What if I told you there was a service available today that would give you international mobile data roaming — unlimited, fair use — across the United States, UK, Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and China? And access to over 109,000 wifi hotspots around the planet?
For $150 a month? All-in. On one adapter.
That’s about 70-odd quid — about the same as the top level data package from some of the UK operators.
I was transfixed by it.
I sat down with their UK top chap, Azadar Shah — a tall, smartly dressed, competent chap — at the Churchill Hotel last week. I wanted to learn more about iPass. I was particularly pleased to hear that they’ve got a ton of hotspots all over the place — an iPass account is always something I’ve been meaning to get but it’s only when I get to the hotspot sign-in page in some far flung airport that I start kicking myself for not having sorted out an account earlier.
As Azadar took me through the range of iPass services (a lot of which are hugely relevant to enterprise users wanting to give their employees secure, ubiquitous hotspot access), he mentioned mobile broadband.
“Er, stop there!” I said, leaning forward.
“You mean a mobile broadband card? Like a dongle, yes?” I wanted to check my delight just in case it was misplaced.
“Yes,” replied Azadar.
“So, I can plug in my laptop and get internet access here in the UK… then take it to America and still get ‘unlimited’ broadband internet?”
Azadar smiled at my surprise, “Yes, it’s called Mobile Broadband — we’ve been offering it for a little while now.”
I need to get one of these, I thought.
Very smart. They’ve done deals with operators in the States, UK, Netherlands and the Far East to ensure that their devices get mobile data roaming — unlimited — wherever the device is within the country.
Other European countries (and beyond) are being added at the moment — there’s just a delicate negotiation to be done with the incumbent operators.
The benefits here are clear. If you are continually working transatlantically — in the UK one week, in the States the next, you need an iPass Mobile Broadband solution.
You could, theoretically, get yourself a modem from Verizon. If you can get them to give you one without paying for 24 months up front. And a UK broadband modem. That would work. But now you’re getting bitty and having to carry two devices. Add the Netherlands, as an example, and you’ve now got to carry three devices.
The iPass Mobile Broadband service makes a lot of sense to me. I’d like to see more European countries — I’m sure, for example, Hutchison would play ball with mobile data roaming across their territories in Europe at least.
The added bonus of being able to access any iPass compatible WiFi hotspot too… yeah, that makes it work for me. This definitely isn’t competing with your tenner-a-month 3UK service. It’s intended for executives who want a consolidated monthly bill and a consistent experience across territories.
I’m going to see if I can get one from iPass and have a play.
Round figure costings for this service: $150 a month. I’ll get more details from Azadar and put them up shortly.
If you regularly travel to the UK and the States … and you think you’d like to try one of these out and write a summary for us, drop me a line.