Free Wi-Fi in your car for your holiday road trip?


However, your cell phone bill is likely going up in '24

What better than in-car Wi-Fi to get you and your family’s holiday road trip connected (and quiet)? AT&T has launched a new data rate plan for in-car Wi-Fi – with a free four-day test drive that’s perfect for your trip.

New and existing AT&T customers who have an eligible unlimited plan can add a vehicle for $10 a month, plus taxes and fees. Those plans include Unlimited Starter, Elite or Premium.

To take the company on that offer, customers just need their vehicle identification number (VIN) and go to AT&T 4-Day Test Drive to sign up.

So this, or pay for a hotspot?

Many people who tend to work from their car on the road use “hotspots” – a method where mobile coverage allows another device like a tablet or a laptop to connect off the cellular network their mobile phone is connected to.

Most plans have a “hotspot” add-on, but the prices vary. Another problem that consumers might not consider is that the drain connecting a laptop to their mobile phone puts on their cell plan limits. It might force the carrier to downgrade their cell coverage to a lower speed. 

At the moment, the only mobile service providers that ConsumerAffairs could find that offer “free” or “included” hotspots are Tello, Boost Mobile, and Mint Mobile.

Your cell plan is going up in 2024. Just sayin’...

Doxo recently released its 2023 Mobile Phone Market Size & Household Spending Report – a comprehensive city-by-city, state-by-state insight into what mobile carriers are charging consumers.

The new study shows that Americans spend an average of $1,342 per year on mobile phone services, up 5% from last year.  But, the key element is that Doxo researchers forecast that the cost of going mobile will go up again in 2024. If mobile costs go up another 5%, the average American can expect to pay about $125 a month.

"While we won't know the exact number until we release our 2024 household spend report in the new year, given the impact of inflation, we do expect the mobile phone category to increase,” Liz Powell, senior director of Insights at Doxo, told ConsumerAffairs.

Who will get hurt the most? Doxo claims mobile users in the cities of Boston, Kansas City, San Diego, Portland, and San Francisco and the states of Hawaii, West Virginia, Wyoming, Connecticut, and Delaware. Those are the areas with the highest mobile phone bills.

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