Let’s say that you go to a foreign country, and you’ll need data. What do you do? You could find a cell provider and buy a local SIM, but that takes time and requires registering with your passport. At best, you’ll get a local SIM with a hard data cap, or you could arrive prepared with a Skyroam Global WiFi Hotspot.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a local SIM, if you definitely aren’t interested in expensive roaming fees, if you don’t want to deal with renting a hotspot for each country you visit, and if you haven’t yet paid off your phone (meaning it isn’t carrier unlocked and able to accept a foreign SIM), then you ought to check out Skyroam.
Not only will you have a hotspot that can wirelessly connect up to five devices, you’ll also get a decent deal on unlimited roaming — with a couple of caveats. Let’s talk about the plan, and then I’ll explain the caveats.
For $124.99, you can purchase a Skyroam hotspot. That price includes five free day passes (24 hours each), and once they are used up, you can then purchase pay-as-you-go day passes online.
To give you a little bit of information about Skyroam, let me start by saying that they aren’t some fly-by-night company. Lenovo recently led their series B funding round with a 23.5 million investment, bringing their total to $25 million. With that money, Skyroam will “invest in expanding its global mobile data footprint, delivering value-added services to travelers, and growing its channel distribution partnerships with travel-related companies including travel agencies, airport retailers, airlines and device rental companies.”
Along with that investment, Lenovo also licensed Skyroam’s patented vSIM (virtual SIM) technology; vSIM “allows devices to change carrier remotely over the air. It is the underlying technology that makes our hotspot work.” Skyroam’s vSIM tech will be in embedded in other devices soon, too.
The one caveat to the service is that while they offer HSPA+speeds (which is fast!), there is a 350MB daily cap on those HSPA+ speeds; once you hit it, the speeds drop down to a slower data rate, EDGE or 3G depending upon the country. Think about this for a minute: if you purchase data roaming through AT&T (the carrier I happen to use, so I am very familiar with their exorbitant international data roaming pricing), you are going to spend the following:
Bear in mind that these data amounts are not per day, they are per 30-day period! In other words, this is no bargain.
I happen to be a heavy data user, and I was concerned about the 350MB cap, but here’s the deal: most people don’t use as much data as I do, so most people won’t ever reach that 350MB data speed cap in a 24 hour period.
• The lighter speeds after the 350MB, which compare favorably in the market, are not specific to EDGE.
• The balancing act allows Skyroam to offer affordable daily rates and optimize network performance. It is common among industry for these reasons.
• The fastest possible speed is HSPA+ (not HSPA). This provides the maximum capability in as many countries as possible.
Here’s another thing worth pointing out: a single day pass will work in multiple countries, so if you are a world traveler with multiple destinations, you’re set.
As I mentioned, Skyroam usually costs $124.99 (including the first 5-day pass); it is currently on sale for $99.99, which still includes the five free day passes. Once you go through those initial 5 day passes, you can purchase more of them at $8 for each additional bundle of 5 (a $40 total), or you can pay $10 per day by buying them individually.
If you are an international traveler, this could be the perfect solution for you. I know that it came in very handy for Helena and me when we were in Barcelona. We both had issues with our phone SIM cards at the most inopportune time — when we were at an event and needed to be able to use the MyTaxi app to get to our next press conference — and we could have been stranded! But I had the Skyroam hotspot with me, and we were able to wirelessly connect and book our taxi through our phones, using the Skyroam’s data. Skyroam saved our bacon, and now I won’t travel without mine.
Want to learn more? You can check Skyroam out here.