Managing Your Cellphone Data on a Long Haul
Cell Phone Usage
Many truck drivers remember a time when their communication with the family was limited to pay phones that were frequently out of order or being used by someone else when you were lucky enough to find one and have a few minutes of down-time to use it. These days, it is difficult for any of us to imagine life without Wi-Fi and our cellphones. Along with the convenience, comes high cost and a potentially overwhelming array of choices.
If you make frequent trips across country, it is imperative that you have a national carrier and your plan does not include roaming fees. Some companies will not charge you roaming when using their towers, but will hit you with some whopping charges for connecting via a competitor's tower. Read the fine print when you see "Free Roaming" in bold letters.
Practically any recognized carrier offers some plan that they call nationwide coverage. But they all have very different coverage maps. Carefully consider the cities and towns of your most frequent deliveries and compare them to the coverage map of any phone carriers that you are considering.
Data use and cost
The carrier with the best coverage charges a premium for data. The carrier with the best price on unlimited data provides what can only be called spotty coverage. To be safe, you are not going to be sending emails while driving and shouldn't be updating your Facebook page with photos of scenic views, either. Many truck stops provide free Wi-Fi to bring you in. Most drivers prefer paying the price to have a reliable connection anytime they really need it and make use of Wi-Fi when they are at a hotel, restaurant, or truck stop.
Contract vs no contract
For just a single phone, you are better off with no contract. When you are shopping for family plans, it is worth considering the packages offered by national companies.
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