"VISIBLE" cell service party pay. Caveats? Pitfalls?

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Cagey

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gone2day, it won't surprise me if our speeds fall now that they have tiered service.
I've been on the now-legacy/-grandfathered Visible $25 plan for 13 months, and in the past few weeks I've noticed (in same old suburban sticks & bricks) my speeds and latency improving. I'm now regularly getting 10-15Mbps down indoors during much of the day (I used to consider myself lucky to get 5Mbps), with latencies sometimes dipping into the 50 ms realm (100-120 being the historical norm). My theory is that many of my peers on the legacy Visible plan (which uses Visible's unique "cloud-based" network core) are switching to the recently announced plans (which use Verizon's network core instead), decreasing the load on the former to the benefit of those of us remaining.

I plan to stay with the legacy plan for as long as Visible offers it because (a) $5 saved is $5 earned, (b) I'm fine with letting early adopters run into all the teething problems with the new plans, and (c) I happen to be among the Visible customers reliably getting 10Mbps hotspot speeds (Visible still documents their hotspot as being capped at 5Mbps) which I would be greatly pained to lose as a hidden consequence of "upgrading" to their $30 plan.
 
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gone2day

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Wait. You're in Cochise County? Me too but 14 miles out from SV. It's never been fast (I didn't save prior results) but now it's abysmal:

2022-09-14- Internet Speed Test.png
 

Cagey

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Wait. You're in Cochise County? Me too but 14 miles out from SV. It's never been fast (I didn't save prior results) but now it's abysmal:
Yes. I frequent a (favorite) Mexican restaurant near the corner of AZ92 and E Hereford Road, and my (Visible) speed test results there are amazing (120-140Mbps down typical[*]); the super speeds at this location might have started 4-6? months ago. Within a 1 mile radius of home (3-4 miles away from the restaurant) outdoors on my trail walks, I typically see 20-40Mbps. In my house, until the past few weeks, days about 5.

[*] All speeds I'm mentioning come from Google Chrome's Speed Test; when a speed test probe shows I'm at a "hot coverage spot" (by definition away from home) I download audiobooks (multi-100MB files) and observe download speeds that match the Google Speed Test results, so I've satisfied myself that that particular speed test facility consistently provides real-world-valid results. And while I have a 5G capable phone (2 year old Pixel 5), 99% of the speed test numbers I quote for Visible are obtained while LTE connected; unless I'm in a high-density location (which I try not to be), I seldom have a 5G connection.

Almost all of the factors governing performance are invisible/unknown to us, making performance very hard to predict, so ultimately all anyone can do is perform experiments at important locations and try to extract useful/actionable signal from large amounts of experimental noise.

But experimental results can be counterintuitive/inexplicable: 10 days ago I traveled to Chiricahua National Monument for a day of hiking with a friend. We both have Visible service (me: legacy plan w/Pixel 5, him: just upgraded to $30 plan w/1 year old high-end iPhone). Until we got to the top of the highest peak: no coverage. Then at the top: weak coverage. After taking obligatory pics and a light snack: (sequential) speed test time: I was (to his mild chagrin) seeing 2x-3x higher performance (both on LTE). IMO a more expensive & newer flagship phone in the same location, w/same nominal network/service, should have at least matched my older phone's performance. But no. We repeated the experiment with same result, which I cannot explain. Does that mean the new Visible plan sucks compared to the legacy plan? No. But these results sure don't motivate me to switch to the $30 plan (or to replace my 2 year old phone)!

Everything about cell phones/performance: YMMV.
 

Haggis

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The recent posts are very interesting. I’ve used visible on and off for several years, and at one point at several phones that I use primarily as hotspots. The single hotspot connection I always found was its biggest limitation. I now have Mint, but only because I’ve moved, and the only cell tower with decent service is T-Mobile. I’ve also bit the bullet and have a Starlink which handles most of my data/streaming needs. The low and cellular market seems to be constantly changing so anything you buy into will quite likely be gone in a few years with some thing else replacing it sometimes better and cheaper sometimes worse or more expensive.
 

BlueMarkOhio

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Someone who looks like me put the Visible SIM in an LTE router; I don't have many devices, but they are all hidden behind the router.
Yes, your single device can be a router. Depending on the router you can also connect the router to your phone, and it will distribute the connection via its own outgoing wifi. That way you still have a phone.
 

frater secessus

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Depending on the router you can also connect the router to your phone, and it will distribute the connection via its own outgoing wifi. That way you still have a phone.

True, and I started out doing it that way using a $25 GLinet travel router. I went to the LTE router:

1. for better range with the external antennas
2. to prevent overheating of the phone
3. to minimize battery-related anxiety. Using the phone hotspot was tough on the phone battery, but so was leaving it plugged in all the time. When smartphone batteries were still trivially-replaceable I'd just let them degrade and replace as needed.
4. to get 5gHz wifi, for repeating that band in urban areas. I find it's less congested than 2.4gHz in many places.
 
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