Is There a Perfect Way to Stay Connected Online?
This subject hits home for me as I full-time RV, work camp, and work from home as well. RV parks can tout their internet connectivity all day long but when it comes down to it, there are times when even the best WiFi goes down. You can rely on a mobile hotspot plan on your phone with your provider but if you happen to be where there is no cell signal then you are down for the count.
What Are The Best Mobile Hotspot Plans For RVers?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best mobile hotspot plans for RVers. Everyone has different needs. Here are a few things to consider before you buy a device or pick a plan.
Make sure the device you purchase will work with your mobile carrier or can be used as a stand-alone.
How many devices will you be connecting?
Think about how many devices you will be connecting. For example, your phone, tablet, laptop, and smart TV can be just for one person. Add in a spouse and kids and the additional devices could add up quickly. Make sure you pick a hotspot that will support all these devices.
Battery life is very important particularly if you plan to boondock. If you have a power inverter and can plug it in, you will be fine. If not, you will have to rely on the device’s batteries.
Monthly contract fees
Some providers will suck you in with low monthly fees that change after a certain amount of time. This could get you a great deal but be sure and read the fine print and be aware of the costs before you sign.
Find a 5G compatible hotspot. Even if you don’t want or need it now, you can always upgrade later.
Of course, you can also choose to use your hotspot function on your cell phone but this can drain your battery and limits the number of devices you can use. If you need a more dependable, portable connection, a WiFi hotspot is the better way to go.
Best mobile hotspot routers
1. AT&T – Netgear Nighthawk M1
This is one of best mobile hotspot plans for RVers and a great choice if you are an AT&T customer. It can also be used as a stand-alone.
This device can share WiFi with up to 20 devices and has a long battery life with continuous use. It allows easy charging of other USB devices and one USB port shares storage for data or personal media streaming with connected wireless devices. Wireless transmission can be configured from 2.4 & 5GHz to 2.4 only, 5 only, or you can completely disable it. It also allows for a guest connection.
Cost $275.92 on Amazon
2. Verizon – Jetpack MiFi 8800L
This is available to Verizon customers as either a one-time purchase or a monthly payment plan. With an intuitive touchscreen and a long lasting battery, the Verizon Jetpack allows users to connect to 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz bands simultaneously for a great way to enhance link speed, reduce network congestion, and improve connection quality.
According to specifications, with this device you can access WiFi in more than 200 countries. This one lets you connect up to 15 devices at a time and allows you to share files over your local WiFi connection with a storage device and USB connector.
Cost $183.55 on Amazon
3. T-Mobile – Alcatel LINKZONE 2
This mobile hotspot is one of the most affordable options. It can connect up to 16 devices at once and can be used as a power bank to charge your phone or tablet. The Alcatel LINKZONE 2 supports speeds up to 150Mbps download and 50Mbps upload. It comes with a 4400 mAh battery for up to 24 hours of power.
Cost $60 on Amazon
“So fast !!! I am using T mobile unlimited plan and I put my sim card in this machine. I put two steam games on download list since steam always has the fastest speed. Download starts at 10 pm and until next morning 9 am, 89 GB was downloaded. I was thinking about something close to 15 GB but this result really shocked me. I love this machine. Really easy to use and great for travel. Also, I put some of the home utilities, such as wifi outlets and lights, on this router so they won’t occupy any ip address on my home internet system.
Plus, I want to mention that only sim card bought from major companies, like tmobile att version, has hotspot function. My friend has an unlimited plan with lycamobile, which rent out tmobile frequencies, but it doesn’t work with any hotspot device.” Mingde Li via Amazon.
4. T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
This device touts fast 5G speeds on the largest 5G network. Connect up to 30 WiFi enabled devices wirelessly or tether a single connection using the USB Type-C port.
Get enterprise grade security, advanced device management, and a 5050mAh battery that will keep you running all day. You can also use it as a battery bank to charge your phone, tablet, or other mobile devices.
Cost $294 on Amazon
Hotspot data plans
The best mobile hotspot plan for RVers is the one that works best for their needs. Like everything else in life, the more you get for less money is always the best choice.
A hotspot data plan is no different. Also, pick a plan with a good coverage area and one that is compatible with a good-quality hotspot. You want fast speeds and the ability to connect many devices. As an RVer who travels a lot, you want to get a plan on the largest US cellular network. Verizon is considered the largest network with T-Mobile second and AT&T third.
As you will see below, hotspot plans give you a set amount of data per month. A prepaid plan such as the Cricket Simply Data is one where you pay only for the amount of data you need.
Most hotspot plans give you a set amount of data per month. But if you’re traveling or need the hotspot only intermittently, consider getting a prepaid plan.
Best mobile hotspot plans include:
- T-Mobile 2 GB for $10/month. Add data if you run out. 5 GB for $20; 10 GB for $30; and 30 GB for $40. Use with the T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000. You also have the option of paying $10 extra per month (with autopay) but your speeds will be slowed once you exceed your initial data allotment.
- AT&T 15 GB – 15 GB for $50/month (with autopay). Use with the Alcatel LINKZONE 2
- Verizon Unlimited Plus – 30 GB of 4G LTE/5G, then reduced to 600 Kbps for $85/month. You also get unlimited access to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.
- Cricket Simply Data 20 GB (prepaid) – $35 per month (plus the price of the hotspot). Cricket runs over AT&T’s network and you can upgrade to add more data. 40 GB for $50 per month; 100 GB for $90 per month. This plan allows you to use your own unlocked hotspot as long as it’s compatible with Cricket’s network.
Simply put, you can pick a plan from what your cellular provider offers but you can also shop around for other providers that give you more data, have a larger cellular network or a plan that leaves you room for change, depending on your needs.
As RVers, my husband I have chosen to get hotspots tethered to our phones on both Verizon and AT&T networks. I know of others who choose multiple hotspots with different providers to use depending on what part of the country they are in. We are still investigating and hope to find the perfect setup to work from home.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
See also: Starlink Internet: What Is It And How RVers Benefit
Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Mini Aussie puppy Remi. They are currently wintering in Arizona with plans to continue their travels next summer. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.
It is great if you go to the states but every article I have read very little talks about Canada the campgrounds what is the best RV dish, or this last article about HOT SPOTS everything is geared towards the States, and with Covid taking place you are lucky to cross the border. It would be nice to see articles about Canada and the campgrounds and other topics pertaining to Canada for RVer’s
Ron Layton says
The Verizon info seems to be highly inaccurate…new device now and fees have changed. New device works well as a mobile hotspot when parked while RVing.
“Battery life is very important particularly if you plan to boondock. If you have a power inverter and can plug it in, you will be fine. If not, you will have to rely on the device’s batteries.”
No inverter is needed. Most of these devices work and charge off USB power, which can be obtained directly from your cabin battery.
David L Good says
I’m confused: “You also have the option of paying $10 extra per month (with autopay) but your speeds will be slowed once you exceed your initial data allotment.” Why would you pay extra, on autopay no less, so that your speeds slow down once you exceed your initial data allotment?
Donald Schneider says
You left out the T-Mobile Data plan 100 GB for $50.
After reviewing your recommendations, I think I’ll stay with my completely unlimited and unthrottled Sprint hotspot through FMCA Techconnect for $50/month. So far, it’s worked better for me than the so called unlimited plan I had with Verizon that throttled me after a couple of days every month. I also had coverage in areas with the Sprint device that Verizon hotspot didn’t.
Tony Padilla says
Visible does not work at the COE Hernando Point campground in Mississippi. and you can only connect 1 device at a time, if you know something I don’t please share – you can email me!
Tony Padilla says
Please disregard the 2nd part of my previous, I left it in haste.
Does not seem you addressed the issue of large data usage…which is where the cookie crumbles. Watching television, movies, and gaming uses plenty of data and those plans only offer 25-50 gb of data…not enough
Try visible, greatest thing since sliced bread, $25 a month
Dan Harrison says
Best data plan I found is from FMCA thru Sprint… truly unlimited for less than $50 a month
Joe White says
We have the Verizon jetpack, perfect for us as a retired couple. We use it whenever the WiFi in a park is weak or non-existent. We use it as well when on the road for navigation purposes. Not any problems over the past three years including a 7000 mile trip all across this great land.
Karl Z says
We were using my Xfinity cell phone as a hot spot when necessary, but as we pay by the gig, costs quickly mounted. When we don’t travel our data needs are quite small so we don’t purchase the unlimited plan. However, we were recently offered a 4g device through my RAM Uconnect that connects to my odbd port on my truck. On the road internet for only $9.95 per month. My original Uconnect plan was $14.95. Such a deal, but I suppose it is limited to FCA cars and trucks.
With over 40,000 miles of RV travel over the last 4 years I have found AT&T has the most coverage. We use hotspot SIMs from ATT, T-MOBILE and VERIZON, all 100GB plans. We use them with a 4×4 MIMO antenna on the roof with a Max Transit. T-Mobile is dead last when far from civilization and VZB is only marginally better. I think they must be spending all their money for marketing.
Carmela Cugini says
Great insight! Do you use any particular brand.? Did you install it yourself?
Michael Uliano says
What do you mean by Hotspot tethered to your phone? Is that the personal hotspot feature that are existing on Iphones (if you have that feature on your plan) or is it something else?
Macs R We says
Yes, it’s exactly what you describe. “Tethered” is old language from when a cable was required to operate like this; today, your computer can wi-fi to your phone to get cell data service, but the old term persists.
On my plan, I get truly unlimited cell data with no slowdown, but for use direct from the phone only — for any data usage from a device “tethered” to the phone to use cell data, there is a monthly cap.
This means if I stream content to my RV TV using a Firestick-class device “tethered” to my phone, I hit the cap… but if I cable my phone to the TV in monitor-mirroring mode and call up the video “on” my phone, my use is unlimited.
I use the Pepwave Max Transit and the PUMA 401 antenna which will allow B71 down in the 600Mhz range. I find that the T-Mobile is a bit more reliable out of town using B71, but its proved to be pretty slow. But slow is better than nothing if that’s your other choice. I have the TM 100GB SIM, AT&T Prepaid 100GB SIM, Verizon 100GB Postpaid SIM ($90 with no other Vzb Plan) and a couple AT&T Mobley SIMs. The Max Transit CAT 18, has allowed me to have data everywhere now, I just swap SIM’s when one is too slow, or fully used up for the month.
Michael Uliano says
Great Info, thank you!!
Outdated info on plans. T-Mobile now has 100 GB for $50. Att, 100 GB for $55, and Verizon 100 GB for $60 or 150 GB for $80.
Those Verizon $$ are only if you have an “Anchor” plan with them already. The 100GB is $90 as a stand alone plan. My former FMCA data plan did NOT qualify as an Anchor plan with them, only certain phone plans did.
Hi just saw this there are other options, ie unlimitedville, which gives you all you need and 3 plan options. No throttling. Visible same type of thing you use a phone to tether ( the CS has gone down though since pandemic) there are others if you do a deep dive.
T-Mobile came out with a Nokia 5G Home wifi that works very good. Right now the unit is free and it’s 50 bucks a month with unlimited usage. If your address is not in the coverage zone, they can use a known address that coverage and it will work. There is a 15 day grace period to return it if you aren’t happy with it. I had the Linkzone2 and was was not happy with the limited usage so when T-Mobile told me about the Home WiFi. I jumped on it. My neighbor picked one up a couple of days later. There is an app yo set it up and it’s pretty easy.
https://soliswifi.co/ is really the best and most flexible that I’ve found.
Mario Hernandez says
Has anyone used StartLink for RV?
I’m looking into it. more expensive but should have good coverage as long as we have clear view of the sky.
I work remotely so I need to be connected at high speed 8+ hours a day, which will eat up 100GB easily in a month.
Sue Whitaker says
is there any mobile hot spot device that you can purchase out right and then purchase a prepaid plan that the data rolls over? We have seasonal camp site and would just like the the hot spot to run the smart tv but don’t want a monthly fee. just want to buy a prepaid plan and roll over unused data