Hands-On With Globalgig's Roaming SIM Card

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!)


Comments

    I have a dual SIM Android phone. I have Vodafone prepaid data and voice SIMs.

    After driving from Perth to Sydney at Christmas time I have experienced VF's total lack of cover across the Nullarbor and E (ostensibly this stands for Edge but I reckon it stands for execrable) data cover along the Murray in SA and Vic and around the NSW, Vic and SA coast.

    Before our recent trip up the coast to Port Hedland I decided to get a Telstra $10 / 1GB / 1 month USB modem from Woolworths.

    (As an aside there are 7 Woolworths stores between our place and Perth's northern most suburb. I didn't find a store with a modem in stock until the 7th store. I continued to visit Woolworths stores as we headed up the coast and got extras in Carnarvon and Port Hedland.)

    I removed the Telstra SIM from the modem and inserted it into the phone.

    I started to receive text messages on my other phone from Avast anti-theft saying that the SIM had been changed.

    The messages said they were from Avast. I thought they were being sent by the Avast website. Actually, they were being sent by the phone.

    I continued to receive texts about once a minute until the phone started beeping to indicate that text messages couldn't be sent because all of the credit had been used.

    If you use Avast, or similar, I would be very careful replacing your SIM with a Globalgig SIM, or similar, because you may have all of your credit sucked out.

    Make sure you are on the Avast website when you change the SIM so you can send the "all clear" message as soon as the new SIM is detected.

    Last edited 03/10/14 9:27 pm

    I looked at their website. They don't tell you which countries it works in. That's pretty useless.

    Critically - They don't support the iPhone outside of Australia - Can't believe this wasn't mentioned in the article.

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