Lisa is thinking about changing mobile phone plans from AT&T to T-Mobile because her phone didn't do well while on a cruise and they charged her $300. Leo says that no phone plan works while you're at sea. Only when you're in port. Leo says that Lisa may have been using Cellular at Sea, and you don't want to use that because it's very expensive. You also want to be sure to turn off data roaming. Airplane mode is even better.
Jenna is a veteran and she doesn't use her tablet much. She's thinking of selling her tablet and going with a cheap phone and a cheap internet plan. Leo says that's a good plan, especially if she goes with a low-cost data plan with WiFi. T-Mobile has a plan for those over $50. It's pretty cheap. But there's also MINT Mobile, an MVNO that resells phone service from T-Mobile. $15 a month or less, and she can bring her own phone.
Earnest's phone automatically changes time zones whenever he goes to Disneyland to a specific area in the park and wants to know why it's doing that? Leo says there's a setting in the phone that he can turn off to prevent it from automatically setting the time zone. But Leo also thinks it could be that the cell site in that area of the park is misconfigured to the wrong time zone, or depending on if he is on a WiFi network, that network is configured to a specific time zone.
On Thursday, FEMA will conduct a test of IPAWS: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It will send a message to all the phones in the US to test the infrastructure of the warning system. The test will happen around 2:18 PM ET and will last a half hour.
Rich says it's a big deal that the federal government will take command of every cell phone tower in the country in order to reach everyone at once with a test emergency text message. Rich also says that while there is an opt out provision for some emergency alerts, this isn't one of them. You cannot disable it.
Greg wants to know if 5G Home Internet is a game changer. Rich says that Verizon is testing 5G Home Internet in five cities around the country. 300/1000 down for $50. Sounds good, but that's ideal bandwidth. Is it a game changer? Well, only if it's available where you live. And 5G requires a lot more antennas, every few hundred feet. So it'll be awhile before it's widespread and Rich doesn't see it happening any time soon. If it's available, sign up.
Steve is looking for a motion activated security camera that can run on a cellular network. Leo says that all security cameras are motion activated these days. DropCam and Nest would be the natural choice, but they rely on Wi-Fi.
Leo recommends the Eagle Eye Nubo. It has 2G, 3G and LTE. It's also weather resistant. But he'll want to be sure that it is supported by his carrier. He'll have to get the SIM from them anyway.
Don is going on a cruise and he wants to use Wi-Fi. Is SkyRoam good? Leo says no, not for a cruise. The best and cheapest way is from the cruise line itself. It's not cheap or fast, though. Royal Caribbean has super fast internet called VOOM, but it's still expensive. He'll have to get up really early in the morning to have decent speeds.
Unless he's in a port, he should just pretend that he's disconnected from the world. Then when he's in port, he can then use an internet cafe or get a prepaid MiFi card to handle cellular.
T-Mobile may be #4 in the cellular game, but they walked away a big winner in the recent FCC Spectrum 600MHz auction, paying nearly 8 billion dollars for the nationwide rights to that band. Although phones don't operate in the spectrum yet, they will be rolled out by year's end. Then T-Mobile will offer 4G LTE services in that market. Comcast also bought some, signaling they are planning to get into the mobile business. The rest were split between AT&T and US Cellular.
Bob is moving to Yucatan and he says that internet access really isn't all that great. Can he combine both Wi-Fi and cellular into one master service? Leo says that's called modem bonding and it requires a very smart infrastructure from end to end. Generally, he can get it from one ISP that handles it all from the back end. It's a challenge, however. Satellite may be a better choice, although latency will be an issue.
Larry is having issues on his property where he gets 3G in some areas, and 4G in others. Leo says he's on the edge of both. Will an antenna or amplifier help? Leo says that a cellphone amplifier could help. The benefit being that it becomes a Wi-Fi access point for up to 5 different devices. He can also set up an ad-hoc network with his laptop wired in. A directional antenna aimed at the cell tower will also be beneficial. He should watch his signal as he aims the antenna, and when the signal improves, he'll know where to have it pointed.