Recently I spent a lot of time checking out providers of rural cellular internet, which basically set you up with a router and plan that accesses the internet via one of the major companies: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T.
If someone lives in a city, they probably have many internet/broadband choices. People like me who live in a rural area with poor cell service, don't. Out here in rural south Salem, Oregon, my wife and I suffered with 6-7 Mbps CenturyLink DSL over ancient copper phone lines because that was our only option.
Then I was selected to be a beta tester for Starlink satellite internet, and our broadband life changed markedly. We were thrilled to have shows on Netflix not buffer constantly, and be in sharp focus.
However, it's an open secret that Starlink customer service can be slow. There's no way to talk to anyone in person. It all happens through support tickets. So even though our Starlink equipment has been trouble-free so far, I wanted a viable backup to Starlink in case we had to wait weeks for replacement equipment to arrive if something broke.
That led me to Googling rural cellular internet companies after my daughter visited and I noted that her AT&T iPhone was getting a 5G signal. My hope was that I could find a reasonably priced plan that used AT&T (Verizon and T-Mobile are very slow at our house) so we could still have decent broadband if, or likely when, our Starlink system stopped working.
The clear winner in my search was MobileData2Go. Their unlimited plan was the least expensive; they sell a router so you don't have to keep paying for a rental; they have plans for all three major cellular companies; and I found that their customer service was superb.
The only downside to this otherwise happy story was that after several days of tweaking the AT&T router that I promptly received from MobileData2Go, the signal we were able to receive was too unreliable and slow to make it worth continuing with the service.
This wasn't the fault of MobileData2Go. It simply was because our house is in a low part of the south Salem hills with no direct line of sight to a cell tower. I was hugely impressed with the competence and diligence of the people at MobileData2Go. I know good customer support when I experience it.
Having contacted several other rural cellular internet companies, my strong advice to anyone interested in their services is Buyer Beware. One of the worst offenders would go nameless if I didn't share the name: HomeFi.
HomeFi advertises on Facebook, where I learned about them. Luckily, I Googled "HomeFi reviews" and "HomeFi scam." I recommend you do the same, not only for HomeFi, but for any rural cellular internet company you're considering. Here's one of the HomeFi results from ScamPulse.
I ended up ordering a Mobile Starlink system intended for RV users, even though I'm only going to use it as a residential Starlink backup. Don't know why I didn't think of this before, since a Mobile Starlink account can be paused during the months someone doesn't need it, which will be almost all of the time for us.
So I'm returning the MobileData2Go router. There was zero problem doing this, as this is a reputable company.
One sign of this is that MobileData2Go accepts PayPal in addition to credit cards, and includes a link to where PayPal lets you cancel a recurring payment in their FAQs. That impressed me, since I'd read numerous complaints about MobileData2Go competitors from people who had great difficulty in cancelling their rural cellular internet plan.