My Island WiFi offers U.S. service – $110 / month for unlimited internet
When Have Another Day visited the Bahamas in 2017 internet connectivity was complex and pricey. In 2018 My Island WiFi began renting mobile hotspots with unlimited data and the raves about simplicity and cost-effectiveness could be heard all the way back in the states. Many commented that the Bahamas service was so much better than what they could get from U.S. providers that they wished they could use My Island WiFi’s service in the U.S. Well, now they can; My Island WiFi has started offering service in the U.S.
My Island WiFi is now offering a $110 per month plan that offers fully unlimited service on AT&T’s mobile network. Leo Tripp from My Island WiFi says the service is fully unlimited and that the first threshold for carrier network management will be at 1.5 TERABYTES (that’s 1,500 gigabytes of data compared to the 22 gigabytes most plans start slowing you down) of data transferred in a month. I’ve abused many mobile connections in my testing, regularly running test loops of data through them continuously for days, and I’ve never gotten to half that much data in a month.
During our cruising I’ve found that cellular internet connectivity is the most reliable way to maintain a good connection. This plan makes that a little bit easier and provides a lot of bandwidth at a reasonable price for what you’re getting.
There can be a lot of fine print and subtleties about how a cellular plan works with terms like throttling, network management, prioritization and others being thrown about. Mr. Tripp had answers to all of these concerns and they are good. The My Island WiFi lines are categorized as enterprise plans on AT&T’s network and hence will be treated as high priority lines on the network, not taking a back seat to prepaid or postpaid cellular devices. Unlike most other plans there’s no 22 GB threshold at which point service will be slowed. Tripp says your service will remain full speed right up to that 1.5 TB threshold at which point it will experience a small slowdown.
My Island WiFi’s rate plans include the rental of a hotspot, currently, the Netgear AirCard 770s. There are no contracts required and service can be activated for as little time or as long as you need. Without a requirement to purchase any hardware and no time commitment the plans could be a very good fit for travelers and seasonal cruisers.
They’re working on a multi-SIM solution using a Pepwave router which will allow both a US and Carribean My Island WiFi SIM to be inserted into the router and automatic switchover between the SIMs based on coverage. The Pepwave solution will be available for purchase or rental and will carry a higher price tag than the 770s.
Leo Tripp also mentioned that they hope to follow the same path for monthly rates they did with their Bahamas plans. When the Bahamas plan was first introduced it was $99 a month, but once they built a large enough subscriber base, they lowered the plan to $75 per month. If the customer satisfaction is as high in the U.S. as it’s been in the Bahamas I don’t think they’ll have any troubles getting enough people to sign up.
I’m going to be getting an evaluation unit soon and will put it through my usual tests and report back on the results. I’ve been looking for a replacement for Verizon’s $65/month prepaid plan since it was retired. I’m hopeful this could be just that.
Ben, I understand the value of truly unlimited data streaming from a cellular WiFi hotspot for web browsing, online work, and streaming videos and music — on my boat or wherever I am off the boat. But can a service like this completely replace a normal phone service account?
For instance, while I know that my Pixel 2 and many other modern phones can make and take calls over WiFi, I’ve rarely used that feature and don’t know how well it works. And what about texting? And maybe most important, what about my phone number? Can it be transferred to a My Island WiFi account or similar? Or is keeping a minimal cell plan on the phone the best strategy?
Unless you’re willing to put up with some pretty significant limitations (like only having phone service when you’re at the boat) this would be a service to augment what your phone plan gives you.
I think I remember that you’re on a grandfathered plan with Verizon that allows you unlimited tethering. That’s not an option available directly from most of the carriers and I don’t know of any other plan that claims a threshold as high as 1.5 TB for traffic management.
I’ve used WiFi calling and found it to be viable the majority of the time but really frustrating in those cases when it doesn’t — and as RickG notes that’s frequently when the network is stressed and it’s going to be worse in WiFi than when making calls directly against the cellular network. WiFi calling does support texting and you could port your number to google voice or a similar service to retain it if you canceled your phone plan. But, I think that’s all moot as I wouldn’t recommend going that route, though possibly scaling back your phone plan could be an option.
Well, sounds like WiFi calling is not a good idea for prime phone service, but why would a My Island WiFi user only have service on the boat? Isn’t the Aircard 770 quite portable?
By the way, I gave up my grandfathered unlimited Verizon service a few years ago, and while that was probably a mistake, Verizon service in the wonderful cruising grounds east of Camden is quite spotty. AT&T shows LTE almost everywhere along the Maine coast, but I’m skeptical.
We pop the AirCard in the Admirals purse when we are off the boat. The batter lasts all day.
We used Wi-Fi calling using our AT&T plan over Island Wi-Fi in the Bahamas for three months this year. It worked reasonably well when there was enough bandwidth. During Regatta week in Georgetown the network was saturated and Wi-Fi calls did not work while using the mobile network for calls did.
Does the plan work in Canada or Mexico? The standard ATT plans work internationally for an additional $10 per day. Does Island WiFi offer something similar? or does this plan only work in the Bahamas and USA?
Though things aren’t official yet the indication I got was that the plan will work in Canada and Mexico without any additional expense.
Also I wanted to clarify because I probably didn’t make it clear enough. The U.S. plan is separate from the Bahamas plan. Each has its own SIM card and a U.S. My Island WiFi SIM won’t give you service in the Bahamas and vice versa.
Could the My Island SIM work in the Shakespeare WCT-1? Seems like it would be ideal.
Just signed up for this. The sales entry form wanted to know duration of service. I picked a month for purposes of trial. Can they establish recurring billing if we decide to keep the plan do you know?
I do believe (though not from first-hand experience) they do recurring billing. My understanding is that billing doesn’t stop until the device is returned to them.
Sadly Island WiFi, which began doing business in the US as Finally WiFi, has been engaged in a dispute with AT&T. A couple of weeks ago AT&T suspended the service of Finally WiFi’s accounts. This left a lot of cruisers without connectivity. I don’t think those who need connectivity should depend on the dispute being resolved soon to find another option.
If you’re in need of a new option I’d take a look at Visible (https://panbo.com/visible-part-2-hands-on-testing-verizons-40-per-month-unlimited-brand/), which can give you 5mbps of hotspot bandwidth for $40 a month ($25 if you play their party pay games). Combined with an inexpensive travel router (https://panbo.com/gl-inet-ar750-travel-router-a-low-cost-boat-router-option/) you can use the connection with all your onboard devices.
The Mobile Internet Resource Center (https://panbo.com/gl-inet-ar750-travel-router-a-low-cost-boat-router-option/) does a great job of tracking all the options.