Hints & Tips, Travel

Mobile Internet with a Personal Hotspot

With the huge upturn in smartphone and tablet ownership there is a near 24×7 requirement to have a mobile internet data connection wherever you are. Whether it’s downloading emails, updating twitter or Facebook status, map navigation, online shopping, Skype or simply finding train times, your iPhone or Android phone is becoming a life essential. When you’re in your home country, it’s not a problem; the networks offers large data bundles and you have your home WiFi networks to rely on. But what about when you travel abroad? We’ve all heard tales of bill-shock and leaving your data roaming turned on with a smartphone can quickly lead to a large roaming bill.MiFi

So what are the alternatives? If your smartphone is unlocked then you can look to swap the SIM card and put in a SIM card for the country you’re visiting, complete with a local data bundle. That’s OK but if you’re visiting multiple countries then you need a roaming SIM card that offers both voice and data (to allow the phone to make calls) and the data allowances on these SIMs are often small and overage quite high. Also, if you’ve got a WiFi-only tablet then this isn’t an option because there’s no SIM to swap.

The most effective option is to take a MiFi Personal Hotspot device with a roaming data-only SIM card. These personal hotspots are about the size of small cell phone and connect to the mobile internet using the SIM inside. They then broadcast the data wirelessly to up to 5 devices in a 10m radius. In other words, it’s like taking a mini version of your home WiFi network with you wherever you go. The access is password protected so only you get to connect. Because devices connect through WiFi, you can connect a phone, laptop and tablet to the device at the same time and you can share it with a traveling companion. Also, because the device is separate to the phone you can use it even if you have a cell phone that is locked to your domestic network. If you use something like Skype to make voice calls then you don’t need to worry about roaming call costs. The MiFi personal hotspots can use data-only SIMs, rather that voice & data SIMs, which tends to give you larger data bundles and better prices on overage.

The units do need charging and when under use tend to last about 8 hours. However, for the traveler this is generally fine since you only need it for bursts at a time. And you can still use the hotel or restaurant WiFi as well.

So if, like me, you feel completely cut off if you’re unable to connect your iPhone to the internet when travelling then the MiFi personal hotspot is an ideal solution.


All you need to know about renting a travel phone

Once you’ve rented, you’ll never go back.

Below we have some of our customer’s most commonly asked questions about reducing cell phone costs when traveling abroad. If you’re not sure about renting or if you don’t know why you should rent then take a look at our answers below.

I just want to make calls back home cheaply. What do I need?

If you’re not interested in having all the bells and whistles of internet access when you travel and you just want to take a phone so you can make calls to the office or home that are nice and cheap then why not rent one?

We can offer you a SIM card rental for your own phone with free incoming calls or if you’d rather take the whole package that simply works when you get there then for little extra, we’ll give you a phone guaranteed to work where you’re traveling to. We also offer a call forwarding service that route calls to your own cell number through to your rental so you never miss a call.

Do you have internet products I can use abroad?

If you take your own phone with you on business or on holiday, unless you have deep pockets you will be turning data roaming off and disabling all of your smartphone/tablet/iPad features. If you are traveling and roaming with your own devices, this is the smart thing to do because it can be painfully expensive.

If you want to keep all of those online features such as Facebook, internet access and other apps, then you can take one of our MiFi devices either for Europe or for your individual destination. With a Mifi you can connect all of your WiFi devices (up to five at once!) to one fast, mobile internet connection.

I really want to take my iPhone. Can you help?

We have an increasing number of iPhone SIM cards available for key European destinations. All come with a generous data allowance and great call rates (free for incoming calls). As with our SIM and cell phone rentals, we offer the option to route all calls to your own cell number through to your rental so you never miss a call.

How long can I rent for?

The short answer is for as long as you like. Many of our products including our SIM card rentals, cell phone rentals and most of our MiFi devices you can rent on a daily basis and tailor to your trip length. Some of our other products are monthly or weekly rentals because we can offer better value for money this way on data allowances for example.

What happens when I rent? What do I have to do?

Our rental process is designed to be as easy for you as possible. Place your order online and your equipment will be delivered to your door, tested and ready to use. You equipment will arrive with simple instructions and we will always be available on the other end of the phone with 24 hour global support if you need it. When you return home, simply put your equipment in the prepaid return envelope and post it back to us. That’s it, you’re done and you’ve saved lots of money.