OTR trucking can mean long hours on the road and days away from home. While you’re out there, you need a way to communicate with people, whether it’s family or clients. Here are some tips for choosing a carrier and smartphone for your OTR trucking needs.
Choose a Carrier With Coverage Along Your Typical Routes
Before looking at phone models or anything else, look at the coverage maps of the available carriers in your area. If you find yourself in a dead spot, it won’t matter what type of smartphone or service you have. Places with spotty coverage can become just as bad since you’ll have a faulty connection you can’t rely on.
Look for high-speed coverage for both voice and data along the routes you plan to take, areas you plan to work most in, and places you might have to travel through. The larger the coverage spread, the better.
Carriers that also offer Wi-Fi calling capabilities natively or tethering can also look appealing to an OTR trucker. Tethering features allow you to use your smartphone as a modem to connect a laptop or tablet to the internet when you need to. Some carriers refer to this functionality as using your phone as a “hot spot.”
Good coverage also helps keep the potential for roaming to a minimum. Having roaming options available in an emergency isn’t a bad idea, but finding a carrier that covers the right areas can help you mitigate the need for roaming.
If you do choose a carrier with roaming features, try to find one that doesn’t charge for roaming or gives you an allotment of roaming minutes you can use before roaming charges kick in. However, if a carrier offers free roaming, make sure they don’t charge you for connecting through a cell tower that’s not part of the carrier’s network.
Choose a Plan That Makes Sense for You and Your Business
Carriers offer a lot of choices when it comes to phone plans these days. An OTR trucker will likely need a voice and data plan that won’t run out when they need it most. You may find yourself tempted by an unlimited plan, but look at the fine print before choosing such an option.
Some carriers can limit data on an unlimited plan during certain times or peak hours. If you have an idea of how much data and voice service you will need, try to find a plan to fit your habits and needs.
If you choose a postpaid plan, you can find yourself locked into your plan for at least a year. A prepaid plan can sometimes work better if you’re sure you will have the coverage, minutes, and data allowances you require for a month.
Choose a Smartphone That Can Handle Frequent Handling
You’ll likely have your phone with you in all types of conditions that can damage the phone or its electronics, so a sturdy smartphone is the best option. Look at reviews for smartphones to see what the tech community has to say about the durability or ruggedness of a particular model. Modern handsets can meet a lot of rugged requirements, including:
- Protection from moisture and water
- Protection from shock and vibration
- Protection from the intrusion of dust and particles
- Protection from extreme elements or temperatures
You can find all these features while still having a large screen, plenty of storage, and good battery life. The last thing an OTR trucker needs is for their phone to go on the fritz the second they take it out of the truck.
No matter what smartphone you choose, make sure you pick up a sturdy case for it. The more you can protect the phone while still having an easy time using it, the better.
Choose a Smartphone That You Can Put to Work
Your smartphone can do a lot more than make calls and cruise the internet. You can, and should, use your phone as a tool to help you with your OTR trucking operations. There are many available downloadable applications on the market today that are designed specifically the trucking industry. A quick online search will provide plenty of offerings. The app markets contain a ton of trucking-related apps that can help you do things like:
- Keep track of daily business and expenditures
- Schedule loads and update clients
- Look up the weather, traffic, and fuel prices
Knowing what you would like your smartphone to do can help you choose the right model. You can find yourself bogged down by specs, but looking at some of the apps available and their requirements can help you make a more informed choice.
No matter what type of smartphone you end up with, make sure your tractor has the proper inputs, outputs, and connections to allow you to use it to its full capabilities. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing a semi-truck.
The Arrow Truck Sales inventory lists makes and models of all types. If you’re looking for a tractor that can work well with your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other devices, we can help you find it.