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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

SE Michigan wireless internet

Author  [Modern View]

06-05-2014 05:30:16

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I've been using Millenicom 3G mobile broadband service for a couple of years now. This has worked out well, as they offered a 20 GB/month cap as opposed to the 5 GB cap for AT&T and Verizon. On the first of May, their rate jumped 50 percent from $60/month to $90, so I started to look for alternatives.

One possibility was to switch to 4G LTE service from Millenicom, which is still $90/month with a 20GB cap, but much faster. But they only offer a "MiFi" device, and I wanted to keep my Cradlepoint MBR95 mobile router, which requires a USB mobile broadband modem. (I haven't been happy with the perfomance of MiFi devices, while the MBR is very solid.)

I found two different companies that offer "fixed wireless" broadband internet in my area: Air Advantage (Frankenmuth, MI and Tri-County Wireless (Fenton, MI These companies offer various speeds up to 10 Mbps with unlimited data caps at reasonable prices. (Air Advantage charges $69/month for 5 Mbps service, while TCW charges $70/month for 4 Mbps service.) Since this service relies on a fixed antenna at your home, you don't get "internet anywhere" like you do with mobile broadband. Both companies came to my home and did site surveys; both said they couldn't provide me service because of all the trees.

Then a couple of weeks ago I got an email from 3G Store, the company that sold me the Cradlepoint MBR95. They now offer Millenicom 4G LTE service on all their "compatible" (i.e. "Verizon") devices. I sent them an email explaining I wanted to use the Cradlepoint, and they recommended the Pantech UML290, which I purchased. The UML290, Verizon SIM and Millenicom activation came to $130 plus $5 shipping. I got the device yesterday, plugged it into the router and it has worked flawlessly since. My download speed went from about 1 Mbps to over 10 Mbps.

I wish I could get cheaper service or a higher data cap, but for now it seems Millenicom is still the best deal for mobile broadband. The 20 GB cap was plenty with 3G, but a bit low for 4G LTE. On the other hand, AT&T still has a 5 GB cap on their 4G service, which is the equivalent of a Chevy Suburban with a 5 gallon gas tank. Verizon now offers higher caps, but their 20GB cap is $110/month.

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TomH in PA

06-05-2014 16:01:21

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 Re: SE Michigan wireless internet in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-05-2014 05:30:16  
I've been thinking about switching from DSL to Verizon. From what you say it wouldn't be worth it though. I get unlimited download for ~$100 per month on the land line (along with the local and long distance phone).

Maybe I'll just get an external antenna for the cell phone and stay with Sprint for cell. Thanks for the info.

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06-05-2014 10:00:12

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 Re: SE Michigan wireless internet in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-05-2014 05:30:16  
I've been using Millenicom for a few years. In NY and northern Michigan. I first had the Novate 720 USB stick and Cradle Point router. When 4GLTE became available in the area of central NY - I switched to the MiFi. No 4GLTE in northern Michigan. The MiFi works great - with 4GLTE in NY and 1X or 3G in northern Michigan (Rogers City and Posen areas).

But yeah, the price went up. Also they are now discontinuing all client-based email support unless we pay extra. Still seems the be the best deal around for what we want.

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