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Thread: Prepaid "Data Pass" Type Plans with US-based Routing?

  1. #1
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    Prepaid "Data Pass" Type Plans with US-based Routing?

    I feel like about 6 or 7 years ago, all the carriers offered temporary passes for devices like iPads that you could often buy on the device itself by going to Settings>Cellular. Verizon killed theirs a long time ago, AT&T more recently, Sprint's died with the T-Mobile merger, and T-Mobile still offers them, but the web site is broken and you have to call to renew them (currently using the 5GB/150 day/$10 plan). I'm guessing the more T-Mobile changes things, they'll eventually do away with these.

    In case that option goes away, does anyone else offer anything like these that isn't routed through an overseas roaming carrier? Airalo and KeepGo work on eSIM-equipped iPads, but the latency is a bit rough.

    I know most carriers want to create a recurring line for consistent income, but this would be for an iPad that mostly lives at home and would just need things added when traveling. I've also typically gone with a different carrier than my main phone, hence avoiding hotspotting.

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    TextNow with a $4.99 sim card offers 1 day pass $4.99 for 2gb of high speed data and unlimited slow data. Cannot hotspot.

    Sent from my SM-F916U1 using HoFo mobile app

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    Remember that your carrier isn't supplying the signal when traveling internationally. Your carrier is using a roaming agreement with the local carrier where it is being used. Your carrier is not regulating the connection speed. Your carrier sets up roaming agreements with those foreign carriers that allow you to use their network.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial Port View Post
    Remember that your carrier isn't supplying the signal when traveling internationally. Your carrier is using a roaming agreement with the local carrier where it is being used. Your carrier is not regulating the connection speed. Your carrier sets up roaming agreements with those foreign carriers that allow you to use their network.
    Right, perhaps I wasn't clear—it's a bit of a tough thing to describe since roaming eSIMs have gotten so popular and so many people forgot about the prepaid US carrier-offered pass-based plans on iPads and other tablets from 2010-2019ish.

    I'm looking for pass-based data plans that AREN'T permaroaming and not on a carrier based in Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. I'd be using these in the US. Basically what, if any, US-based MVNOs on the big three allow per-use data. If it really is just T-Mobile itself as the last selling their passes, I'm guessing this type of service is very endangered.

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    I believe most people just use the local Wi-Fi on their Ipads when travelling domestically. I do, because I don't have cellular on my device. But I also use a VPN to protect the info I am reading/sending/receiving.

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    Not quite clear yet.

    Discard the idea of those obsolete passes, even if they exist, just signing up for a month of service with a USA MNO or MVNO will be better value even if they did exist.

    Why do you want such a short term of service, like literally a day at a time?

    Are you traveling in and out of the US regularly? Do you have US ID or as a tourist?

    Why not just hotspot from another device?

    How many GB do you need, per day or per month?

    Don't you have a preference for carrier?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorne View Post
    Not quite clear yet.

    Discard the idea of those obsolete passes, even if they exist, just signing up for a month of service with a USA MNO or MVNO will be better value even if they did exist.
    Sorry, I mostly had already solved for X before even starting this thread and assumed the result, hence the super-specific post to begin with. Since there are a lot of smart, helpful people here who tend to cover every corner of the wireless world, I thought I'd throw it out there to at least confirm/deny my suspicions. Nonetheless, I'll provide a bit of context as I appreciate the helpful nature of folks!

    I have T-Mobile's $10 Magenta Business Tablet Promo on my personal iPad, so I get that's where the industry has gone (postpaid has had add-a-tablet for cheap for a long time, some prepaid carriers have it now, and it's real easy to justify the pricing if you use a certain amount of data or a certain amount of times in a year ($120/year for unlimited is really good).

    I have a family member who has a hand-me-down cellular iPad that uses it out of the house very infrequently, but might take it on a trip maybe twice a year. Between them not having a phone plan that supports hotspot and not needing recurring data every month, something like the monthly passes that everyone used to offer would be perfect. The pricing wasn't bad either and some had expirations over a month, two, three, or even five, rather than daily or weekly as one would assume. It also allows service diversity when traveling (i.e. deep in the woods for a week where AT&T may have service, but Verizon won't). They were nice because you didn't have to start/stop services and buy new SIM cards each time. Some allowed management via the web, while others were strictly on-device in Settings > Cellular.

    T-Mobile still offers theirs, so I set that individual up with the 5GB/150 day expiration one that costs $10, but I fear with the ongoing T-Mobile changes, these may eventually go away. It's not keeping me up at night and I can certainly adapt, just seeing what options are out there (it feels like these should exist in some form, as they're sort of on the Venn diagram between ongoing prepaid monthly plans and the roaming eSIMs that have gotten quite popular). I don't want to add them to my account, so this is why I was looking around for prepaid options—for them, it's easier to stomach $10-$30 to turn on a little bit of access for a trip than having a monthly bill—the same goes for changing plans to include hotspot.

    In the past, these were a nice way to throw a few GBs of service, possibly from a different carrier if you were going somewhere remote (and generally allowed the full hotspot so they can also provide Wi-Fi calling to your phone if your carrier doesn't have coverage. I ended up doing that while driving in the Pacific Northwest back in 2016—phone was on AT&T, iPad was on Verizon).

    I actually found screenshots I took before said trip and even for 2016, the prices really weren't that terrible then (except the daily or weekly ones). For comparison, I've also included Airalo's "Change" eSIM (their US one), as that might be the likely candidate going forward. It roams on T-Mobile and Verizon, but higher latency due to the routing back through Orange as that is who's providing the eSIMs:

    Verizon 500MB $15/7 days 1GB $20/30 days 2GB $35/60 days 5GB $60/60 days 10GB $100/60 days
    Sprint 300MB $5/1 day 500MB $10/7 days 1GB $15/30 days 3GB $35/30 days 6GB $50/30 days
    AT&T 250MB $5/1 day 1GB $25/90 days
    T-Mo 500MB $5/1 day 1GB $10/7 days 3GB $30/30 days 5GB $40/30 days 5GB $10/150 days (technically a promo, but renewable)
    Airalo 1GB $4.50/7 days 2GB $8/15 days 3GB $11/30 days 5GB $16/30 days 10GB $26/30 days

    While none of the prices are great (for instance, if someone got the Verizon 10GB pass, they'd be better served just getting what I use), the economics could work out if you were using them in short bursts. I know roaming agreements and wholesale service can be complex, but my thought is that it's got to be cheaper for someone to offer something like what Airalo is doing directly through the US MNOs, as opposed to reselling Orange service and then permaroaming?

    Anyway, it seems the consensus is that T-Mobile may be the last one offering these and if said family member wants to continue if these go away, I'll push them towards going without, a monthly recurring MVNO plan, or a roaming eSIM and putting up with the latency. Thanks everyone!

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    Ubigi is a roaming esim, but theyre owned by transactel, which has their own backend in multi regions... Eg in East Coast, they routed to nyc. In Japan, they routed via Singapore(though Google geolocate still sees it as Japan IP)

    https://cellulardata.ubigi.com/data-...ble-plans-view.

    How frequent/infrequent? You can go with true payg or longer term esim (which routes outside usa unfortunately, but allows you to have true backup data, especially if provider uses big2 or big3.

    Longer term data (180day to no expiry)
    Yesim (coins expire 1 year) - europe
    Dent (1 year) - europe
    Eskimo (2 year) -sinfapore , shared bucket
    Esimplus (no expiry) -europe, 9eur/gb
    AIS eSIM2Fly topup (365 day) -tgailand , shared bucket
    3HK (365 day) - hkg , shared bucket


    Big3(att/TMobile/verizon)
    Redbullmobile(4eur/GB/month, not payg), europe
    Globalesim (varies), dont know where it proxies to

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    OK, much better to have that context, and maybe other such "passes" will crop up.

    Meantime, have a look at my thread about plan models that may fit your need.

    https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...on-cost-per-GB

    MobileX charges $ 1.99 /mo line charge to keep the line active

    $4.95 for UTT, but can omit T&T completely

    $2.10 / GB, priority VZW data, in effect never expires

    e.g. 5GB data-only plan for ~$12/mo

    Note for a short trip, this does not mean an ongoing monthly payment, just once off is fine

    but if that monthly cost is only $2-3 they might be fine with it just for the convenience if keeping that SIM and just adding GBs as needed.

    I assume for an old iPad eSIM is not relevant anyway, without investing in an eSIM.me or esim.5ber.com device ?

    Good ol' Tracfone is $10 GB on PayGo but has plans with 24GB that last a full year

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