Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use this as my primary internet service?
Absolutely, and many do! Since the plans work where cellular data is available, you can use it at home (whether that's an RV, "sticks and bricks", urban or rural area, etc), but you also have the freedom to take it with you. For some people it's a great back up option, while others rely on it for their primary internet access.
What can I do with my data plan?
Just about anything! For example...
Our plans are often a great solution at campgrounds where Wi-Fi is notoriously weak and slow. So, our RV customers love it whether on a weekend trip, at a seasonal site, or full-time - both stationary and on the move. We even have customers who use hotspots in their RVs as a means for internet-connected cameras to watch their pets and the inside temperature when they step out.
We have over-the-road truck drivers using it for streaming music while driving, watching movies and gaming during downtime, and using Skype or Zoom to stay in touch with loved ones.
Many of our customers live in rural areas with a strong cellular data service, but no other high-speed data options other than satellite (expensive initial and ongoing fees, contracts, unstable connections, etc) or slow options, like dial-up (GASP!).
How do SIM cards and hotspots work?
A SIM card is a small, plastic electronic chip with a unique serial number that is inserted into certain types of wireless phones, tablets, hotspots, etc to enable service directly with a cellular network. They come in three different sizes - Standard, Micro, and Nano.
We activate your plan and associate a SIM card with it. The system then allows the device using that SIM card to send and receive data over the network.
A hotspot works like a wireless, mobile router. They connect to the cellular network like a phone, but they do not make phone calls or send text messages. They broadcast a Wi-Fi signal in their vicinity and allow you to to connect any Wi-Fi device to them. Once connected, those devices can utilize the data plan.
For example, if you activate a hotspot that supports 10 devices, you could simultaneously connect any combination of up to 10 smartphones, game consoles, smart TVs, security cameras, etc and each can take advantage of the data plan.
Will I be stuck in a contract if I sign up?
Nope! We've been stuck in long-term contracts with cellular carriers ourselves. We didn't like it, so we don't do it that way.
When you sign up for a data plan, you get one month of unlimited data with automatic billing and renewal. When you place your order, you'll set up a subscription or recurring payment plan through PayPal. At the end of each cycle you'll be charged again and receive another month of data.
You can change your payment method or stop your billing and service at any time in your PayPal account. This ensures that your service will continue uninterrupted month to month until you would decide to cancel. If you do cancel, your service will continue until the end of that billing cycle. Then, you won't be charged again and your plan will not renew. There are no cancellation/termination fees.
If you only need a plan for a short period of time, please let us know. We can get you activated without the auto billing and renewal at a slightly higher rate per period.
Is my personal information secure and what details do I need to share?
Our process is very simple and safe since there are no credit checks or contracts. It's also very secure since payments are processed through PayPal. AFW never needs or has access to any of your bank or debit/credit card details.
The sign-up process is similar to any other purchases made through PayPal. Upon completion, we receive a summary showing that your payment was successfully processed and it includes your name and mailing address. That's typically all we need to get your plan activated and any items shipped to you.
We do not and will not sell or share your information with any other companies.
What exactly do I need to order to get started?
If you don't have any equipment yet: Order a Hotspot/SIM Combo and a data plan. This is done in two transactions - one for the hotspot/SIM, and another one for the data plan. We'll activate your plan and send the hotspot and SIM quickly.
If you have a compatible hotspot: Just order a data plan. We'll activate a new SIM card and ship it quickly. When it arrives, just insert it into your device.
Hotspots and SIM cards ordered with a data plan typically arrive ready to use.
Please keep in mind that if we receive an order that appears incomplete, it may cause delays until we can reach you for clarification. For example, if we receive an order for a hotspot/SIM only, we can ship it, but we can't process the activation until you purchase a data plan.
When will I receive my order?
We complete every activation and shipment quickly so you'll be able to start using your data plan as soon as possible. We work hard every day to maintain our excellent record of shipping orders the same or next USPS work day.
SIM cards are shipped via USPS First Class Mail.
Hotspots in stock usually ship via USPS Priority Mail (1-3 business day delivery) with tracking. If you need a faster or different shipping method, please let us know. We're happy to accommodate special requests whenever possible.
How does the billing work?
You will set up an automatic recurring payment through PayPal using the payment method you specify. As long as you want to keep the plan active, you will be charged for the plan every month and receive another month of data. You'll be able to view the upcoming payment dates in your PayPal account.
If your payment is completed successfully before the the next cycle begins, your service will continue uninterrupted. If your payment is not completed successfully, service will be disconnected at the end of the current cycle. However, there are NO cancellation fees or penalties.
You can always manage your payment method or end the payment subscription at any time in the Subscriptions or Recurring Payments section of your PayPal account.
What are the return and cancellation policies?
SIM cards: SIM cards are tested and typically activated before shipping and are non-returnable and non-refundable.
Hotspots: Our hotspots are tested and typically activated before shipping and are non-returnable and non-refundable. Please refer to the manufacturer for any warranty related issues. You can also purchase a compatible hotspot from another retailer, which would be subject to their return and warranty policies.
Data plans: You may cancel your service at any time without any cancellation fees, but any data plan payments already made cannot be refunded or pro-rated. We appreciate receiving as much notice as possible if you do plan to cancel.
We, and the carriers, reserve the right to cancel plans due to excessive usage. Any plans cancelled for these reasons are not eligible for refunds.
We are available to address questions, problems, special requests, and do everything we can to keep our customers satisfied.
If there are any problems upon new activation of a plan, the subscriber must make American Family Wireless aware within the following periods:
Data plans: within 24 hours of activation
SIM cards and hotspots: within 24 hours of delivery
How do I cancel my service?
While we appreciate getting notice that you plan to cancel, you have control over the billing since you won't be under a contract.
You can cancel your service at any time by simply ending the subscription or recurring payment plan in your PayPal account. That will stop any future payments from occurring. Your service will still remain active until the end of the current cycle that was already paid for.
Note: data plan payments are not pro-rated or refunded.
Who is American Family Wireless?
We're a small family-owned business based in Texas. We discovered the value of hotspots and wireless data plans after moving to a rural property where the only "high-speed" internet option was satellite. After learning of the many negative aspects and poor reviews of satellite internet, we searched and found a better option. We've been cellular hotspot users ever since.
While they worked great at home, we soon realized the convenience of taking them with us, too. As homeschoolers and RVers ourselves, we often have the need to stay connected while away from home.
We want to spread the word that there is a better way to stay connected!
What is "throttling" and are the plans throttled?
Throttling is when your data speeds are automatically reduced when you exceed a specified usage limit until the beginning of your next cycle.
For example, if you had a plan with a 20GB monthly limit, you could only experience 4G speeds until you reached 20GB of usage, then the carrier's system would drastically cut your speeds until the beginning of your next cycle. While throttled, you would not be able to do many things, including video streaming. So, if you went through your allotted 20GB in the first couple days of a cycle (which is possible), you'd have to wait nearly a whole month until you could return to 4G speeds.
Our plans don't specify a set monthly data limit, but there are some limitations to be familiar with...
Carriers monitor their networks for heavy traffic and congestion issues and must make adjustments as necessary to keep the system working well for everyone. Data plans use shared networks with limitations and the carriers must keep individual users from negatively impacting other users. They can intervene as needed to limit negative effects by temporarily slowing slowing speeds, or deprioritizing heavy users. Carriers also reserve the right to cancel service to them without notice or refunds.
Cellular networks, like utilities, cannot provide unlimited usage at unlimited speeds at all times, so carriers must limit individuals' extreme usage spikes and ongoing heavy data usage. For example, uploading or downloading very large files or program updates in a short time period can cause issues. These plans typically provide a reasonable amount of data usage in a steady, moderate usage pattern. Streaming music, Netflix, etc are all acceptable uses.
What is "network management" or "deprioritization"?
Our plans, as well as other AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon plans, are subject to network deprioritization.
What does that mean? Well, as you might expect, if a tower becomes overloaded with traffic, customers connected to it may experience temporarily reduced speeds. When the congestion is relieved, your speeds will return to normal. Plans without network management or deprioritization are rare and usually reserved only for emergency services.
This is different than throttling, where your speeds are automatically, and significantly, reduced when you exceed a specified amount of data usage.
Can I make phone calls and send texts with these plans?
Technically, our data plans support data use only. For example, you can't insert the SIM card into a phone and have it operate as a regular cell phone plan that supports calls, text messages, and data.
However, depending on the devices and apps you use, it may be possible to send and receive texts and phone calls using services like Google Voice. Contact us for more details.
Also, hotspots cannot send text messages, but they can typically receive them. However, they're usually limited to system generated messages regarding activation status and data usage.
Why did I get a message on my hotspot warning me of data limits?
The network often sends these messages out to all users, even those on unlimited plans.
Why does the data usage bar on my hotspot show a limit?
That's just how they're programmed. Some models have settings that allow you to adjust or turn off the limit.
What is the coverage area?
Our data plans use the AT&T wireless network.
Use the link below to browse their nationwide data coverage in detail and look at specific areas and addresses on their map. Our plans work in all 50 states.
AT&T Network Map
Please note, actual speed and coverage may vary.
Speeds and coverage can vary depending on network congestion, weather conditions, structures, etc, similar to all voice and data plans. There is no guarantee of coverage or service in any particular areas.
What hotspot models are available?
Our inventory changes often. We try to stock models that offer good performance at reasonable prices. You can see which models we have available on the sign up page.
There are many other great models on the market and you're welcome to bring your own compatible device.
Can I pause my service and restart it?
Absolutely! Since we don't do contracts, or termination fees, we make it easy for you to come and go as you need to.
The process is simple:
When you need to stop, just cancel the PayPal recurring payment plan. When that billing cycle ends you won't be charged again and the data plan won't renew.
When you're ready to start again, just go to our website and sign up again.