I just ordered a MiFi from 4gcommunity.org. I studied their two offerings and made my choice using the following info:
First of all, you get unthrottled, unlimited data over the Sprint network, regardless of which plan you buy. You can buy service in 3 month, 6 month or 12 month increments.
There's no BYOD. You have to buy a device from them.
Their "Premium Service" includes 3g, 4g, LTE, and LTE+. [Note for anyone unfamiliar with LTE+: it's Sprint's name for carrier aggregation. That means that the hotspot can make multiple connections to the tower and can use those multiple connections to deliver greater bandwidth.] The service, not including the MiFi, is $255/year. ($21.25/month)
Their standard service is LTE-only. No 3g, no LTE+. It only makes one connection to the tower. The service, not including the MiFi, is $168/year. ($14/month)
If you order the premium service the first year costs $398, which includes the ZTE Pocket WiFi hotspot.
If you order the standard service the first year costs $250, which includes the Franklin R850 hotspot.
One of my employees bought the Premium Service and he gets approximately 20 to 30 Mbps.
I believe the standard service should deliver around 15 Mbps (around my house, anyway) because I currently have a Netgear Fuse, with FreedomPop, that's LTE-only and it gets a consistent 15 Mbps with -96dB on band 25. Assuming that the device won't be a bottleneck, I believe that the Franklin R850 will perform similarly.
The other thing I like about the Franklin R850 is that it will boot up and run without the battery installed, which is nice if you want to use it as your home internet and leave it plugged in, all the time.
It's possible that the ZTE will do the same but I haven't found an answer, one way or the other.
I decided to buy the standard LTE-only package because:
15Mbps is gracious plenty for everything we care to do.
I'm a cheapskate.
I have plenty of backup options if I'm ever out of LTE range and it will mostly get used at home.
I like knowing, for sure, that I can use the device without a battery installed.
I have the same problem. I did try the 7 day trial and was able to get about 10 to 12 mbps down and 3 or so mbps up from about 11pm to 5am, but during the day the speeds were much lower and extremely inconsistent, with long periods where I could not get even 1 mbp up or down,. And that was with both 3G and LTE with a signal from 80 to 100% strength. I returned the device about two weeks ago and should be getting a refund "soon". Darn daytime Sprint congestion. By the way, the ZTE will not run without the battery installed.
Good to know about the ZTE. That confirms my choice.
I'm far enough out in the country to not have to worry about congestion, but close enough to civilization to get decent signal. I basically live in a Mayberry-type town. Hopefully they'll be a good fit for me.
*** FYI--- I was able during my trial period to connect it to my router and, thus, to my home LAN network using a wifi repeater set to client mode and connected to the router via ethernet cable.This after connecting the hotspot to the repeater via wifi. If you have a router that offers WDS support, it can be connected to and run through the router to LAN without a repeater, etc.
Good to know. I also used a five mode small TP-Link router wired to my main TP- router which worked well. Love the TP-link devices, but no matter whether the hotspot was linked to my LAN or running independent from it , I could not get acceptable daytime speeds no matter if I was outside, inside, upside down, and what have you, band 25 and all. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
The phone we use is on an unlimited plan that includes 14GB of high speed tethering. Thanks for Binge On the video we stream doesn't count against that 14GB. Our other miscellaneous usage doesn't exceed the 14GB, either.
Just some info for those thinking about trying the 4G Community Hot spot package. Even though it did not work for me due to poor Sprint reception at my locale, I "did" get a full refund minus the $ 12.75 shipping cost to return the item. Thus from my experience and the experiences I've read about on other forums, getting a refund is pretty much problem free. Some people have mentioned how responsive 4G's CS is but to me and a few others, CS sometimes takes a day or so to respond, probably due the growing demand for their product. I wish that Sprint "Magic Box" had been available during my trial of G4.
*** There has been some confusion about the "No data limits. No throttling." and the 30GB thing, which was listed somewhere on my ZTE hotspot, and which appears to be a vestigial listing from when these devices were on the main Sprint platform. There has been some discussion about this on the Howards Forum and the 4G users who have exceeded 30GB have said there is no throttling or limits after having passed that mark. This was probably on these devices originally for Sprint throttling and billing purposes. That's all I know.