs on the Verizon network. The unlimited plan runs on Sprint which has much poorer coverage. So you’ll want the 20 Gb plan.
          Nina

      • Michelle says:

        Found the answer to my question and figured I would share it here anyway just in case I’ve confused others along the way…

        “Use some caution when ordering. We don’t have Millenicom but I’ve been considering switching so I’ve done a little research. Everyone seems very happy with their service but most use the Verizon network. Service with Sprint is truly unlimited but Sprint’s service area is small compared to Verizon which is fine if you’ll be spending most of your time stationary. If you travel you may run into problems. Check out this article. It’s kind of long but has lots of information – http://www.technomadia.com/2012/11/life-in-the-fast-lane-4g-will-make-you-lose-your-mind/

        • libertatemamo says:

          I did also mention the same thing in my post above (item #2), but thanks for sharing anyway.
          Nina

  36. Florida RV Guy says:

    Thanks for the advice. We have many customers coming through Florida Outdoors RV center in Stuart, Florida and I think this could be some useful information. I found it personally useful as I’m looking to possibly upgrade to something since my girlfriend needs internet all the time. :) Thanks for the insight and help.

  37. Deek says:

    Hi, Nina. Three questionsn arising from this thread: (1) I have AT & T iPhone 5 with unlimited data plan which I probably don’t want to give up now. But we want good internet coverage in the RV when we travel and not have to rely on the vicissitudes of RV parks and/or other hot spots. The phone is NOT linked to the Millenicom as I understand it, so whichever carrier you have now is of no consequence as far as Millenicom would be concerned — am I correct or am I missing something on that? (2) If Millenicom 3G/4G Hotspot service is purchased with the 4620L, are there any other items that are really necessary for good internet service for laptops and other devices — e.g., exterior antenna and amplifier — in other words, isn’t the 4620L sufficient on its own without additional equipment to be internet functional and adequate? (3) Can you give some rough idea of how far 20GB of data goes — via Pandora One playing for say eight hours continuously; internet surfing the same eight hours; downloading a 2.5 hour movie; transmitting documents via email over the internet? Put another way, can you suggest how far 20GB per month goes with internet usage of the kinds of things we routinely use while parked in our motorhomes?

    Thanks, Nina. Fabulous stuff all.

    Deek

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Deek,

      I’ll try and answer your questions as best I can:

      1/ You’re correct. Your phone has nothing to do w/ Millenicom. Millenicom is *only* a data service. The 20Gb plan runs on the Verizon network, but only for data (no voice, no smartphone…none of that). So whatever you have on your phone will remain a separate deal.

      2/ Yes, you’ll get the 4620L when you buy the 20Gb plan, and it will work all by itself. So, you could easily just get the 4620L and work with that. The only time you’ll run into the need for an external antenna/amplifier is when you’re in a marginal signal area. Then, the external amp/antenna can make a big difference. So I guess it all depends how “out there’ you plannto get. You can certainly start with just the 4620L and see how it goes, then you can always get the other things later.

      3/ 20Gb goes a long way. It’s hard to say exactly, but we’ve run all our documents/e-mail/blogging plus streamed ~5 movies and still haven’t hit our limit. As long as you’re a nominal user it will be quite sufficient.

      Nina

  38. [...] Internet Connectivity On The Road – Our New Rockin’ No-Contract 4G Upgrade! Wheeling It [...]

  39. We finally bit the bullet. We dumped our existing Verizon MIFI (with 10 months more to go on our contract, piece of crap) and got our Millenicom, a Wilson amp & antenna. Since we did not get this at Q we just had it mailed. And boy what a difference it makes especially when in State Parks. Thanks to your great info, it helped a lot in our decision process.

  40. [...] thorough post about their wifi set up and a personal tour of the setup used by Hans and Lisa at Metamorphosis Road finally pushed us [...]

  41. Deas Nealy says:

    Nina, we are about to head out for the summer in our New Tiffin. I am hitting my limits on my att ipad which does not have a bad plan. 25 for 2 gigs and 10 a gig after. However, we are considering this option. Thanks so much for all the input. On another front, have you guys considered or have any wifi extended antennas. I have a cheap one from Powerlink that plugs into the laptop and really extends the range. I have heard of a device called “The Bullet” that can link into a wireless router.

    I find the few parks we have visited so far to have poor reception on wifi.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Glad the post is helpful. We so rarely stay in private parks that we haven’t seen the need to get a WiFi booster. There are many good ones out there -> I have heard good things about the Bullet and also WiFi Ranger gets good reviews, but it’s never made sense for us. If we ever start staying more regularly at private parks (or in more populated areas) we’ll look into it, but for the kind of travelling we do we rely entirely on the MiFi.
      Nina

  42. […] and re-sell phone and data from the major operators. We took advantage of just such a solution on the data side ~8 months ago, and we decided it was finally time to do the same for our […]

  43. Doug says:

    Wow, your post explains so much. I have a grandfathered Verizon $35/mo unlimited data-only plan for my BlackBerry Curve smartphone. It bridges to my PlayBook tablet via Bluetooth for free. I get Skype for free on the phone, and rare direct calls cost me a flat $0.25/minute. Pretty good deal, right?

    Well, it turns out I consistently use 3-4GB of data per month, and thanks to you, I now know why I sometimes get absolutely horrible data speed in some places, yet decent speed in others—I’ve been permanently “network optimized” by Verizon! So whenever I hit a tower that has even the slightest congestion, BAM! 300 baud for hours on end.

    Now that you’ve spilled Verizon’s beans, I know what to look out for. Consistently crappy throughput is not worth even $35/mo. I’ll be carefully documenting all such future malaise, so that I can make a much better, informed decision when my current Verizon contract ends in January. Not thrilled about doubling my monthly data bill, but other aspects of the Millenicom service might make it worthwhile.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, sadly that’s exactly what we were seeing too. We had an older grandfathered unlimited plan on our phone which we loved & cherished, but the throttling started to drive us crazy. Eventually we decided the price wasn’t worth it (thus our recent switch to Straight Talk). Glad I could help you figure it out, but sorry about the throttling.
      Nina

  44. […] Related Post: Internet Connectivity On The Road -> Our New Rockin’ No Contract 4G Upgrade! […]

  45. Laura Star says:

    Greetings!
    I am curious if you are still using Millenicom with an antenna for your internet? I teach online and need reliable fast internet. Is this still what you advise?
    Thank you!
    Laura Star

  46. Laura Star says:

    Just saw your mention of Straight Talk. This sounds like a great phone service! Any problems with it?

  47. Steve says:

    Hi,

    It’s been over a year since your post on Internet Connectivity and I was wondering if it was still going well. I am looking to install a new system in my trailer and am considering switching to a similar MiFi device. The crux for me is finding a suitable, reasonably priced, tri-band (4G) amplifier, as I want the additional power when in the “boonies” (which is most of the time). I am presently considering using a two-band (3G) amplifier combined with the Wilson Sleek (hum, I wonder if I can mount the internal antennas on top of each other to provide seamless tri-band coverage???). Anyway, just curious if you are still pleased with this system.
    Merry Christmas and safe travels,
    Steve

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, we still have the system and we still love it! Absolutely satisfied with the switch. The MiFi has a few quirks (for example in marginal 3G/4G areas it tends to flip back and forth and then get stuck. But we’ve found we can work around the issue by forcing it to 3G only or 4G only, for example). Other than that zero issues for us. We upgraded our amplifier to the Wilson Sleek and have been very happy with that too. If we need an extra boost we attach our Wilson trucker antenna to the lot.
      Nina

      • Steve says:

        Nina,

        Thank you. I am glad to hear it.

        I think I have decided to go down a slightly different road.

        Since I don’t need much data (typical usage of 250 Meg per trip…every couple months or so) I am considering the Straight Talk (Wal-Mart) data plan for $15/month/1Gbyte. Granted, it is only 2&3 G, but for my low data use, speed really isn’t an issue (we are frequently remotely accessing my home router which is on a slow DSL line anyway). Don’t do video (other than my wife’s chicken cams) or music and only minimal web surfing. Usually just email and occasional text file transfers. Going this route would also allow me to use a better (than the Sleek anyway) 2&3 G booster such as the Top Signal 55. I will combine it with a UML290 modem (by moving the SIM card) connected to a WiFi RangerGo which will allow upgrade to 4G/LTE when it becomes more economically viable for me.

        Anyway, that is the plan …. at the moment but I am always open to sage advice.

        Steve

        • libertatemamo says:

          The Walmart “Internet On The Go” MiFi is a nice, cheap solution BUT (and here’s the big but) it runs on Sprint which has very poor coverage outside of large metro areas. If you’re OK w/ that it’s a great solution!
          Nina

          • Steve says:

            Nina,

            I agree that Sprint would not suffice for where we travel either.
            However, it is my understanding the Walmart Straight Talk plan (not the Internet To Go plan) uses Verizon as the data provider. I was first alerted to this by the good folks at Powerful Signal and verified it by web searching.
            I have not purchased it yet so don’t know for sure or what any limitations might be though.

            Steve

          • libertatemamo says:

            Oh, you mean their phone plan. Well, it depends. Walmart resells several carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) on their Straight Talk plan. Verizon is ONE of these carriers, but you need to buy the right phone (= the phone you buy determines which carrier you end up on). ALSO, and this is more pertinent to what you’re trying to do -> Straight Talk does NOT allow you to use the phone as a hotspot. It’s against their TOS (Terms of Service) to tether, so you would *not* be able to use the phone to connect your computers to the internet. I actually wrote a long blog post about Straight Talk, so I’ll direct you there for more info:
            Cheap Cellphone Service With Straight Talk -> Saving $$ & Severing Verizon Ties!
            Straight Talk is a great phone plan, but it can’t be used as your main form of connectivity.
            Nina

          • Steve says:

            Nina,

            Nope. Not a phone plan but a data plan.
            But rather than debate it, I’ll just try it. Then I will be able to correctly pass the information on to others. Will let you know after some real world testing.

            Steve

          • libertatemamo says:

            Think I finally found the device you’re talking about:
            Straight Talk Wireless Hotspot UniMax U240C
            Looks like a brand new offering (just announced last month). Word has it it runs on Verizon 3G…interesting.
            Looks like a decent solution for low data users.
            DO let us know how it works out for you!
            Nina

          • Steve says:

            Nina,

            That’s the one.
            I’ll let you know my results.

            Merry Christmas,
            Steve

  48. dawn vezina says:

    The information contained in your site is awesome. We wish we had know some of this information sooner. We started full timing 4 years ago and are loving it. We have an AT & t mifi with 5gb of data which is not enough, but our biggest problem is we are Canadian and spend 6 months south and 6 months at home. So we also have a mifi through Bell with 10gb of data. We turn them off and on as we need. We haven’t found any type of satellite tv we want as we would also have to have 2 providers, I think.

    We just bought a new Lava antenna which seems to be working quite well. Wanted to mount it on the back ladder as you were saying for your internet antenna. Looked at several flag places who sell antennas to mount to your ladder and they were in the price range of 120.00 – 160.00. Couldn’t justify paying that much, then I was in Walmart, in the seasonal section and found flag poles for 17.00, now that’s my kind of price. Found one that was broken and got it for 10.00. My husband attached using hose clamps and he loosens them to bring it down and leaves it attached to the ladder, then raises it when we need it. Works like a charm and he doesn’t have to keep climbing on the roof.

    This is a great site wish we had found it sooner.

    P.S. have you checked out making a solar oven? These look really cool and apparently they work really good.

  49. Dave'n'Kim says:

    OUCH! We just had an email from Millenicom – they are increasing the MiFi Hotspot rate (and Advanced and Standard) from $69.99 to $89.99 as of 1 May 2014.
    I wonder then if you on-the-pulse guys have any idea of a more economical alternative?

  50. Larry M says:

    Your second paragraph which includes the link “Our solution was the Millenicom 3G/4G MiFi 20Gb HotSpot plan” doesn’t lead to a plan with the Novatel 4620L. I’m a bit confused as I don’t see a plan using this device. Could you clarify for me? Thanks! Love your blog!!

    This is on your page: http://www.wheelingit.us/2012/11/04/internet-connectivity-on-the-road-our-new-rockin-no-contract-4g-upgrade/

    Larry from the NW

  51. Walt says:

    Just came across this post and was wondering whether you used your South Dakota mailing address when signing up for the Millenicom service. On the Millenicom page, when you click on the ‘check coverage’ link/tab, it asks for your address. Did you use the SD address or the location you happened to be in at the time? Thanks for all the great info!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We got the Millenicom device in Oregon (I got it sent to a post office there) so I might have used that address originally. I don’t really recall. However our SD address is the address of record (and billing) on the account. I honestly don’t think it matters much since you’ll be using it on the road. They’ll ship anywhere you ask them to.

      Nina

      • Walt says:

        Thanks. I just wondered since the website asks for an address for determining coverage before you even get to the ordering stage. On a different subject, I’m so glad to find a blog about people boondocking in their Class A motorhome. My wife and I plan to upgrade to a Class A in a few years and begin full-timing a few years after that (sooner if I can convince her). It is good to see someone else living the kind of RV life I hope to one day live and proving that it can be done. Thanks for that as well.

  52. […] have been extremely happy with their service ever since (you can read about why we switched HERE). However just this month their price increased from $69.99 to $89.99. Ouch! Despite the ramp I […]

  53. Larry M says:

    Please write an update on how you presently get your internet access. Or, maybe nothings changed? Thanks! Happy Trails!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’re actually still using this same device & plan (Millenicom MiFi). The cost has increased to $89.99/mo, but otherwise nothing else has changed. We also upgraded our booster to a Wilson Sleek. Both are working great for us!

      Nina

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