Mobile Hotspots offer many advantages over 4G call and data plans available for smartphones. All-in-one plans can be very expensive. Especially if you factor the purchase of a new iPhone or Galaxy S for example into the monthly payment. But there is an alternative.
But what is the best way to get a mobile hotspot data plan?
To be brutally frank, the big network providers are usually the ones to avoid. They have huge overheads to maintain, and this is reflected in the costs of the plan. Therefore some of the best deals are with providers you probably haven’t heard of. Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean the connection quality or speed will be reduced.
You may have switched your home electricity or gas supplier to get a better rate, but nobody comes and lays new pipes or cables. That is because you’re buying the same product you were always getting, just at a different price. Companies do this by buying wholesale electricity or gas from the main providers, which includes delivery to your home. They then take a smaller cut of the potential profits. Small airtime sellers do the same thing. They don’t run their own networks. They simply buy airtime from the big infrastructure owners and sell it at a lower margin.
In the US, it can be difficult to establish which network you’re truly on. There is nothing to compel providers to declare the information, but they will tell you if you ask. Most of these smaller providers have fewer overheads and much smaller operating costs. Therefore they can afford to take a much smaller profit which allows them to pass the savings onto you.
Because of this, don’t be afraid to look at plans by providers you may not have heard of. As part of your research, google the provider to see if you can find information on whose airtime they are actually using. This will help you make a decision on which is the best for your location and circumstances.
Also look for unlimited plans. New offers are being made to consumers on data allowances every day, some of which will offer no cap on usage, but this doesn’t always translate that way in full. Most unlimited plans will start to throttle your speed once you get past a certain point, but don’t let that put you off. The threshold is usually pretty high, and it does mean that you still get to keep your connection alive 24/7.
It may be, of course, that you don’t need unlimited data, and are happy to pay a cheaper price for a lower allowance but the principle of shopping around is still the same. It could be that a major network owner has good deals available on the day you do your research, so don’t rule them out just yet, just work out what you need and base your search on that.
Selling data is big, but incredibly competitive, business, and they all want your money. It’s not so long since you were tied in for 1 or 2 years with any airtime contract, but more and more now offer 30 day contracts. Therefore you can always change networks if or when your circumstances or the market changes.
Despite personal technology being one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the US, it is still very much a buyers market, and airtime is no exception to that. Do your homework, and the choices will be there for you