Tried & Tested

Tried and Tested: Globalgig

2 Sep 2013 by Tom Otley

GlobalgigConnectivity is all important when you're travelling. The uncertainty of internet connections, and the cost when you do find a connection, can be an unnecessary stress.

Globalgig provides wifi for up to five devices including laptops, tablets and phones, and claims to cut the cost of data roaming by up to 98 per cent on current providers.

I used it firstly on domestic trips in the UK, and then in Hong Kong. Setting it up took less than a minute, and once it was connected to the local network I connected my various devices – smartphone, iPad and laptop computer to the Globalgig hotspot for internet access.

A small black device, it is light and easily portable. Unlike much similar technology, you don't have to keep adding SIM cards to it each time you go to a new country – one SIM is enough. Note that you can go for a SIM-only deal, and putting this into one of your devices (such as an iPad) creates a hotspot from that device.

At first I used it in a traditional way, turning on the device and working on my laptop in hotel lounges where the wifi wasn't free, airport lounges where the wifi was too slow, and areas where there was no wifi at all – including our office during a power cut.

After a while, however, I used it all the time, including on the Hong Kong MTR underground system to enable my smartphone to download emails and surf the internet without paying roaming charges, and in the back of taxis stuck in traffic so I could work on my emails on my laptop.

I've even used it on the Piccadilly Line coming in from Heathrow to connect my laptop and write up news reports and contribute to the Business Traveller forum.

There are advantages in using your own hotspot as opposed to public wifi. A hotspot is a secure, personal and portable version in a sense, since it goes with you and the data transmitted is secure since you set a access password which is automatically encrypted, unlike a public wifi where the bandwidth is shared across any number of people and is not always secure.

How does it work?

The device automatically logs into a local data network in each market and feeds internet access to your smartphone or laptop through a hotspot. It is not a data roaming product. Instead of routing data through local networks and then back through the user's home country network, incurring charges, Globalgig keeps traffic within local networks.

It's easy to use because each time you simply turn on the Globalgig device and log onto the wifi signal as you would do normally. The device has a range of up to 130ft outdoors, though I found about half that was effective in a building.

Any downside?

Not that I found. It was difficult to turn off the device when it was charging, it always seemed to turn itself back on, but when unplugged it would stay off. Other than that, no problems at all.

Where does it work?

It works in the USA, the UK, Australia, Ireland, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark (40 countries in total), check the Globalgig website to see whether where you travel is covered.

Now much does it save?

Globalgig provides the following cost comparison on data based on a five-day trip to the USA using 1GB (1024mb): O2 £4,920, Orange £4,400, Vodafone £2,600, 3 £3,000, T-Mobile £630, EE £410, Globalgig £21

How much does it cost?

The device costs £50 (including VAT) from the Globalgig store online. It is free with an 18-month contract. There are also SIM-only deals where you use the SIM in an existing device (such as an iPad).

Prices are in monthly bundles of 1GB (gigabyte) for £21, 2GB for £41 and 5GB for £91. You pay by a rolling monthly bill, there is no long-term contract, and when you want to upgrade, downgrade or terminate, you just notify by email. The service will then be cancelled at that end of that billing cycle.

Members of Business Traveller Plus can receive a free Globalgig SIM and 100MB of free international roaming data for three months. For more information click here.

Tom Otley

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