Globalgig 3G pocket wifi data roaming offer unlikely to impress

By John Walton, December 10 2012
Globalgig 3G pocket wifi data roaming offer unlikely to impress

Looking for a mobile data roaming fix that works in the US, UK and Australia?

Australian company Globalgig has a new 3G pocket wifi router scheme that might fit the bill for some travellers, but the pricing is one to watch out for.

Pocket wifi routers tap into the 3G (or, increasingly, 4G) mobile phone network and create a small wifi hotspot, allowing you to connect a handful of devices such as a laptop, tablet and smartphone.

The Globalgig offer: who's it for?

You buy the Globalgig pocket wifi router (for delivery in Australia, which is a plus) for $130 outright.

Then you pick a monthly plan for data valid in the US, UK and Australia: $25 for 1GB, $39 for 3GB or $49 for 5GB. Over that and it's 5c/MB, which works out at $51.20 per GB. (Ouch.)

The relatively high upfront price is one reason that Globalgig isn't stunning value for most travellers. You can pick up a similar offer from 3 in the UK for £30 (A$46) for the device and £16 (A$24) for 5GB of data, while pocket wifis -- both locked and unlocked -- are regularly found in Australia for under $50.

And despite the service having "global" in its name only the US, UK and Australia are included, although more countries are planned: Globalgig says "expanded services to key Asian, European and other large global destinations (are) planned over the next 12 months."

With local data SIMs (and cheap devices) widely available in the US, UK and Australia, Globalgig would only really make sense for technology-averse, relatively light data users who don't already own a pocket wifi, and intend to travel in patterns of infrequent month-long trips across at least two of the three countries.

Here's why:

  • Travelling for shorter/longer periods or more intermittently? You're best off with local prepaid SIMs in local pocket wifis (or your unlocked device from home).
  • Only heading to one country? A local SIM for the tech-inclined or a Tep wireless' rental for the faff-phobic is a much better option.
  • Travelling for less than a month? Tep's rental deals are much better value.
  • Heavy data user? Local SIMs really aren't that hard to sort out, or Tep has unlimited data options for the SIM card averse that are significantly more attractive than Globalgig.
  • Travelling to more than just these three countries? Droam's global packages offer seriously wide coverage.

Reader poll: what do you use for data overseas? Which local SIM cards have you found best value? Any global roaming packages you'd use again?Share your thoughts with fellow AusBT readers below! 

Australian Business Traveller covers and roadtests global data roaming and local SIM cards extensively. For the very latest, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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