Alright, in this post, I am going to delve into how outdoor IRL streaming inner workings with data plans in the U.S.
Firstly, I will provide the current definitions of what U.S. carriers use and explain what they mean for you as a live streamer broadcasting outside with these carriers.
Throttling: Most of the big three carriers no longer throttle unless you are on their limited capped data plans, such as the 5GB plan. Once you exceed the cap, you’ll experience severe slowdowns in data speeds or, in some cases, no data at all. Throttling varies with some third-party companies as well.
Deprioritized: Deprioritized data occurs when you’re in an area with overcrowded users connected to a single cell tower. In such cases, everyone on that tower, including you as an outdoor IRL streamer, is deprioritized. Premium unlimited data users are an exception. Typically, you won’t face this issue unless you’re in events, conventions, or highly populated areas.
Standard Unlimited Data: Standard unlimited plans promise full speeds even in overcrowded areas until you exceed a specific amount allotted to your monthly cap of uninterrupted speeds. While most users don’t exceed this limit, outdoor IRL streamers often do. For events, I recommend having at least four SIM cards from all three carriers for fewer issues.
Premium Unlimited Data: Premium data is what U.S. carriers adopted when they couldn’t provide true “Unlimited Data” in their standard plans. Some carriers promise fully uninterrupted capped premium data, even during network congestion. As of today, the big three carriers offer these premium plans at around $85 a month.
T-Mobile has the “Go5G Next” for $100, but the “Magenta MAX” is essentially the same with 10GB less on hotspot data. For outdoor IRL streamers, this might not be crucial as these plans are often used within a modem instead of a phone. “Go5G Next” includes unlimited international texting.
Some plans work fine in the usual modems streamers use, while others may detect it as a modem. It’s advisable to stay updated by communicating with fellow outdoor IRL streamers within your country as data plans change annually.
Hotspot Data – AVOID AT ALL COSTS
Hotspot data might be the first choice for new IRL streamers, but experienced streamers have figured out how to make phone plans work in modems. This trick involves activating the SIM on an unlocked phone and then placing it into a compatible modem. Using hotspot data for streaming is cost-inefficient, and carriers rarely offer truly unlimited hotspot data plans. And when I say “compatible modem” I mean ones that were tested by an experienced streamer, confirmed it working. Trying it on unconfirmed modems and unconfirmed data plans, will be a very costly route you will not want to take on your own.
Joining Tested 3rd Party Carriers for Cheaper Plans
Visible is well-known among outdoor IRL streamers for cheap and reliable data plans with Verizon towers. CircledIn is a newcomer, but some streamers have reported no issues.
For Visible, use our code for a discount: 3qmG2c or click here. This is the one I currently use.
I used to use contract data plan with AT&T, using their Unlimited Elite plan, but going to transition into CircledIn’s AT&T Unlimited Elite in the coming months.
With CircledIn, aim for joining groups with “Verified” status, priced around $40-$45 monthly.