I'm thinking of privately purchasing an aftermarket mobile broadband device like the Samsung SCH-LC11. So I would own it. Then occasionally use/ activate/ subscribe to a low cost prepaid plan like Verizon's $15/week 250MB. Does anybody here have comments and/or advice about this?

The device would sit in my parent's house hundreds of miles away, where I visit occasionally. My concerns are (after some online research and not completely alarmed):

1. This is an older Verizon device. They don't currently offer it, but confirm it's still supported. Reviews on its speed capabilities are from several years ago, and they indicate "good" download rates of 12MB/s and "okay" upload rates of 1MB/sec on 4G LTE. This doesn't compare well with my iPad 4G LTE which gets 20MB/s down and 15MB/s up. Is this a device discrepancy or an improvement in 4G LTE over several years? Is 1GB/s upstream still okay for video chat?

2. And being an older device, how is reliability? Are these mobile hotspot devices finicky? Do they require hard resets (reboots or power cycles) often? Or are they simple devices?

3. Pricing and cash flow for the prepaid plans -- not sure how Verizon handles it -- but it seems they require regular "deposits" into an account where they debit the needed funds? This would be unlike the prepaid tablet plans where you can cancel it at the end of the prepaid month. Any details regarding how they do it would be appreciated.

4. Any equivalent or better plans, like from other broadband providers?