Fund this: iPhone case offers all-day data roaming on the cheap
Kickstarter project ComfortWay Travel Case gives you mobile Internet in over 100 countries for just $2 per day.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
If I may paraphrase the old song: "Oh, give me a phone / That will let me go roam / Without a huge bill when I'm done."
Because, let's face it, most carriers really stick it to you when you venture outside your country's borders. There are options, of course, most of them involving tracking down local SIM cards -- for each and every country you visit. And here's hoping you remembered to get your phone unlocked.
If you have an iPhone, there's a potentially simpler solution: Drop it in a ComfortWay Travel Case. Now seeking funding on Kickstarter, this travel-friendly holster gives you mobile data roaming in over 100 countries for the enticing price of just $2 per day.
This is accomplished via a virtual SIM card that automatically connects you with just about any mobile carrier. And because your iPhone connects to the case via Wi-Fi, it doesn't matter if it's a GSM or CDMA model. (The latter typically are limited to US networks.)
Because the Travel Case relies solely on data, all calls and text messages must be placed using the ComfortWay app, FaceTime, or a third-party app like Skype, WhatsApp, or the like.
Your $2 buys you a 2ooMB daily stipend, which may not seem like much until you consider that many a data plan gives you just 1GB for an entire month. Unless you're planning to stream a movie, that 200MB should be more than ample to get you through a day's worth of calls, texts, e-mails, Web pages, driving directions, and so on.
The case also serves a secondary purpose: backup power. A 2,400mAh battery is good for up to 10 extra hours of runtime, according to ComfortWay.
The company plans to manufacture the Travel Case for the iPhone 5 / 5s and iPhone 6 . If the campaign reaches the $1 million mark, they'll add an iPhone 6 Plus version to the mix. In the meantime, there are a few early-backer options at the $79 and $99 levels, the former good for a production case around May, 2015, the latter for a beta version delivered in February. Whatever you choose, you'll get some mobile data (usually 1GB) to get you started.
Although it's hard to pass judgement without seeing or testing the case, this looks like a seriously good option for international travelers who want to stay connected without spending a fortune. Indeed, at just two bucks per day, this may be the single cheapest roaming option to date.