Can Globalbig Beat The Roaming Blues?

Even if you take sensible precautions to avoid roaming rorts, it can be difficult to get decent internet access when travelling overseas. Does new provider Globalgig, which promises cheap pricing in a range of countries, provide the answer?

Globalgig works on the principle of offering roaming to multiple countries. You purchase a Globalgig Wi-Fi hotspot for $129, which you can currently use in Australia, the US or the UK. A range of monthly plans are offered: 1GB for $25, 3GB for $39 and 5GB for $49. Excess data is charged at 5 cents per MB. (These are month-to-month plans, so you're not tied to a long-term contract.)

In Australia, the service is provided by Optus; in the US, Sprint is used; and in the UK, 3 is on board. All are reasonable alternatives for the countries concerned; not necessarily the fastest networks, but all with reasonable national coverage.

Locally, that's not the cheapest deal you could score using the Optus network. Optus' own contract mobile broadband offers 4GB a month for $29.95 for iPad users; on Amaysim, $39.90 gets you unlimited calls as well as 4GB of data. The key point, however, is that the plan is equally useful overseas, where you can pay much higher rates. (Using a hotspot also means you can connect five devices at once.) We often recommend going prepaid when overseas, but choices in the US aren't particularly broad.

The usefulness of this kind of approach ultimately depends entirely on how often you travel, and if you regularly feature the US and UK amongst your destinations. Globalgig says it is working on deals for other countries. If you try and use the hotspot in other countries with a Globalgig SIM, you'll get no reception. (The device isn't locked, however, so you can potentially use it with other local prepaid SIMs.)

As a frequent traveller to both those destinations, I'm going to give Globalgig a try the next time I head overseas. Would you be tempted? Tell us in the comments.

Globalgig

Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman is roaming in the gloaming. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.


Comments

    There's a typo in the headline: Globalgig is spelt wrong.

    If only it supported more countries. This would be perfect for travelling through Europe, where you could be in one side of a country and out the other in the course of a day. The concept makes lots of sense, it's surprising we haven't seen bigger organisations like, say, Virgin mobile, try to do this already.

    Interesting. I thought Sprint ran across PCS. So it's got both 3G and PCS in it?

    Unfortunately there still isn't a decent solution for Europe. Buying a new sim card for the five countries I only spend a few days in doesn't make sense. Even the ekit travel sim I used to receive calls charged AUD ~65c/mb. Fortunately the EU is aggressively regulating roaming prices, forcing them down. In 18 months or so the maximum charge should be down to euro 0.20+vat/mb.

    Globalgig data prices are good, but the initial $129 investment is a killer. I've used Woolworths Global Roaming Sim in Europe before - http://www.woolworthsglobalroaming.com.au they also have decently priced data bundles in UK and Europe and the SIM only costs $29.

    Globalgig is very pricey, I've used wollworths, post office roaming sim and now using AussieSim - http://aussiesim.com.au/ as I am able to forward my incoming calls from my Aussie number for a local received call. This is where it's at, so if you need to receive important calls, you can easily with this feature. where it's at for a professional working traveler :)

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