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Join Date: Apr 2006
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jj, Virgin Mobile has great pricing for prepaid but they use Sprint's network, and Sprint cherrypicks coverage areas. VM may also just be using Sprint's "old" network so they may have even less coverage at lower speeds.
Rik, in the US you are most likely to be served by VM or T-Mobile or Straight Talk (sold in Walmart, see online, they use Verizon's network) any one of them will sell you prepaid service by the month. There are some other great deals like MetroPCS but usually iwth even less coverage. If VM covers that area, they just raised rates from $25 to 30 or 35 for their basic prepaid plan, which only has 300 voice minutes--but unlimited data. Bearing in mind, it may not be terribly FAST unlimited data either.
So I'd suggest, ask in the towns where you plan to be, who provides decent coverage. There must be at least one carrier and if there is a Radio Shack store in town, they'll probably known which carriers and sell the prepaid plans and equipment for them.
The coverage maps online are all well and good, but if you actually ask around to get a reality check that's better.
A high power WiFi setup might make a very sensible backup solution if there are places (library, Starbucks, McD's) within 1/2 mile of the boat that offer free WiFi.