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.


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.

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