cellular service

Are MVNOs like Mint Mobile a good deal?

Mint Mobile

Episode 1770

John from Lincoln, NB

John wants to know if a third-party cellular company, or MVNO, is really as good a deal as it seems. Leo says he can save a lot of money, but the MVNO buys bandwidth and resells it, so the main provider may prioritize their traffic over the MVNO. Also, traveling internationally may be an issue as he loses the international benefits. But Leo is very happy with Google Fi, which is probably the best. And they have the same international service. 

How can I get cell service in a dead zone?

Dead Cell Zones Map

Episode 1710

John from Riverside, California

John has WiFi in his truck and it goes in and out. Would using his cell hotspot fix that? Leo says no, dead spots are in between cell towers, which can cause your cellular signal to go in and out. That has nothing to do with WiFi. The only way to avoid it is satellite, and that has its own challenges with maintaining the aim of the dish. The real solution is what ISPs have the best coverage maps. But a dead zone is a dead zone, and until the cell company puts up more towers, you have to live with it. How about a cell booster? Leo says it could help, but only marginally.

Does an unlimited wireless plan really mean unlimited?

Unlimited Plans Example

Episode 1636

Robbie from Nashville, TN

Robbie is frustrated with his unlimited cellular plan because he's being throttled relentlessly. So bad to the point that he can't really do anything. But when he signs onto wifi, it's just fine.  So they signed up for a 10GB plan, it was much faster. Leo says that unlimited doesn't mean "as fast." And on Verizon, some of the plans will throttle from bite zero, some after 5GB. There are five plans in total. So you have to read the fine print. It sounds like Robbie had the Unlimited "start" plan. 

Dish CEO Collecting Wireless Spectrum Frequencies, Starting 5G Network

Dish Network

Episode 1613

The founder of DISH Network, Charlie Ergen, has been quietly buying up wireless frequencies auctioned by the FCC and will start a fourth major cellular company behind AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Leo says that Ergen has been waiting for 5G to establish his network and is planning to spend more than $10 billion. Ergen says that what took other networks over ten years to establish, he can do in three.

How can I get more consistent internet access?

Internet connectivity

Episode 1379

Ed from North Carolina

Ed would like to set up a delivery business where he can take orders online, but the ISPs where he lives are rather slow and unreliable. Leo advises looking into a business class account which offers a guarantee of good service. Leo also says he can get computers as his receivers and get a router that supports cellular bandwidth. That way he'll have a more reliable service with a cellular system.

What cellular provider works best where I'm moving to?

Episode 1115

Manny from i95, Florida

Manny is moving to Florida and wants to know if he can test drive a carrier to see how they work. Leo says that most carriers do offer a two week trial, especially when you bring your own phone. Just go into the store and talk to them.

Another option is to go to broadbandreports.com, where they rate cellular providers and internet service providers by zip code. Lastly, talk to your neighbors. They'll know best and they may have solutions Manny doesn't know about.