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GPS Trackers Will Be Mandatory for Professional Drivers

GPS Tracker Prepaid Plan

A new regulation requires drivers to use ELD, Electronic Logging devices, to track their driving. And in order to electronically log someone’s driving, the ELD needs a GPS tracker. The GPS is able to accurately track and calculate driving hours, speed and geographical area.

A Prepaid Plan for Your GPS Tracker

So why are we writing about this new regulation? Because US Mobile is actually an affordable option to connect a GPS tracker! This is what our customer Chris has to say:

We track some of our boats and vehicles for our company and have been trying several different trackers and most use data and text but no talk. […] We have also tried t-mobile, h2o, boost and several others. So far you have the best plans!

As a matter of fact, we took a closer look at the customers who use our plans for their trackers and the result was pretty interesting. The average tracker is unanimously using the lowest tiers in our plans matrix. Not all the trackers need talk, text, and data but in the case they were, the 100-bucket was enough for most of our customers using it for tracking purposes. That means that you can get a prepaid GPS plan for under $10/month! Just get a SIM Card to get started.

The ELD Regulation

The ELD rule will apply to carriers and drivers who are currently required to keep records of duty status (RODS). Presumably, having electronic tracking in place will mean that there are less paperwork and logs are kept accurate and clear. The organization behind this new regulation is the FMSCA, short for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Ultimately, they are the ones who have set deadlines for when this has to be in place. So depending on what kind of driver you are, there are two different dates to keep in mind:

  • December 18, 2017 – Carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs.
  • December 16, 2019 – Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs.

As this is in place, carriers and drivers may be required to send in data when asked for it. There are several ELD devices out there and manufacturers must conform to certain technical specifications and register them with FMCSA. Presently, the following devices are certified in this list.

In conclusion, check us out if you need an affordable prepaid plan for your GPS tracker and make the deadline. Drive safely!

 

How Much Is a Megabyte (MB)?

Megabyte (MB) Data

MB is short for Megabyte but what does it really mean in terms of usage?

First of all, a Megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte; one megabyte is one million bytes and it’s used to quantify digital information. Actually, if we’re going to be picky – a megabyte is 1048576 bytes, and one byte is 8 bits, but let’s not get into that kind of detail. Wikipedia does a great job of explaining it in case you’re interested.

The smallest data plan we have at US Mobile contains 100 MB, all the way up to 10 GB. If you translate Megabytes to Gigabytes, there are 0.001 Gigabytes on 1 Megabyte so 10 GB equals 10 000 MB. But how can we translate it into actual usage?

100 MB in Data Usage

When you browse the web, upload files, check social media or anything that requires connecting to the internet, it’s important to understand what 100MB means. The term may also refer to the amount of information a Web server sends to another Web server or to your browser.

If you have 100 MB of data allowance you can do one of the following:

  • Send/Receive 100 text emails with attachments
  • 4 hours of web browsing (depending on pictures, videos, etc)
  • 1 hr of navigation in Google Maps (or similar)
  • Send approx. 3000 messages through What’s App, Viber or Messenger
  • Stream music for 1 hr and 20 min
  • View/Download one 15-minute video
  • Upload 40 photo posts on social media

A 100 MB data plan can be enough if you’re a very light user, not streaming and uploading/emailing large photos. In case you need more data during a month with US Mobile, you can just add on more data at the original price and without commitments.

100 MB in Storage

When you talk about megabytes in terms of storage, it’s very different from usage. If you get 100MB of storage it usually means that you can store up to 100MB of information on a company’s servers. That equals one of the following:

  • 100-250 photos depending on the resolution
  • About 25 MP3 songs (the average mp3 song is about 3-5 megabytes)

A better way to understand how much it is is to put it into the perspective of the storage you get through different devices and apps. For instance, the iPhone 7 comes with the following storage options:  32GB, 128GB, or 256GB. Further, a G-Suite user can store up to 30 GB of content for free, whereas a Dropbox basic account includes 2 GB of space. Finally, when you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. So to sum up, 100 MB of storage won’t get you very far unless you’re just storing text-based content.

Are you struggling with the storage on your phone? Here are 7 storage hacks for you.

5G Coverage to the Rescue For New User Habits

5G

5G is soon coming to rescue the telecom industry! The next generation network promises to address many constraints with spectrum and capacity limitations. Consequently, there is a lot of buzz about when it will be deployed and how it will impact the industry and, most importantly, the consumers.

Mobility Highlights 2017

In June 2017, Ericsson released a new mobility report. The report covered everything from changed user habits to network penetration and here are a few of the highlights:

  • Mobile video traffic is expected to grow 50 percent annually through 2022, accounting for nearly 75% of all mobile data traffic. Although social networking will grow, its relative share will decrease.
  • In 2022, monthly mobile data traffic per smartphone in North America will reach 26 GB. By the end of 2017 its expected to reach 6.9 GB per month.
  • Last year, 70% of all mobile subscriptions were LTE in North America. WCDMA/HSPA was the second largest, around 20%, followed by GSM/EDGE. By 2022, 5G is expected to have 25% of the share, leaving the rest for LTE.

In addition, there were around 0.4 billion IoT devices (alarms, smartwatches, cars etc.) with cellular connections at the end of 2016. This number will more than triple to reach 1.5 billion in 2022.

When to Expect 5G Coverage

There have been efforts made to accelerate the schedule for trials and deployments of NR (New Radio), which will use the existing LTE functionality for deploying 5G.

However, the deployment speed will depend on the growth of the complete eco-system. It will be impacted by 5G-capable devices and decisions on spectrum allocation. Many operators will most likely deploy it commercially from 2020, in line with the time plan for 5G standardization. The adoption rate of 5G is expected to be similar to that of LTE. The roll-out will start in major metro areas, reaching around 15 percent population coverage by 2022.

Trials Completed in China

Early commercial tests are already underway though. Chinese ZTE announced completing 5G NR trials with China Unicom, achieving 2 Gbps data speeds in July 2017. ZTE  currently has about 2000 employees working on this and they intend to double that investment.

In conclusion, in order to have a 5G subscription, you need a compatible device which is connected to a 5G-enabled network. This, in its turn, requires a major update of the mobile networks. Therefore, the most likely scenario for 5G introduction is a gradual process over the course of many years. If you want more, check out What is 5G and How Will it Affect Me as a Consumer.

How Data Throttling is Changing and Affecting You

Data throttling

Data throttling is a common and intentional way to slow down or restrict data speeds. As video streaming has become a daily habit of most of us, the networks struggle to cope with the increased demand. There is basically a shortage of bandwidth on the networks. This has made certain carriers, especially the ones offering unlimited plans, put a cap on data speeds. Now rumor has it though that some might be lifting their restrictions, which would be a game-changer for consumers.

Are You a Victim of Data Throttling?

Carriers may throttle your speed when you’ve reached your monthly data limit. Instead of charging overages for the data you use beyond your plan, many carriers restrict your speed to ~128 Kbps. Also, some carriers will offer unlimited data but it doesn’t mean that you necessarily get unlimited high-speed data.

So how do you know when your data speed is restricted? There are a number of apps out there that lets you measure your data speed. An example is the Ookla Speed Test app. If you download it, make sure that you measure the speed in the beginning of the cycle to get a baseline. Use this baseline and compare the speed as your cycle or data is about to run out. If you can, test it again once you’ve hit the limit of your data plan. Customers have to be informed about potential caps so make sure you read the fine print when you buy a cell phone plan.

Data Deprioritization Explained

Another restriction carriers might impose on you is data deprioritization. This means that they’re allowed to reduce speed when there is a high demand in the network. Again, this is most common if you’re on an unlimited plan. The difference between data throttling and deprioritization is the first means that your data speed goes down consistently after a certain point. Whereas deprioritization is a temporary restriction in your data speed as the overall network traffic is running hot.

All in all, we hope that data throttling is something we can leave behind in 2017.

Why Seniors Love US Mobile’s Plans and Service

Senior Phone Plans

When it comes to phone plans for senior citizens and elderly, no size fits all. This is why we have 390+ plans to choose from so that you can get exactly what you need. Although seniors consistently have lower rates of technology adoption than the general public, this group is more digitally connected than ever, according to Pew Research Center. So no matter if you’re a tech-savvy senior or less versed and just want to keep in contact with loved ones, there is a plan for you.

“This is a great telephone plan. It’s reasonably priced and easy for a senior citizen to use. I’m sticking with it.”
– Active Customer Elizabeth

Read more reviews from real customers.

Best Phone Plans for Senior Citizens

Pew Research Center reports that four out of ten seniors own smartphones now in 2017. This is more than double than in 2013. Smartphone ownership among seniors varies substantially by age though. 59% of seniors between 65-69 years old own a smartphone. However, if you pass 70 years the smartphone penetration is significantly lower at 49%. With these different needs, you could say that US Mobile’s cheap cell phone plans were designed with seniors in mind. In fact, one way infrequent cell phone users can save a lot of money is with a pay-as-you-go phone. Therefore, US Mobile’s plans and setup is very senior-friendly:

  • No contract – You only commit to 30 days at a time with US Mobile. That means that you can come and go as you please. There are no fees to activate or cancel your line.
  • Prepaid – Stay connected by prepaying your phone bill and know exactly how much of your monthly income you’ll be spending on your phone.
  • Low-cost plans – Our plans start as low as $4 per month including fees. If you don’t use your phone a lot, we recommend that you start with 100 min, 100 text, 100 MB of data for $9/month.
  • Customer service – Our customer service is made up of real people, who are available 24/7. Choose between email, phone call or chat to contact them.

Cell phone plans for seniors

When we look at the average users among our more mature customer base, the average phone plan is $11 per month. You don’t have to pay more for your phone plan!

Senior Cell Phone Plans