Review of Nomad Internet for RV travelers

 Review of Nomad Internet for RV travelers

We tried Nomad Internet in our RV and came to really appreciate the fact that it is unlimited and unthrottled data.

We tested Nomad Internet last summer and came away impressed by the service.

The company has specialized in providing reliable, high-speed cellular Internet service to rural areas all across America. 

Our experience was it was reliable and it truly high speed.

The company has been expanding rapidly over the past year or so, going after the RV market.

For RVers who sign up for their service, they send a Nighthawk router/modem/slash Internet hotspot, and provide unlimited and unthrottled 4G LTE Internet access to RVers.

Those two words are what impressed us the most: Unlimited and Unthrottled. 

Nomad has several different membership plans, depending on how much bandwidth you need. and what network you are on, either the Sprint/T-Mobile cellular network or the AT&T network. Verizon and the others are apparently not available at the present time through Nomad.

The unit we tried out was on the AT&T cellular network.

Verizon (and other carriers) Dirty Little Secret about “unlimited Internet”

Let me start by saying our favorite network is Verizon and that we have been using it as our primary cellular carrier in the RV for years.

We use a Winegard ConnecT 2.0 Wi-Fi extender and a 4G LTE cellular antenna mounted on the roof of our RV. It was installed by the manufacturer of our RV and I have a Verizon SIM card in it for our Internet connection.

But there's an annoying little catch, that isn't really so little.

While the Verizon plan we are on says we get unlimited data, they do throttle (slow) my speeds when I exceed 15 GB every month.

All of the carriers do this, though their cap limits may vary and change.

Data is unlimited but if you read the fine print, you’ll see “high speed” data is capped. In other words, after you reach a limit, the high speed may not be so high speed.

That data for me can be gobbled up pretty fast. My video, audio, and photo posting uploading and downloading needs, coupled with data-intensive livestreaming like we do every Sunday night on our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel, has to be carefully planned around that cap and the speed throttling that happens when I reach it.

It can be a real pain sometimes when we are on extended trips. 

Technically, Verizon (and other carriers)  can get away saying unlimited because if you exceed the cap, you won’t pay overages, and you’ll still have access, but your data will slow to a crawl if you go over your limit.

The bottom line for me is that with Verizon, as great as their network is – I still think it has the best nationwide coverage – I don’t have truly unlimited high-speed Internet, at least unlimited high speed for my needs.

Nomad Internet offers unlimited Internet, with no throttling

Photo of the Nomad Internet website
The Nomad Internet website

Nomad Internet is specifically designed to provide unlimited high-speed cellular Internet via Wi-Fi for EVERY connected device in your RV including laptops, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other Wi-Fi connected devices like your smartwatches.

By unlimited they mean there is no cap, though I suppose if you played online video games 20 hours a day or used BitTorrent to distribute data and electronic files all day and night you would be considered a problem user and either be kicked off or throttled.

Photo of Nomad RV Internet... perhaps the best Internet for RV
We used Nomad Internet for RV to stream movies and had no issues

But watching a couple of online movies a day, live streaming a couple of times a week, and uploading my YouTube Videos and my Podcasts is not a problem, says Nomad Internet, and I should have no worries.

The plan I tried is called the Very Blue plan, named I supposed for the blue that seems to be AT&T’s color. It cost $129 a month when we got our trial unit in early August, 2020.

But on Sept 1, 2020 the company raised that rate $50 a month to $179.

That’s for accessing the AT&T Network and unlimited bandwidth with no throttling. You can upload and download all day long, steam Netflix, do live streams, whatever.

And as noted, in my tests, I used it to do very bandwidth-heavy video livestreaming, which demands high speed and stable connection to transmit audio and video. 

At $129 a month we thought it expensive but acceptable. The new $179 a month fee, though, may be a bit high for occasional RVers. Fulltimers and those who use a lot of bandwidth as remote workers may be just fine with the cost. 

Speed test of Nomad Internet

Nomad Internet uses the Nighthawk Router

photo of Nomad Interview Nighthawk router
 Nomad Internet uses a special router – the Nighthawk

Now to use the service, you also need the Nighthawk Modem. You pay a one-time fee of $349 for it.

But you DO NOT own it with Nomad, even though you can buy the unit for the exact price on Amazon.

That's something we didn't like.

Nomad essentially “rents” you the Nighthawk for that amount. When you end your service, the fine print says you have to return the Nighthawk.

The one-time Nighthawk “rental” fee covers the entire period of your subscription to their service.

Let me be clear about this: The service is what they advertise. Unlimited and unthrottled. And the Nighthawk is a solid and reliable piece of equipment.

But not to own the Nighthawk after paying Nomad a fee for what would be full retail if you bought it elsewhere seems a bit much to me. Nomad expects you to return it when you end the service. 

Again, we did find their service to be reliable, as it should be at that cost.

If you do have a sticks and bricks house, you could conceivably cut that service and use your Nomad service and the Nighthawk router.

You’d take it in the RV when you travel and bring it into your house when you are home.

My biggest concern: Arbitrary carrier changes

There's one more caveat I want to pass along. And it's not aimed particularly at Nomad.

Nomad is a reseller of AT&T service.

And that could be a cause of concern for me.

Late in 2019, I had a bad experience with AT&T changing rates when I was using another reseller service called Togo.

CLICK HERE for a story about that fiasco

That's the problem with buying cellular data from a reseller.

The carriers can impose changes, add restrictions and increase the rates whenever they want and the reseller has no choice but to go along or have their plans pulled out from them by the carriers

To their credit, Nomad is a month to month service – there are no long-term contracts or commitments with Nomad – you can pull out whenever you want.

But, again,  according to the existing terms of the agreement, remember that if you do cancel the Nighthawk router has to be returned. 

In all, I used the Nomad service for about a month in our RV and did find the service to be very fast.

I uploaded videos, photos, podcasts and streamed movies and experienced no slowdowns. The service was solid and reliably performed as advertised.

Bottom line, though, if Nomad is the way you choose to go, realize it is costly and you don't get to own the Nighthawk, 

I'll admit, there are times I miss the Nomad service and the Nighthawk router. When we're on the road, it seems like towards the end of every month I'm forced to really be careful about my data usage as I approach that 15 GM cap.

Having unlimited and unthrottled data would be very nice.

Who knows, maybe I'll just have to bite the bullet when the 2021 RV travel season really gets underway and sign up for my own Nomad service.

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26 Comments

  • Great info! I have been looking for what service to get for my new LTV unity that is on order.

    • Do not get Nomad internet. They have awful customer service and will bill you even when their SIMs dont work

  • I am curious as to why you didn’t just buy the Nomad plan for $900/yr ($75/month) and use the AT&T sim in your Winegard Connect 2. I would think the performance would be close, if not better, with the Winegard solution you already have. Could you do a comparison — there is a free trial with the sim card only plan? Select the “Blue” plan for AT&T — the other plan is with Tmobile. Offer is here:
    https://nomadwholesale.com/plans/ You could probably just take the sim you have and try it in the Winegard.
    Thanks!
    Ray

  • Hello,
    I am confused about the Nighthawk unit you use. First you say “ Our Nomad Internet uses a special router – the Nighthawk. Then, farther down you say it is a Modem. Do I need BOTH a Router and a Modem to connect to Nomad? This is a very informative post!
    Thank you for your time,
    Dena

  • Hello,
    I’m a little confused about the Nighthawk product. At first you say “ Our Nomad Internet uses a special router – the Nighthawk. Then later you say it’s a Modem. Do you need both? And secondly, do you have to have the Winegard unit to run the Nomad system? Very informative post!
    Thank you for your time,
    Dena

  • This article is incorrect on a few facts.

    First, the $349 on-time fee is a membership fee. You aren’t buying the device. It must be returned when you cancel.

    Second, you can buy the same device at many stores, like Best Buy, for less….$100 less. It costs $249. Then you can sign up with Nomad, and get the monthly unlimited data plan for $129.

    Third, the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot isn’t new. It’s been around for over 3 years. It’s unlocked, so you can put in any proper sized SIM card from any service you want.

    Why anybody would pay a one-time membership fee, when you get actually buy the device for less….is beyond me.

    • Hi, there! I wanted to double check what your comment says. So I could purchase the Nighthawk on my own and put in like a Verizon SIM card and get it to work? Do I need to just have a Verizon plan for the SIM card to work, too? My concern is that they would throttle after a certain amount of data, whereas Nomad allegedly does not. If you could offer some advice on this, I’d appreciate it! Thanks!

  • I read the information on the nomad website…it specifies unlimited 4g Ltd data. So is it limited when you are connected to 5g?

    • I’ve had the very blue plan for over a month using my Netgear ATT router. With the help of both a Netgear MIMO antenna plugged directly into the router and a Weboost that also extends the range to nearest tower, the router always shows 4 bars and sometimes 5.
      Yet, the download speeds never acceed 8 Mbytes and normally are at 4+ Mbytes. Hardly high speed as advertised.
      All support says it’s on the ATT side and there’s nothing they can do. For $149/mo IMHO, not worth it if your like me who does a lot of online conferencing and media streaming

  • Have you ever tried running a VPN to stop or block ISP Throttling??

    https://www.vpnuniversity.com/learn/isp-throttling

  • We just ordered the SIM card with Nomad internet to put into our Winegard +. Hoping it works as well.

    • How is the SIM working?

      • It doesn’t work

  • “We just ordered the SIM card with Nomad internet to put into our Winegard +. Hoping it works as well“

    Were you able to test this out? How does it perform?

  • Nomad has been having issues lately, users beware.Check their facebook group of tons of current members getting disconnected…

    sometimes when its too good to be true – it usually is…

  • I am checking for updates on how the new internet service with Nomad is, and looking through comments, disappointed that you don’t respond to them. Great questions being asked, but no answers. I am very interested in possibly getting this set up as I will be start full-timing in my 2012 LTV Unity RTB soon and need a fairly affordable solution to work. May have to look elsewhere for answers.

  • I am 30 days in with Nomad Very Blue Service SIM card only.
    First, my service is provided by AT&T, the cost is $129.00 per month.
    I purchased Netgears Nomad mobile hotspot from another electronics provider, instead of through Nomad.
    Everything worked really well. WiFi was fast, four devices were connected at one time with no problems. Then the SIM card failed. Nomads chat line for customer service failed. I spent 12 hours trying to get help. Extremely frustrating. The CEO of Nomad reached out. Customer Service reps sent a new SIM card but we were without WiFi/ Internet for 6 days.
    Today the new SIM Card arrived but the speed is definitely slower. I tried customer service chat for help but it’s still not working so I emailed the CEO. He responded that AT&T has new rules. I was offered a refund but I need WiFi even if it’s slow…it’s better than none.
    Recap…great solution for Internet when it’s working….tweeks must be made to the Help Chat/Customer Service.

    • Lisa,

      I have been without the internet through Nomad since , December 30, 2020. I wish the CEO would contact me. I cannot even find his name on web searches. I am beyond frustrated.

  • I am 30 days in with Nomad Very Blue Service SIM card only.
    First, my service is provided by AT&T, the cost is $129.00 per month.
    I purchased Netgears mobile hotspot from another electronics provider, instead of through Nomad.
    Everything worked really well. WiFi was fast, four devices were connected at one time with no problems. Then the SIM card failed. Nomads chat line for customer service failed. I spent 12 hours trying to get help. Extremely frustrating. The CEO of Nomad reached out. Customer Service reps sent a new SIM card but we were without WiFi/ Internet for 6 days.
    Today the new SIM Card arrived but the speed is definitely slower. I tried customer service chat for help but it’s still not working so I emailed the CEO. He responded that AT&T has new rules. I was offered a refund but I need WiFi even if it’s slow…it’s better than none.
    Recap…great solution for Internet when it’s working….tweeks must be made to the Help Chat/Customer Service.

  • Just tried both Nomad (Very Blue) and AT&T Wireless Internet. Nomad is supposedly on the AT&T network. Using both Routers from Nomad (Nighthawk) and AT&T (Their in-house router), found little to no signal from Nomad. Nomad’s service was running at less than dial up speed again, supposedly on AT&T’s network. The actual AT&T Service run circles around Nomad Internet. Run several speed test – Nomad: Down .28, Up .008. AT&T Service: Down 26, Up. 5.6.

    Trying to get Nomad support was non-existent. The Nomad Router is going back and have already canceled the service. Going to stick with AT&T Business Wireless Internet. It cost less and it works.

    Stay away from Nomad Internet. They are having issues.

    Stay a

  • This service does not work. Their customer service is terrible and they delete all negative Facebook comments and questions about service. Very dishonest.

  • Hi Mike, seems that Nomad has more negative reviews. Thanks for the information though, maybe they will focus on resolving customer service and improving their product.

  • Have you looked into the latest offer from T-Mobile about the 5G Inseego MiFi? $50 a month for 100Gb and you can either purchase the hotspot outright or pay it monthly and it will be yours once it is paid off?

  • I used Nomad’s Very Blue service for about 5 months, including at my sticks and bricks home. The service was okay, but not phenomenal. We had just cut the cable (due to high cost) and had to adjust to buffering times for videos and internet TV, but it was still cheaper than the cable bill. The service worked well on our camping trips as well – we were able to connect everywhere we went and had very reasonable service. When the camping season ended, I was able to get a very reasonably-priced service from the cable company again, so I returned the Nomad router. They received it 2 weeks ago and I’m still waiting for them to credit 3 weeks’ worth of service. How they handle that will have a lot to do with whether we go back to Nomad in the spring when we’re ready to hit the road again, or if we find something else.

  • Do not get nomad internet. They are a sham. They buy sim cards and resell them most of them don’t work. The first card they sent me didn’t work and they said it was because I used too much data. I hadn’t used any data. It took two weeks to get a new card that did work. The next month they billed me for both cards. When the second card stopped working were they honest! Say sorry and give me my money back? No they blamed the Nashville bomb. Do not use this company!

  • This company that you recommend probably is great to you. After you wrote this article. They have been horrible to me. Connectivity issues abound!

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