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Uber Increases iPhone Rental Fee and Data Plan Alternatives

Uber Increases iPhone Rental Fee and Data Plan Alternatives

Starting on October 26th, the iPhone rental fee is going up to $15 a week, which is $60 a month. Even at $10 a week, it was still not a great price because you can usually get data elsewhere for $30 a month.

Here are some alternatives. These are all data only alternatives (as the Uber iPhone was data only for the app and maps) and you need something you can make calls with or receive text messages in order to do Lyft, Uber or anything in the sharing economy such as deliveries:


This has become my new favorite provider. The coverage in Boston is very good but could be hit or miss in other parts of the country. The cheapest plan they have is only $20 a month, but only offers 1 gig of data but unlimited 3g data after that. Uber doesn’t need 4g data and from what I hear from other drivers, the highest data usage is around 5 gigs a month even for full time drivers, so you figure it is not at 4g speeds (60 hours a week for 4 weeks at 5 gigs is about 5kb/s, which is a fraction of maximum 3g data speeds). They also offer 4g speeds to streaming music, like Pandora or Spotify so if you are a heavy music streamer, Tmobile will stream that without eating into your 4g allowance.

What I did was I got a mobile hotspot (ZTE 915) for about $100 and then put the data in it. Its completely allowed and there is no extra fees for using the hotspot so its just $20/month. No taxes on it at all. Now I can give data to anything, including my laptop when I travel or my tablet and cell phone in the car.

The lowest 1 gig data plan is not eligible for roll-over data and there was a promo where you would get 10 gigs of roll-over data if you signed up for the 3gig/$30/mo plan. Something to think about if you use that much data, but I wouldn’t waste it on Uber.

To see the prepaid plan page, here is the link: T-Mobile Prepaid Homepage

Then scroll down to tablet and hotspot to choose the plan you want. The cheapest one was $20 a month. It is all prepaid unfortunately.


You would need to get a plan for a tablet. Its called DataConnect. Just say you need a sim card for a tablet and it should work with any smartphone. I do this all the time when I travel overseas. The call and text won’t work but you won’t need it anyway. The cheapest plan they have is $30 for 3 gigs of data and there are overage costs are 1 gigabyte for $15 so its not that bad.

Here is a AT&T mobile hotspot for a very reasonable price: AT&T Mobile Hotspot

If you already have a ATT plan and want to add a tablet onto your account (you still need to share the data you have, assuming you have share-data plan), it’ll only be $10. You can easily get an iPhone 4s for cheap and load your apps on it to do Uber so you can keep a separate phone for the purpose.

Google (Project Fi)

Now this is brand new and still invite only. You can only use it with the Nexus phones (6, 5x and 6p). You pay $20 for unlimited talk and text. Then data is on top, $10 for every gigabtye of data at 4g speeds. You pay exactly what you use, so if you use 250kb, you would only pay $2.50. At 5 gigabtyes for a full month of full time driving, you’re looking at a hefty bill so if you plan on using that much data, you should stick to T-mobile. The unlimited 3g data on T-mobile is just too good, and great for Uber, Lyft or any kind of sharing economy app.

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