AT&T Mobley vs Verizon: Choosing the Best Mobile Hotspot for RV Streaming

So you’re an RVer looking to stay connected on the road. You want to be able to stream videos, music, and more from the comfort of your RV. But with so many mobile hotspot options out there, how do you choose?


FeatureAT&T MobleyVerizon Jetpacks
OverviewVehicle-specific mobile hotspotPortable WiFi router
Price$20/month (with AT&T phone plan), $90/month standaloneVarious plans starting at $35/month
Streaming PerformanceFrequently throttled, slow speedsConsistently fast, suitable for HD streaming
Data Plans and AffordabilityBudget-friendly, unlimited dataRange of plans, including unlimited
Coverage and ReliabilityGood coverage in metropolitan areas, potential gaps in rural areasExtensive coverage across the United States
Device Size and PortabilityVehicle-specific, not portableCompact, portable, and versatile
Power and UsageDraws power from RV battery, requires separate modem for WiFiBuilt-in rechargeable battery, easy to use
Connection Options and Setup ComplexityRequires pairing with a WiFi router or external modemSimple setup, built-in WiFi hotspot
Internet Security and User ControlRelies on router settings for securityBuilt-in device security and controls
Multiple Device AccessSupports around 5 devicesSupports 5-15 devices simultaneously
Phone/Tablet SupportNo native app for monitoring or settingsApps available for iOS and Android
Customer ServiceMixed reviews for AT&T supportGenerally better customer support for Verizon
RoamingDomestic use onlyRoaming options available on some plans
ResellingPlan can be resold for profitNo reselling opportunities
Existing AccountsExisting AT&T users save $10/month on MobleyPossible discounts for existing Verizon customers
Cancellation PoliciesRequires 30 days notice to cancelCan be canceled immediately

Overview of AT&T Mobley and Verizon Hotspots

First, let’s look at an overview of AT&T Mobley and Verizon hotspots.

What is AT&T Mobley?

AT&T Mobley is a small mobile hotspot device made specifically for use in vehicles. It plugs into your RV’s OBD-II port (the same port used for diagnostics) and draws power directly from your RV’s battery.

Mobley provides unlimited 4G LTE data for just $20/month. This makes it very budget-friendly compared to other plans. However, AT&T may throttle speeds during congestion.

The major pros of Mobley are:

Cons to consider:

  • Speeds may be throttled during congestion
  • Must be used in vehicle OBD-II port
  • Requires a separate modem for WiFi capability

What are Verizon Jetpacks?

Verizon offers a variety of Jetpack mobile hotspot devices that connect to their 4G LTE network. Jetpacks are portable WiFi routers that allow you to get internet on the go.

Verizon has prepaid and monthly Jetpack plans ranging from 5GB to unlimited data. Prices start at $35/month but can go up significantly for unlimited high-speed data.

Pros of Verizon Jetpacks include:

  • Reliable connectivity with Verizon’s extensive 4G LTE network
  • Multiple plan options based on data needs
  • Jetpacks double as WiFi routers

Cons to consider:

  • Plans can get expensive for unlimited high-speed data
  • Jetpacks rely on battery or outlet for power
  • Larger and bulkier than Mobley device

Now let’s do a deeper dive on how these two mobile hotspot options compare for RV streaming and general use.

Streaming Performance and Reliability

When it comes to streaming HD videos, music, and more from popular services like Netflix and Spotify, having reliable connectivity and fast speeds is a must. So how do AT&T and Verizon compare when it comes to keeping you connected while RVing?

Streaming with AT&T Mobley

The unlimited data offered by AT&T Mobley seems great on the surface, but many RVers report frustration with frequent throttling and slow data speeds, especially during peak congestion times. While Mobley may work fine for basic web browsing, its speeds are often inadequate for streaming HD video content without constant buffering.

Trying to connect multiple devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets to Mobley for media streaming can be a painful exercise in patience. Streaming at mobile hotspot speeds under 5 Mbps frequently leads to buffering hangs while watching video content. And when AT&T throttles the data speed down to 128 Kbps or even lower, streaming becomes impossible until traffic on the network lightens up.

While Mobley itself has reliable LTE connectivity thanks to being hardwired into your RV, AT&T’s policy of “unlimited but throttled data” means speeds are inconsistent at best. For media enthusiasts who want to stream their favorite shows and music on the road, Mobley leaves a lot to be desired.

Streaming with Verizon Jetpacks

Verizon Jetpacks offer a clear advantage when it comes to delivering consistently fast mobile hotspot speeds suitable for media streaming. With typical hotspot speeds in the 15-30 Mbps range and some devices capable of even faster LTE Advanced connectivity, Verizon Jetpacks can easily handle multiple HD video streams.

Of course, actual speeds will vary based on location, network congestion, etc. But in general, Verizon delivers excellent streaming performance that should satisfy even heavy media users. Having access to Verizon’s industry-leading network goes a long way toward providing the kind of fast, reliable speeds needed for buffer-free streaming.

The catch is that unlimited high-speed Verizon data will cost you. To get unlimited streaming, you’ll have to pay for one of Verizon’s priciest plans. However, many find the performance and reliability worth the premium price. If streaming HD video content is a high priority for your RV lifestyle, a Verizon Jetpack is the clear choice over Mobley.

Data Plans and Affordability

Since Mobley and Jetpacks take different approaches to their data plan options and pricing, evaluating costs is an important part of choosing the right option for your budget.

AT&T Mobley Data Plans

The biggest selling point of Mobley is undoubtedly its unlimited 4G LTE data for just $20/month. This makes it very budget-friendly compared to other hotspot options out there. Even with the risk of throttling, having unlimited, un-metered data use at this price point is a great value.

However, it’s important to note that the $20 rate is only available when you already have an existing AT&T unlimited smartphone plan. Those without an AT&T phone plan have to pay a higher $90/month for standalone Mobley service. Still not bad for unlimited LTE data, but nearly 5X more expensive than the discounted rate.

Also, Mobley’s $20 unlimited plan is technically intended for vehicle data use only. Technically, using it extensively outside your RV for home internet or WiFi hotspot purposes violates AT&T’s terms. Some users report getting away with it anyway, but it’s a risk to keep in mind.

Overall, if you already have an AT&T unlimited phone plan, Mobley’s $20 unlimited add-on makes it very affordable. But for budget-focused RVers who want a standalone hotspot option, Verizon has some compelling options too.

Verizon Jetpack Data Plans

Verizon has a wide range of data plan options for Jetpack users, ranging from occasional use to unlimited data. Here’s a quick rundown of the plans and pricing:

  • 5GB plan – $35/month: Good minimalist option for light users who mainly need web browsing and email access. Light streaming possible but higher risk of overages.
  • 15GB plan – $70/month: Allows for moderate usage including some media streaming. Still need to keep close eye on data consumption.
  • 30GB plan – $110/month: Higher data allotment makes it more practical for frequently streaming shows, music, etc. But overages can add up.
  • 50GB plan – $180/month: Higher cost but with this much data, most RVers can stream to their heart’s content without worrying about overages.
  • 75GB plan – $280/month: Maximum high-speed data allotment before unlimited throttled data kicks in. Ideal for heavy streamers and data users.
  • Unlimited plan – $400/month: For those who need max data without ever slowing down. Verizon’s top tier unlimited plan.

As you can see, Verizon offers plans tailored to light, moderate, and heavy data users. The options with higher data allotments do get quite expensive, so Verizon isn’t necessarily the most budget-friendly choice. However, you’re paying for premium connectivity and streaming performance.

For RVers who want mobile hotspot data on the cheap, Mobley has an advantage. But Verizon offers a wide range of options, albeit at higher price points. Prioritize your data usage needs and budget to determine which carrier is the better value for you.

There are also options like buying a used Jetpack device or going with a third party reseller that can provide cheaper Verizon data. Shop around and compare all the offerings in light of your financial situation. Don’t assume Verizon is out of your price range without investigating all the possibilities.

Coverage and Reliability

A mobile hotspot is useless without reliable network coverage wherever your RV adventures take you. Verizon and AT&T have the largest coverage networks, but there are some differences to consider.

AT&T Mobley Coverage

AT&T has come a long way in expanding their LTE coverage footprint across the country. They claim to cover over 99% of Americans with 4G LTE service. While not necessarily as robust in rural areas, they do provide extensive coverage for RV travelers sticking mainly to metropolitan and suburban regions.

However, some RVers pulling cross-country trips through less populated mountain, desert, and prairie regions find themselves struggling to get connections in certain dead zones. AT&T’s overall coverage is solid but not immune to gaps when you get off the beaten path. Always good to have an alternate connectivity option as backup.

The other concern is congestion in high-traffic areas. Even if there’s technically a strong signal, too many devices connecting to the same tower can cause slowdowns – especially when Mobile is de-prioritized by network management practices. Avoid potential frustrations by mapping your route ahead of time.

Verizon Jetpack Coverage

Verizon remains king when it comes to overall 4G LTE coverage across the United States thanks to their massive network footprint. They claim to reach over 99% of Americans and have a very solid presence even in more rural locales and off the Interstate system.

This gives RVers confidence they can pull up Google Maps or stream Netflix just about anywhere they travel without worrying about dead zones. Unless you’re literally out in the middle of nowhere, you can expect a reliable Verizon signal.

That said, no carrier has 100% flawless coverage all of the time. Factors like weather, network congestion, and remote locations can occasionally impact connectivity. But in general Verizon provides excellent coverage coast to coast, plus Hawaii and Alaska!

For RVers planning to spend lots of time boondocking through remote areas or off the beaten path, Verizon certainly provides more comprehensive connectivity. But both carriers do a pretty good job covering heavily populated areas and major Interstate routes.

Device Size, Portability, and Power

Going with a mobile hotspot gives you flexibility on the go, but you’ll want one that’s easy to use in your RV lifestyle. Mobley and Jetpacks take very different approaches when it comes to device size, portability, and power needs.

Mobley Size and Portability

The Mobley device itself is quite compact since it’s designed exclusively for use in vehicles. It plugs into the OBD-II port, so it’s not really portable. Your RV becomes the “case” for carrying Mobley around.

The downside to this consolidated vehicle-centric design is that you can’t easily take it out and use Mobley elsewhere. It’s not made for walking around with in your pocket as a WiFi hotspot. The device stays put in your RV to provide onboard connectivity.

Mobley Power and Usage

Powering Mobley is at least simple since it draws energy directly from your RV’s battery via the OBD-II connection, avoiding any battery life limitations. It turns on and off with your RV ignition.

The catch is that Mobley lacks any built-in WiFi capabilities. You must connect an external modem/router to create a true wireless hotspot. Most users go with a dedicated MiFi modem from Netgear or others for this purpose.

Setting up router modem devices adds complexity. And your RV essentially becomes a quasi-permanent “case” for Mobley and its associated modem gadgets. Lugging them around for mobile use outside your RV isn’t very practical.

Jetpack Size and Portability

Most Verizon Jetpacks are about the size of a small phone or deck of cards. Sleek and compact designs make them easy to drop in a pocket or bag for portable hotspot uses on the go apart from your RV.

Of course, you can also just leave a Jetpack in your RV full-time if you prefer the simplicity of a fixed installation. But for multi-purpose applications, Jetpacks give you that flexible mobility option in a tidy, convenient package.

Jetpack Power and Usage

Jetpacks use a built-in rechargeable battery to operate, so you get untethered portability without relying on external power. However, you have the limitation of battery life – usually 8-24 hours for Verizon models depending on usage.

Frequent battery drain is inconvenient for RV use, so most RVers plug their Jetpack into an outlet or USB charging port in the RV when parked. Some may want to rig up a more permanent 12V power connection too.

Having the hotspot capabilities self-contained in the Jetpack itself makes setup quick and easy without extra devices. You can connect with WiFi passwords and admin controls right from the Jetpack interface screen. Grab it and go.

Connection Options and Setup Complexity

Ease of setup and connection options also differ quite a bit between AT&T Mobley and Verizon Jetpacks:

Connecting with Mobley

Getting Mobley connected in your RV involves a few steps:

  1. Acquire Mobley device and activate AT&T data plan
  2. Connect Mobley OBD-II plug to RV port
  3. Pair Mobley with WiFi router or external modem
  4. Connect devices to modem WiFi network

So you’ll be juggling at least two different gadgets and WiFi network connections to get things working. While not overly complex with the right directions, it’s more involved than a typical hotspot setup.

The fixed OBD-II installation also makes it hard to move Mobley or take it with you elsewhere on the fly. You’ll need to integrate Mobley with your RV’s electrical system for seamless permanent use.

Connecting with a Jetpack

Using a Verizon Jetpack is very straightforward:

  1. Activate Verizon data plan and charge Jetpack
  2. Turn on Jetpack and connect to its built-in WiFi
  3. Connect devices to Jetpack WiFi network

With self-contained operation and WiFi hotspot features, getting online is quick and easy. You can leave the Jetpack permanently docked in your RV or grab it to go as needed for mobile use.

Jetpacks also easily allow multiple users to connect at the same time. Some support connecting up to 15 devices simultaneously. Connecting external routers or switches is also doable for larger scale hotspot uses.

Internet Security and User Control

No WiFi hotspot is immune from potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks. However, Mobley and Jetpacks provide users some degree of control over device access, monitoring usage, setting restrictions, and more.

Mobley Security

Mobley on its own has no built-in capabilities for monitoring connected devices, setting parental controls, filtering content, etc. Instead, you need to configure your paired router accordingly to manage your hotspot use.

Most quality routers have decent controls for locking down WiFi access, monitoring data use, blocking sites, and so on. However, it does mean an extra step rather than having security features built into Mobley directly. AT&T also collects user data for marketing purposes.

Jetpack Security

Verizon Jetpacks allow you to set a device name and secure password right from the touchscreen. You can change settings and passwords as needed. Some advanced Jetpacks even support guest WiFi networks with separate passwords.

Monitoring data usage and limiting access is straightforward from the Jetpack menu. Verizon includes useful parental controls for restricting inappropriate content and time usage limits. You get excellent control over your hotspot without added gadgets.

Both carriers will collect user data for their own purposes, but overall Jetpacks provide simpler security management integrated directly into the hotspot device.

Other Differences and Considerations

Beyond the major factors above, there are a few other considerations in choosing AT&T Mobley or Verizon Jetpacks:

  • Multiple device access: Jetpacks support 5-15 WiFi connections, while Mobley is limited to around 5 unless using enterprise-level routers.
  • Phone/tablet support: Mobley has no native iOS or Android app for monitoring usage or settings. Jetpacks have apps for both platforms.
  • Customer service: Verizon tends to rate higher than AT&T for customer support if issues arise.
  • Roaming: Jetpacks allow roaming on some partner networks internationally. Mobley only works domestically for now.
  • Reselling: Many users buy Mobley plans then resell them for profit since the plan is technically for vehicles only.
  • Existing accounts: Current AT&T cell customers save $10/month on Mobley rate. Existing Verizon users may get Jetpack discounts too.
  • Cancellation policies: Mobley requires 30 days notice to cancel while Jetpacks can be cancelled immediately.

Key Takeaways – Who Does Each Hotspot Suit Best?

After breaking down all the ins and outs, hopefully the better hotspot option for your RV lifestyle needs is clear. But it’s helpful to summarize the type of RVer each product may suit best:

  • Mobley is ideal for the cost-conscious streamer who already uses AT&T for phone service and wants a budget unlimited data add-on strictly for the RV at the risk of some throttling. Saving money is the priority over top-tier performance.
  • Verizon Jetpacks best suit those willing to pay more for premium connectivity, faster streaming speeds, and maximum coverage. Heavy media users and those who boondock in rural areas benefit most from Verizon’s network advantages despite higher costs.

Of course, your needs may not fully align with one option or the other. Do your research, read RV forum user reviews, and carefully weigh pros and cons for your situation. Don’t assume you have to stick exclusively with your current cell provider either.

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