A few months ago, I wrote a comparison guide on the Best Mobile Wifi Hotspots for Travelers and two of the most popular options have been Skyroam and TEP Wireless. So in today's post, I'm going to breakdown the differences between the two services to help you decide which is the best international Wifi hotspot for your needs as a traveler.
DEVICES: Winner – Skyroam
Skyroam's new Solis doubles as a 6000mAh power bank and can power up to 5 devices with Internet at once, while simultaneously charging one of them. The Solis can last more than 16 hours on a single charge (if not used as a power bank).
TEP Wireless's device, the Teppy, lasts up to 6 hours on a charge and can also connect up to 5 devices at once.
In terms of devices, Skyroam wins this category due to its device's extended battery life and also because the Solis can double as a power bank, which the Teppy cannot.
PRICE: Winner – TEP Wireless
With Skyroam, you can BUY the Solis device for $149.99 + shipping – which includes 1 Free Day Pass – then pay $9/day for unlimited Internet. Or you can RENT the device for $9.95/day + shipping in both directions, which includes the device and unlimited Internet access.
With TEP Wireless, you can BUY a Teppy for $129 + $9.95 shipping and pay $8/day for Internet services, which includes 3 Free Day Passes, or you can get a FREE Teppy for subscribing to their $99/month unlimited Internet plan. Or lastly you can RENT a Teppy for $8.95/day which includes the device and unlimited Internet access. Shipping to you is free, and you pay to ship the device back.
TEP Wireless wins the battle of price if you're looking to BUY the device. The Teppy is less expensive than the Solis and they offer a free device for subscribing to their monthly plan.
TEP Wireless also wins the battle of price if you're looking to RENT the device. The Teppy is $1 less per day and includes free shipping TO you, and you only pay for return shipping, whereas with Skyroam you pay for shipping in both directions.
Note about RENTING vs BUYING… Due to the cost of shipping, it's recommended that if you're planning on using either service on more than 2-3 trips, you should just BUY a device. The extra dollar per day to rent the device isn't very consequential, but the shipping fees add up quick.
4G DATA CAPPING: Winner – TEP Wireless
Hotspot devices like Skyroam and TEP Wireless have to abide by international data roaming agreements, which limit the amount of 4G service a subscriber can use in a given day.
Both Skyroam and TEP Wireless limit your 4G usage to 500mbs per day before reducing you to 2G/3G service (which is unlimited). However, TEP Wireless offers you the ability to double your 4G access for $1.95/day which adds an additional 500mbs at 4G speed.
TEP Wireless wins the battle of 4G Data Capping since they offer the ability to add an additional 500mbs of 4G data, which Skyroam does not offer.
COVERAGE: It's A Tie
Both TEP Wireless and Skyroam advertise that they work in 100+ countries and they seem to offer similar coverage areas. The reality is that coverage very much depends on the specific location you'll be traveling. These devices don't have their own towers, but instead operate through international data roaming agreements with other providers. That's why I give them a tie in this category, as they both offer an impressive amount of coverage. The best thing you can do is check the individual websites for Skyroam and TEP Wireless and view the coverage in the specific areas you'll be traveling to ensure that the devices and service will meet your needs while abroad.
EXTRA FEATURES: Winner – TEP Wireless
TEP Wireless wins in the extra features category since at the moment Skyroam does not offer any extras. TEP Wireless offers a few extras such as: 1) A feature called Kitestring, which is a SMS based emergency service that checks in on you while you travel via scheduled text messages that you sent the frequency of. If you don't reply to the text, Kitestring sends your emergency contacts an alert message. 2) A free Concierge service which privately connects you with locals via their TEP+ App who you can ask for recommendations on things to do, places to eat/drink, and where to stay from 9am to 8pm every day. 3) Built-in VOIP phone and SMS services via their app with international calling prices that cost about $0.01/minute.
OVERALL WINNER: TEP Wireless vs Skyroam
Skyroam wins in the Device category. TEP Wireless wins in the Price, 4G Data Capping, Extra Features, and Rental Price categories. And it's a tie in regards to coverage.
Is battery life very important to me? If so, I'd go with Skyroam because of their device's superior battery life. (And don't forget to use our promo code TRAVELISLIFE to save 10% off your purchase price.) Although you could also just also buy a separate power bank for your trip to use on all your devices.
Will I require more than 500mbs of 4G data each day? If so, go with TEP Wireless since they offer the ability to add an additional 500mbs (up to 1GB) of 4G speed to your plan for an extra $1.95/day. (Don't forget to use this link to TEP Wireless and promo code A7YKMS7Z10 at checkout for an additional 10% off your purchase or rental.)
And there you have it! I hope this article helps you make an informed decision regarding your next international mobile hotspot. Feedback/Questions? Drop a comment below. And enjoy your trip abroad!