If you travel frequently to many countries and don’t want to pay exorbitant fees for mobile data roaming, you should consider GigSky, an online retailer of global data SIM cards in three formats: mini-SIM, micro-SIM and nano-SIM. As of this writing, each SIM card costs $19.95 and can be used in unlocked smart phones, tablets and mobile routers.
Before you leave your home country, do the following: (1) Order the GigSky SIM card from their online store; (2) Insert it into your smartphone or tablet; (3) Download the GigSky app (for iOS and Android) onto your device.
When you arrive in the foreign country, turn on your phone or tablet, and click on the GigSky app. You will be asked to select a local mobile broadband data plan. The app tells you how much each data plan costs and allows you to manage your usage, so you will not suffer “bill shock” when you get home.
Another advantage of buying the GigSky SIM card before you leave home is that you don’t have to go to mobile phone/SIM card rental store in an airport or city. Often you land at an airport late at night or early in the morning before the airport shops have opened. Having your GigSky SIM card in your device ready to go, saves you a lot of time.
As an added bonus, GigSky gives you the first 10 megabytes free so you can connect your device to the cellular network, choose a provider and quickly check email before deciding if you still want to buy a local data plan.
If you have a locked smartphone, or a tablet or laptop that uses only Wi-Fi, you can still remain connected on the road if you buy a mobile portable router from GigSky. You insert the SIM card into the router and it converts the cellular signal into a Wi-Fi signal. This allows you to share your connection (via Wi-Fi) with your travel companions.
GigSky has agreements with carriers in over 70 countries. They make money through commissions from selling carriers’ broadband plans. They are expecting to extend coverage to 120 countries by January 2014. Next year, GigSky plans to distribute its products through other channels, such as large retailers of mobile phones, airport retailers and companies that manage corporate travel arrangements.
To this day, travelers continue to suffer from mobile data roaming “bill shock”. When T-Mobile USA began offering unlimited global data roaming at no extra charge last October 2013 to entice frequent travelers, many thought that the end to roaming charges was at hand. Unfortunately, people who signed up for the service did not realize that they would be shunted into the extremely slow, unusable EDGE (2G) networks of T-Mobile. T-Mobile has not been upfront about this ridiculous “unlimited roaming” trick.
Other carriers tout their no-additional-fee “global” roaming plan but if one reads the fine print, often hidden deep in the carrier’s website, it does not cover all countries. Usually by the time you get around to reading the fine print, it’s too late — “global” does not mean all countries and you’re stuck with a roaming bill that makes your head ache because you happened to visit a country that falls outside this plan. Who has time to dodge all these tricks that carriers play on their customers?
The next time you travel, instead of just turning off the cellular data function on your smartphone or tablet out of sheer exasperation or fear, why not try GigSky?