I have been using Hughes becuase, until recently, I had no other choice for internet. But over the winter something changed locally and I now can get 3G and sometimes LTE at my house. As a result, I am considering a cell phone signal booster and a cell plan that would allow me to use my phone as a hotspot. I can do this through MetroPCS for $60 a month and get 8Mbps speeds for up to 32Gb of data. My Hughes plan is about the same $$ for a total of 24Gb of data, including 10Gb bonus bytes, but at speeds of no more than 2Mbs.
Just curious if anyone else has experience with using a phone as a hotspot or tips for testing signals before buying a signal booster, which would run about $400.
I use my iPhone as a hotspot (with a Verizon account) when there's a power outage. I'm in an area with 3G and very limited and spotty LTE. I have found the service to be unreliable: sometimes it works very well and is pretty fast (a little faster than Hughesnet, but not by that much); at other times it's very slow. It doesn't seem to want to multitask, either, so if I'm downloading something (for example, updating an app), sometimes it won't do anything else, not even open web pages (I don't have this problem with Hughesnet). This is why I only use the hotspot for emergencies; it wouldn't work as the only provider.
I haven't tried a signal booster with it because I only use it in emergencies, so I don't know how/if a signal booster would work.
Looks like MetroPCS doesn't have contracts, so it might be worth it for you to give them a try. As for the signal booster, do you know anyone who has one and might let you test it? $400 is pretty steep.
Turns out my signal is CDMA which could be either Sprint or Verizon.
Boost is the no-contract MVNO for Sprint and I could get 23gb of data from them for $50 a month. With 7 days left in my billing cycle, I have only used 7gb of my 24gb total data pool.
Cell signal booster is expensive but is also a one-time purchase. Comes with a 30 day return policy.
And since I'm joined at the hip with Hughes until May 2018, I have plenty of time to figure all this out.