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Old 20-04-2019, 11:17   #46
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Originally Posted by theDangerz View Post

We still want to have some data/wifi option to cover the "in between" periods, so that our first day at each new island/country isn't wasted trying to hop a cab to a phone store or coffee shop... and we are currently trying a few things on right now (Google Fi, Skyroam, etc)... so we'll know more soon.

Thanks for your breakdown of experiences of phones while island hopping. Whaddya think so far with your trial period of Google Fi, Skyroam, and the ilk? Any opinion of them yet?
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Old 20-04-2019, 15:15   #47
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Thanks for your breakdown of experiences of phones while island hopping. Whaddya think so far with your trial period of Google Fi, Skyroam, and the ilk? Any opinion of them yet?
I have been in the western Caribbean for the past 6 months with an att us phone, skyroam, Google fi and a Guadalope Digicel phone. Overall the att phone works the best but is the most expensive at $10 a day. The Digicel phone is a close second and it is only $45 a month. It didn't work in Colombia but did well most other countries until we reached Honduras and Belize. Skyroam is spotty in it's coverage. Some places it was great but Aruba, Belize and San blas it was totally dead. It is also very easy to blast through its 500mbyte per day limit because cell phones assume a wifi hot spot is unlimited. I would not recommend it as a sole solution but it nice for guests to use. The Google phone also was dead in Aruba and San blas. I think it is a good solution for most countries but it is 2x the Digicel rate and calls to the USA are not free like they are on the att phone. Yes, getting local SIM cards is also an option. But we have been in 12 countries in 6 months and doing that dance with 2 phones was not appealing.
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Old 20-04-2019, 15:26   #48
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Re: cell phone while cruising

As a mobile user of AT&T, I use their daily data plan of pay as you go global coverage for $10/day. When arriving to a new country where I don't have yet a local sim card, (or even if I have, an internet access is required to activate the local sim) I turn the roaming on on my AT&T line and have 24 hours of unlimited data at the full bandwidth to find my preferred local solution. I'm traveling worldwide very frequently and this usually work perfectly in any country.

As an internet junkie I'm still looking for a reasonable satellite internet service I could use while cruising anywhere offshore for days - up to a week, away from local cellular towers coverage. - I mean, without paying $000's for the hardware and many hundreds for the ISP.



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Thanks for your breakdown of experiences of phones while island hopping. Whaddya think so far with your trial period of Google Fi, Skyroam, and the ilk? Any opinion of them yet?
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Old 20-04-2019, 15:35   #49
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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As a mobile user of AT&T, I use their daily data plan of pay as you go global coverage for $10/day. When arriving to a new country where I don't have yet a local sim card, (or even if I have, an internet access is required to activate the local sim) I turn the roaming on on my AT&T line and have 24 hours of unlimited data at the full bandwidth to find my preferred local solution. I'm traveling worldwide very frequently and this usually work perfectly in any country.

As an internet junkie I'm still looking for a reasonable satellite internet service I could use while cruising anywhere offshore for days - up to a week, away from local cellular towers coverage. - I mean, without paying $000's for the hardware and many hundreds for the ISP.
You are really getting away from the rat race.
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Old 20-04-2019, 15:44   #50
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Re: cell phone while cruising

Im kinda confused!!! All this phone blather blah blah this phone that phone-----Would everyone clear up one thing for me??? DO THESE PHONES WORK FAR OUT AT SEA????????????
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:08   #51
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Im kinda confused!!! All this phone blather blah blah this phone that phone-----Would everyone clear up one thing for me??? DO THESE PHONES WORK FAR OUT AT SEA????????????
All of these solutions are cell based and therefore limited to 15 miles of land. Offshore the choices are more complicated and expensive. We use an iridium go for email and weather info but it is not general internet device.
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:09   #52
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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As a mobile user of AT&T, I use their daily data plan of pay as you go global coverage for $10/day. When arriving to a new country where I don't have yet a local sim card, (or even if I have, an internet access is required to activate the local sim) I turn the roaming on on my AT&T line and have 24 hours of unlimited data at the full bandwidth to find my preferred local solution. I'm traveling worldwide very frequently and this usually work perfectly in any country.

As an internet junkie I'm still looking for a reasonable satellite internet service I could use while cruising anywhere offshore for days - up to a week, away from local cellular towers coverage. - I mean, without paying $000's for the hardware and many hundreds for the ISP.
It works great but it gets expensive at $300 per month per phone for a full time cruiser.
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:14   #53
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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All of these solutions are cell based and therefore limited to 15 miles of land. Offshore the choices are more complicated and expensive. We use an iridium go for email and weather info but it is not general internet device.
WOW -all this hassle and expense just to re-enter the turmoil you tried to leave-- and some are cruising the south pacific where stops are weeks and months in between-- seems cell phones have a greater hold on people than even TV!!! my previous sailboat had a SSB radio with a Pactor and it did emails at very low cost. Used it in Bahamas once till I got bored with it. It could also get "patched" into the US phone system so it did both email and phone calls.
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:34   #54
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Re: cell phone while cruising

As suggested, only using AT&T global roaming for one day per new country entry - unless I have already an activated sim card for that country, so over a typical month I never use the AT&T per day data roaming for more than 3 days. For the rest of the time out of US waters, I use local sim cards that cost approx $2/Gb or less.

I hear the comments from those interested to disconnect...
Not my case, I love sailing, racing and cruising but not less stay fully connected and engaged with family, friends and my work (to keep enough of a cash-flow to support all that... )


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It works great but it gets expensive at $300 per month per phone for a full time cruiser.
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:46   #55
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Originally Posted by geoleo View Post
Im kinda confused!!! All this phone blather blah blah this phone that phone-----Would everyone clear up one thing for me??? DO THESE PHONES WORK FAR OUT AT SEA????????????
Cell phone range is a bit similar to vhf. It is pretty well line of sight. Over water, and connecting to a cell tower on the side of a small mountain, I've had coverage (a bar or two) to 20-25 miles. Ok for some texting, but unreliable for internet/emails.
Your results may vary.
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Old 20-04-2019, 16:56   #56
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Re: cell phone while cruising

Im hearing that Mr D Trump will give the go for the 5G network...so for us here in the oil/offshore environment, we will get coverage!
This may be a break through worldwide!!

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Old 20-04-2019, 17:31   #57
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Im hearing that Mr D Trump will give the go for the 5G network...so for us here in the oil/offshore environment, we will get coverage!
This may be a break through worldwide!!

??????

I believe 5g has less range than 3g/4g/LTE - just much more bandwidth.

There's a reason it's called "cell" coverage.
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Old 20-04-2019, 18:15   #58
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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??????

I believe 5g has less range than 3g/4g/LTE - just much more bandwidth.

There's a reason it's called "cell" coverage.
Exactly. The yet higher frequencies are getting to the microwave/radar area, very much line-of-sight, and specifically are low power so they can be re-used in smaller cells.


Don't be in too big a hurry for 5G - in spite of the marketing BS it is not really here yet, and won't be until next year at the earliest. Certain carriers are claiming to have 5G but that is a clever re-definition of the term. When it comes it will be in the cities first, and will be slow to build out to rural areas - simply not the big win there due to the short range. Some areas covered by 4G (LTE) may never get 5G.



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Old 25-04-2019, 11:44   #59
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Re: cell phone while cruising

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Thanks for your breakdown of experiences of phones while island hopping. Whaddya think so far with your trial period of Google Fi, Skyroam, and the ilk? Any opinion of them yet?
Well... is my delay in response any indication

So far we haven't seen a ton of difference in between the coverages. Most of our time online has been either Tmobile or GoogleFi.
Both seem to come in and out.

To say its all relative would be an understatement. I expected to get into the island and have absolutely nothing in terms of cell/wifi until we got into a big town/port. Combine that with our personal mission to stay/anchor at the most remote islands... im both wishing we had better coverage and simply shocked there's any at all.

The bigger issue than which service you should use seems to be that it's simply tough to use any one as a standalone.
While both Tmobile and GoogleFi both are "unlimited" plans, they also both throttle you after a certain amount of usage and both don't want you tethering your phone to other devices, which means even more/faster throttling and/or even breach of contract. In our past history with Tmobile, we Alsop got to a point where they wrote and threatened to cancel our plan simply because we were out of the country for so long... apparently it didn't match their "intent" of the unlimited/roaming contract.

Pair that with the fact that most phones/devices only help you "monitor/reduce" your own usage when on "cell data" and open up the floodgates whenever you appear to be on "wifi" (or tethered, which appears as wifi), and we find ourselves getting throttled really rapidly.

So far, we've been spending time trying to delete all unused apps, find out what's refreshing and stealing data we don't really need, etc. And... of course, learning to be not so attached anyway.

All of this should also be taken with a grain of salt... We have only just arrived at the USVIs, so we can only speak to The Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico... and the Bahamas made all of this unbelievably easy as our Aliv plan was truly unlimited (no throttling, no problem tethering, etc). If we hadn't had the Aliv plan, we probably would simply be thrilled to see the occasional bar pop up, whereas we've been admittedly a bit spoiled.
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Old 25-04-2019, 16:16   #60
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Re: cell phone while cruising

"While both Tmobile and GoogleFi both are "unlimited" plans, they also both throttle you after a certain amount of usage and both don't want you tethering your phone to other devices,"
Plans differ, and phones differ. Some phones that can be brought to TMob will not allow tethering because of unexplained "differences" in how they are connected to TMob's services. But I can assure you that at least in the continental US, at least some of TMob's plans very much do allow tethering if the phone itself supports it.
You often will not be able to use the phone as a phone while it is acting as a hot spot, but that's not unique to TMob either.
FWIW.

The most reliable way to get information about anything to do with cell phones, is to get three Magic8Balls and see if two out of three agree. Way easier than trying to get answers out of the support staff, at any of them. (sigh)
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