part time RVers, gaming, and Verizon plans

Hi – I’m just offering a few comments as a new CAT 18 owner, while I give a shout out to the community here: Thank-you, all y’all. I’m pleased to be part of the community. FYI I’m a part time RVer, writing about my adventures at rvdoug dot com. a more formal CAT 18 review is coming :slight_smile: – with the use case of State parks that arn’t usually noted for their cellular coverage! but I digress.

I have just completed an experiment “in the interest of science” with the CAT 18, as I had an interesting opportunity to to test what would happen when moving a SIM card from my phone to the Pepwave under two different Verizon plans. I don’t advocate for doing this as a sustainable solution, but the results are interesting anyway.

I note that member @lemondrop9344 has made some excellent points in this space, advocating for purchasing a real data plan instead of trying to “game” the system. I couldn’t agree more – especially with the data plans available today.

On that note, Verizon’s newest plans are actually attractive for part timers. when complementing a phone already on one of their 50 GB plans, one can obtain a very attractive amount of data in a BYOD “connected device”. I mean 150 GB of premium data for $60/mo! looks like the market has forced carriers into providing plans that are attractive compared to third party resellers who purchased large blocks of unlimited data and are now selling it retail.

now for the science. I just switched my phone over from a 5GB grandfathered/throttled plan to Verizon’s “Do More” plan (which enables BYOD 150 GB for $60), giving me the chance to test the CAT 18 under both of these plans. I don’t have a connected device plan yet, so I moved my phone’s SIM over to the CAT 18 “before” and “after” the plan change. The CAT 18 is sitting on my desk, with its OE paddle antennas.

In each case, the CAT 18 connected beautifully and flawlessly with its default settings. I used, with a computer connected via ethernet to the CAT 18. Here’s the data

old 5GB plan: 3.5Mbps . playing with TTL and Network mode did not change this.
new “do more” unlimited plan: 54Mbps

Verizon, of course, immediately emailed me with the notification that the SIM card was moved, which I ignored because I was only live for a couple of minutes. My guess is that the above would not be sustainable., and I won’t be playing that game anyway becuase I don’t want to brick my phone just to use the CAT 18!

Where they say you will get a 50% discount when adding a connected device plan, that did not pan out for me. Since its treated as a monthly recurring credit, it will basically be missing on your bill and you pay full price. I got an agent to credit 2 months worth of 50% discount and ultimately gave up after 4 different agent interactions (chat & over phone).

Because the devices I am using dont show up properly in VZW database - they wont give the discount on that line.

Max Transit C18 or BR1 Pro 5g do not fit “precisely” into Verizon’s definition of “hotspot”.

“Eligible plans and discounts: 50% off Unlimited and Unlimited Plus for tablets; Essential and Plus plans for mobile hotspot devices; Unlimited for HumX; Unlimited + In Car WiFi for Hum+; and Unlimited and Number Share Unlimited for smartwatches. $20 off Premium and Pro plans for mobile hotspot devices.”

Basically you will be paying FULL price for adding on a “hotspot” plan for your Pepwave.

Even better deal is all those that received option to upgrade to 1TB of data on some older VZW plans for like $5 or $10/month…

Any ways, phone plans are not guaranteed to work, or continue to work. Anything you do is YMMV. I find it weird that with the same carrier you experienced a difference of 3.5 versus 54 mbps. Can you please explain that? Are you sure you were connected to the same cell tower? Same bands? Same aggregation? Theoretically, as long as you are not in deprioritization, those two verizon plans should yield similar speeds, right?

wow @erickufrin thats disturbing. You’re saying that monthly recurring credits go poof? or they are always a month behind. I mean the 50% discount either works or they are lying.

As you say, that may happen for all BYOD or just devices that are not registered in their db. my CAT 18 IMEA is in their db and the plans show up when I go through the motions to add. the lowest two plans get the 50%. the other ones ($80 for 150GB, for example) I was told get $20 off.

Then again, I have learned that Verizon reps spout off all kinds of opinions that aren’t true, and then once you commit, some other rep will say “I’m so sorry”, which of course doens’t fix anything. I had four differnet reps tell me that a certain corporate discount would apply to the unlimited plans, until I got to an experienced dude who said it won’t!

yea @mystery I do wish I had my grandfathered unlimited plan. I had one from the very first day of 4G but gave it up to save a few hundred bucks. I still wish I had that line…

ok on the difference between 3.5 and 54 mbs. the 3.5 came from a grandfathered loyalty plan that was throttled like Visible. for facebook surfing it didn’t matter, and I don’t game on my phone so I never noticed it. In today’s unlimited plans you officially get 50 GB of premium, unthrottled, data unless there is some sort of deprioritization going on. I can only surmise that when i popped the SIM card into the pepwave, I could measure the difference between the two plans. I didn’t go through the excercise to look at aggregation behaviors because I’ve believed all along that this particular plan was always throttled . Unfortunately, in the interest of science, I didn’t do a speed test on the phone before switching, so we’ll never no for sure.

for the experiment, the pepwave was in the same location, on my desk near a window. Verizon LTE coverge is very good; no 5G towers here yet.

As you probabaly know, the classic Visible hack is to spin up a phone, move the card, and then manipulate network mode, TTL and the APN to to fool the system into delivering higher speeds. just reading the various forums there’s like a whole sub-culture of folks dedicated to gaming the system in this (and similar) ways, moving sim cards around. The pay-per-view site even has detailed instructions on how to do this, for all (including verizon) to see!

no wonder the industry is moving to e-sims

My end game here is to be able to work occasionally from the trailer, and as long as VZW doesn’t reneg on their discount promises I’ll be happy to pay $20/month for 50GB. I’ve been succesful at holding their feet to the fire so this will be interesting. I’d do it now TOFTT but its too cold to camp :wink:

btw – a nice bonus of the MAX is GPS. At first I thougth it was a “don’t care” but I’m going to use it for family members who like to know where we are! I’ll hand out InControl2 “fleet manager” user rolls to family members and they just hit the site to see where the pepwave is :-). All they see is the map. nice.

update: I’m now testing the Verizon “50% off” theory. I have a “unlimited do more” phone plan and just added the $40 “50GB” connected device plan ( think its called “plus”) which is advertized at 50% off, for $20/month. I used the Verizon web interface from from account login to place the order. all I did was select BYOD “other” device, and the system accepted my IMEA. SIM card should be here in a couple of business days. I did engage the chat service who verified that the 50% discount was in fact applied. We shall see when the actual bill comes through!

I don’t think you’ll have any issues. I have a couple ‘eligible’ Verizon phone plans that offer the 50% connected device discount.

I have the same plan you’re testing (50GB Plus plan) and I’ve only been paying $20 (normally $40) for close to a year now.

I actually have two connected device plans at 50% off (because I have two eligible phone plans) and have had no issues with the 50% off. It was all applied automatically, I never had to request anything special.

Cool thanks. Similar situation Here. If 50 GB isn’t enough I’ll buy another 50 GB plan for 20/mo. associated with a different phone