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ATT wifi device results #61894
07/14/2015 01:42 PM
07/14/2015 01:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 414
Memphis, TN
beerMe Offline OP
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I had hoped to try out a couple of cellular wifi devices while we were in the BVI and report back on how Digicel and Lime compared as far as signal strength in different locations. Well, BVIYC told me they were closed on Sunday so I didn't get to try that. Anyone know if either is open on Sunday or not?

Since we were going to be spending some time in the BVI, USVI and SVI I did get a chance to try several locations and see what signal we got from ATT. We got 3 bars or better in Great Harbor, Peter Island, at the Byte, about half way up while in Sir Francis Drake channel, from about 1 mile NE of JVD, in Great Harbor, JVD and in Sopers and Lenister Bay and St. Francis Bay.

We got 4 bars or better off of St. Thomas, behind Water Island, Culebra, Culebrita and Sun Bay on Vieques.

It seemed to get an extra bar by putting the device in a bag and hoisting it up with the flag and in one place it didn't get a signal until I did that.

The device was a ATT Unite-Pro (Netgear Aircard 781S), I like this one because it has a huge battery, nice user interface and can even send/receive messages. The unlocked version was $89 and I added 5 Gigs for $50. The price for two weeks from BVIYC would have been $250 (but that would have covered the BVI).

I really enjoy having this to check weather, email, flight status and generally keeping up with the world. The only downsides might be if you have someone aboard who's addicted to the internet (they become non-present) and you have to limit the amount of video/apps that sync large files, like photos, to the cloud or you'll be using a lot of data quick.

Hope this was somewhat useful to someone.


Life involves risks, take some prudent ones (NOT with the BVI ferries)!
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Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61895
07/14/2015 03:57 PM
07/14/2015 03:57 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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I use the same device Unite device on ATT. A few differences I've seen on a half-dozen uses:
- only the outer balls have signal at Leinster Bay STJ
- Coral Bay and south shore STJ now have coverage with the addition of a new
- Coverage to Cooper is pretty good
- Coverage to Virgin Gorda, Spanishtown is weather dependent
- Diamond Cay/JVD is pretty good
- Cane Garden Bay/Tortola is pretty good

Basically, assuming line of sight, from Spanishtown to Diamond Cay.

Generally, my Digicel router does better than ATT east of the Bight and Great Harbor.

Cheers, Rick


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: RickG] #61896
07/16/2015 12:34 PM
07/16/2015 12:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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Thanks for posting guys, good to know more about the different options.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: onlymedication] #61897
07/17/2015 09:31 AM
07/17/2015 09:31 AM
Joined: May 2013
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jbuch02 Offline
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I'm in East End now (Tamarind Club).

I also have the ATT mifi device you all mention above. Here's what I've done after looking at the options.

I have an ATT Passport plan on my Nokia Windows phone (voice and 300mb data = $60). Voice is .50/minute so use this sparingly. I have 120mb on my mifi ($30).

Right now, I'm linked to Lime via my PassPort plan. I can also link via DigiCell service. If you are just checking email and such, those amounts of data are fine and you can reload if you bust the max. Problem is it is hard to tell when you actually do that. You will probably get an alert from ATT. If you call the international customer service, buy another block of mbs, they'll usually back date it to cover your overage. Keep in mind, texting incurs no charges. ISo, it's not bad.

I also have an unlocked iPhone with me. I'm going to the Digicell office today in RT to see what kind of plans I can get. I will have to buy a compatible mifi device to get data from them. I don't think I'm going to need it. Right now, I think I'm fine with ATT plus the passport plan. I wil update.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: jbuch02] #61898
07/17/2015 11:09 AM
07/17/2015 11:09 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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you only need mifi for more then one device, you can get a USB stick for one device.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: jbuch02] #61899
07/17/2015 11:36 AM
07/17/2015 11:36 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 414
Memphis, TN
beerMe Offline OP
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jburch02,
If you see this before you go... would you mind asking them if they are open on Sundays? BVIYC told me they are closed but I just wanted to double check.

I just checked the specs on the Unite mifi and the info Digicell gave me and it looks to me like the device should work on their network. I might try it next time. It looks like ATT and the passport plan is a good fit for you.


Life involves risks, take some prudent ones (NOT with the BVI ferries)!
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61900
07/17/2015 01:00 PM
07/17/2015 01:00 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
jbuch02 Offline
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BeerMe ........ sitting iPussers right now. Digicell just down the street. I'll check it for you.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61901
07/17/2015 01:06 PM
07/17/2015 01:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 11
Orange County, CA
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ItsAllGood Offline
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ItsAllGood  Offline
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Orange County, CA
Curious, what are the specs that Digicel provided you? I have a Mifi, hoping it is compatible. Thank you.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61902
07/17/2015 01:47 PM
07/17/2015 01:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 826
Tortola, BVI
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LianeLeTendre Offline
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Digicel (and all phone companies to my knowledge) are closed on Sundays. Road Town is like a ghost town on Sunday.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: LianeLeTendre] #61903
07/17/2015 03:52 PM
07/17/2015 03:52 PM
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Posts: 389
jbuch02 Offline
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DigiCell in RT closes at 3p on Satruday and does not open again until Monday.

I did not wait around for the technician to "return from lunch" to see if my ATT mifi is compatible with DigiCells 4g/LTE.

To my knowledge even if a mifi is technically compatible, it still needs to be unlocked. Mine isn't . You still need to insert a Sim Card. Digicell Sims are $13. Then you can select from an array of data and voice packages.

A Digicell mifi is $79. Then add your data package to it. I think someone else posted total cost for a robust amount of data capability in the BVI using Digicell's 4g/LTE via their mifi was around $120.

For now, I'm sticking with what I've got and we'll see how it goes. Frankly I don't mind being completely out of range of all radio signals for the purpose of communicating with the the rest of the world for a couple of days. Besides, there will be plenty of places with free wifi to check email and such. Don't need data plans or mifi for that.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ItsAllGood] #61904
07/17/2015 04:18 PM
07/17/2015 04:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 414
Memphis, TN
beerMe Offline OP
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Quote
ItsAllGood said:
Curious, what are the specs that Digicel provided you? I have a Mifi, hoping it is compatible. Thank you.


Digicel said 850/1900. Technically 4G (HPSA+) speeds, not LTE but that is fast enough for anything you'll want to do with it including streaming.


Life involves risks, take some prudent ones (NOT with the BVI ferries)!
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61905
07/17/2015 07:57 PM
07/17/2015 07:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 11
Orange County, CA
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ItsAllGood Offline
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Perfect. Thank you.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ItsAllGood] #61906
07/17/2015 08:19 PM
07/17/2015 08:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,577
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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Where can you get a digicell sim card near road town?


Matt
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: maytrix] #61907
07/17/2015 10:20 PM
07/17/2015 10:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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Digicel's flagship store is at Wickhams Cay. They're good there, but call ahead at (284) 300-0001 to make certain they have sim cards.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: jbuch02] #61908
07/18/2015 05:16 PM
07/18/2015 05:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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Quote
jbuch02 said:
I think someone else posted total cost for a robust amount of data capability in the BVI using Digicell's 4g/LTE via their mifi was around $120.


Not close. 1GB of data from Digicel is 25 bucks. You can get a mifi device AND a gig of data for less than $120.
http://www.digicelbvi.com/en/4g/digicel-4g-broadband-services/4g-broadband-pricing

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: onlymedication] #61909
07/21/2015 02:29 PM
07/21/2015 02:29 PM
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jbuch02 Offline
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The $120 I spoke of up thread is for the Digicell mifi and a data package .

Thinking back on this, the Digicell mifi and data pkg may be the way to go. The AT&T passport plan is fine for your phone device (voice and data) but if you want data for your ATT mifi that has to be purchased separately is $30. For 120mbs. With just email checking and some looking at this forum, the 120mbs went fast.

Sitting at Coopers Resort on their wifi. There's enough free wifi around that it works but for me it's not ideal. I'd rather have a local 4g data conection that can be distributed to other devices through a mifi. Local cell coverage - voice and 4g data - has been excellent every where we've been so far.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: jbuch02] #61910
07/24/2015 11:28 AM
07/24/2015 11:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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Quote
jbuch02 said:
The $120 I spoke of up thread is for the Digicell mifi and a data package .


Oh, OK, then yup, we are on the same page. I just wasn't totally clear from your previous statement. Sorry about that.

Quote
jbuch02 said:
Thinking back on this, the Digicell mifi and data pkg may be the way to go. The AT&T passport plan is fine for your phone device (voice and data) but if you want data for your ATT mifi that has to be purchased separately is $30. For 120mbs. With just email checking and some looking at this forum, the 120mbs went fast.


I totally agree. And once you have the device, it's just $25 for future trips. If you don't want to or care about having connectivity, I totally get it. But if you do, this is the most reliable and cost effective method I have found. We've used our mifi to watch Netflix on a rainy night, to watch a bowl game on the boat when we were crowded out at CGB by Midwestern fans that wanted to watch Iowa or something and got them to change the channel off the Clemson (my wife's team, not mine) game we were watching because there were more of them. We also like to email and text back home with dog-sitters and with friends and family to let them share in our fun and not worry about us when they hear of rough weather, etc. To us, it's just worth having.

Add in $10 or $20 worth of credit on a burner phone and you are as in touch as you want to be. And when you don't want to be in touch, you turn them off!

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: onlymedication] #61911
07/24/2015 11:47 AM
07/24/2015 11:47 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,577
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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If you don't need to share the internet with others on the boat, then a phone with internet sharing would work fine too. Doesn't have to be a mifi. So you could have one device that covers internet and calls.


Matt
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: maytrix] #61912
07/26/2015 01:09 PM
07/26/2015 01:09 PM
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christianb Offline
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I'd like to try being some help since I did some research on LTE/4G frequencies before I last entered the US (I'm from Europe). The ATT Unite Mifi can handle 3G speed in the areas we're talking about - of course if it's not SIM locked. Talking of highspeed (LTE/4G) it's far more complicated but as far as I know right now the BVI does not have real LTE/4G. What they offer (afaik) is really optimized 3G. They should have some real LTE in the first half of 2016.

Then, you would need not only a unlocked MIFI - you need to have one with the right 4G bands. The Unite Mifi uses 4G bands: 2,4,5,17 - for example in Antigua&Barbuda Digicel uses Band 17 while Lime is on Band 4.

To wrap up my first lines: For the trip to US I ended up buying an used unlocked AT&T Unite Mifi for 25$ since my european Mifi lacked the nec. bands... Complicated world.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: christianb] #61913
07/26/2015 01:40 PM
07/26/2015 01:40 PM
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Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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However if you are picking up the St.Thomas AT&T signal it is LTE. We have a Lime sim when we are out of AT&T range

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: christianb] #61914
07/26/2015 07:42 PM
07/26/2015 07:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 414
Memphis, TN
beerMe Offline OP
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Quote
christianb said:
I'd like to try being some help since I did some research on LTE/4G frequencies before I last entered the US (I'm from Europe). The ATT Unite Mifi can handle 3G speed in the areas we're talking about - of course if it's not SIM locked. Talking of highspeed (LTE/4G) it's far more complicated but as far as I know right now the BVI does not have real LTE/4G. What they offer (afaik) is really optimized 3G. They should have some real LTE in the first half of 2016.

Then, you would need not only a unlocked MIFI - you need to have one with the right 4G bands. The Unite Mifi uses 4G bands: 2,4,5,17 - for example in Antigua&Barbuda Digicel uses Band 17 while Lime is on Band 4.

To wrap up my first lines: For the trip to US I ended up buying an used unlocked AT&T Unite Mifi for 25$ since my european Mifi lacked the nec. bands... Complicated world.


Thanks for adding that. I think an unlocked ATT Unite is able to handle the Digicel/Lime frequencies while in the BVI. Before 4G/LTE, companies in the US started calling it 4G when it was technically advanced 3G (HSPA+) and now the same in the BVI's - it's a marketing thing. But, apparently you can stream music as Evan (sailtowind) has reported and I think it will work with video, I believe 2Mbs download should be expected with a good signal which is good enough for me.

One thing I figured out about the Unite device, to change the APN setting, which someone will need to do for it to work, you need to login to the device from a computer - you can't do it from the user interface on the device itself. As you said, to do this it needs to be unlocked.


Life involves risks, take some prudent ones (NOT with the BVI ferries)!
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: jbuch02] #61915
08/03/2015 07:25 AM
08/03/2015 07:25 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 91
London
Stowe Offline
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Super interesting post, need options too...

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: beerMe] #61916
08/03/2015 08:53 AM
08/03/2015 08:53 AM
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St. Louis
Tackmaster Offline
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We bought, from LIME, a Huawei mobile wifi. We have had AWESOM results with it from anywhere in the BVI…just top off at any LIME location anywhere and off you go again….not too pricey either! Totally recommend!

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: Tackmaster] #61917
08/16/2015 12:46 PM
08/16/2015 12:46 PM
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Posts: 294
Park City, Utah
ericlut Offline
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Anyone purchase a mobile wifi device online from Lime or Digital and had it shipped to you? We're chartering with CYOA (1st time) and although we'll spend most of the charter in the BVI we'd like to avoid the trip into Road Town if possible. Thanks!

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ericlut] #61918
08/16/2015 12:51 PM
08/16/2015 12:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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buy the device on Amazon, Lime and Digicel are way more pricey for the same device, plus shipping from BVI can be expensive. I bought my Huawei for a little over $30.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: sail2wind] #61919
08/16/2015 12:57 PM
08/16/2015 12:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 294
Park City, Utah
ericlut Offline
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Will I need a sim card from Lime or Digicel if I buy the device on Amazon? And if so, does anyone know if Lime or Digicel sells them online?

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ericlut] #61920
08/16/2015 01:00 PM
08/16/2015 01:00 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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You might have to stop in the store to have the mifi set up. I don't know if I could have done it on my own. Once set up, anyone on the boat would log on to Long Overdue on their wireless connections, worked great.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ericlut] #61921
08/16/2015 02:57 PM
08/16/2015 02:57 PM
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Ill, USA
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I do believe you will have to have them set up the wifi device but not certain about that because you can switch the SIM card between phone and mifi and they work.

If you are going to be in spanishtown M thru Friday, you can get a card setup for mifi from CCT in the Yacht harbor ..various prepaid plans and I know the 75 $ will last a good while..3 weeks ..all we need for email and normal browsing. Downloading video etc..nope. Lucy, the lady that manages the office is a great person with a wicket sense of humor. You can topoff over the phone.


If you prefer Lime which has a lot of top up offices..bout a 5$ cab ride ..mile or so from VGYH to their office down the street Speedys is on..will take 5 minutes to get you going. With them too you can top off by phone but I usually stop into Mr. nice Guys and add minutes for the phone.

Either way it's a very quick process from VGYH .

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: Will_L] #61922
08/17/2015 06:55 AM
08/17/2015 06:55 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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For Digicel its best to turn your device before you topup and buy your plan. Otherwise, as soon as you topup the device will use some of your funds at the higher per MB rate.

Another lesson learned, turn off the router at night or your devices will use bandwidth even in background mode.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: RickG] #61923
08/17/2015 10:49 AM
08/17/2015 10:49 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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Quote
RickG said:
For Digicel its best to turn your device before you topup and buy your plan. Otherwise, as soon as you topup the device will use some of your funds at the higher per MB rate.


Rick, can you elaborate a bit? Sorry if I'm being dense, I'm just not following.

I believe you do need to stop in the Digicel store to set up the mifi the first time. At least, that is what I was told.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: onlymedication] #61924
08/17/2015 01:40 PM
08/17/2015 01:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 294
Park City, Utah
ericlut Offline
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Thanks for all the input guys. I got this response directly from Digicel:

[color:"blue"]We do not offer the devices for sale online however, you can provide us with your FeDex/DHL account where it can be shipped. Or if you are sailing with a charter company from the BVI, we can have it delivered there. We would not advise that you have the plan activated until you get to the BVI as the plans are valid for 30 days and do not roam.[/color]

I asked a few follow up questions and I'll post the answers when I get them.

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: ericlut] #61925
08/17/2015 04:15 PM
08/17/2015 04:15 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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FYI, we had to Fedex a package from Nanny Cay to the states, it was $75

Re: ATT wifi device results [Re: RickG] #61926
10/21/2015 09:34 PM
10/21/2015 09:34 PM
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Jccarr Offline
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Quote
RickG said:
I use the same device Unite device on ATT. A few differences I've seen on a half-dozen uses:
- only the outer balls have signal at Leinster Bay STJ
- Coral Bay and south shore STJ now have coverage with the addition of a new
- Coverage to Cooper is pretty good
- Coverage to Virgin Gorda, Spanishtown is weather dependent
- Diamond Cay/JVD is pretty good
- Cane Garden Bay/Tortola is pretty good

Basically, assuming line of sight, from Spanishtown to Diamond Cay.

Generally, my Digicel router does better than ATT east of the Bight and Great Harbor.

Cheers, Rick

Rick, what is the model number of your Digicell router?


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