[ALUG] 4G data

Phil Thane phil at pthane.co.uk
Thu Nov 16 20:47:32 GMT 2017


Not really a Linux question, except that it'll be mostly Linux devices that 
use it...

A few years ago when 4G was being tested in pilot areas, but not on the 
Llangollen canal, I wrote a piece for a canal/river boat magazine about using 
the internet afloat. At the time I borrowed some demo kit from suppliers and a 
boat from the Llangollen Wharf for testing and for photos. One option was a 3G 
USB dongle for a laptop, another was a 3G modem/router to create a WiFi 
hotspot. Or just use my old 3G smartphone and either a USB or WiFi 'tether'.

Now down south I've got my own (very old and very cheap) boat and 4G is widely 
available. So should be great eh? Well not so much. As far as I can find out it 
is impossible to buy data only SIM cards with data contracts that last until 
the data is used. You have to buy 'bundles' of data/phonecalls/text and they 
expire after 7, 14 or 28 days. When I'm not on the boat I don't use 4G at all. 
When I am going away on it I have to guess how much data I might need and load 
up the SIM. Last time I did that the boat broke down, we came home early and 
£20 worth of data just expired at the end of the 28 days.

With my old 3G phone (on PAYG) it simply used the same account for texts, 
calls or data - and I only enabled 3G when I really needed it. But it seems 
none of the phone providers will offer 4G that way. 

I can't see there's any technical reason, it's just that phone providers are 
conniving bastards. Does anyone know of one that has broken ranks with the 
cartel and will offer me what I want?

Phil Thane

phil at pthane.co.uk
01767 449759
07582 750607
Twitter @pthane

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