New Truly Unlimited Prepaid Verizon JetPack Plan, Ok I Will Bite
I am not sure if I've talked about this already, but for Hub and I the internet is at the very top of our priority list. It is a NEED not a WANT.
When we sold our home and moved to my mom's, our mifi device at the time did not work down in the hole where we parked our fifth wheel. She has a pasture that is below her home. It made for a very private location for us, but it also meant that our cell service was spotty and the cellular Jetpack was unusable. At that time we owned a 6620 which has very limited capability in weak signal areas.
Fast forward nine months later when we hit the road with nothing more than our 15g data plan to share between all three of our devices. We quickly ran out of data and found ourselves camped out at the local library because the lodges at our campgrounds had terrible internet. We tried really hard to make this work for us but after three months we gave up and rented a grandfathered UDP line. Wow, what a difference, it has been mostly smooth sailing since then. BUT, and isn't there always a but... the price of that rented line is pretty steep and it is is not guaranteed to last .Because of those two factors I've been keeping my eyes open for a second plan. I should mention that we did try an AT&T unlimited plan thinking it would be a good alternative but the coverage was subpar so we cancelled it after the second month.
And then, yesterday it happened... I saw an article about the "NEW" unlimited PrePaid Jetpack plan from Verizon and immediately checked the article date...11/12/2018 Promising! I read that review and sifted through a bunch of outdated information to find relevent reviews and articles that I will link below...It seemed legit, does not throttle at 15 gig. But yes, it is a lower priority than post paid accounts and thus will be deprioritized in congested locations. Well, we live in campgrounds that are never in a congested area so we decided to try it out.
Unfortunately there is no way to contact the prepaid customer service people and after 5 failed attempts to call and talk with a customer service person I gave up and went in to a local Verizon store. The person who helped me told said that they are trained to say the data will be throttled at 15gig, I told them that's exactly what the articles online told me he would say and that per my research that isn't true of the latest version of the plan... he backed down... but told me not to come back and complain when the articles are wrong. We agreed to disagree and I proceeded to get my latest mifi device connected.
The great thing about this technology is that the device is irrelevent, it is the SIM card that is tied to the account, not the device, so you can swap out devices at any time. We now own two 7730s and one 8800L. All three are very good JetPacks. Last year we bought two 7730s to have one as a backup and to use once we found two data connections. Just last month the new 8800L was released which has more 4g channels resulting in a better connection in rural areas (like where we mostly hang out), so we purchased it right away. We also never removed the original line attached to our postpaid account that shares data with our phone. This line is only for extreme emergencies and is still limited to the 15 gig throttle rule. We've never had to use it because our rented line has worked 100% of the time.
I am going to be testing this new unlimited prepaid line using the 8800L, lets call this third line our pUDP for prepaid and gUDP is our grandfathered line. Testing completed so far is that I have downloaded over 20 gig of data with multiple downloads going at the same time while surfing and editing blog content. It was a bit bogged down during peak usage time, but I could still surf. I don't believe that I could play a game while downloading and that is ok, I expect that. Right now at 5am, all of my downloads have completed, so I ran a speed test to see if the line was now throttled (I wanted to debunk the store rep's statement asap of course). Clearly by the test results there is no throttling happening, but it is 5am in a rural area. Beginning sunday, we will be traveling 2500 miless. I will be stress testing it's speed as we traverse the southern states from Florida to Arizona.
I do not plan to give up the gUDP any time soon but am glad to have a potential backup. The biggest win here is that when we have HUGE 20+ gig game patches, we will now be able to run our updates concurrently. Our gUDP line bogs down with concurrent large downloads, so we have to take turns. If the download is extremely slow, we head to the local library which is not the best use of our time.
Finally, if you are curious how much data we use in a month, It is a minimum of 120 gig. We stream video, play online games, upload large video files, and maintain our stamping and camping blog.
Shopping and setup experience
The overall experience was terrible, beyond comprehension really. I talked to no less than 10 people and got the runaround 95% of the time. Their 800 number only knows how to send you to technical support for your postpaid phone. Even when I typed in my JetPack number it gave me the smartphone troubleshooting tree. So, If you are determined to give this a try you will have to suck it up and NOT get mad or give up on Verizon because they clearly don't want the prepaid business.
After the initial purchase and setup, I could not get registered on the prepaid myverizon website. I dialed 800-294-6804 and when I chose option 2 and typed in the JetPack number I ended up in a dead end, which resulted in the automated system hanging up on me, I find that infuriating, but it is how Verizon operates. I called again and this time I chose option 1 which is for support for the number I am calling in on. I told the automated system that I was having trouble with their website, and it asked me for my pin. Once I was on the line with the support person I immediately stated I needed to talk to a prepaid person, told them why and that I was very frustrated.
I spoke with three people, the first patched me through and I ended up back in post paid support again. That second person said they could help but clearly did not understand and I had to terminate the call before my head exploded. It was the last person who took pity on me and stayed with me until he got an actual prepaid person on the line.
Here are the web resources I found detailing the new prepaid plan. This is a month to month plan. Yes, you can skip months if you want but I was told if you don't use it for 6 months your number will be deleted and you will need another one. I am sure there is now guarantee that this plan will stick around.
First, here is the article I stumbled upone quite by accident. It is a marine information website: https://www.panbo.com/65-for-verizon-unlimited-hotspot-ill-give-that-a-try/
https://www.verizonwireless.com/prepaid/ <--Scroll down to the tablet and jetpack section which looks like the image above, this is the information from Verizon.
More supporting articles that convinced me to pursue this:
https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/verizon-overhauls-prepaid-introducing-unlimited-data-plans-for-jetpacks/ ,<--this is a paid for subscription site but they do put up teaser content, just enough for me to not have to pay.
The 8800L is available for purchase from Verizon for $199 or for $99 with a 2 year contract on a postpaid account, It is not listed as a prepaid device to purchase yet and I haven't seen it available on Amazon. I've had some network packet malformation issues with this device that I haven't seen with the 7730, It also gets confused over time and will create traceroutes that ends up in a dead end, when that happens I have to reboot it because everywhere I try to go says site not found when I know that they just worked. I am going to say that a firmware update will be coming soon!
The 7730 has varied pricing depending on whether it is new or a refurbished unit and is available on Amazon, Again we own 2 of these devices and our only complaint with them is that when they get an update they tend to refuse to boot all the way, we've had to switch them out numerous times. Here is an affiliate link to the 7730L on Amazon
Thanks for stopping by, please feel free to leave comments or questions, I am here to help!