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If you’re planning on venturing into RV living while working full time, one thing you will absolutely, undoubtedly need is the best internet you can find – fast, reliable, and plentiful.

Updated: Sept 4, 2023

I’m going to make the disclaimer of all disclaimers before this post – I am not an internet expert.

While I know enough to be dangerous, I can’t tell you all the technical things about internet service. We can tell you what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for us as full-time digital nomads who have tried 6 internet services now.

Before we tell you what we did and didn’t like about each of our services, it’s important to understand our requirements and what we need with our internet service (because you may not need the same).

Our Internet needs

  • 15-20 Zoom calls/week
  • 25+ pieces of video content uploaded/week
  • Other items needing internet:
    • Workouts
    • Podcasts
    • Meditations
    • Security system
    • Security camera
    • Shows and movies

TOTAL MONTHLY USAGE = 250GB+/mo

We’re a moderate to heavy-use internet household and we need strong signal to complete our work each week. Let’s dive into the solutions we’ve tried so far and how we’d rank them. One last note – there are people who know how to set up really complex internet devices and wiring throughout their rig for stronger this and more consistent that. We are not those people. We are regular humans. The internet services we’ve tried are out of the box ๐Ÿ“ฆย 

Table of Contents

Click to jump ahead
  1. NOMAD INTERNET (+ AT&T Phones + AT&T Truck Internet)
  2. SKYROAM (+ AT&T Phones + AT&T Truck Internet)
  3. CRICKET WIRELESS (+ AT&T Phones + AT&T Truck Internet)
  4. RV IT GUY (+ AT&T Phones + AT&T Truck Internet)
  5. STARLINK (+ T-Mobile Phones)
  6. T-Mobile Home Internet (+ T-Mobile Phones)
  7. Easy RV Internet for Digital Nomads (New course!)
Nomad Internet device, AT&T iPhone, and truck onstar internet

Nomad Internet

Startup Cost: $349
Monthly Cost: $129/mo (+ $150 cell + $30 truck internet) = $309/mo
Equipment: Nighthawk (which is no longer the device they use)
Year of Use: 2020

When we found Nomad, we thought we hit jackpot. We did not, in fact, hit jackpot.

Pros of internet service:

  • Super fastย – the end. The service was as fast as our home internet we were used to.
  • Multiple devices, no problem – Nomad could handle all our devices no matter what we were using them for.
  • All the high-speed data we wantedย – the data was virtually limitless. Customer support told me we could use up to 800-900 GB of high-speed data and never run out. It was true. We never ran out of high-speed data and were never throttled.
  • Reliable networkย – we purchased the “blue” plan…which was AT&T network. AT&T was reportedly the only network that hadn’t slowed down when the pandemic hit.
  • Portable deviceย – we loved that you could just charge the Nighthawk, throw it in your bag, and go anywhere you wanted to work for the day.

Cons of internet service:

  • Reasonable startup costsย – it took a hefty $350 to buy into Nomad, and that was supposedly for the Nighthawk router…that you didn’t get to keep. To be clear, you could buy a Nighthawk outright for this same cost. I bit my tongue and did it anyway to get the service.
  • Reliable hardwareย – we were paying for the blue plan, so we had an AT&T SIM card. One day the card just stopped working. I had to contact customer service, which leads me to the next point…
  • Extremely frustrating customer service – it took us a MONTH to get a new SIM card, and they sent it to an address they assured me they had updated four times. Fortunately, the campground they sent it to, which was 10 hours away from us at that point, was kind enough to forward it to us. Additionally, there was no phone number so I literally couldn’t talk to a human. My emails kept getting passed to whatever customer service rep had logged in for that day, so that meant either re-explaining myself or getting a totally different answer.Furthermore, with no phone number – it’s a bit ironic to need internet or cell service to contact your internet company by chat or email to tell them your internet isn’t working.
  • Legitimate business – the first time our SIM card stopped working, they explained that it was just a “bad batch. Ok, I guess that happens. We get the replacement a month later, it works for about 3 weeks, then stops working again. They say it’s a bad batch again.At this point, I’m getting suspicious. I talk to a different customer service rep and they say it’s because of the bombing in Nashville near the AT&T building – no mention of the bad batch. He’s saying it’s because of whatever the bomb supposedly hit.Whatever the reason, they tell me they’ll send me a new SIM card…again. Next, comes an email that says their contracts with the carriers are changing and they’re no longer able to use the Nighthawk hardware, that they now need us to use this other type of proprietary router…for $50/mo more. They said you could either say yes and they’d send you a new router device, or say no and keep the Nighthawk. We said no and kept the Nighthawk.

When we were leaving Nomad, they promised they were hiring a whole fleet of customer service reps, they were changing their equipment, their prices, and their equipment. Looking at their website today, a lot has definitely changed, but the ability to talk to a human has not.

Skyroam internet device, AT&T iPhone, and truck onstar internet

Skyroam Internet

Startup Cost: $140 (cost of the device)
Monthly Cost: $49/mo (“unlimited” data, 20 GB high speed) (+ $150 cell + $30 truck internet) = $229/mo

Equipment: Solis Lite – the orange Skyroam puck
Year of Use: 2020

When our Nomad SIM card failed, we were in Arley, Alabama.

The cellular and wifi signal was about as strong as you think it would be when Arley, Alabama rolls off your tongue.

In order to connect to the internet, we either had to sit in the truck for 8 hours with the engine idling to use our OnStar internet, or drive 35 mins away to the nearest coffee shop……where we had to park very close and still sit in the truck because it’s generally frowned upon to take Zoom calls in a public place.

Anyway, we made it through the end of that week piecing together whatever solutions we could because we thought our SIM card would arrive before we left.

It did not.

When we arrived at our next site in Florida, I was desperate to not have a repeat week of sitting in the truck all day or creepily lurking outside a coffee shop. So we did some research, read lots of reviews and decided to get a Skyroam “orange puck” Amazon 2-day Primed to us so we could have reliable internet.

Ehhh. The word “reliable” can only be used loosely. In our particular location, Skyroam didn’t do a whole lot for us.

Pros of internet service:

  • Portable device – this little orange puck was even more portable than the Nighthawk. Charge it with its matching orange cable and you’re good to go.
  • App – like most everything today, you can download the Skyroam app to monitor your usage, scan for a stronger signal, or chat with support.
  • Scan for Signal – it has this feature in the app where the device will take a beat and scan for the strongest wifi signal it can find. Most devices don’t give you that option.
  • Unlimited Data – though you only get 20GB of high-speed data, you do get unlimited slow data…which is sometimes better than no data at all (but most of the time not).

 

Cons of internet service:

  • Reliability – it was always a crapshoot if our signal would actually be strong enough to do anything at a speed quicker than the sloth in Zootopia. Definitely hit or miss whether it was strong enough to hold me through a Zoom call.
  • Only 20GB High Speed – we blow through 20GB of high-speed data in like a day and a half. And if the high-speed internet was questionable, the slow speed was EVEN more questionable.
  • Customer Support – I did try to engage with them once because I think I got charged a month I wasn’t supposed to. It was a bit of a circular conversation until I gave up.
  • Member Portal – while their website boasts a Member Login, it’s literally just their app enlarged to a website. It even has vertical dimensions still like a phone. Survey says…room for improvement.
  • Extra Data is Pricey – if you happen to need more than 20GB of high-speed data for the month, you’ll be paying $8/GB. That’s right, if you wanted to purchase another 20GB of high-speed data (which is what your $49/mo subscription gets you), you’d have to pay $160 extra. What in the world. So they sell you your first 20GB at $2.45/GB, but then raise the price 31% every GB after that? Get outta here.

We read LOTS of really great reviews for Skyroam, and since we own the device outright, every once in awhile, we use it as backup internet.

If you’re curious about Skyroam and want to give it a try, use this link for 20% off your first month. Who knows – maybe where you are, it’ll work great!

Cricket internet device, AT&T iPhone, and truck onstar internet

Cricket Wireless

Startup Cost: $120

Monthly Cost: $99/mo (90 GB high speed) (+ $150 cell + $30 truck internet) = $279/mo
Equipment: Nighthawk (purchased separately)
Year of Use: 2021

Ok, so now we were in FL – we had blown through 2 internet providers that were NOT panning out for us, and we really needed reliable internet.

We did some more research – the big dogs (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) were still only offering 20GB of high-speed data on their hotspots, and we know that’s not going to cut it. Then we stumbled upon Cricket, which is a subsidiary of AT&T.

Our AT&T service had been floating us during these long bouts of unreliable internet. We’d tether to our phones, and even the slow tethering data on AT&T was faster than campground wifi or Skyroam (most of the time).

We also learned that not only is Cricket the same coverage as AT&T, but they’re actually different towers so you don’t get bogged down with the rest of the AT&T users. Same coverage, different towers, faster speeds.

We were definitely on board for that…especially for “only” $99/mo for 90 GB of high-speed data.

There was only one problem with our understanding of the plan. We had been spoiled with unlimited data until this point and just assumed that every plan was always unlimited but just a finite amount of high-speed data.

Pros of internet service:

  • Portable deviceย – when we broke up with Nomad, they let us keep the Nighthawk since they were switching equipment anyway. So Cricket just activated a new SIM card for us.
  • Nice and Fast – we were loving this 90GB high-speed data.
  • Easy to connect – once we left the Cricket store, it was easy peasy to get all our devices connected

Cons of internet service:

  • Unlimited Data – when they say you get 90GB…they literally mean only 90GB. And while that was still a better deal than every other major provider out there, it wasn’t enough for our “moderate to heavy internet use” household. We regularly found ourselves tacking on data…up to double the amount every month.
  • Extra Data Gets Pricey – their add-on data was $15 for 10GB, which is a MUCH better deal than Skyroam, but when you have to buy an extra 100 GB each month, you’re looking at an extra $150, leaving you with a $250/mo internet bill. Ugh.
  • Clunky Data Add-On Process – the way you have to add data is through the website and it’s such a clunky system that half the time, we’d just have to call customer service to get more data. When you’re literally in the middle of a Zoom call and your data runs out, you don’t have time to call customer service to get more. You need to be able to buy it and activate it immediately.

Overall, Cricket was honestly not a bad service – we just needed way more internet than we could get. I would still use Cricket for a really great supplemental internet choice.

RVITGuy Internet device, AT&T iPhone, and truck onstar internet

RV IT Guy

Startup Cost: $195

Monthly Cost: $99/mo (+ $150 cell + $30 truck internet) = $279/mo
Equipment: Beacon
Year of Use: 2021-2022

ย After spending an absurd amount of money on startup costs and data for about 5 months, between Skyroam and Cricket, we decided we needed a different solution. This just wouldn’t work.

So we went back on the hunt for our best internet/data option.

That’s when we found theRVITGuy.com. When the little chat box popped up at the bottom, I wasn’t impressed by it – literally every internet website has those bots pop up that asks if you have any questions.

What I WAS impressed by is the fact that RVITGuy’s was not a bot – it was a real, live human. A very knowledgeable one.

This company is based out of Milwaukee, they have a real phone number (!!), and their staff are former IT professionals who also currently RV full-time (or have previously). Needless to say, they intimately know the need for good internet on the road (and the frustration of not being able to find it).

After a conversation, some review snooping, and let’s be honest, some desperation – we switched to our 4th internet provider in 7 months.

pros of internet service:

  • Unlimited High-Speed Data – we never ran out of high-speed data.
  • Built-in IT Support – your $99 monthly fee includes both data coverage and IT support. If you have a different internet service but still just need IT support, you can subscribe to RVITGuy’s $59/mo plan and BYO internet.
  • A Real Phone Number – we cannot overemphasize how much of a difference this makes. When we started having issues with our coverage, there were multiple times we got on the phone with a real live person (most often Mike), and got the help we needed. There were even times Mike helped us on Saturdays or Sundays! This isn’t just a phone number with people on the other end who have scripts that take you in a circular discussion – this is someone who is knowledgable and passionate about the internet.
  • Support = Incredible – we’ve used their phone support, we’ve used their chat feature on their site, and we’ve emailed with them dozens of times. Can’t rave about their team enough – Mike, Dena, and Phoebe were our regulars.
  • 2 Networks – typically, when you get an internet service, you only have one network. With RV IT Guy, you actually have 2 – one network is encrypted and keeps your sensitive data secure and the other network is for streaming or Zoom calls.
  • Support = Literally, the Best – did we mention this three times? Yes, we did. Because it’s worth it.
  • Very comprehensive FAQtheRVITGuy.com has one of the most expansive FAQ sections I’ve ever seen, so if you have other questions that are way more technical than I understand, check out their FAQs here, and also – chat with their super responsive customer support rep on their site for questions you have that aren’t listed.

Cons of internet service:

  • Corded Device – the device always has to be plugged in and with an RV, power outlets are limited. Plus, our rig isn’t set up for solar yet so only our lights and slide work on the battery’s power. That means, we need to be plugged into shore power for our outlets to work, and thus for our internet to work. This also means this is not your “throw it in your backpack and work from anywhere” option.
  • Service Got Dicey – when we first started with RV IT Guy, everything worked wonderfully. But something happened about 6 months in, and we noticed our upload and download speeds began slowing down and soon I was tethering to our AT&T phones for all my Zoom calls and anything that needed fast internet.

We worked with support dozens of times – they did everything they could to help us. They pulled up Google Maps and looked at our campgrounds, found the nearest towers, and even told us what side of the campground to grab a site at our upcoming stays. They were truly spectacular.

But sadly, the service still wasn’t working for us. Finally, they discovered our beacon wasn’t working how it should so they mailed us a replacement. There was also something about T-Mobile having replaced their 2G towers? Not sure. Finally, after 6 months of tethering to our phones…we made the really tough decision to try something new ๐Ÿ˜“

We had several friends try RV IT Guy and it seemed to work for them in the parts of the country where they were. Ultimately, we’d still recommend RV IT Guy. They were unlike any other service we had. If you stay on one side of the country or stay for long periods of time in the same general area, RV IT Guy is a really great option.

If you decide The RV IT Guy is right for you, use code BETHANDCOURT at checkout for $20 off your initial setup fee.

Starlink satellite and T-Mobile iPhone
Map of Starlink coverage

If you’re considering Starlink…

This was our unboxing and initial thoughts. An update video is to come.

Starlink satellite and T-Mobile iPhone

๐Ÿ† #1 = T-Mobile

$0 Setup, $40/mo*

After weighing the pros, cons, and prices of the above options we’ve cycled through, T-Mobile is our clear winner ๐Ÿฅ‡

*$60/mo for non-T-Mobile users

Learn More

๐Ÿฅˆ#2 = RV IT Guy

$195 Setup, $99/mo

While Starlink was impressive in the Mountain region of the U.S., RVITGuy has the potential to pull ahead again as our favorite service. Stay tuned. Use code BETHANDCOURT for $20 off your setup fee.

Learn More

One thing you’ll discover very quickly is that internet on the road is MUCH more expensive than at-home service, and internet needs vary wildly so it’s very hard to get a straightforward answer to “what’s the best internet for me on the road”.

The answer is – it depends on what you need, what your budget is, and where you’re going. Whatever your situation is, don’t let it stop you from hitting the road. The right service for you is out there.

Check out 5 Simple RV Internet Questions to Ask as you begin exploring your internet options.

Looking for someone to walk you through all of this so you can just get online quickly? Check out the quick course we’re putting together ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

15 Comments

  1. October

    I have a question for you all. I am about to start traveling and I work remotely. I did have the portable T-Mobile set up before, which seemed to work fine-ish. I live in the Pacific North West and my travel takes me to destinations that T-Mobile just isn’t sending signals to yet. Planning a trip right now and T-Mobile is out for service in this area, but Verizon is. Because I intend on making longer road trips to further destinations, south, east, and still try to keep my love of trees and camping vibe – what do you recommend as far as internet service provider. I’d like to not have to dock up in an RV site every time, also I’d like a more robust coverage area that isnt a pain in the touche when I want to be surrounded by trees and mountains. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Great question. Here’s the thing about almost all internet providers for nomads like us – they’re all based on the cellular networks. They may call them different names (like “red plan” “pink plan”, etc.) but those are just code names for networks like Verizon and T-Mobile. So if those cellular carriers themselves aren’t available or don’t have strong signal in an area, your mobile internet won’t either. I would definitely recommend against any kind of satellite internet (Starlink, etc.) if you want to be surrounded by trees. The way most digital nomads recommend a strong internet signal despite traveling to places that aren’t all covered by a single network is to use redundancy. In other words, a lot of RVers will get T-Mobile internet and Verizon internet. Or they’ll get Starlink, plus buy T-Mobile or Verizon home internet. As you can imagine, it can get really expensive very quickly when you do it that way. For us, we tend to map our route depending on the internet we have. Is it the most freeing way of living the RV life, not necessarily – but for us, we love being near cute towns and cities, which usually have 5G coverage. So following where T-Mobile takes us has worked out great! For your situation, you can do your best to choose the internet provider that will provide the MOST coverage for you on MOST of your travels. Just keep in mind that mobile internet providers are not Wifi…they’re cellular based and need to use the cell towers. Hope that was helpful – best of luck and safe travels!

      Reply
  2. Anthony

    I do have a question about T-Mobile. I have had the wireless home internet for a while and now they are saying it is all changing. They are saying that the home internet was not meant for traveling and that a new mobile package is coming May 8th 2024 which will cost $160 monthly. I was wanting to get an external antenna to get a better signal but now I don’t know if it is worth it. They haven’t locked out travelers but they could. Any thought on this with T-Mobile?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Hey Anthony – great question. We haven’t heard that about the traveling package yet but that’s a hot tip we’ll try to find out more about. Do you have a link to where you saw this info? If T-Mobile does go the route of increasing their prices by $140/mo just because we’re traveling, we’ll likely switch back RV IT Guy. They’re $99/mo and have incredible customer support. We just talked to another full-time RVer who uses Verizon’s home internet for $40/mo and they said it works great as well. So a couple options still out there, but yeah, that’d be pretty disappointing if T-Mobile went that route ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

      Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      I did just find this article that T-Mobile themselves wrote. By the looks of it, they’re encouraging full-time RVers to use their home internet. Doesn’t look like there’s a price hike in the future as they refer to it as a “budget-friendly” option. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Darlene Civilinski

    I clicked the link to the T Mobile site that you provided and right away it mentions ” throttling” for customers who use more than 50g? You said you had no cap?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Hey Darlene – I’m not seeing the message you are about throttling after 50GB, however, throttling and data caps are different. Throttling means you’ll still be able to use the internet after you’ve used 50GB, it just may be at a slower speed based on how much demand there is in your area. A data cap means that it literally cuts you off and you get zero internet once you’ve hit that limit. So while T-Mobile may throttle, the plan that we tried with Cricket, for instance, literally kicked us off the internet until we bought more GBs. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Coye

    So if I am understanding you correctly, you used the T-mobile home internet while traveling in the RV?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      We don’t use the T-Mobile internet while we’re actually driving, but yes, we set up the T-Mobile internet at each new location we stop. Plug it into an outlet and you’re in business!

      Reply
  5. Shauntel Cooley

    So the T Mobile router has to be plugged in? Does this mean you have to be plugged into shore power?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Hi Shauntel – yes! The T-Mobile router has to be plugged into an outlet at all times. You can manage this with a solar setup or a generator but we stay hooked up to shore power ๐Ÿ‘ hope that helps!

      Reply
  6. Amy

    hi! this is a great review. I am about to venture out on vanlife all around the US and was wondering if you’ve moved state to state yet with mobile? I have a similar usage need as you do and am nervous about not having the wifi needs

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Congratulations on your upcoming adventure! ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ itโ€™s an exciting time for sure – but also, yeah, fear of inadequate internet can steal that joy quickly ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

      With T-Mobile, we have used it in 4 states so far with absolutely no problem. The caveat is making sure youโ€™re headed to 5G areas or, at a minimum, just areas where T-Mobile has coverage. Typically, we end up staying in fairly populated areas so I donโ€™t have any feedback on rural areas but itโ€™s been an absolute game changer in the several months weโ€™ve had it. Cutting out, freezing, or dropping work video calls is finally a thing of the past ๐Ÿ˜ช Iโ€™ve tested it on Zoom, Teams, and Slack – all have plenty of speed to provide solid call quality. I never realized how constantly stressed I was about the internet before T-Mobile.

      One other thing to keep in mind is the T-Mobile internet isnโ€™t meant to be used while youโ€™re actively driving in the van. We just tether to our phones to work in the truck as we drive. But other than that – would highly recommend!

      Let us know if you have any other questions. Best of luck, safe travels, and welcome to the nomad life! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      Reply
  7. Mike

    We are having problems with Starlink. It worked great on the Western side of the US and all across Canada. But itโ€™s been nothing but frustrating since getting to the New England states. We have a question about the T-Mobile Home. We move about every 5 days or so. How has your experience been with moving from state to state on reliability?

    Reply
    • Beth Barbaglia

      Yes! That was the same experience we had with Starlink. Itโ€™s so frustrating – especially at the price tag. We havenโ€™t moved state to state with T-Mobile Home Internet yet (we will be in a couple weeks), but before we book a site we check the T-Mobile 5G map. If thereโ€™s 5G in the campground region, it should work great. With Starlink, we were constantly trying to avoid sites with trees (which was very difficult and unpredictable) and still had no guarantee of good speeds. With T-Mobile, the trees donโ€™t matter and the speeds should be determined based on a very predictable map ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

      Reply

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