Simple, basic 5G data phone


I'm planning on getting a Visible phone for data.  Only data.  It's not going to take pictures, or get phone calls, or send texts, or emails, or video conference, or play games, or anything else.  Its just going to sit there, connected to a router, and provide data.

I want to stay with Android, and I want 5G.

Is there ANY rational reason to go any more expensive than the TCL 30 for $100?  Worst case I'd be going to the TCL 40 for $170, but so far I can't see ANYTHING it would do that make it worth 70% more.  And I tried a pixel 6 a while ago, and it was totally unimpressive (long, boring story), so I don't see going to something that's $300 or more unless there's some demonstrable, real-world difference in what it'll do...


Thoughts?  (and yes, I'm sure your $600 X or $1200 iPhone is great, but people with TCL 30s or 40s telling me how good or bad they are would be more useful)




If you are connected to a router, you are on WIFI not 5G. You don't need a plan and can use any phone

The "router" is DOWNSTREAM from the phone, not upstream.


Same question...  WILL a Visible TCL 30 be in any meaningful way deficient compared to a Visible TCL 40 OR other 5g phone in the $200 or less category?  Again, as the previous post said - it's DATA ONLY and I don't care HOW good it is at anything else.


If you are trying to use Visible as a replacement for internet service, it is a violation of Visible terms of service.

Intermediate III

Try the Visible subreddit - there's a much broader audience and more active participation than here (better chance of 1st hand experience over there).

I'm going to ask this here 'cause I HAVE NO IDEA what Reddit's problem is, and I CAN'T ASK anywhere else 'cause everything keeps getting deleted!


Went to the Visible subredit - used the link above.

Created a topic or entry or whatever Reddit thinks things are.  Looks fine.  Went in, I can see it, NO problem.

Got a reply so I went back in to check, and found THIS:


Your post has been automatically removed because the Automod detected that your account is too new.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


I have NO idea what this even means OR what to do about it.  This is the SECOND time this has happened.  I've "messaged" the moderators, but so far NO response.  Found a thing in Reddit that prattled about karma and such, and said to go to r/Askreddit and post there to "build karma".



What the &^%$#@ is this st*pid (the word police puked on the real word) thing and how do I make it stop?

There is now a small minimum account age because people were making throwaway accounts to post referral codes on the main page.

What that account age is, I have no idea. Each subreddit has their own. Maybe you can comment on existing threads to accrue "karma".


P.S. FWIW, the TCL 30 LE is sold by Visble for $99. For hotspot functionality not much is required other than turning it on and setting a password. At the very least I would expect the model they sell to be compatible with their service. Models purchase elsewhere may not pass the compatibility checker.

With recent changes to the plans, hotspot usage is no longer limited to a single device connecting to it. The difference in plans is the 5 Mbps vs 10 Mbps throttling - the aggregate speed is shared by all currently connected devices. Visible does prohibit placing a SIM in a mobile hotspot device/router.

A Visible employee has suggested in the subreddit, that they have little interest in what devices connect to the personal hotspot - instead it appears that they will be monitoring overall data usage more closely in the future. I suspect that this has more to do with potential upcoming net neutrality regulations where if passed will likely result in new plan pricing with tiered priority data and tiered speed (careful what you wish for).

Actually, my question wasn't about connecting to a router or whatever, it was whether or not there was ANY good, verifiable reason to spend any more than $100 for the TCL 30 to get a phone that will do a decent job of providing a reasonably good connection (5G, 4G, whatever)...  In the PAST I was told it was necessary to buy a phone of at LEAST the cost/quality of a Pixel 6 for $350 to have any kind of decent connection.  So I'm trying to figure out if there's ANY GOOD reason to spend $170 for the TCL 40 OR $200 for the Samsung A15 to have good connectivity and decent speeds... 

In the past, any time poor performance was reported in the forum I was using, it was blamed on the data phone at that time being a $90 Blade A7 Prime instead of a $1200 X...  I'm trying to find out if this is still the major problem it was always made out to be in the past, where the problem was never Visible, it was always the "inadequate" phone that was purchased from Visible.


Your question is multifaceted one. I understand you want to use the phone just for hotspot. By that you are okay with 5mbps or 10mbps speeds.


Cellular reception is as good as the antenna the device has. There are many tiers of them available from various OEMs. The general consensus is that if you have a good name brands (Apple, Samsung, etc) you have good antenna that provides good cellular reception.


My suggestion for your case may be spend the same amount on a refurbished phone or an used phone. You can get used flagship mobiles of 3-4 years for that budget you have. I assume you dont worry about the battery as you plan to use it as hotspot. Even if it is a brand new mobile if used as a hotspot then battery would be drained quick, so you need a reliable power source to keep it charged.


Hope I am able to answer your query. However I dont have first hand experience on the low budget devices.


Just another visible user, willing to help others.
Please mark my answer as solution if it helped you.

Thanks for the reply!


Unfortunately, I did something d*mb (word police again).  When I put in the search for 5G, Android phones, the TCL 30 LE came up as one.  When I checked at TCL I didn't see the specific phone Visible has, but everything I looked at appeared to be 5G.


Bought it.  It's NOT a 5G phone.  On one of the description pages is a very tiny "1" that takes you to an even tinier piece of print that tells you it's NOT 5G.  SO, it went back.  And Visible being Visible, won't do the refund until 14 days AFTER they receive the phone (according to the Chat).  They've ONLY had it for 7 days at this point, so they must still be trying to figure out if the 3-day-old, used one time, phone is actually a 3-day-old, used one time phone that hasn't been trashed...


But, the idea of a refurbished, higher-end, better performing phone sounds good.  I vaguely recall a lot of noise a while back about some new 5G band becoming available and that it was important that any 5G phone bought should be one that uses this new band.


Where are people finding these reasonably priced, higher-end, couple-year-old Android 5G phones?  Ebay has gotten so sketchy I'm reluctant to buy there, but I presume there are other options. 


Recommendations on older 5G Android phones with decent performance?  I don't care how good the camera is or if it gives great text or looks extra pretty.  Just want it to work reasonably well. 


Does it just need to be ANY unlocked phone or does Visible get hissy fits about some phones?

I see a lot of reference to Backmarket on Reddit and I have checked them out. It looks like they are kind of the Amazon/eBay of phones because it appears to be different sellers selling used or refurbished phones. 


As for Android phones try a cheaper Samsung, they have some reasonably priced 5G phone I believe or Pixel 6A, maybe a used 7. Not sure which ones are going to pass Visible's broken IMEI checker/database. You could try a Motorola phone but if you don't buy it from Visible it won't pass the checker but you can get around that by saying it is an iPhone 12. You want to buy an unlocked phone whether it is new or used or the card won't work from my understanding. 


I had bought a used Motorola phone from eBay that happened to have been sold by Visible and it was in great condition and it cost around $80 total after taxes but it is a 4G LTE phone. Not sure I trust refurbished unless it was done by the factory. I don't think eBay is such a bad place to order a phone from provided you buy it from someone who allows returns if it doesn't work.

Yeah, that's one of the things I was concerned about...  Visible and their inconsistent rules and game playing.  I can get a refurbished, unlocked Galaxy S21 that is 5G and C-band, but how do I know Visible isn't going to pull something and I'm stuck with a paperweight because I didn't buy it from Visible.

The whole "buy an unlocked phone" and yada yada, great on Visible, SOUNDS good.  So HOW do I guarantee the phone I buy, Samsung or otherwise, ISN'T going to have problems?

Buying used is a gamble so not a guarantee they will work. I guess I got lucky on my used purchase buying from a private seller and not a refurbished dealer. To help insure you don't end up with a paperweight buy one that has a return policy.


As far as the S21 goes it should work on Visible and don't see a reason they pull something to turn it into a paperweight. Even if it doesn't pass the IMEI checker one can still get a card by doing the work around. I know for a fact that even a noncompatible phone can be activated on Visible. I did it when they deemed my 2021 G Power I bought from them as not compatible when they upgraded the system in September 2022. I used that $80 phone for the IMEI number and was going to activate it but when the card showed up I had nothing to lose to drop it in the 2021 phone and it activated and worked no problem. It still works because I thought my battery had went belly up on the newer phone and have put the card in that phone the other day and it still works.