Unlimited Data Plans for RVers: Stay Connected on the Road

Trying to stream your favorite shows or post your travel photos while boondocking off-grid can be frustrating with a limited data plan. The good news is there are now options for RVers to get truly unlimited high-speed data on the go.

Why Unlimited Data is Essential for RVers

Life on the road means you won’t have consistent access to Wifi. While camping at state parks or parking overnight at a Cracker Barrel might allow you to quickly check email, you won’t be able to stream video or run data-heavy applications for long.

An unlimited cellular data plan keeps you connected no matter where your RV adventures take you. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Streaming movies & TV shows – Binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu without having to stress about data caps.
  • Work remotely – Have reliable access for video calls, sending large files, and using VPNs. This allows RVers to work on the road.
  • Smart home devices – Connect and control smart security systems, thermostats, and appliances. This allows you to monitor your home remotely.
  • Navigation & mapping – Use Google Maps and GPS navigation without any limits.
  • Uploading photos – Share all your incredible travel photos online. Data-heavy photo uploads can eat up limited data quickly.
  • Gaming – Online gaming requires robust data usage, especially for consoles. Unlimited data allows for seamless gaming while RVing.
  • Internet for guests – Provide internet access for guests coming aboard your RV so they can stay connected too.

Unlimited data makes is easy to use the internet exactly as you would at home while traveling. There are no surprises from running over a capped data limit which could leave you offline.

Comparing the Top Unlimited Data Plans

Now that we’ve seen why unlimited data is so beneficial for the RV lifestyle, let’s look at some of the top plan options available. We’ll compare speeds, pricing, and special features.

Verizon’s Unlimited Plans

Verizon is the largest cellular network in the U.S. with the broadest coverage. While their unlimited plans are on the pricier side, you get access to Verizon’s premium 4G LTE network.

Verizon offers a few different unlimited plans:

  • Start Unlimited – Starts at $70/month for one line. Video streaming is capped at 480p quality.
  • Play More Unlimited – Starts at $80/month for one line. Includes 720p HD streaming. 15GB of mobile hotspot data per line.
  • Get More Unlimited – Starts at $90/month for one line. Top priority on the network. Includes 480p streaming. 30GB of mobile hotspot data per line.
  • Do More Unlimited – Starts at $80/month for one line. Same as Play More but replaces streaming with 50% off the monthly device payment.

An advantage with Verizon’s plans is you can mix and match unlimited plans on a single account. So you could do Play More on one line and Do More on another.

These plans do not throttle your speeds after hitting the premium data cap, but mobile hotspot speeds revert to 3G speeds. Video typically streams around 4-6 Mbps on unlimited plans, with HD streaming on Play More and Get More.

Verizon also offers 100GB of high-speed hotspot data for RVing purposes for just $10/month extra. This is added to Get More and Play More plans.

T-Mobile Essentials, Magenta & Magenta Max

T-Mobile has grown tremendously thanks to their focus on unlimited data. They offer several compelling unlimited data plans:

  • Essentials – $60/month per line. Includes unlimited talk, text, and smartphone data. Mobile hotspot not included. Video capped at 480p.
  • Magenta – $70/month per line. Has 100GB of premium data per line before being deprioritized. 5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Netflix included.
  • Magenta Max – $85/month per line. Truly unlimited data without any caps. 40GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data per line. Netflix included. Highest priority on the T-Mobile network.

T-Mobile plans allow unlimited video streaming up to 4K UHD. For RVers needing lots of hotspot data, Magenta Max is a great choice. Their 5G and LTE networks now cover most of rural America after merging with Sprint.

A nice bonus is all plans include unlimited talk, text, and data when traveling in Canada and Mexico. Useful for RVers exploring those areas.

AT&T Unlimited Plans

AT&T has improved their unlimited data plans significantly over the past few years. They now offer these options:

  • Unlimited Starter – $65/month per line. Unlimited data. Mobile hotspot not included. Streaming capped at SD quality.
  • Unlimited Extra – $75/month per line. 50GB of premium data per line. 15GB of mobile hotspot data. Streaming in HD quality.
  • Unlimited Elite – $85/month per line. No speed caps or data limits. Includes 30GB of mobile hotspot data per line. Streaming in highest quality available.

AT&T plans also allow streaming music from select services like Pandora and Apple Music without it counting towards your data usage. This is beneficial for RVers who frequently listen to music on the road.

One advantage AT&T has is access to the FirstNet network. This gives priority public safety access that can result in better speeds during congestion. First responders can take advantage, but it’s also included with AT&T Unlimited Elite plans for all customers.

Data-Only Plans from Resellers & Non-Profits

There are also options for getting unlimited data without a traditional wireless carrier contract. These data-only plans use the major cellular networks, but are offered through resellers and non-profits.

Calyx Institute is a member-based non-profit that provides unlimited hotspot data on the T-Mobile network for just $50/month. This plan is truly unlimited at 4G LTE speeds with no throttling or deprioritization. You do need to join the institute as a member to access this plan.

Nomad Internet offers unlimited data plans around $50-$60/month on either the T-Mobile or Verizon networks. Video is capped at SD quality but otherwise there are no major limits.

UnlimitedVille has partnered with U.S. Cellular to offer rural-focused unlimited data plans ideal for RVers. Pricing starts at $55/month and includes unlimited talk and text as well.

Reseller options like these allow you to get reliable unlimited data for the lowest prices. Just be aware that customer service likely won’t be as robust compared to dealing directly with the major carriers. But for simply getting connected on the open road, these plans work very well.

Choosing the Right Mobile Hotspot for Your RV

Once you’ve chosen an unlimited data plan, you’ll need a mobile hotspot device to get your RV connected. There are a few main options to consider:

  • Wireless routers – Dedicated hotspot routers are the easiest way to get your RV online. There is no setup required beyond powering it on. Many include LCD touchscreens, internal batteries, and the ability to connect to LTE and WiFi simultaneously. Popular choices include the Netgear Nighthawk M1, Cradlepoint IBR900, and Peplink MAX BR1 Pro.
  • Smartphones – You can use a smartphone’s hotspot capabilities in a pinch. However, phone hotspots are not ideal for extended use. But having an unlimited data SIM card on hand for your phone can provide peace of mind if your primary hotspot fails.
  • Cellular signal boosters – Installing a cellular signal booster like the weBoost Drive Reach can amplify weak cell signals and improve data speeds. This helps access LTE data from campsites in remote areas.

When selecting a hotspot router, look for one that supports LTE Cat 20 speeds or higher. This provides access to the fastest 5G and LTE data. Having an external antenna port is also useful to connect a roof-mounted antenna for better signal away from obstructions.

With a powerful mobile router and unlimited data SIM card, you’ll have performance on par with the internet at home.

Getting Connected at Campsites & Parks

In addition to using mobile hotspot data, you’ll likely want to take advantage of campground WiFi when available. Here are some tips for getting connected:

  • Ask the campground for the latest WiFi login credentials. Speeds will vary drastically by location.
  • Try to park as close as possible to the campground’s router or antenna for the best signal strength.
  • Use a strong directional WiFi antenna on your RV to improve the connection to the campground access point.
  • Consider using a WiFi booster or range extender to amplify and rebroadcast the campground’s signal.
  • For public hotspots, watch out for any time limits which can kick you offline frequently.
  • Avoid doing data-heavy tasks like streaming on public hotspots so you don’t bog down the shared network.
  • Use a wired ethernet connection when available for faster speeds and lower latency.
  • Be prepared with backup options like your mobile hotspot in case the camp WiFi is overloaded or unusable.

Visiting campsites with strong free WiFi can help you save your unlimited data for when you really need it. But keep your hotspot powered on as well in case the camp WiFi lets you down.

Now let’s look at some of the top recommended hotspot routers and modems tailor-made for RV connectivity.

Pepwave Max BR1 Pro

  • Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi router with speeds up to 300Mbps
  • LTE speeds up to 300Mbps
  • Removable CAT12 LTE modem
  • 5 Gigabit LAN ports for wired connections
  • Automatic failover between multiple WAN connections
  • Advanced firewall and VPN security
  • Easy to setup and manage

The Pepwave BR1 Pro offers elite performance combined with RV-friendly features like internal battery backup, data usage alerts, and automatic switching between hotspot routers. It’s the premium choice for uncompromising connectivity.

Netgear Nighthawk M1

  • Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi router with speeds up to 1Gbps
  • LTE Cat 16 modem for speeds up to 1Gbps
  • Removable AT&T and T-Mobile SIM support
  • Ethernet port for wired connections
  • Data usage monitoring
  • Media server for wirelessly streaming to devices
  • LCD touchscreen display

The Nighthawk M1 is one of the most popular RV mobile hotspots due to its fast speeds and robust feature set. With support for advanced LTE network capabilities, this hotspot future-proofs your RV’s connectivity.

Roaming Man Unlimited 4G Data Hub

  • LTE Cat 4 modem with speeds up to 150Mbps
  • Removable SIM slot compatible with most carriers
  • Dual-band 802.11n WiFi
  • Ethernet port for wired connections
  • 12 Hour internal battery
  • LCD status display
  • Rugged, anti-shock enclosure

Roaming Man specializes in wireless products made for RVs. Their Unlimited 4G Data Hub delivers reliable performance in a durable package capable of surviving life on the road. It’s a cost-effective hotspot router that gets the job done.

Cradlepoint IBR900 Integrated Mobile Router

  • LTE modem with support for LTE CAT 18 speeds up to 1 Gbps
  • Removable modem for carrier flexibility
  • Gigabit WiFi router capability
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired expansion
  • Designed for easy mounting, including ceiling
  • Remote cloud management
  • Dual-modem models for automatic WAN failover

The IBR900 from Cradlepoint is an enterprise-grade mobile router ideal for RVs needing optimal performance. With cloud-based management and advanced proprietary software for smoother streaming, it’s the ultimate solution for superusers.

Key Considerations When Choosing an Unlimited Data Plan

We’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to choosing the right unlimited data plan and equipment for your RV lifestyle. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Carrier coverage – Look at carrier coverage maps to see who provides the best service where you plan to travel. Verizon and AT&T have the most rural presence. T-Mobile has improved connectivity across the country after merging with Sprint.
  • LTE bands supported – Your hotspot router needs to be compatible with your carrier’s primary LTE bands to get the fastest speeds. Most hotspots now support all major U.S. LTE bands.
  • Data priority – Some unlimited plans prioritize data usage after hitting a certain threshold, which can slow your speeds during network congestion. Magenta Max and Unlimited Elite plans have the highest priority access.
  • WiFi performance – A hotspot’s WiFi range and number of compatible devices impact your whole RV’s connectivity. Newer 802.11ac routers have the bandwidth to support multiple users streaming and gaming simultaneously.
  • Battery backup – An integrated battery keeps your hotspot online if shore power is lost. This maintains internet access if you need to quickly relocate the RV or are dry camping off-grid.
  • Antenna ports – Having external antenna ports allows connecting routers and antennas for maximum signal strength. This is useful when camping remotely.

Carefully weighing factors like these will ensure you select the ideal unlimited data plan and equipment for your specific RVing needs and travel style.

Enjoying the RV Lifestyle With Unlimited Data

Reliable internet access is truly an essential utility for RV travelers. With an unlimited data plan and the right wireless router or hotspot modem, you’ll have the freedom to roam the country while enjoying unrestricted access to work, entertainment, smart home devices, and more.

More carriers than ever are now offering unlimited data plan options without hard throttling or deprioritization caps. Combined with more widespread rural LTE coverage, staying connected on the road is easier than ever.

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