I have to say I’m sorely tempted to try out XCom Global’s latest offering. They can now offer you unlimited data via MiFi (or USB stick) for a thoroughly reasonable $14.95 per day across a phenomenal 195 countries (up from 67 previously).
There’s no charge for the equipment and delivery is (generally free if you order 10 days prior to departure).
MiFis are $14.95/day and USB sticks are $12.95/day.
It’s a really, really smart idea.
As an illustration (and assuming you’re British), if you went to the US from the 20th to 27th of January (that’s a rental period of 8 days), XCom Global would charge you $14.95 per day bringing the total costs to $119.60.
Let’s have a wee think.
$119 is £76. You’d already be spending £5 per day on the likes of Vodafone to get 25mb usage. That’s £40 for the trip so far. So for an extra £36, you could use XCom’s service and actually use ‘unlimited’ data rather than having to be very careful about your activities.
Or, if you’re going to Mobile World Congress and you’d like unlimited data on a MiFi unit there for the duration of the show, you’d pay XCom Global just $59.80 for the privilege — a thoroughly reasonable £38. Ben and I spent more than this arsing around in the Vodafone Spain shop in Barcelona last year.
I don’t think there’s a better alternative. You could obviously get a local SIM — but that’s wholly inconvenient on quite a few counts. NONE of the SIMs I bought from the Vodafone Spain shop worked for more than 5 minutes because the guy in the shop didn’t quite understand what we said when we POINTED at the UNLIMITED DATA PREPAY offer. I burnt through my €20 credit in about 5 minutes. If you don’t want that hassle then I can’t see why you wouldn’t check out the likes of XCOM Global.
Another viewpoint: Your operator will probably offer you a fairly decent European roaming deal — £5 or £2 per day for 20-25mb of usage. This might be fine if you’re on holiday but if you’re at Mobile World Congress, the chances are you’ll have some high roaming requirements.
Yeah. More and more I’m thinking this might be a highly sensible choice for many readers.
What I would like to see is some kind of permanent offer, e.g. buy the MiFi from us for $200 and then when you need to use the service, just pay $15 per day. Something like that? I’d like one device that I could keep in my pocket and use wherever I was — a little bit like ABroadband (but without the per-megabyte fees).
Other things to consider with XCOM Global — you’ll probably want to think about insurance. If you lose the device, you’ll need to cough up a rather shocking $800. That is very painful. If you’re paying their $3.95 insurance the loss charge is $160. Don’t lose it, bottom line.
XCom Global won’t be suitable for every use case but I think it’s got serious merits. There’s a lot more information on their site.
Update: Here’s a contribution from reader Ilicco who’s currently (at time of writing) on vacation in Byron Bay, Australia — and roaming (as per his comment below) at phenomenally good rates.