This week I embarked on a new business venture. As with almost all RV’ers, Internet connectivity is much desired, oftentimes necessary for our day to day lives. We have had a few different types of Internet Service during our travels.
We started with 2 Sprint smartphones that were Jailbroken and shared the unlimited data through Foxfi. As we travelled we found that Sprint was not “everywhere” and would not support us. During a work camping stop, we hooked to Comcast for 3 months with a cable modem. That was great, but we haven’t been in another park where our cable modem would work.
I read about the Assumption of Liability process from Verizon in 2014, but didn’t jump on that because I was skeptical about Verizon keeping it Unlimited and Unthrottled. I missed that opportunity. I was seriously considering a Millenicom account getting 20GB for $80 per month. This seemed acceptable compared to other options. In my haste I didn’t buy one, and the next month Verizon bought Millenicom and shut down their data plan anyway.
We ended up shutting off our Sprint service and switching both of our phones to Verizon. Then Verizon offered a Double your Data promotion, and we were able to get 40GB to share. This made things much better, but we still had to monitor our usage carefully. We shut off Netflix and told the kids no YouTube unless we were hooked into park Wi-Fi. They could go to the clubhouse and watch away. I do have a Jefa Tech Wi-Fi repeater setup, and occasionally I am able to log onto park Wi-Fi and connect my router to it. This is seldom, and the service is slow to non-existent, as many RV’ers know.
I signed up for Omnilynx about a week after I heard about it. How exciting to be able to get Unlimited Verizon 4G service for $50 per month. It was all the talk on the RV forums and Facebook groups. However before I could receive my Jetpack from Omnilynx, their service was shut down. They went above and beyond the original scope of their plan with Verizon, and they were done.
My search continued and I was introduced to Karma Wi-Fi. This is on Sprint, so I know about the coverage limitations, but I gave it a try. I missed out on Millenicom and Omnilynx due to my hesitation so I went for it. I got my Karma Go in around Thanksgiving and it worked good. However in the 6-8 weeks that I had it, Karma sent out emails about how excited they were with the response to their service and they were overwhelmed and would have to change things. I went from Unlimited at 5MBps to a mere 15GB. After 15GB they would throttle the service to where only email could be used. This was unacceptable, so I returned the device and shut it down. They did however promise a FULL refund for the device and service. As of this posting, I am awaiting my refund, but I’m sure it will be there.
HERE IS THE GOOD PART. I decided to lease a Data line from a 3rd party. Most people I know that didn’t obtain a Verizon prior to the Assumption of Liability shutdown in 2014 can now lease a line from someone that did. There are people or companies out there that have hundreds of lines available and lease them out for anywhere from $125 per month to $200. The cheaper ones are very rare and hard to find. They usually aren’t advertised and can only be obtained from someone with the “I know a guy” reference. I did come across a plan that has multiple lines attached to it. I wanted only 1 line, but I had to take them all. Now I have several Unlimited Verizon Data Plan lines. I only need 1, so the others are available to be leased from me. I have contacted Verizon customer service as well as their Assumption of Liability line. I have asked about leasing and subleasing the grandfathered personal as well as business lines and have been told by multiple representatives that it is legal. I have the SIM cards for the lines, and soon plan to purchase some used Verizon Jetpacks. Right now I am offering them at $145 per month for the service and it can be done through PayPal or Credit Card. I have offered these out on several Facebook discussion groups and have posted them on EBay. I hope this works out because I have to lease at least 10 of them just to break even.
It is actually funny how this has all come full circle. I start out questioning the validity of the Verizon unlimited data hotspot plan. I ignored it and watched Millenicom and Omnilynx not succeed on the Verizon network. I actually tried and was disappointed with the Karma Go on the Sprint network. Now here I am 2 years later and the best I can still find is the old Grandfathered Verizon Data Plans. You cannot open a new line of service with Verizon and start up a line on the old plan, but there are literally thousands of grandfathered lines of service that Verizon has publicly stated they will not throttle or force any lines off of their network.
So I didn’t get in with the whole AOL thing and get my Internet for $35 per month like some. Those days are long gone. The Wireless companies continue to change their data plans all the time. Many have asked if a true unlimited data plan will ever return, and the answer is always no. The AT&T grandfathered plans are still out there, but they have been known to throttle service at around the 22-25GB mark. Verizon has kept true to their word and allows the old plans to keep going. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be able to offer the Verizon data plan to people for $145 per month. Only time will tell.