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Old 07-28-2022, 06:15 AM   #1
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Anyone use Firstnet?

I'm considering getting Firstnet, which is powered through AT&T's cell network. The main reason is truly unlimited mobile hotspot without throttling. I currently have Verizon, and the one or two big trips we do each year, we always go over our "unlimited" hotspot limit on our phones. Despite using very little the rest of the year. The coverage map looks very comparable to Verizon's (who we currently have), and even better in WV, which is a frequent travel location for us.

Anyone use Firstnet? And if so, have you been happy? Any issues with the mobile hotspot?
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Old 07-28-2022, 06:49 AM   #2
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Just a few thoughts:
Have you looked into upgrading your plan with Verizon?
What Verizon Plan do you currently have?
You could also add a hotspot to your existing plan.
With our two phones and a hotspot we have 150GB of high speed data. We have never exceeded that.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:00 AM   #3
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There are other unlimited hotspot options as well.

Check out calyx institute.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:06 AM   #4
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Just a few thoughts:
Have you looked into upgrading your plan with Verizon?
What Verizon Plan do you currently have?
You could also add a hotspot to your existing plan.
With our two phones and a hotspot we have 150GB of high speed data. We have never exceeded that.
I was actually on the phone with them last night, and they told me the best they had was 25 gb per month hotspot (on the phone) before throttling. And it would come with a significant rate hike. Maybe the guy I talked to wasn't very knowledgeable about it though.

I'm on a grandfathered 'unlimited' plan.

If I switch to Firstnet (for just me, my wife and kids would stay on Verizon), the cost would be roughly the same (actually would save a little bit of money this way).
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:09 AM   #5
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There are other unlimited hotspot options as well.

Check out calyx institute.
I'm only looking for hotspots through our phones, not a dedicated Hotspot device.

Unfortunately T-Mobile coverage in my area is very poor. It's just not an option for me.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:11 AM   #6
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I'm only looking for hotspots through our phones, not a dedicated Hotspot device.

Unfortunately T-Mobile coverage in my area is very poor. It's just not an option for me.
gotcha, then yes that leaves you very limited choices.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:12 AM   #7
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I was actually on the phone with them last night, and they told me the best they had was 25 gb per month hotspot (on the phone) before throttling. And it would come with a significant rate hike. Maybe the guy I talked to wasn't very knowledgeable about it though.

I'm on a grandfathered 'unlimited' plan.

If I switch to Firstnet (for just me, my wife and kids would stay on Verizon), the cost would be roughly the same (actually would save a little bit of money this way).
Jump on Verizon's website. You can compare plans and prices there.

https://www.verizon.com/plans/
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:49 AM   #8
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Jump on Verizon's website. You can compare plans and prices there.

https://www.verizon.com/plans/
I should have been more specific. They have a program similar to Firstnet called Homefront for first responders, medical, military, etc. They prioritize calls and data. These plan details weren't available online.

Although the unlimited hotspot is the main reason I was looking to make a switch, the prioritized data is also important to me, as I am often on call away from my house where I have to look at patient charts on a computer with my phone as a hotspot.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:50 AM   #9
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The Verizon hot spot device can be used per month and shut off on months not in use. I think we pay under $30 a month for unlimited with the device.

The hot spot on your phone overheats your phone and battery when used for long times.
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Old 07-28-2022, 07:51 AM   #10
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If you need Internet for any reason having Verizon and AT&T is a good idea. I have Verizon through work and a Visible phone as our primary hot spot and my wife has AT&T on purtalk.

Probably 90+% of the time the service is equal or better on Verizon, but there have been times when AT&T was better. Of course there are times when there is no coverage on anything.
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Old 07-28-2022, 01:00 PM   #11
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My phone does get hot and the battery goes down faster, but if I'm using it as a hotspot for any length of time, it's plugged into the charger. I've had the hotspot on for days at a time with no noticeable deleterious effects. If I were using everyday throughout the month, I agree that a dedicated hotspot would be the way to go. But being an occasional weekend warrior, I'm okay just using the phone as a hotspot.
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Old 07-28-2022, 01:49 PM   #12
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But being an occasional weekend warrior, I'm okay just using the phone as a hotspot.
There's no reason not to give it a try. (Wait, that's a double negative....)
We carry phones from two different carriers. It increases our chances of getting a cell phone signal and hotspot.
Unlimited data and no throttling would appeal to me, but I've never heard of FirstNet. Do they tie you into a contract?
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Old 07-28-2022, 02:46 PM   #13
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I believe FirstNet is the First Responder Network. For First responders, law enforcement, medical personnel, judges etc.
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Old 07-28-2022, 04:27 PM   #14
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OP- My assumption is you're exceeding your data limit by streaming movies and similar content. If this is the case, then try dropping your video quality on your streaming device (Roku, Firestick, etc.) from 1080 to 720, most people with TV's sizes from 55" and under won't be able to determine the difference in video quality. The upside is you will save ~30% of your data by doing so.
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Old 07-29-2022, 07:51 AM   #15
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First Net is for First Responders, only. Are you a First Responder ?
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:32 AM   #16
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OP- My assumption is you're exceeding your data limit by streaming movies and similar content. If this is the case, then try dropping your video quality on your streaming device (Roku, Firestick, etc.) from 1080 to 720, most people with TV's sizes from 55" and under won't be able to determine the difference in video quality. The upside is you will save ~30% of your data by doing so.
Yes, streaming. And mostly kids on their tablets while doing long boring days on the road. So multiple tablets streaming at once. We did change our settings. Thanks for the suggestion though!

Once we get to camp, we don't actually use too much. And we download movies, but still do stream.
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:32 AM   #17
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First Net is for First Responders, only. Are you a First Responder ?
Yes. I'm a primary care physician and member of the Army National Guard.
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:34 AM   #18
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There's no reason not to give it a try. (Wait, that's a double negative....)
We carry phones from two different carriers. It increases our chances of getting a cell phone signal and hotspot.
Unlimited data and no throttling would appeal to me, but I've never heard of FirstNet. Do they tie you into a contract?
I called and talked to them last night. No contract, unless I do a phone installment plan, which I do not plan on doing. I think I'll buy a cheapo phone to try it out. If it doesn't do what I want it to do, I'll cancel and sell the phone on Ebay.
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Old 07-29-2022, 09:46 AM   #19
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Yes. I'm a primary care physician and member of the Army National Guard.
There are also 2 levels of firstnet. The individual one which you seem to qualify for which gets priority when on firstnet specific bands vs regular ATT customers that aren't firstnet who can access those bands at lower priority.

Then the next level is agency accounts which has a higher priority than the individual account and can get services like call preemption. Those added functions for true emergencies are only available for agency account lines though.

Fellow Army Guardsman here BTW. NY Army National Guard 25W4O (amongst the many MOS's I've obtained) Platoon Sergeant and AGR Readiness NCO.

Good idea on the cheapo phone to test it out. I always keep my previous phones when I upgrade so I have something I could use on another carrier or if my primary dies. Proved helpful on deployment to stick a local sim in one.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:47 AM   #20
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There are also 2 levels of firstnet. The individual one which you seem to qualify for which gets priority when on firstnet specific bands vs regular ATT customers that aren't firstnet who can access those bands at lower priority.

Then the next level is agency accounts which has a higher priority than the individual account and can get services like call preemption. Those added functions for true emergencies are only available for agency account lines though.

Fellow Army Guardsman here BTW. NY Army National Guard 25W4O (amongst the many MOS's I've obtained) Platoon Sergeant and AGR Readiness NCO.

Good idea on the cheapo phone to test it out. I always keep my previous phones when I upgrade so I have something I could use on another carrier or if my primary dies. Proved helpful on deployment to stick a local sim in one.
Thanks for the info! Are you using Firstnet?

PA National Guard here. Used to be a 68W20 when enlisted, then went to the darkside after a decade of working. lol.

I'm using a cheapo Motorola Power G (or something like that) phone now. Although it is slow and the camera sucks, I can get 3 days out of a battery charge. I could never do that when I had the expensive flagship models. I don't know that I'll go back to the expensive phones. Not to mention, I don't bother with the insurance when I've got a $200 phone.
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