So you have a GPS Tracker but no SIM card? Or do you think you’re paying too much for the service? Then, it’s time to pay attention.
How Does a GPS Tracker Work?
First of all, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. A GPS is a tracking method to work out exactly where something is. It could track the exact location of a vehicle, a cell phone, or some other handheld device. It can also track the movement. As an example, a GPS tracker can be used by a company to monitor the route and progress of a delivery truck, or by a parent to check on the location of their child or the family dog.
A tracking system uses the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network, consisting of 24 satellites and many more ground stations. In order to communicate, microwave signals are sent between the satellite and the device to give information on location, speed, time and direction. All cell phones, for instance, constantly broadcast a radio signal, even when you’re not on a call.
GPS technology has become common in smartphones and knowing a smartphone’s location can be used for several different purposes. One area that has grown the last couple of years, is hyper-local mobile advertising. Say for instance that you’re the Marketing Manager at McDonald’s. By using location based marketing, you can send promo codes to a person’s phone who’s walking past a McDonald’s. You could also send out notifications to people driving, saying “you’re only X miles away from the nearest McDonalds”.
GPS Trackers Needing SIM Card
Any GPS Tracker has a receiver to triangulate its own position from the satellite signals. Most trackers need a SIM card in order to achieve connectivity. SIM cards are what allow location transmission, sending audio data, and receiving commands to turn on audio and other advanced features. Example of trackers powered by a GSM SIM card are:
- ATian TK103B
- Vision One
- Panadoo DZ09
- Samsung Gear S3
- Trax Family
- Covrt Gear
Most of the trackers mentioned above are currently getting prepaid affordable plans from US Mobile. A text and data plan for a GPS Tracker is just $6/month.
If you’re using a so called GPS Watch, or Phone tracker to track your kid or maybe for someone to keep track of you, you will also need a cellular plan. These watches or trackers tend to use very limited data since it’s just giving location instead of downloading big files or streaming videos. Some watches you can text with, and some you can call with. Overall your plan can be kept very small though.
Let’s say you have a smartwatch that uses talk, text, and data, it should be enough with US Mobile’s smallest plans. In fact, the 100 min, 100 test, and 100 MB for $9/monhth is the most common plan among our customers using our prepaid SIM card for their watches.
Feeling trapped? Then you’re not on a prepaid phone plan!
Having a prepaid phone plan usually means that you didn’t need to go through a credit check when you bought it, you don’t have a contract and you are currently saving money. In short, there are many reasons to consider a prepaid phone plan and there are many options to consider.
A Prepaid Phone Plan for the Budget-Conscious
Prepaid phone plans are in particular suitable for the frugal customer. Usually they come with no frills, but instead, the actual plans are generally lower. You pay up front for talk, text, and data, with no risk of overage charges or other surprises at the end of the month.
At US Mobile, you can go into our prepaid plans‘ page and explore what your monthly bill would be based on your current usage. If you don’t know how much you’re using on average, check your last phone bill. Another thing you can to clearly see what you would potentially be saving if you switch carriers is to look at our Savings Calculator. It will plot out what your current cost is, what the average US cell phone bill is, and compare them with your own-crafted plan with US Mobile.
Another thing you can see is what you would be saving if you switched carrier. Have a look at our Savings Calculator. It will plot your current cost is along with the average US cell phone bill, and compare them with your own-crafted plan with US Mobile.
Best Plans for Your Kid
Getting your kid a phone can be both costly and scary. However, a prepaid plan will help with both those concerns. If you go for prepaid, instead of postpaid, you’ll make sure that your kid isn’t using more than what you’ve paid for. You won’t have to face the horror that you might remember from back in the days when you dialed up to the internet with a modem, costing you $$$ for every hour you were online. The kid can use the phone until all the talk, text, and data is used up.
Speaking of data, you might even consider going with a talk- and text only plans for your child. That way you can ensure that they don’t go online without an adult supervising. The smallest talk/text plan you can buy for your kid is $7 including the monthly service fee. It will work both on a cell phone but also on any kind of GPS/Phone watch. If you have children in their teens, we would recommend adding more texts than minutes to the plan. In our experience, teens seem to prefer to communicate with text. For an unlimited text plan. you only pay $7/month (excluding service fee) at US Mobile.
When it comes to phone selection you should start by deciding if you need a basic phone, just for calling and texting or a smartphone. Smartphones have operating systems enabling apps, streaming movies and music, accessing the internet and taking photos or even recording videos.
Secondly, you should decide on a prepaid phone, where you pay month-to-month based on usage, or a postpaid phone. A postpaid phone is usually offered at a discount and you pay every month instead of upfront for it. The caveat here is that you’ll have to stay with that carrier until your contract is over (generally after 24 months). If/When you want to switch carriers, you need to make sure that the phone is unlocked. Check out Can I Unlock My Phone for more details on that.
To conclude, choose a prepaid phone plan if you want:
- Freedom to change phones and carriers without penalty.
- Pay for calling, texting and data services in advance, which usually lowers your phone bill.
- Flexibility to upgrade and downgrade your plan and come and go as you want.
Does your smartwatch need a GSM SIM Card? Preferably one that is prepaid and low cost? Then we suggest that you continue reading.
Nearly 16% of US consumers now own wearables and many smartwatches have become light versions of mobile phones. And in a sense they are; you can use them for making phone calls, texting and browsing the internet. A popular consumer category for this type of wearables, is kids . Kids smartwatches are gaining popularity as it says to give parents peace of mind. They’re able to locate a kid’s whereabouts at any given point and communicate without phones, which are both expensive and gives access to unsupervised internet browsing. CCS Insight forecasts that the wearables industry will grow from just over $10 billion in 2017 to almost $17 billion by 2021. That includes fitness bands, smart clothing , hearables and wearable cameras.
Why do Smartwatches Need a SIM Card?
Even though smartwatches usually are an extension of the phone which they’re syncing with, some models are stand-alone devices. They work independently and are connected through a GSM SIM card. The other watches instead use Bluetooth to pull down content from a nearby paired phone, using the phone’s cellular connection.
The SIM card, in any device, connects to a carrier’s network using unique identification data and an authentication key. It’s a small bit of information stored in a chip, that enables connectivity. It’s also what prevents it from connecting to other carriers’ networks. Nano is the most common sized SIM card for smartwathes, although some are also using the Micro size.
So is it better to have a watch with a SIM card slot or not? The answer is: it depends. The downside of having a smartwatch that needs a SIM card is that you’ll have ongoing costs for the service plan. On the other hand, it’s practical to not have to carry around your phone whenever you want to use your watch.
Customizing a Smartwatch Plan
At US Mobile, it’s very simple to design an affordable smartwatch plan that is customized to your watch’s needs. Let’s say your watch needs talk, text, and data – just pick the size of each component in our matrix. The most affordable plan, including talk, text, and data, is $9 which is including our monthly fee. In the case you don’t need all three components, you can just choose the ones your watch requires.
Start by going to our plans page and follow the steps visible below.
Watches with SIM Card
Although the majority of smartwatches have Bluetooth connectivity, there are a couple of great ones using a cellular connection. A few models to mention are:
- DZ09 – very attractive watch with both Bluetooth and cellular connectivity and also have integrated sleep monitoring.
- Samsung Gear S & S2 3G/4G & S3 Frontier LTE – three different designs from the curved display on the S, to a sportswatch look on the S3. Both the S2 and S3 connects with e-sim.
- Scinex SW20 & SW30 – nice looking watches with a touchscreen that can either be connected to a phone or be used as a stand-alone.
- LEMFO LF07 & KW88 – the LF07 is supposedly a replica of Apple Smartwatch Series 2, supporting both Android and iOS. The KW88 has a sportier look and just supports Android.
- NEPTUNE Pine – has a large display which makes it possible to even watch movies on the watch.
- LG Urbane 2nd Edition LTE – classy look of a regular watch with the features of a premium smartwatch.
As mentioned in the beginning, the kids’ smartwatch industry is growing. The following are powered by a SIM Card:
- LEMFO Q50 – a smartwatch with an anti lost SOS call children tracker that is unlocked for worldwide use.
- TickTalk – kids wearable phone and tracker, where parents can even listen into the surroundings of their kid’s location.
- Tinitell – simple design with just one big button, with volume buttons on the side. A watch phone that comes in four colors.
- Trax Play – tiny GPS tracker in a square box form, for small children and pets.
Prepaid internet means that you pay before using it, similar to prepaid cell phone plans. You can either pay for the amount of data you want to use, or you pay for an unlimited service that is limited in time. Some of the advantages of prepaid internet are the lack of:
- Hidden fees
- Surprise bills
A prepaid data plan provides you the freedom to switch carrier and usage as often as you want!
Wireless Prepaid Internet
As the mobile data consumption continues to increase, the wireless prepaid internet is on the rise. The average data consumption in the US is likely to reach 6GB/month by the end of 2017. In terms of GB per user consumption, the US is third behind Finland and Korea.
At US Mobile you can choose between seven wireless prepaid internet plans, ranging from 100 MB for $2 to 8 GB for $35. We have noticed that our prepaid SIM and data plans are used in much more than cell phones, like alarms, GPS trackers, and even smartwatches. Since our plans start off small, they are a great fit for IoT devices which usually need less data. In fact, in a broader perspective, IoT and cars accounted for 71% of the net-adds for carriers in Q2 2017, according to Chetan Sharma. Our wireless plans can just as well be used on an iPad as our customer, Wayne describes:
Internet Speed Test
Measuring mobile internet speeds is increasingly important as people has started using phones as their main internet source. Surprisingly, the US just ranks 28th when it comes to mobile internet speeds in the world.
A slow internet can undoubtedly be frustrating. And obviously, you don’t want to pay the same for a slow vs a fast internet. Therefore it might be a good idea to check how fast your data connection is. There are several apps that can test your speed, no matter if you’re using a cellular connection or WiFi. We like the Ookla Speedtest app, which uses an algorithm to check cellular or WiFi data speed.
The different generations of networks will have a range of upload and download speeds. 7.2 Mbps would be considered 3G (52 Mbps on 3G HSPA+), whereas the 4G standard is to reach minimum data rates of 100 Mbps. The goal for 5G is to achieve significantly faster speeds, with a minimum of 1 Gbps and hopefully up to 10 Gbps.
Mobile Hotspot Plans
Mobile WiFi hotspots let you hook up multiple PCs, iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices to the Internet via WiFi. Using WiFi means that you don’t use your regular, cellular, data plan when you’re online.
There are millions of free hotspots around the country. In order to locate them, you can simply type in “WiFi Hotspots” in the search window in Google Maps to see hotspots in reach. However, if you’re looking for a more certain hotspot access, we recommend our $10 WiFi plan. The plan operates on the biggest hotspot network in the world. It even works on the ground and in the air on all major airlines.
Inflight Wi-Fi has come a long way since its introduction a decade ago. In fact, it’s now one of the top three considerations when choosing an airline. Ticket price and schedules are still the most important factors but inflight WiFi ends up in third place. It’s clear that inflight broadband is changing the airline industry by revolutionizing the onboard experience.
Getting Internet in the Air
There are two ways for equipping planes with WiFi; either via cell towers or by using satellites. Ground-based cell towers, which was the first method of delivering inflight WFi, are similar to the towers that deliver cell phone connectivity.
Cell towers were the first to power WiFi. Instead of pointing to the ground, the towers project wireless service by pointing toward the sky. By pointing upward, the coverage area will be bigger the higher up in the sky (picture an upside-down cone) and planes flying overhead get WiFi. In order to get WiFi through satellites, the plans have an antenna on top of the plane which communicates with the satellite. Satellite-powered service allows planes to provide faster service and can also be used over water. Due to this, more and more airlines are adopting satellite-driven WiFi.
User Habits Onboard
The most common usage of internet onboard is general web browsing on news sites and similar. Also, Facebook status updates, messaging and shopping sites are popular, along with streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. When it comes to downloading content, it’s more frequent on long-haul flights. It needs to be said though that WiFi in the air can still be considered slow with speeds between 9 to 20 Mbps, to be compared to in-home WiFi reaching speeds close to 500 Mbps.
Even as downloading content is likely to be more popular on long-haul routes than short-haul, it’s one of the biggest challenges the airlines will need to face. If everyone on a plane wants to download multiple movies during a 12-hour flight, bandwidth is bound to run out. It remains to be seen how technology and spectrum will be able to tackle this problem, both on the ground and in the air.
The Tipping Point of Inflight WiFi
So when will this phenomenon reach a tipping point? More than 70 airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi, and most carriers are upgrading their technology to meet consumer demand for faster speeds and better reliability. As of January 2017, 39% of available seat miles worldwide have at least a chance of WiFi on board, according to RouteHappy. This is an 8% increase from 2016, and it’s projected to grow rapidly the next few years.
Inmarsat made a passenger survey on in-air Internet and the results are pretty telling:
- 66% of parents traveling with children said it’s a “life saver”, keeping children occupied during flights
- 45% would rather pay for WiFi than use free onboard entertainment
- 56% of passengers say a lack of reliable inflight WiFi is a major cause of frustration
- 77% of passengers would pay for inflight connectivity on short haul leisure flights
An overwhelming amount of passengers now regards inflight WiFi a necessity rather than a luxury. Now passengers even expect the same levels of connectivity whilst in the sky as on the ground. The good news? Juniper research projects that more than half the world’s commercial aviation fleet will be equipped with it by 2022.
If you’ve made it this far in this post, we hope you’ve checked out our global inflight WiFi plan that works on the major American airlines, as well as internationally.
Image Source: Iberia
Wi-Fi Calling is a service for smartphones which, just as it sounds, allows you to call over a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi calling relies on a technology called SIP/IMS that tunnels your call through the internet, instead of a cell tower. Consequently, you’re not using the cell tower to place the call, which means that you don’t need a cellular service. When placing a WiFi call it’s just like placing a regular call, without logging in or using an app. Your carrier and phone will determine if you can call through WiFi or not.
Enable Iphone WiFi Calling
- Go to Settings – Phone – WiFi Calling
- Switch the Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone slider to On.
- Choose “Enable” to turn on Wi-Fi Calling. You can ignore the warning about what data your carrier collects.
Activate Android WiFi Calling
- Open Settings – More – More Settings (under wireless and network).
- Choose “Wi-Fi Calling” and activate it to enable the feature.
- In case you can’t find this option, search for it since it might be located somewhere else in the interface.
Benefits of Calling through WiFi
So why should you be inclined to call through the Internet instead of placing a regular cellular call?
- It’s free (except for data usage) which means that you can use it abroad and avoid paying extra for international calls.
- It could be used where cellular reception is spotty our straight out bad.
- You can make and get calls with WiFi using your phone number.
- You can make video calls without an LTE connection.
Will I use data when calling via WiFi?
Yes, you will use your regular data plan to make calls. Some carriers also charge an access fee.
How much data does a Wi-Fi call use?
It varies but you can assume about 1 MB of data per minute for a call, and 6-8 MB of data for a video call.
Are all phone able to support WiFi calling?
No. You need to have a phone that’s HD Voice-enabled and have the HD Voice feature activated. If you don’t know if your phone is HD Voice-enabled, check this list.
How do I enable HD Voice?
Most phones are by default set to “Data Only”. In order to get voice and data to be sent over the 4G LTE network, you need to manually enable VoLTE. To do so on an iPhone, go to Settings – Cellular – Enable LTE and select Voice and Data.
What if my phone doesn’t support it?
If your phone, or carrier, doesn’t support it you can always call and text from WiFi via an app. The most common ones are Skype, Google Hangout, Whats App, Facebook Messanger and Viber.
Finally, with US Mobile you get unlimited global WiFi for just $10/month. Check it out!
US Mobile launches an Unlimited WiFi plan so that you can lower your phone bill even more! We’ll give you access to 60+ million hotspots in 120+ countries and 35+ million hotspots just here in the US. With the WiFi plan on your phone or laptop, you can connect to hotspots located almost everywhere on the ground and in the sky on the 20 leading airlines including Delta, American Airlines, and Virgin America.
Why is US Mobile Offering Global WiFi?
At US Mobile, we’re always trying to improve our service. Really we do. This is why we, on a regular basis, ask for feedback from our customers. We know that customers are using more and more data. And it tends to be the biggest expense on a cell phone bill these days. Actually, according to a recent study by Ericsson, the average smartphone user will consume 8.9 GB of data per month by 2021. In our latest customer survey, we were asked to make data more affordable. That is when we decided to build an Inflight WiFi plan on the world’s largest global WiFi network.
“With more than 35 million hotspots in the US, customers can basically use our Wi-Fi plans everywhere; airports, trains, hotels, cafes, outdoors etc.,” said US Mobile’s Founder & CEO, Ahmed Khattak. “Customers will also enjoy in-flight connectivity on all the major airlines at a more affordable price than what the airlines and other comparative services are offering. This Unlimited Wi-Fi plan is a game-changer when you travel abroad. Instead of paying for international roaming, which can be quite costly, you have a whole network of hotspots ready to be used anywhere in the world.”
The Unlimited Inflight WiFi Plan
Our new offer includes a $10 Unlimited Inflight WiFi Plan. You pay a flat fee for unlimited WiFi, which you can use in the US and abroad, in the sky and on the ground. Here is how you lower your cell phone plan in a few minutes:
- Go to our WiFi plans page or your personal dashboard and order the Global Inflight WiFi plan.
- Download our partner’s app and get instant access: iTunes – GooglePlay
- Activate with just “one click” on any device.
The Inflight WiFi plan gives you get unlimited data without having to spend time on finding a free hotspot. You don’t even have to enter credentials in order to connect. It’s very convenient as it connects you automatically and uses three layers of security to keep your privacy is safe.
Switch Seamlessly Between Networks
The app allows you to automatically connect to the best hotspot based on your usage needs. It uses advanced analytics to identify and rate access points. The access points are based on factors such as signal strength, speed, bandwidth availability, and connection success rate. A self-learning algorithm continuously improves its knowledge of global WiFi networks, allowing the app to select the most optimal network in real time.
We hope you’ll enjoy our new addition!
Image Source: Ipass
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!
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 8 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 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.