Get Worldwide Mobile Data With this Unlocked Hotspot

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I have an unlocked Mifi hotspot. I can stick any sim card in it I want. So if I’m going to be in a country for awhile and need mobile data, I can stick a local sim card in it for the best rates.

But if I’m going to be there just a short time, I’ve been using Gigsky. Their sim card lets me buy a local plan for a fixed amount of data through their app. I get better data rates than roaming and faster speeds than T-mobile (3G/4G versus 2G). I have to buy a new prepaid plan for each country I visit, though.

Via ScottC there may be an even better solution: GlocalMe G2.

The device is Android-based and provides a worldwide 3G and 4G wireless hotspot that can support up to 5 connections, for instance a couple of laptops and three phones.

You buy a plan, or use it pay-as-you-go at €0.05 per meg. You can buy worldwide packages for ~ $33 per gig, or specific country packages that are cheaper. It’s got a 6,000mAh battery so it’s long lasting and can be used as a power brick to recharge your phone. There’s 2 sim card slots so you can also use the device as an unlocked hotspot with a local sim card if you wish.

Glocalme offers worldwide roaming, so you buy only one plan rather than having to buy a new prepaid plan in each country. Their major gaps are in Africa, the ‘Stans, as well as Iran, Iraq, and Belarus.

One device, internet coverage in 108 countries, and much better than access through a mobile provider. Some people love T-mobile, and that provides the convenience of just using your phone anywhere in the world. But I can’t handle the slow speeds, so haven’t made that switch. I carry a mobile hotspot instead, and this one could be a better solution than what I’ve been using.

GlocalMe G2

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Actually tmobile can be hacked with a special mod to allow the max local network speeds. There is a FT thread about it as well as on a few other forums(Xda). Basically you need an android device and you just install this rom to it(it has to be rooted). I have successfully used it in Korea, Germany and UK getting 3g, and lte speeds where available.

  2. GigSky should make their website more user friendly and also easier for people to connect when arriving in a new country. Last time I tried I had to change some settings in my iPhone and that is a deal breaker for me. It needs to be plug and play.

  3. I’m new to the portable hotspot. Is this the best solution for continental US. I’d be using 1-2 devices. Looking for the sweet spot in terms of price/value.

  4. Lot of shadiness going on with GlocalMe including fake reviews (the real reviews say it’s awfully slow)… Buyer beware indeed!

  5. The plans seem reasonably priced. However the hardware is currently $159 on Amazon. Not a deal breaker for the frequent business traveler, but more of a obstacle for the occasional leisure traveler. Especially with free wifi at nearly every Starbucks and many McDonalds locations. And in room if you have the requisite ccs for HH and IHG.

  6. Anyone have suggestions for best solution for iphone 6 over one week period in London and Cannes?

    1) Purchase a MIFI hotspot? If so, which one?
    2) Rent a MIFI hotspot?
    3) Dreaded ATT international data purchase?
    4) Something better?

  7. @Michael: One week is not much but the UK is the best place to buy pre paid SIM card data plans for almost nothing. I am pretty surer you can get a plan that covers UK and France. Having a local SIM card is by far the best option of all. Problem is that you need an unlocked phone and have to go to a store in the country with your passport to get the SIM card and activate it.

  8. @Michael – you must have an old iPhone you’re not using anymore.

    Since it is out of contract ATT will unlock it. This takes maybe 24-48 hours, tops. Then take it to a T-Mobile store, have them pop out the old sim card and put in a T-Mobile sim card. Activate it for one month of T-Mobile service, then de-activate it when you get back.

    I did this with an old iPhone last year on a 31 day trip to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the UK, I used it extensively for data and moderately for voice, and at the end of the trip my phone bill was less than $80.

  9. You have to assume you’ll use a gigabyte in any foreign country. So these plans are quite expensive.

  10. We used xcom global for our trip to uk, France and Germany. Worked great with 4 iPhones on it. Don’t know how cost effective at $14.95/day, but certainly better priced and more effective than ATT international data plan and tethering.

  11. Ivan, do you have a keyword for ‘this’ rom to install? Multiple searches of both xda and ft bring up nothing.

    Purely for research purposes, of course…

  12. I bought a GlocalMe G2 hotspot in February to use for a vacation in WA and VCT in Australia and in Thailand. I liked the fact that one could also use a local sim card in the device. Bought an Optus sim card at Perth airport, and found that around Margaret River the Optus card was useless yet the virtual sim in the GlocalMe worked very well. It also got me 4G around Dunsborough.
    In Koh Samui, Thailand our hotel wifi was typically hot and cold and the hotspot came in handy there as well. Performed flawlessly. I think it’s a very convenient device.

  13. For Europe I use Three.co.uk. They have free roaming to 25 countries at I thinkg 3G speed. This is the best value you can get.

    20 pund for unlimited or take the plan that you pay only what you consume. If only 2-3 days of use in a free roaming country, this option is cheaper than the unlimited month plan.

  14. I’ve been using the Sky Roam for about 6 months now. Absolutely love the thing.

    Unlimited data, though throttled after 350mb/day.

    Day passes $8-$10, no plans.

    Good coverage.

  15. @Michael – Hi Michael – GigSky has a 3G plan for $50 in the UK on either the GigSky SIM, or on Apple SIM (for recent iPads with cellular). The new iPadPro 9.7″ has an embedded SIM -GigSky service is integrated into iOS – easy to connect to. Whatever your device, it has to be unlocked.
    There are some videos at:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5jgBRe0Msu89ZD1fr6NSQQ

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