Globalgig has launched a mobile-broadband data device that lets you roam Australia, the UK and the US all at one simple rate. Travellers rejoice!
Any overseas traveller knows the pain of feeling disconnected. Once upon a time, that feeling was solved with the occasional phone call to home, but now what travellers are really looking for is data. Email, social networks, photo uploads. Our digital existence rests on our access to broadband, but it isn't always easy to get connected without paying a fortune for the privilege. From hefty hotel fees to ridiculous roaming charges, connectivity costs big dollars when you're away from home.
Today, a new service called Globalgig offers the best solution we've yet seen for data-weary travellers. The Globalgig 3G/CDMA Wi-Fi hotspot keeps you connected within Australia, the US and the UK, all under a single — and reasonable — month-to-month rate.
The device costs AU$129 upfront before you then pay a month-to-month contract free. Prices are AU$25 for 1GB, AU$39 for 3GB and AU$49 for 5GB. Excess usage is charged at 5c per MB. Users will receive warning alerts via SMS or email when they reach 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their plan limit.
These rates compare reasonably enough with most hotspot charges, but add the ability to take your device overseas with no extra charges, and Globalgig becomes something of a revolution.
Globalgig operates on the Optus network in Australia, the Three network in the UK and the Sprint network in the US. When entering any new territory, the device may take a minute or so to renegotiate its connection, but the process happens without any user intervention. The device runs all connections through a single SIM card.
Globalgig general manager James Boardman told CNET Australia that the service is actively aiming to expand to cover other regional areas. Boardman named New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia as local area targets, and France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal as targets in the European region. Should additional countries be added to the service, users will need to order a new SIM card. Globalgig would not rule out the possibility of a fee being associated with upgrading to a new SIM for access to expanded coverage.
The device itself will be familiar to anyone who has seen a 3G Wi-Fi device before, weighing in at 80g and allowing connection for up to five devices. The specifications show Tri-Band 850/900/2100 MHz (HSPA/UMTS) coverage, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and speeds of up to 7.2Mbps. It is also an unlocked device, should anyone want to use the device with other SIM cards at home or abroad.
The hotspot is available today from the Globalgig website.