For quite a while I have been searching for the ultimate MiFi device service. While I religiously use my EE 4G MiFi here in the UK, I’ve always had problems when I go abroad, whether it’s getting charged stupid rates or spending a silly amount of money buying local sims that don’t actually work.
I think the Uros Goodspeed is what I’ve been searching for.
In recent months it’s become more or less plausible to go abroad without making special provision for your phone’s data roaming. For instance, if you’re a Vodafone customer, you can data roam in Europe for £2 per day using your UK allowance. This is perfectly useful.
However things get rather complicated when you’ve got more than one device. For instance, I usually carry two personal mobile phones and then I usually have another one supplied by the business (which sometimes won’t have international data enabled!) and of course, an iPad or similar. And the laptop if I need proper computing power.
I want each of them connected, naturally. At this point I usually have to wait until I get back to the hotel or airport — somewhere with a WiFi zone — so that I can use them all.
This isn’t really acceptable. It’s certainly bearable if you’re just doing a quick jaunt on a personal basis.
It’s 100% not acceptable if you’re working, especially if, like me, you’re providing consultancy services to someone who is paying you and therefore expects to be able to get a full business day’s worth of value from you.
Telling your customer that you can’t look up DropBox because you’re out-and-about in Malaga and don’t want to pay the data roaming charges isn’t a valid response.
I’ve often had to bite the bullet and get stung repeatedly when I’ve needed data in a hurry.
Enter the Uros Goodspeed service.
The service is comprised of a device and then various SIM cards for the countries you are planning on visiting.
The device is a MiFi unit with 10 spare SIM card slots. It handles up to 3.5G and comes with a 2,550 mAh battery for roughly 8 hours of usage (see more tech specs.) It will handle up to 5 connections so that’s all my critical ones covered. The device is €239 to purchase.
Once you’ve got that, then you need some SIM cards. When you order the device, you’ll be prompted to select what country SIMs you’d like included. You can add more later on. Just be sure to plan ahead.
I picked a random number of countries in the example below (specifically excluding the standard European roaming zones we’re all aware of).
You can see I’ve deliberately picked Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala… the sort of countries I’d normally expect to be absolutely hosed from a data standpoint. The cost per country is a flat €5.90 per SIM and that also includes 500mb of usage.
Let’s just assume I have to fly to Ecuador twice a month (if only) for business for 2-3 days each. That would normally cost me £3 per MB for up to 5MB then £15 for every 5MB after (assuming I’m a Vodafone UK pay monthly customer). I could use the Data Traveller bundle which would charge me a semi reasonable £5 for 25mb per day. But no. That’s enough for me to check my email a few times, do a few searches and then… well, because I’m using a smartphone that lives for a data connection, all the other services that will activate normally the moment I’ve got a connection (e.g. weather update, blah blah blah) will easily take me to the 25mb limit in about 20 minutes.
Compare that with the Uros Goodspeed offer. I already get 500mb for buying the Ecuador SIM. And if I’d like a 1,000mb day-pass, that’s €9.90 (the higher rate — see the chart below), job done. All in. No more costs. And that is very, very appealing.
And since in this scenario I’m using the Goodspeed, I get all the standard MiFi benefits — namely all of my devices can connect to the Goodspeed and get a data connection. So across 2-3 days, I’d end up paying something like €17 or £13.44 in the orange countries (below) or in this Ecuador example, about €29 or £22.
Of course it’s the same deal for America, too.
I’ve been pretty pleased that 3UK has now made America “inclusive” for contract customers however, again, I’m not that interested in just one device. I need multi-device connectivity.
Here’s the rough plan details based on country:
You’ll see most countries in Africa aren’t offered plus note the difference in rates according to the colour.
On the train
I was astonished recently when I found a chap sitting across from me using a Uros Goodspeed. I noted his British Airways Gold status card on his bag and thought it was worthwhile seeing if he’d engage. I asked him how he was finding the Goodspeed and he told me he swears by it, particularly as he has to often travel to a set of countries not generally included in his corporate data plan. His company pays for his Goodspeed (Uros offer centralised administration for business customers) and apparently they’ve seen a huge cut in their data bill as a result.
Would you find it useful?
I think the Uros Goodspeed service is particularly useful if you travel regularly. By all means consider the service if you’ve got a one-off trip planned — but the up-front cost for the device might make it rather uneconomical, depending on the usage you’re planning. When I was consulting with Reed Exhibitions and finding myself in different countries almost every week, the Uros would have been absolutely ideal, especially as I usually got a bit of notice so I knew where I was going (you’ll need a bit of notice to allow for the delivery of new sims).
I’ve been using the Uros here in the UK and finding it excellent. Sadly, for review purposes, I’m afraid I haven’t managed to make it anywhere interesting like Ecuador!
You can find more information and purchasing details at www.uros.com.