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USVI - Reliable Mobile Wifi (Please help!)


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Is anyone in the USVIs that can give me advice on the most reliable way to get mobile internet? I will be in the USVIs for two months on a cat starting mid-January. The catch is that I will need to keep working - which for me involves video conferencing over Zoom. I need to make sure I am set up, so I can continue working seamlessly. 

I have Sprint as a mobile carrier, and understand they have decent coverage there. They recommend a mobile hotspot to link laptops to, and have data plans for that. They can't seem to say whether it will be enough to keep video conferences. I am wondering if there is a better mobile hotspot that is more reliable down there that I could rent. Since I can use our phones to hotspot Sprint coverage as a backup, the idea of another carrier is appealing. Viya offers a mobile hotspot as well, but I am not sure how reliable it is vs ATT or Sprint.

Reliability is more important than cost for me. Any advice?

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Have Google FI, it was not great when I was in St Thomas.  Worked ok in red hook but not in Town. Not sure who the local carrier is but they were definitely not playing nice.  Has worked fine most other places.

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Might look into cellularabroad.com captain I was with had a UK number and something similar seems to work pretty good.  Have never tried myself, check out the going to the Carribean thread someone on there charters in US I every year and probably has the best updates info.

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57 minutes ago, Bryanjb said:

Google fi, not good in Charlotte Amallie though.

Did you get the 6 month no more notice?  We have three Fi phones, they sent out a one month service termination notice on two of the lines in March but retracted a few days later.  Haven't heard anything since.  I'm back and forth to the US so not worried about my phone but it seems like they might cut the wife and kids phone off.

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20 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Did you get the 6 month no more notice?  We have three Fi phones, they sent out a one month service termination notice on two of the lines in March but retracted a few days later.  Haven't heard anything since.  I'm back and forth to the US so not worried about my phone but it seems like they might cut the wife and kids phone off.

You could always bring their phones back to the USA with you from time to time, rotating them out for others as necessary.

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Yeah in normal times not a issue, it took me six months last time to get home though.  They are pretty vague on the kill date, best I can figure out is you get five months out of the US then they give you a one month warning and you are done.  They can be pretty frustrating in their beta ish stuff.  The Google play thing was complete bs.  Sorry for the drift.

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I highly recommend getting a cellular modem and an antenna. The RUT240 is excellent and this enclosure/antenna for the RUT240 works very well. The RUT240 cellular modem mounts inside the antenna enclosure. There is both a local are network (LAN) antenna and a booster/antenna for wireless LTE reception. It's a great way t go and we are able to pick up very weak cell signals with this in areas that otherwise have too poor reception. 

https://quwireless.com/quspot-rut240-rut230

 

QuWireless RUT249 antenna.png

2020-12-21_23-15-00.png

Edited by 2flit
correct RUT240
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Will you be at a dock or cruising around and anchored out when working? BroadbandVI has pretty darn good point to point wireless broadband internet service, but it requires an aimed directional antenna. ATT is generally considered by most local residents to have much better cell service in the USVI than Sprint, even though they rent space on the same towers. After Irma and Maria in 2017 the Sprint system went down and didn't come back up for months and months, creating a lot of ill will. Not sure how the T-Mobile merger is going -  another outfit recently just took over ATT's network too, they're transitioning now.

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6 hours ago, sugarbird said:

Will you be at a dock or cruising around and anchored out when working? BroadbandVI has pretty darn good point to point wireless broadband internet service, but it requires an aimed directional antenna. ATT is generally considered by most local residents to have much better cell service in the USVI than Sprint, even though they rent space on the same towers. After Irma and Maria in 2017 the Sprint system went down and didn't come back up for months and months, creating a lot of ill will. Not sure how the T-Mobile merger is going -  another outfit recently just took over ATT's network too, they're transitioning now.

Good question. I will be at anchor and cruising around. I can choose weekday anchorages based on where the signal is strong, and that will help, but it probably rules out an aimed directional antenna. So I think I am stuck fishing for strongest and fastest mobile internet.

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FI is worth trying or at least having as a backup, no contract plan $50 a month for unlimited data, can use multiple sims for same line IE one in phone and others in tablets etc.  You get speed throttled at 20gigs in a month but it still works. The omni antenna would be a good call regardless.  In the San Juan in the US coverage is sketchy at best, lots of boat use the booster antennas and have good results.

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  • 3 months later...

I figure I will follow up here for future thread-surfers. We just got back from our trip. We used a T-mobile 4G hotspot. It was pre-paid, and 100GB for $50 a month. The box itself cost $80 I think. It worked really well in the right coves and bays. We were down there for two months and working the whole time, so we really got to know the spots that worked and did not with coverage. The T-mobile coverage map gave a good indication, but was overly optimistic. With good reception though, there was enough bandwidth to keep up with two of us and frequent video calls. The future is here!

If anyone is interested in more specifics, send me a message. I can give really good detail on what the coverage is like everywhere, and some tips on where to go (especially the hidden spots the charter boats avoid).

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