There is one thing that I hate about traveling internationally, and that is the situation with wireless access. The problem is that you can’t use your mobile broadband modem abroad, unless you’re prepared to go broke paying outrageous data roaming charges. That means that most travelers are stuck paying for WiFi at their hotel or wherever else they’re visiting. Sure, some hotels and other places do offer free WiFi, but more often then not, travelers end up forced to pay anywhere between $10 to $30 a day for internet access.
For years I’ve been trying to figure out a more efficient way to get mobile broadbandoverseas without paying an arm and leg. Until now the best solution I’ve found was to buy a prepaid mobile broadband package in the country I was visiting. But that ends up being a pretty costly investment to lay down money for equipment plus service in each country you’re visiting – not to mention that not every country has the best prepaid mobile broadband offers either. Often I’ll order a sim card with mobile broadband data from eBay for the country I’m visiting. Other times I’ll go to a local mobile phone store in the country I’m visiting and pick up a prepaid mobile broadband package. Either way, there is a significant amount of time and money invested.
Then along comes Xcom Global – a company that offers USB modem and MiFi rentals internationally. Whether you’re traveling to the U.K., Israel, Japan, they offer mobile broadband modem rentals with unlimited data usage in 39 countries. From the moment I heard about their rental service, I felt relief. It seemed like I could finally eliminate some of the the hassle that I go through every time I travel abroad.
XCom Global offers customers a choice between renting a USB Modem or a MiFi mobile hotspot which up-to 5 users can share at once. Pricing starts at $17.95 a day for a MiFi or $14.95 for a USB Modem. These prices are actually very reasonable when you consider how many places will charge you $20+ a day for Wi-Fi, and then once you leave that hotspot, you’re internet access is gone.
In anticipation of our trip to Barcelona for MWC 2011, XCom sent us out a MiFi to use for the week. They shipped it to use in time for our trip and included a carrying case for the MiFi, an instruction booklet, and an extra battery, as well as a return shipping label. Having the MiFi to use during MWC proved to be a life savor. Myself and my colleague, Judie Lipsett of GearDiary didn’t have to run around looking for WiFi access each time we needed to get up a post or catch up on emails. Sometimes there were no available hotspots where we were, and sometimes the WiFi was unstable altogether. But with the MiFi around, we didn’t have to worry about finding and connecting to a WiFi hotspot at all.
That said, we did experience some frustrations with the MiFi, sometimes it would lose a connection and require reboots. However, this is in no way a fault of XCom Global, but rather the MiFi hardware itself. I’ve tested several different MiFi devices over the past few years and they’ve all proven to be buggy and unstable in some capacity. If you don’t need to share an internet connection with others, I recommend going with a USB modem which is generally much more stable and reliable.
At the end of the day, XCom Global’s Wireless Broadband Data Plans and modem rental service could be a a savior for businesses, and also save a traveler’s sanity! Overall, XCom Global’s service is reliable, and their pricing is very reasonable. From now on, we’ll be using their service each time we travel internationally and we recommend both individuals and businesses alike to consider using them too.
The Good: Unlimited data usage, reasonable pricing, say so long to running around looking for WiFi hotspots, availability in 39 countries.
The Bad: MiFi tends to be buggy.
4/24/2014: XCom Global now offers 4G hotspot rentals.