You can use your phone as an internet connection while in your RV (or out of it for that matter—just as long as you have a cell signal). Most phones these days have a mobile hotspot feature built in that serves the same purpose as the dedicated hotspots we discussed earlier.
Verizon has the largest 4G coverage in the US while T-Mobile has the largest 5G network in the US. (Just know that although its 5G network is technically the largest, it’s certainly not the fastest.) But if you want to save money, we recommend skipping big, brand-name providers and signing up for service from a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses the same cellular network as bigger providers but under a smaller name.
Don’t let the overly complicated acronym deter you—MVNOs are common. It’s likely you’ve heard of some, like Tello, StraightTalk, Republic Wireless, and Mint Mobile.
One downside to this is you’ll get deprioritized traffic. The big providers save their best traffic for their direct customers and then siphon the rest of it off to the MVNO providers. Still, it’s usually good enough to get by on, and it can save you a bundle.
But as simple and easy as just using your cell phone may sound, there are a few reasons you might want a dedicated hotspot instead of just relying on your cell phone plan:
Data limits: Most cell plans have a limited data allotment for hotspot usage, and you may not want to burn your personal hotspot data up supplying internet to the people you're camping with. Also, be sure to check with your provider that your phone plan allows hotspotting before you do it. Otherwise you could be in for some unpleasant surprises.
Battery life: If you’ve got a bunch of people connected to your phone’s mobile hotspot, it’ll eat through your battery really fast. A dedicated hotspot device will last much longer, and you’ll still have your phone available and free from being constantly plugged in.
Range: Dedicated mobile hotspots usually have a longer range, so people won’t have to cluster around your phone to get a solid connection. Things in an RV are already crowded enough without dealing with that.