We don’t know about you, but every time we’re heading overseas, one of the first things we think about is how much the cost of data will affect us. It’s right up there with travel insurance and medical shots. Luckily, another company is thinking of this too, and the good news is that this Aussie mob may just save you some dough.
The costs of mobile data when you bring your smartphone or tablet overseas are usually astronomical, regardless of if you’re on prepaid or postpaid. We found out just that in April on holiday when we were hit with roughly $15 per megabyte.
But Australian tech company Globalgig is trying its hand at a possible solution, pairing a WiFi hotspot with prepaid data plans of one, three, and five gigabytes for prices that come in well under what it would cost if you tried those download allowances on your $15 per meg regular plan.
“We’ve seen many cases of roaming data usage overseas resulting in nasty and unexpected bills of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars higher than expected, when users were perhaps unaware of the roaming charges from their service provider,” said James Boardman, Globalgig’s General Manager.
“Whilst there are ways to work around the issue of bill shock such as disabling data roaming, purchasing a local data SIM card or using public Wi-Fi while oversees, these are inconvenient methods and don’t always offer an ideal user experience for travellers.”
The solution, at least from Globalgig’s point of view, comes in the form of a small pocket friendly wireless hotspot, switching between the 2G and 3G networks depending on where it is, and latching onto internet access in countries such as the UK, USA, and currently Australia, with a view to launching in parts of Asia and Europe in the next year.
Like every other wireless hotspot, any device with support for WiFi can connect to it, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, game consoles, and cameras, with prices coming in at $25 for 1GB, $39 for 3GB, and $49 for 5GB, and excess data charges at five cents per meg, much less than the $15 passed on by many a telco.
It isn’t the same as other wireless hotspots, though, and you can’t just bring your old device over or take the SIM card out and use it in a phone or tablet. From what we’re been told, the model Globalgig is using has been designed to pick up on the specific 2G and 3G networks, switching for the specific carriers it can see.
Globalgig’s hotspot alone costs $129, and customers can pay from month-to-month in prepaid, with no contracts, with the device able to be purchased from the company’s website.