Over the past two years, Globalgig has swiftly become the go-to MVNO for cheap mobile broadband while travelling abroad. Originally only offering Wi-Fi hotspots, the service now provides SIM-only packages that are compatible with a wide range of tablets and smartphones in 40 countries (and counting). We recently tested Globalgig’s Home & Abroad pack during a sight-seeing tour of London. Read on for our hands-on verdict.
UK tablet picture from Shutterstock
If you’re planning a trip to the US, UK or Ireland it’s pretty hard to look past Globalgig’s SIM-only packages. Prices start at $9 a month, which nets you 1GB of data to use how you see fit. You can also opt to receive 3GB for $19 per month or 5GB for $29 per month.
Whichever pricing plan you go with, excess data is charged at a very reasonable 2 cents per MB. By contrast, Telstra’s international data packs charge a massive $3 per megabyte for excess data use.
I decided to give the service a try during a week-long trip to London. For me, one of the chief advantages was not having to hunt down a SIM card after touching down in ol’ Blighty. My phone was ready to go as soon as I stepped off the plane, with the card automatically registering itself on the relevant partner network (UK’s 3).
The SIM card is apparently optimised for tablet use, but they seem to work just fine with the majority of smartphones. For the record, I was using a Samsung Galaxy S5 which connected without a hitch.
Here’s how to activate the service on an Android smartphone or tablet:
Step 1: Once the SIM has been inserted, switch on data roaming and go into “More Networks” in settings.
Step 2: Go into “mobile networks”. From here, you need to select “Access Point Names” and add the Globalgig APN details, which will be included with your SIM.
Step 2: Simply save the APN details and you’re done! The finished result should look something like the screenshot below. (Naturally, it’s a good idea to set a username and password for added security.)
Being in one of the most photogenic cities in the world meant I’d be sharing lots of photos and videos on social media. I was also essentially glued to Google Maps for most of the trip and was continually consulting the web for information about the area.
In addition to all this, I also used my phone as a mobile hot spot whenever I needed to access the internet on my laptop. Needless to say, this translated to a hell of a lot of data.
To my surprise, I only churned through 872 megabytes over the seven day period. With that said, I did connect to WiFi whenever I was in the hotel, which probably cut down on my total data usage significantly. If I had been staying longer than a week I would definitely want one of the larger packages.
Nevertheless, I managed to stay constantly connected overseas for the grand sum of $11, which included the cost of the SIM. If you’re planning a trip to one of the aforementioned countries, I can’t recommend Globalgig highly enough. (As an added bonus, you get to use any left over data when you return to Australia via the Optus network. Hurrah!)