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Old 11-07-2018, 09:53 PM   #1
Michael Wild
 
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Cell Phone Plans - Who has the best plan?

Given plans change often with the carriers I thought I would start a fresh post asking the question:

My family of 4 will be travelling full-time for over a year, mostly in the US, but also in Canada and Mexico, what carrier and plan should we go with?
notes:
- definitely need unlimited data
- plans for two adults and two children ages 9 and 11
- kids plans can be limited as they are just for tracking and emergency calling

Thanks Airstream hive mind!
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planBe View Post
Given plans change often with the carriers I thought I would start a fresh post asking the question:

My family of 4 will be travelling full-time for over a year, mostly in the US, but also in Canada and Mexico, what carrier and plan should we go with?
notes:
- definitely need unlimited data
- plans for two adults and two children ages 9 and 11
- kids plans can be limited as they are just for tracking and emergency calling

Thanks Airstream hive mind!
We have AT&T and while the coverage is mostly good, this company has the worst customer service of any I have dealt with in my entire life. Our plan keeps changing, phone calls are promised and unreturned, billing issue, etc.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:43 AM   #3
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I have a Cricket Wireless Unlimited Extra plan which is truly "unlimited" data for $55 per month with Autopay. They have a "four lines for $100" unlimited plan that may work for you, but it is a more restricted "unlimited" plan than the "Extra" plan. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses the same towers.

My wife has a Verizon Wireless Unlimited plan. With one Verizon and one AT&T (Cricket) unlimited plan, we have better coverage than if we were both with one company. In my opinion, the unlimited plans have gotten better recently. Cricket dropped their 8 MBS speed cap and the 22 GB data cap, but can "throttle" you in times of network congestion. Verizon also removed their data cap and can "throttle" you in times of network congestion. We have not noticed any "throttling" so these new "unlimited" plans are working well for us.

Good luck choosing an unlimited plan, I will be following this thread to see what is new with the other carriers.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:13 AM   #4
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We have Verizon. We were boondocking and had service even sending pix (2 bars). Others had ATT, I-wireless and etc. NO service or would get only to lose before getting msg.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:15 AM   #5
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does anyone have Consumer Cellular ? Comments?
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:27 AM   #6
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We have Verizon. We were boondocking and had service even sending pix (2 bars). Others had ATT, I-wireless and etc. NO service or would get only to lose before getting msg.
We travel extensively around the country with both an AT&T and Verizon Unlimited plan. Sometimes AT&T coverage is better and other times Verizon coverage is better. If you want the best coverage, get an unlimited plan from both AT&T and Verizon.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:46 AM   #7
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Both Penny and I have consumer cellular. Had ser. when almost no one had any at camp out when trying to make res. for coe. rates are very reasonable for 2 lines, with 400 min. per mo. no extra for long distance,only draw back they use Tmobile and ATT for serv. as they don't have any towers etc. also extra chge for text that we don't believe in, so no prob. Had ATT changed rates [lowered never notified] nextell now called sprint very exp. Have verizon unlimited for internet as we do not like any ph. avble. for all these services as only use to talk never send pics, text plus ph. cost under $50.00 per phone, if have old style small ATT flip ph. till works w/out pur. newer ph. [We have 1 of each.] So far serv. has been exc. except our house 3/4 mile from tower some times weak signal no where else this prob.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:38 AM   #8
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The wife and I have AT&T. It has decent service overall but I do agree that the customer service is the worst in the business. We also have to purchase an additional add-on for the month when we go to Canada.

T-Mobile has a senior plan for couples over 55. Two lines with unlimited talk, text and data and the same service in Canada and Mexico for $75 per month. That includes all fees and taxes. I am planning to switch to that plan soon.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:42 AM   #9
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Hi

The magic secret on AT&T is to go into an AT&T store (a real AT&T store not an affiliate) whenever you need support / service. Their "face to face" people have always been great and gotten us taken care of in very little time.

Bob
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:43 AM   #10
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Go with the Big Boys

My wife, three grandchildren and our d-i-l just completed a Georgia to Seattle RT of 8,000 miles, Yes all 6 of us slept in the 1964 Airstream, called Gracie AND pulled it over many mountain passes with a 4.6L, F150, which is supposed to be nearly impossible without a Super Duty diesel, per many on these forums. My wife and I also took a cruise to Alaska, that included a stop in Canada. Verizon did fantastic in both Canada and Alaska, wherever there was cell phone coverage. We have Sprint, which is mostly city coverage and before the trip, switched five lines to Verizon. Both are unlimited plans. Verizon did great in the remote areas of our country. Sprint pretty much useless. Family plan with unlimited with Verizon offers 3 choices. We chose the middle one, which includes use of your phone as a hotspot. It costs $50 per person on our 4 person plan, with an auto payment. Verizon has provided great customer service! As soon as our Sprint contract expires, we will switch one, or two lines to AT&T, since they are the other great carrier in rural areas.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:47 AM   #11
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T Mobile is Good Option for Canada & Mexico

My wife and I have a T-Mobile plan that provides TWO lines of unlimited text, data and voice calls for $70 per month (for both), taxes and fees included. We have used our phones extensively any recent trip to Canada and everything worked well. Mexico is also included at no extra charge.

T-Mobile coverage is not as good AT&T or Verizon (Iíve had both in the past) but itís close enough given the extremely low rate.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:53 AM   #12
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The folks over at the Mobile Internet Resource Center have some of the most definitive data on this including apps that show you which carriers have coverage where at a very granular level. It's going to come down to Verizon vs AT&T, of course, and one will be better in one place and one in another. Verizon usually wins in the back country but not always. We have a contract with one and a prepaid burner phone with the other. Which is which depends on the deals they are running.

That site above does a good job of constantly tracking the plans and comparing them. You might need to get a subscription for a short time to see the content you want but it's well worth it if you are serious about this.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:58 AM   #13
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We have Verizon which gives me the best coverage in the Western US and most of North America. The unlimited plan gives lets me travel into Canada and Mexico with no interruption of service or additional fees.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:19 AM   #14
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Update to my post #7 about consumer cellular. Total for 2 lines unlimited talk not 400 min. is $36.67 per mo. w/all Fed, state, local, and other chges. so works best for wife & I. Price is w/$150 aarp discount Bill
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:30 AM   #15
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We have a Verizon unlimited family plan with three phones. Verizon works well in areas where our friends with AT&T had no service. We have good service in Alaska, Yukon, and Canada. We have not tried it in Mexico.
There are areas though where even Verizon has spotty reception and AT&T has good reception.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:31 AM   #16
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I think GoogleFI is worth a look.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daleyocum View Post
The folks over at the Mobile Internet Resource Center have some of the most definitive data on this including apps that show you which carriers have coverage where at a very granular level. It's going to come down to Verizon vs AT&T, of course, and one will be better in one place and one in another. Verizon usually wins in the back country but not always. We have a contract with one and a prepaid burner phone with the other. Which is which depends on the deals they are running.

That site above does a good job of constantly tracking the plans and comparing them. You might need to get a subscription for a short time to see the content you want but it's well worth it if you are serious about this.
I second the suggestion to check out Mobile Internet Resource Center. Loads of information. Product reviews after testing. We are full time. Use an AT&T unlimited plan with added on Netgear hot spot for $150 and a Verizon unlimited plan for $80. We use a MIMO signal booster antenna which helps when cell service is poor. There are some places where cell service just isn’t. For Christmas we are gifting ourselves a WeBoost.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:48 AM   #18
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total wireless

Look into Total Wireless through Walmart. They use the Verizon system. Have live streamed tv onto iphone with no problems. Very good value.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:40 PM   #19
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Danger Will Robinson, do not be lured into an unexpected deal. We bought our phones from T-Mobile and got unlimited data. Traveled through out west of the Mississippi. You know that red and white map of coverage (Can you hear me now?). Well as it turns out, they tell you that, when your in the white area out west, you are automatically switched to AT&T or Verizon to complete your usage or calls. Yepee!! oh no wait. What really happens is you have unlimited data ONLY in the red areas, WHAT? When your in the white areas you have to pay extra, like $15 for 15 minutes of data. We had 2 phones for $62 a month. Now one phone is useless until the first of the next month or (you PAY BIG) and the other needs to be reserved for emergencies only. That means no Maps or directions or looking anything up on the fly while in the white areas.With T-Moble the white area is 1/2 of all the western states. Remember you are Not staying in the cities but out in the sticks. Often times service ends right at the edge of town. If you are traveling there are ONLY 2 options, Verizon or AT&T. Just don't sign any long term agreements and get the best deal you can get. They often have deals right before Christmas. Lots of luck dealing with this bunch.
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:08 PM   #20
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We switched to Consumer Cellular in the spring, it's ok and cheap, but needed to change the SIM card from ATT to T-mobile for travel to Eastern Canada. Not only was T-mobile coverage bad in the NE US but in Canada I had NO coverage and could not even call CC to work it out. I had to rely on wifi at campgrounds and nice campers who let me use their phones for reservations. When I had the SIM switched back to ATT as soon as we returned to Maine, our coverage was fine. I appreciate this thread as we plan to return to other Canadian provinces next year and I will need to make changes prior to that trip.
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