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How Inflight WiFi Determines Which Airline We Choose

Inflight WiFI

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.

Unlimited WiFi Inflight

Image Source: Iberia

What is WiFi Calling – Enable it on Iphone & Android

 

WiFi Calling Plan

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.

How to Enable Iphone WiFi Calling

  1. Go to Settings – Phone – WiFi Calling
  2. Switch the Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone slider to On.
  3. Choose “Enable” to turn on Wi-Fi Calling. You can ignore the warning about what data your carrier collects.

How to Activate Android WiFi Calling

  1. Open Settings – More – More Settings (under wireless and network).
  2. Choose “Wi-Fi Calling” and activate it to enable the feature.
  3. In case you can’t find this option, search for it since it might be located somewhere else in the interface.

Benefits of Wifi Calling

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.

Other FAQs

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!

Get an Unlimited Inflight WiFi Plan for Just $10

Unlimited Inflight WiFi Plan Cheaper Data

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:

  1. Go to our WiFi plans page or your personal dashboard and order the Global Inflight WiFi plan.
  2. Download our partner’s app and get instant access: iTunes  – GooglePlay
  3. 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!

Unlimited WiFi Inflight

Image Source: Ipass

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 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 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

Check Out US Mobile’s New Website and Features

new website

We’re happy to announce the launch of a new and improved website at US Mobile! A lot of work has gone into this redesign and we hope you’ll like it. As always, we would love to hear your feedback at help@usmobile.com.

What has Changed for New Customers?

We hope that new customers will enjoy the simplified process of getting and activating a GSM SIM card and making a plan selection. A new feature we’ve launched is an Annual Savings Calculator. By adding your current monthly cost and clicking ‘compare’, you’ll see how much your annual savings will be if you switch to US Mobile. In case you don’t know what your existing phone bill is, you can compare your US Mobile plan with an average US phone plan.

Cheapest cell phone plans

The average customer is just paying $15 per month for a cell phone plan. If you don’t know how much data you need, have a look at this data plan guide.

Once you’ve decided that you want to join US Mobile, just add a prepaid SIM card to your bag and enjoy a one-page checkout.

GSM Sim Card Prepaid

And remember that students are still eligible to get a complimentary SIM card!

New Website Features for Existing Customers

If you’re a family or a business you’ll enjoy our new dashboard. It gives a clear overview of all the lines in your account. Click on ‘More Details’ if you want to view and manage a specific line. Furthermore, adding another line is as easy as a click of a button.

Cheap family prepaid plans

As you can see we’ve also improved the AutoPay functionality. Now it’s easy to see if you have it activated or not. If you want to activate AutoPay, just click on the line and slide the AutoPay button to the right in the AutoPay settings.

Some things that haven’t changed are our awesome prices and giving new customers a 14-day risk-free trial. If, within 14 days of service, 300 minutes, 300 texts, or 300 MB of data consumption, whichever comes first, you are not completely satisfied with our service and wish to cancel, we will refund your money. Read more about that in the review by MoneySavingPro.

We hope you’ll take the new site for a spin!

US Mobile Launches on America’s Largest 4G LTE Network

4G LTE Coverage

I am excited to announce that starting this summer, in addition to our current GSM network, we will offer service on the biggest and most dependable 4G LTE network in America. With US Mobile, customers will be able to optimize their cheap cell phone plans and their coverage to get the best service in their area.

We started US Mobile with a few simple questions. What if people had the option to buy time in smaller chunks? What if they could buy only what they needed? What if we could build a mobile company that treated people the way we wanted to be treated? This last question was a big deal for me because Karma is not just a nice “idea.” I grew up in a world where it actually means something, and I wanted to build a company where it meant something too. I wanted to build a company which would have real, genuine empathy for its customers and would do right by them, every time. We truly believe that if we do the right thing, we will be successful.”

A Company That Does the Exact Opposite

As a serial entrepreneur in the telecom industry, I saw an opportunity to answer those questions.  Across the country, phone bills were rising as carriers forced customers to pay for unlimited talk and text, bundled into their data plans. Customers were handcuffed to these carriers with locked phones and two-year contracts with incredibly high switching fees. To make matters worse, telecom customer support departments were notorious for poor service. There had to be a better way.

For me, the answer was easy: just build a company that does the exact opposite of everybody else.

The Karma Team

I hired a team of smart, kind-hearted customer service representatives, which I dubbed “The Karma Team”. They would be on the front lines with customers. I eliminated the concept of assigning customer service ticket numbers because people aren’t anonymous numbers on a list—they’re people who need assistance. The team was given the mandate to befriend customers and to help them get to a place that was solely in their best interest—even if that meant sending them to a competitor.

The Future of US Mobile

Today 60% of US Mobile customers get their issues resolved by texting, e-mailing or using US Mobile’s Live Chat feature. Average first-response times are less than 30 seconds on Live Chat and less than 10 minutes on e-mail. US Mobile has truly redefined how people interact with a carrier.

In just 24 months, nearly 40,000 people from all kinds of backgrounds have trusted US Mobile with their wireless needs. From a child’s first flip phone to a grandmother’s first iPhone, users have customized more than 300 different types of plans on US Mobile’s network.

For me, this is all very personal. 13 years after I landed in this country with $200 in my pocket, unable to sign up for wireless service because I was an immigrant with no credit history, this is a major milestone.

Sincerely,
Ahmed Khattak, CEO
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