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Ask Slashdot: Best Option For a Touring Band With Mobile Data? 203

New submitter SEMLogistics writes: I'm working with a well-known rock band, that is not based in the U.S., and has an upcoming U.S. tour this fall. The issue they always run into, however, is when renting a tour bus and traveling with 12 to 14 people, they consistently blow through data allowances set by the bus company. This leads to tremendously expensive overages, and greatly throttled data. "When chartering a Nightliner tour bus, travel companies only typically allow for 10GB data a month. With 12 people, downloading music and streaming movies, we can easily exceed 12GB a day! This leads to thousands of dollars every month in overages!"

Slashdot, help! Are there any good mobile hotspot options with unlimited data, and monthly contracts (I haven't found any), or other alternatives than to simply be held a data-hostage?
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Ask Slashdot: Best Option For a Touring Band With Mobile Data?

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  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @06:32PM (#54870941)


  • by Anonymous Coward

    t-mobile will not charge you for using a ton of bandwidth hogging services such as youtube. They also will not charge you for going over your limit but they will throttle you once you hit the cap. There are no contracts. That being said there coverage may not be the best.

  • Take a look at Karma Wifi. It doesn't have a router in the mix which may be a deal breaker. I have no affiliation with karma or their products. But their pricing is straight forward.

  • Groupies (Score:5, Funny)

    by dasgoober ( 2882045 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @06:47PM (#54871079)

    Use groupies to download stuff using their own cell connections.

  • FWIW: You can download a lot of the Netflix movies when connected to wifi. Just tell them to pick movies ahead of schedule.

    And what band?

  • Google's service has a very straightforward and reasonably priced approach.
    • Yeah, I think Fi is their best option, for $120/day for 12Gig. 130 for 13 etc etc.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Wow. I'm a Fi user myself, and have to say this is an idiotic comment. Fi is *terrible* for high-data users! It's really only good if you, like me, use less than 1-2GB/month.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      These plans are mostly resold "grandfathered" unlimited plans. I would avoid using them since there is no guarantee as to what can happen with the service they give you. With the current unlimited plans available from all carriers there is no reason to use this service.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Holy shit they are expensive! $99-249/month? Why would anyone ever go for that for their home internet service? That's crazy.

  • How about buying 3 mobile phones with great data plans and running them as mobile hotspots. Just plug them into the power outlet, then allocate 4 people to each phone.
  • Then they can afford buying a mobile hotspot with 60gb of data on it. If they are well known then $1KUS per month is chump change to them.

  • Multiple Hotspots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maxrate ( 886773 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @07:14PM (#54871257)
    Order multiple 4G access points with the largest data plans available, bond them all together using an aggregation platform, then pump thru a good wifi router/access point. This gives you: 1) more speed, 2) combining the data plans to give you an overall lower cost per gigabyte transferred. I'm doing this today and reselling to my customers. I own a stretched limo, my friends and guests enjoy the wifi - never any overage fees, lot's of bandwidth and about 300 gigabytes worth of data for a max of $450/month. Easy to do, cheap to maintain. I own an airplane too, but haven't found a good/inexpensive/reliable way of getting bandwidth on board yet sadly.
  • Assuming ping isn't an issue (do you really try to play a multiplayer game on a bus in the middle of nowhere? If so, you need a swift kick in the balls and a quick whack upside the head with the cluestick), um, what was I saying.

    Satellite. Viasat. Ping sucks ass, but the bandwidth per buck is pretty good, and from what I hear coverage is good.

    Disclaimer. I don't work for Viasat. I don't know much about their coverage maps. But it's free to spout my opinion, so there it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Streaming/Downloading movies?

    If you can afford several thousand a month in overages, you can afford a dozen $50 Blu-ray players and enough to buy every single movie that comes out each month.

    That should reduce your bandwidth consumption to something manageable.

    Also as mentioned, find a new band, because you're doing it wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2017 @07:40PM (#54871397)

    I'm in an Indy band from AU that is touring the US again this year (toured last 4 years), and we're definitely not famous/well known and we don't get a bus, we get a u-haul :-) We have to keep it cheap because airfare is $$.

    We go to walmart, we all buy SIM and cheap phone packages, generally AT&T cos they have better coverage where we tour.

    There's unlimited data on a few plans, but they can't be tethered (bummer) but 1 month unlimited phone calls and data was like $70 last year. Not bad. Speed was good and alternatively, WIFI is ubiquitous. We spent the first tour in carpark at McDonalds comping their wifi to contact home, so you have options.

    Considering that a bus costs a crap load per day (yes I know the figures) and you've got 12 people on the move, it's hard for me to imagine that your Data costs are a Tour Killer, but yeah you don't have to get ripped off and the Yanks are deffo a Caveat Emptor bunch, if you don't know better, you'll pay more.

    If you're blowing through that much data, may we also suggest looking out the window for a bit instead of downloading Fap Content :-) Turns out the US is quite pretty in places, especially if you like Corn.

  • Wrong approach (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ronaldbeal ( 4188783 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @07:46PM (#54871431)
    I have been touring the U.S. and worldwide for 23 years. I have never had a problem with data caps on a tour bus from the major providers (Senators, Roberts Brothers, Hemphill, etc...) Additionally, most tours get a high bandwidth connection in each venue, and use a touring wifi system from (I think they also do North American licensed walkie talkies so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.) Finally, most hotels have free/included wifi, so you only actually use the bus wifi on submarine rides.
  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @08:12PM (#54871539) Homepage Journal
    Buy Straight Talk from Walmart. $55, 12 GB of LTE data. When you use it up in one day, buy another (you can still text and call with the card, it just gets 2G data after the 12 GB are used). Rinse and repeat. If $55/day sinks your budget, rent a smaller bus next time.

    If you want a local SIM in the US, this is it. Not cheap, but it does cover the entire country. Anyone got any recommendations for something similar in central Europe? Probably going to go with Google Fi just because roaming rates are reasonable, but have a two-week vacation coming up from Germany to Hungary and back...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So Iâ(TM)ve been a touring tech in the U.S. for the last 10 years. The company to go with is Verizon if your not hitting any major cities. Iâ(TM)ve been to every state with lots of people, with other providers and they almost always have some issues in alot of rural areas. The best luck Iâ(TM)ve had was capping it per day (for crew) and a second one for the artist (capped as well but a little higher). It honestly sucks touring in the states for internet cause itâ(TM)s always spotty and t

  • With 12 people, downloading music and streaming movies, we can easily exceed 12GB a day!

    So... don't download music and don't stream movies while you're on tour? Ever heard of local storage? That's still a thing you know.

    • Right, just figure out the movie/TV preferences of 12 band members and pirate it all ahead of time! Wow, and who said Ask Slashdot had stupid answers to stupid questions?

      • Right, just figure out the movie/TV preferences of 12 band members and pirate it all ahead of time! Wow, and who said Ask Slashdot had stupid answers to stupid questions?

        If you think the only options are stream or pirate then you're a fucking idiot.

      • by Wolfrider ( 856 )

        --The "smart" phone / iPhone has only been around for about ten years. Seriously, you can't revert back to pre-smartphone habits? Carry around an iPod or similar (even an Android tablet with SD card and Doubletwist) that's full of your favorite music, carry around a cheap laptop with a builtin DVD drive, MakeMKV and a few of your fave ripped DVDs that you loaded onto it before leaving?

        --Srsly? Not everything has to be streamed on demand, especially if it's costing extra $$$ every month. Buying even refurb

    • Or you know, Netflix now allows you to download locally for offline viewing.

  • Mushroom Networks. If it was good enough for Willie Nelson in 2009, It is good enough for your no-name band (let's hope you become a household name in the future).

    More info here: []

  • Either they provide unlimited data on the tour or your big band will go with another bus provider, period.

    It's like you have no balls for negotiation. You'd make a shitty Ferengi.

    How'd someone with no balls for negotiation like you even get the job you have?

    • How'd someone with no balls for negotiation like you even get the job you have?

      He's great at negotiation. He underbid every other competitor to get the job! And they're getting every penny's worth from what they are paying him. Win win!

  • advertising. use your alleged well-known-band hype. negotiate. the band can afford it.
  • by PixetaledPikachu ( 1007305 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:00AM (#54872255)
    Introduce them to the wonderful world of book reading
  • Marty DiBergi ist that you?

    We told you to get a better band.

  • [] Become a member of FMCA for $50 then sign up using their deal.
  • My company has me on a corporate plan with unlimited and I throttled data. My coworkers and I have burned through it on extensive travel (100s of gigs) and it just keeps chugging along. There are such things out there.

  • Get T-Mobile Unlimited data plan, 4 for $160. Then on one of the lines, pay $25 to add the unlimited tethering option so you can use your laptops and streaming devices.

    Then add a cell booster antenna onto your vehicle. []

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

    I am too fuckin lazy to shop for myself, you are working with a "well-known rock band" and yet trying to crowd source a phone plan


  • Physics. Things get cheaper, and .. I can't bring myself to give help. Of course unlimited hotspots exist. This is as close to hidden sponsored-content as I can image.
  • Sure, being on the road is boring... but why stream?
    Between everyone on the bus you can't come up with a collection of Videos/Music, put them on a laptop with a wifi hotspot and serve up the entire bus?

    This just sounds like a nonsensical problem with an obvious solution.

But it does move! -- Galileo Galilei