Alltel 3G doesn’t have very strong or very weak points. They’re fair across the board.
On 1/9/2009, Verizon Wireless completed it’s merger with Alltel. If you were interested in Alltel, please refer to our reviews on Verizon. If digging through the interwebs for old info, don’t forget to check out the 2009 Alltel Mobile Broadband Review.
Alltel is the only major carrier to still provide an unlimited data plan not just the United States, but Canada as well. Unfortunately, using VoIP is considered a violation of your contract. While restricted to EVDO Revision 0 speeds, WiFi can be added to your plan for bolstered speed and coverage but will set you back an additional $10/month. While their coverage isn’t spectacular, their merger with Verizon promises to provide greater coverage.
Unlimited Data in North America
There are 3 Alltel Wireless plans to quench your thirst for mobile broadband:
- National Wireless Internet | $59.99
- National Wireless internet + Wi-Fi | $69.98
- Extended Wireless Internet | $99.99
Pretty straightforward huh?
National Wireless Internet is just that. What’s even better is that with Sprint capping their unlimited plan, Alltel is the only major carrier still offering unlimited data at 3G speeds.
Also, for an extra $10, you can get National Wireless Internet + Wi-Fi plan to access over 18,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout North America and South America. That’s pretty convenient especially if you travel a bunch and want a faster WiFi connection.
Perhaps the most impressive Alltel plan is the Extended Wireless Internet. For about $100 a month you get unlimited data in the United States and Canada. No one else offers this. It’d be perfect for those along the Canadian border that do a lot of back and forth.
The Fine Print
Alltel Wireless Internet terms and conditions are the least dense of all the carriers. For a second though, you’d think AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and T-Mobile all have the same lawyers. The legal jargon is like someone just about copied and pasted it.
Fitting on a page it states the usual taboo activities:
“(1) Server devices or with host computer applications, including, without limitation, Web camera posts or broadcasts, continuous jpeg file transfers, automatic data feeds, telemetry applications, automated functions or any other peer-to-peer applications;
(2) as substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections;
(3) for voice over IP;
(4) in conjunction with WWAN or other applications or devices which aggregate usage from multiple sources prior to transmission;
(5) using the services for any activity that adversely affects the ability of other people or systems to use either the services or other parties’ Internet-based resources including, but not limited to excessive consumption of network or system resources (whether intentional or unintentional) & “denial of service” (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user; or
(6) interference with or disruption of other network users, network services or network equipment.
Alltel reserves the right to:
(1) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny service &/or terminate service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the service in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts its network or service levels &
(2) protect its network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows.
In other words:
- No hosting or running servers.
- No VoIP (Verizon encourages this, though this may be due to having a VoIP product for sale).
- Anything that we think might use too much bandwidth.
- If you do, then we’ll slow you down or cut you off.
EVDO Revision 0 Now. EVDO Revision A On The Way
With Alltel High Speed Internet “you can enjoy download speeds of 400 -700 Kbps with peaks up to 2.4 Mbps in Broadband areas. In High Speed areas, download speeds are 40-70 Kbps with peaks up to 144 Kbps”.
What’s so special about that?
Think DSL speeds all over the country. It’s the sweet convenience of being able to hop online fast to deal with serious problems or just browse around for fun.
The Fine Print
Alltel 3G speeds lag behind Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.
Since Verizon decided to purchase them, the decision has been made to upgrade it’s 3G EVDO network from revision 0 to revision A.
The upgraded networks will support 3.1 Mb/s on the downlink and 1.8 Mb/s on the uplink (maxed out). Real world speeds will be closer to ranges given by Verizon of 600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps downloading and 500 Kbps – 800 Kbps uploading. Not bad but definitely not better than 4G WiMAX or 4G LTE.
As for 40-70 Kbps in high speed areas?
No. Just No.
That’s how fast traffic moves at 5:15pm in New York City rush hour traffic. That kind of speed was fast in the 1990’s maybe. Definitely not now. 144 Kbps is hardly a burst of speed. Call it for what it is, 1xRTT, 1x, dialup speed, but definitely not high speed.
Bottom-line: Alltel internet access can get what you need to get done for now, but if you’re looking for high bandwidth to play with, you’ll have to wait until they finish upgrading their network. What they do have a pretty firm grip on though is coverage.
“Nation’s Largest Wireless Network” For Voice. Not Data.
Being the 5th largest carrier, one might think the Alltel coverage area wouldn’t be large. However, they do claim to have the “nation’s largest wireless network”. This is true for voice. Their 3G coverage, however, reflects Sprint, their data roaming partner.
Alltel has EV-DO coverage in 76% of its wireless footprint and was said to expand to 82% by the end of 2008.
As an added bonus, users can bolster Alltel Wireless coverage by adding hotspot access for an extra $10 a month.
If you compare that to the cost of paying to use just one hotspot, that’s an awesome price. Especially if you count the access to 17,000 locations (over 7,000 being Starbucks).
When you compare it to competitors however, it loses the shiny new car smell. T-Mobile and AT&T both include hotspot access in their $60 wireless broadband plans at no extra cost.
To check Alltel’s coverage, I wish you good luck. They have the worst coverage map. It’s small and if you’re like me, you’ll probably have to squint just to see. To make matters worse, you don’t have a tool to plug in your street address. You’re better off looking at the Sprint coverage area to see where they have mobile broadband. If you insist however, you can take a look at the ‘tool’ Alltel has on their website.