Hello folks, I've written up the following summary for a customer about the whole Mobile Wireless on a router topic. Please let me know if you would add/correct anything.
Regardless if it's 3G or 4G service you pay for month to month data plan: $50 for 5GB of data. There are no other plans, no activation fees, no contracts. There is no contract because you have your own device. You can call them to discuss at 888-944-0447 (annoying voice activated prompts) or 877-975-9003 (this one is in Waukesha, Wisconsin).
AT&T 3G uses technology HSPA+ (they call it 4G, but it's just for marketing to compete with Verizon), the speeds are up to 10Mbps download and 5Mbps upload (I haven't seen faster than 8Mbps down). HSPA+ technology is actually capable of around 18-21Mbps down.
AT&T 4G uses technology LTE, the future potential speeds are 50-100Mbps down. Currently with AT&T you would get around 18Mbps down. AT&T has LTE only in few cities now (Chicago for example), but not in Milwaukee or Reno.
Set up is simple. You call them, give them IMEI serial number from a Cisco WIC card, set up an account, they send you a SIM card, you put the SIM card into WIC card, and automatically activate it.
Cisco doesn't make AT&T version of the 4G LTE card yet (will be available later in 2012). They only have 3G cards:
Cisco AT&T 3G HSPA+ card: EHWIC-3G-HSPA+7-A, list price $XXXX (the old version HSPA-only was HWIC-3G-HSPA-A)
With Verizon, it's also regardless of 3G or 4G service, you pay a month to month: $50 for 5GB and $80 for 10GB. There are no contracts and should be no activation fees. Their phone number to discuss is 800-899-4249.
Verizon 3G uses technology called EVDO, the speeds are in the range 1.5-3.0Mbps download. It's slower than AT&T's "4G" HSPA+ and close to 3G HSPA. This is the reason why Verizon has 4G LTE deployed in a LOT of cities, and AT&T doesn't yet, it's because AT&T's HSPA+ is "almost" the same speed as Verizon's LTE, and this is why AT&T calls their HSPA+ service a "4G".
Verizon 4G uses technology LTE just like AT&T. Currently with Verizon you would get about 10-20Mbps down, very similar to AT&T LTE. Verizon has LTE in a lot of cities, including Milwaukee and Reno.
Set up is simple. You call them, give them MEID/IMEI serial number from a Cisco WIC card, set up an account, they send you a SIM card (if it's 4G-LTE WIC card, there's no SIM card if it's 3G-EVDO WIC card), you put the SIM card into WIC card, and it automatically activates it.
Cisco makes Verizon version of the 3G EVDO and 4G LTE card. Note that Verizon 4G LTE cards can do 3G EVDO if LTE is not available in the area, and future AT&T 4G LTE cards will do 3G HSPA/HSPA+ if LTE is not available in the area.
Cisco Verizon 3G EVDO card: EHWIC-3G-EVDO-V, list price $XXX (the old version is HWIC-3G-CDMA-V)
Cisco Verizon 4G LTE card: EHWIC-4G-LTE-V, list price $XXXX
You can send SMS to the card's phone number in both cases AT&T and Verizon to activate the card on demand to get remote access or we can also set it up for VPN failover if primary service goes down. Standard text messaging rates would apply per txt message. You normally wouldn't run this card's service always on due to monthly data plan costs.
P.S. Some people confuse M2M (Machine to Machine) service with these regular data plans. M2M is used between specialized 3G/4G devices that talk to each other. It's not used for 3G/4G access from a router to the Internet. Verizon offers M2M shared plans for multiple 3G/4G devices, but it doesn't apply here because we are getting 3G/4G service to the Internet.
5GB a month for $50, seems a lot. In general, wireless cost is kind of outrageous in the US.
One data plan like many in Europe, euro 15 a month for 10 GB. If exceeding 10GB, speed is reduced to 32 kbps, with no further charges. These are up to HSDPA services.
Maybe you could add info about downstream/upstream ratio which is usually 1:4 in HSPA+ and 1:2 in LTE sometimes depends on the carrier also you should check with AT&T and Verizon.
Is the IMEI actually needed? I've been doing the same thing with AT&T but haven't been providing my IMEI. I seem to be having several issues with my HSPA+7 reconnecting after signal strength deminishes.
Just checked with Verizon again. Their highest plan on data only LTE today is 50GB shared plan for $310/month. If you need more you get another one. You can have up to 25 modems on one plan, each modem is an additional $20/modem/month.