Want Verizon and ATT SIMs in West Coast USA

I travel up and down the west coast of the USA, often camping. In the past, I’ve used my cellphone (ATT) and MiFi 7730 hotspot (Verizon) to stay connected. But I was paying $130/month on ATT and so recently moved to Ting (which is great! about $30/month, but is now on Verizon with the V1 SIM). But just last week I was at a campsite where Verizon, Tmo and Sprint had about -120 dB signal, but one of the guests was getting 1-2 bars on ATT. I had nothing that could pull ATT signal, so I was hosed.

Here’s what I want:

  • peplink mobile router that has 2 SIM slots (not simultaneous, it’s fine to switch)
  • advice on which data plans to get: based on experiences, I know that I need ATT and Verizon. I already have a $15/GB plan on Verizon which is OK. What is a simlar ATT plan?
  • Most of the time I am not travelling, so 8 months of the year, I don’t use this device at all, so generaly I’d rather pay per GB rather than per month.
  • [edit to add] Small and low power usage is good, as this runs off solar/house battery.

We offer some paypergb plans as well as sell peplink routers since we are a partner.
PM me for details.

I’ve placed an order for the Max BR1 Mini: Which PepWave Max for RV in Backcountry California? - #5 by soylentgreen and when it arrives, plan to use my existing Verizon SIM (it’s an old plan $15/month for 1 GB). Assuming that works, I’ll need an ATT SIM card.

Does anyone know of a data-only ATT (or ATT MVNO) sim card which would work? I don’t need much data, so $10-15 per GB would be fine.

One of these would seem to be the obvious choice. The 100 GB plan works well in my MAX BR1 MK2.

Thanks for suggestions - I should emphasize again that this RV typically sits in the garage 8 months of the year, so I would really like a plan that is low (or zero) cost when not in use.

Years ago, I had a StraightTalk / Verizon SIM for a hotspot that was OK - the main problem was that when I hit my 1GB limit, the plan cut out, and the only way to reactiavate the plan was to use the internet, which is not easy when your internet has been cut off.

So right now, my updated goal:

  • Find a SIM card and plan with 1-2GB of data, that uses the ATT network, that is either pre-paid (with auto renew) or has a monthly charge under $20/month.

I’m in a similar situation with my RV. You don’t need to renew that plan every month. You can choose not to renew it at the end of any billing period.

Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as I’d like it to be to restart any time. I believe after you activate it, it will (not surprisingly) stop after a month if you don’t refill it but the activation is good for 90 days. For a phone it means you can restart and keep the same number which is kind of meaningless for a router but it means that you can reactivate within 90 days and not have to pay another $15 activation fee. That means you can keep the account alive by paying every third month which I guess means slightly less than the $20/month (plus tax) average for the $55 plan that you’re looking for. I think you can pay for a lower amount. I think you could pay $35 every third month to keep the activation alive. That’s about $12/month then pay more for more data when you really want to use it.

You’re supposed to be able to refill by phone, I assume using a credit card. That’s where it gets a little fuzzy for me. According to the AT&T web site, you need a PIN to renew online or by phone. The way to get a PIN is by SMS text message to the number. My MAX BR1 MK2 doesn’t seem to be able to receive SMS, at least from AT&T. I’ve asked someone in the local store if they can set a PIN and they didn’t really understand the problem but said I could just renew by phone by quoting the router’s phone number and don’t need a PIN. I’ve only had it for a few weeks so it remains to be seen if that works although I guess it makes sense that they don’t really need to check authentication when someone is just paying money to refill an account.

I had to get mine signed up at a store because the online form didn’t recognize my IMEI. That’s a reason not to simply let it lapse if I’m not using it for a few months. It’s kind of a hassle to go through that again.

Having a functional SIM card / plan and not wanting to pay much and have the ability to turn it off when not in use…? Good luck.

Prepaid & MVNO are throttled and prioritized. Wherever your going RVing “in the West Coast USA” is likely a single tower scenario and it WILL be congested.

If you want it to work when you need it, go with both ATT+VZW post-paid plans with “X-number of GB per month premium network” access. If you only go with one, get Verizon cuz is more robust in rural areas. I have both and ATT always drops 1st or is non-existent. T-mobile is worthless for rural travel, like throwing money away.

That may be changing - in our part of the Sierras we’ve been in a Verizon-only area for years, when suddenly T-mobile friends started getting 5G (!) connections.

Of very limited anecdotal value, I grant, but T-Mobile seems to have an interesting offer in their $50-50GB combo.

W.r.t. MVNOs - in the back country congestion may be less of an issue. In our area we find that Visible works quite well, granted the increased latency. It is hard to beat $25/month…

Bottom line though for overall coverage: Yeah, Verizon :slight_smile:



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Thanks - on the low end, they do have a $35/month 15GB plan which is prepaid, so I suppose I could get this for a month or two when I need it. It’s about 10x more data than I need though. I wonder if ATT has a secret “off menu” plan that is cheaper and smaller?

N.B. My currently active $15/1GB hotspot plan on Verizon is no longer advertised - it looks like their cheapest plan is $35 for 6GB.

Update: I went to the ATT store, brought the PepWave with me, and about 30 minutes later walked out with a new 5G ATT SIM card on their prepaid $35/month for 15GB plan. They did have a cheaper unlisted plan, but it was $30 for 5GB which seemed like a bad deal.

Question: why is the IMEI not printed on the PepWave itself? I had to call home and have someone take a picture of the box for me.

Initially, it didn’t work, but after futzing with the APN, I got connected: AT&t SIM issues with 5G - #46 by soylentgreen