Rural areas especially in the United States are usually forgotten particularly when it comes to DSL, Cable and fiber internet. These areas in many instances are pushed aside by the large Internet service providers primarily because of the high cost of putting up the infrastructure. It leaves customers in rural areas with little to no Internet options. This is where 4G and LTE internet technology typically comes in to take centre stage for rural internet provision. These Internet service providers use the Mobile Virtual Network to deliver their services.
However, it’s important to know that MVNOs don’t have their own infrastructure, they usually contract with major Internet Service Providers to use their infrastructure such as Cell towers to deliver Internet services. This is easy because the signal towers in some of these places are underutilized. Unlimited 4G Home Internet providers take advantage of underutilization of the signal towers to provide internet access to local residents and businesses.
If you live in rural areas, you might think that lack of good internet access is a norm and that there are no options available. Most of the people and businesses in these areas are used to poor internet access and don’t usually think of feasible internet alternatives. But because of the increase in demand for internet and other digital services in these rural areas, most fixed wireless providers have started offering services in these areas. So, which among the alternatives available is the best for you? Why should you choose any of the MVNOs? In this brief, you have all the information to help you make sound decisions.
What’s the difference between Fixed and Unlimited Internet?
Before I delve any deeper, let me make sure you can clearly discern between fixed internet and unlimited internet. Fixed wireless internet relies on the frequency of signals that carry the internet from the tower to the antennas in the building. It’s very different from fiber optic, cable internet and satellite internet. With Satellite Internet, there’s a base station that sends the internet signals to space and back. It actually works the same as listening to a radio in a long car ride, you have faced some issues with lost signal and signal interference from bad weather.
Moving on, unlimited Internet is related to the internet usage and not a connection type. Internet plans that have any kind of cap offer limited data to the customers for usage. If the customer goes past the cap, they are charged for extra data. In the case of unlimited data, users can access the internet without worries.
Unlimited Data for Rural areas
Previously, unlimited cheap data was only available to people in major towns and cities. Today, the demand for unlimited data in the rural and suburban areas is making a big difference. Thanks to the advancement in technology, today people in rural areas can access unlimited data.
It’s even accessible to the most remote areas. The current question is not whether you will get unlimited data in rural areas, the question is whether unlimited data has to be slow. To some of the ISPs that especially care about their plans and pricing, unlimited data should not be slow. Some people don’t know the fact that Internet speed is not calculated depending on how fast data travels but the amount of data that you can receive per second. The internet speed can easily be regarded as the download capacity of the internet.
Best Rural internet options
You might be living in areas where there are more than one internet options. So among them, which is the best option and why should you pick it. Is Satellite better than Fixed wireless, dial-up and 4G LTE home Internet? Let’s find out. All the available internet options have their own benefits and disadvantages. If you live in areas where Fixed wireless internet and Satellite internet are available, I often recommend fixed wireless mainly because satellite internet is expensive and has lower data caps. Data caps can be frustrating especially if you are a staid internet user. If you are not a heavy internet user, then other options can work well with your needs.
The Initial Challenges
In the US, location is a serious insurmountable barrier to fast and unlimited Internet. Living far from the major cities of the country can as well mean poor cellular coverage. The internet in rural areas is also known to be relatively expensive to Fiber, DSL and cable internet available in the cities. To some of the people in rural areas, internet is n impossible and an unaffordable utility. Some of the areas are far away from the working distance of 4G LTE.
The only alternative we have been thinking about in rural areas is the satellite internet and fixed wireless internet. However, if you live in areas where there are tall buildings, trees and mountains, then the signals and stability of your connections are very poor. Recently, some Internet service providers have invested enough time and money to provide unlimited 4G internet to people and businesses in rural areas.
In rural areas, even unlimited data has limits
Most Internet service providers in rural areas have limits on the amount of data that someone can use in a single day. There are some of the instances when these companies fail to meet the current demands of data and for that reason, the first thing they think about is to limit the amount of data that any user can utilize. You will see many internet service providers claiming that they offer unlimited data but most of them impose soft data caps.
In the 4G LTE, there are two types of data caps found there. These are the soft and hard data caps. In the side of soft data caps, if the user surpasses the data usage, they are going to be deprioritized but in the case of hard data caps, the user will be limited from accessing the internet until they buy another bundle or pay overcharge charges. If you have up to 4 users in your family, you may not exceed 225GB of data per month. So, if you have a busy average family, you are very likely to experience Deprioritization at some points during the month.
With all that information, you might be already looking for the best MVNO deals in your local areas. So, which among the options is the best? Here is a list of the unlimited 4G Home Internet providers.
Pros & Cons of 4g internet in rural areas
4G internet in rural areas has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the advantages and the reasons why you should opt for 4G rural internet.
- It’s easier to set up-Unlimited internet in form of fixed wireless is very easy to set up. Unlike the cable and fiber optic options where the company will install cables and equipment from one station to the other, you just need a receiver to start using 4G internet in rural areas.
- Its cost effective-Installing infrastructure for fiber and cable internet is very expensive. The whole process is labour extensive and at the same time takes a lot of time and money to implement. Unlike the cable and Fiber internet, fixed wireless internet doesn’t require any cables and expensive infrastructure to start functioning.
- High or no caps-Fixed wireless internet unlike traditional options either has high caps or no caps. This is why the issue of low caps in rural areas has been well solved by the fixed wireless internet.
- Relatively high internet speeds-Unlike Satellite and dial-ups that are available in rural areas, fixed wireless internet is cheaper and offers higher download and upload speeds.
- The connection is not always stable-This is one of the biggest issues with fixed wireless internet. The connection and signals can easily be wedged by the weather and terrain.
- There should be a line sight between the receiver and the tower-That is how the internet signals travel and if there are impediments such as trees, hills and tall buildings, the connection might now be as stable as needed.
Top 5 Unlimited 4G plans in rural areas
With all the above information, it’s now the time to check some of the best unlimited 4G Home Internet for Rural areas. There are several alternatives and so, I recommend taking time to check all the available internet plans before you make a decision.
Verizon Unlimited 4G Home Internet
On October 2020, Verizon announced the launch of the unlimited 4G Home Internet for the rural areas in major states in America. They launched their own option across the country to counter some of the competitors that had already started. The Verizon Unlimited 4G Home internet is more appealing because it’s widely available and it’s truly unlimited. The speeds for this option are not very likable. As a matter of fact, the speeds average 25Mbps.
People with Verizon Wireless service will have to pay $40 per month while those without will pay $60 per month. Additionally, everyone should purchase a router for $240. Furthermore, Verizon gave a list of the zip codes where the service is available.
A major advantage with the Verizon 4G Unlimited Rural areas internet is that it can be extended using a cellular signal booster if you notice that the signal is weak. The company also warns that it doesn’t cover every address in the stated Zip codes.
Checking the current reviews available online, most people are saying that Verizon 4G internet is spotty. Though, it’s still reassuring. The service is largely available to people in Florida, Vermont, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Florida.
- Completely unlimited
- Limited availability
UbiFi offers unlimited Internet access to people living in rural areas in more than 48 contiguous states. The service is known as the most flexible 4G unlimited service. However, the service is pricy and you will also end up paying more than $314.9 for the router and modem with SIM card. The download speeds are also not guaranteed. As a matter of fact, the download speeds vary depending on how close you are to the tower. The speeds are also not the best especially if you are a serious gamer or streamer. Sometimes, the speeds can drop as low as 10Mbps.
UbiFi offers minimal latency which is the reason why the package can only be used for minimal online gaming and streaming. The only advantage of this service is that it offers subscribers unlimited data which makes it a better choice to satellite internet.
The price is not competitive at all but if UbiFi is the only alternative to Satellite internet in your area, you should always choose it. You will have to pay $99.99 per month. This price is expensive. Getting the service set up is also very expensive. New subscribers should sign up for the service and end up paying $314.99 for the MoFi SIM 4 Gateway.
Additionally, I have come across many people complaining about the tech support. It can be very difficult to get helped in case you experience a simple issue with your internet probably because the service has a limited customer service.
Regardless, you will have a 30-day money-back guarantee. This presents a limitless opportunity to cancel the service and get paid in case you feel like the service no longer serves you adequately.
- The service is portable
- No contract
- Enough for average internet access
- Better than satellite internet
- Expensive to set
- Limited access to tech
Blazing Hog is a viable alternative to dial-up and satellite internet offering internets services based on the 4G LTE technology. The ISP promises high-speed internet connections in areas where the services are limited. Blazing Hog is currently one of the few MVNOs that offer affordable and unlimited access to people and businesses in rural areas.
The highest speed you can get with Blazing Hog is 150Mbps. The speed can go as low as 25Mbps depending on the distance from the towers. 25Mbps is still good for accessing your streaming apps and online games.
Unlike the UbiFi, Blazing Hog is very transparent with the pricing model and keeps all the fees open. You will just be required to pay $99 per month for the service. Just like the providers above, new subscribers should pay 4149.99 for the model and another $49 for the activation. Unlike the UbiFi, this service requires you to sign a 24-month contract. Luckily, all new subscribers have a 30 day trial period. In case the service doesn’t appeal to you, you can cancel and receive a refund.
- Covers most areas courtesy of multiple contracts with signal tower owners
- Offers one plan
- Affordable price
- Truly unlimited
- No data caps
- Doesn’t sell signal boosters
- Has a contract
Wahoo internet offers unlimited 4G LTE internet to residential customers all over the country without any contracts. The price is more or less similar to what other ISPs charge but there’s the advantage of paying for the service monthly. The service is portable which means you can travel with it whenever you want without any issues. But to get stable connections, you need to be close to the towers for signal.
The equipment cost is $199.99. This cost seems to beat most competitors but the modem doesn’t have a built-in router. Consequently, you will have to get another router if you want to broadcast Wi-Fi signals in the house.
When it comes to internet speeds, Wahoo internet offers up to 500GB of data every month. This is similar to the 4G LTE providers. The data cap is high and most residential users will not get close to this limit in a single month. However, if you have a family of serious streamers, there are chances that you can exceed the data. Luckily, the service will offer another 400GB for you but if you use over 900GB in a single month, the service will be shut down.
- No contracts
- Portable service
- Affordable modem
- Non-refundable registration fee
- Expensive setup costs
This company has agreements with major Internet Service providers including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to provide unlimited portable internet to people and businesses in rural America. However, a new subscriber should first of all test the signal strength in their homes before subscribing. UnlimitedToGo provides up to three Internet plans. The price varies from one plan to the other but also according to the current location. For those that are lucky enough, they can pay $99.99 per month for the service. If you are not lucky enough, you will be needed to pay $199.99 per month. The prices may vary depending on the carrier in your local area.
The speeds are 20Mbps to 50Mbps depending on whether you are near a tower or not. I don’t like the fact that UnlimitedToGo doesn’t offer unlimited internet. This is clear on their use policy where the company advises that people should not use data excessively or else they will be throttled. It happens with some Internet service providers.
- Wider coverage
- Good prices
- No contracts
- Expensive routers
- Speed throttling
- No refund services
- Relatively higher monthly prices
Expected Fees and Contracts with 4G Plans in rural areas
When it comes to the fees and the contract term, different Unlimited 4G internet providers have different policies and terms. Some of the companies don’t have a contract requirement while others will peg someone up with yearly contracts. Some of them prefer a refund period of 30 days to give their customers time to test the services.
Some of these companies are also very enigmatic when it comes to monthly fees. Some, of these companies, includes all the fees plus taxes and equipment fees to the first subscription package. Other companies will not intricate their pricing and fees model. This is the reason why I advise new subscribers to be very careful when choosing new syndicates. Take time to check online and read all reviews to be sure of what to expect when in terms of contracts and fees.
How fast are speeds with 4G Internet rural areas?
Speeds for 4G unlimited Internet are not the best overall but they are better than what we get with Satellite plans. Unlike cable and fiber optic internet services, fixed wireless service provides way below the expected internet speeds. But the speeds are good especially on basic web browsing, standard browsing and streaming.
Even though some of these companies advertise their plans as unlimited, some of them have soft data caps. If a user exceeds the set data caps, their services are going to be deprioritized. The speeds might be slower but not necessarily out of service.
Who is the best provider of 4G unlimited Home internet?
Taking all the factors such as transparency, pricing model, contracts and data caps into consideration, all the above-explained services compete fairly well. But Blazing Hog proves to be at the top of the list if you are a serious online gamer or a streamer.
What do you need to get 4G LTE internet?
To get this service, you need a 4G Home Internet plan and compatible equipment. Choose the router or the modem that is offered by the MVNO.
Is 4G LTE a good option?
Yes, 4G LTE is a good option for people that uses a lot of data and those that don’t want to incur more on monthly data. Take time to research available alternatives and read reviews to choose between them wisely.
Regardless of whether a service provider requires you to sign a contract or not, it’s always better to look at other factors such as transparency, data caps, contracts, speed, reliability and pricing model before you subscribe. Different Internet service providers offer different features at varying prices, so, take time to weigh the situations.