Are you looking for the best unlocked mobile Wifi hotspot for your next international trip? I've got you covered in this international Wifi hotspot guide! For the past three years, our Best WiFi Hotspots for International Travelers guide has been the #1 wifi hotspot resource online connecting travelers with Internet data all over the globe.
Introduction to International Wifi Hotspot Devices 2020
During your adventures around the world, you may have seen other travelers with WiFi hotspots seamlessly accessing the Internet while you struggled with connecting to free public WiFi signals. If you felt a bit envious of their newage digital connectivity, your tech envy days are over, because I've put together a list of the Best International 4G WiFi Hotspots & SIM Cards for Travelers and compared their pricing, coverage, and features, to help you determine the best service for your needs. I've also reached out to each company to negotiate a discount on your behalf so that you can spend your hard earned travel budget on fun activities instead of Internet data.
Table of Contents
- How do WiFi hotspots work?
- #1) Skyroam Review 2020
- #2) TEP Wireless Review 2020
- #3) Keepgo Review 2020
- #4) Travel WiFi Review 2020
- #5) Roaming Man Review 2020
- #6) Google Fi Review 2020
- #7) Always Online Wireless Review 2020
- #8) COMING SOON
- What's the best Wifi hotspot 2020?
- What's the cheapest Wifi hotspot 2020?
How International 4G Hotspots & SIM Cards Work
The way these international hotspot companies operate is that they've licensed deals with 4G wireless carriers around the world to allow you to transition from one carrier's network to another without having to switch SIM cards and purchase a new local cell phone plan in each country you visit. With some services, you pay a flat fee for wireless access in every area they service, and other services have separate rates for each country. In some cases, you may end up paying more than you would if you bought a local SIM card, but you're paying for the convenience of having a seamless transition between carriers and service wherever you go, as well as Internet access as soon as you step off the plane.
If you're taking a short trip or you're heavily dependent on Internet to run your business like I am, then you may be willing to pay for the convenience. You might also choose to carry one of these hotspots with you as you travel and only activate it for 24 hour periods at a time when you need it, and then switch to a cheaper local plan after you get acquainted in the new country.
Best 4G International WiFi Hotspots for Travelers & Digital Nomads
I've researched your best available options for 4G WiFi Hotspots and World SIM Cards and narrowed them down to these top picks, which I'll compare below. I've also attempted to negotiate a discount for you with each carrier because I love when I can save my readers money on travel technology.
#1) Skyroam Review 2020
UPDATE Aug 2019: Introducing Skyroam's new Skyroam Solis X. More info about the device in my updated Skyroam review below.
Skyroam launched in 2008 and has 500+ retail locations and 150+ drop off points worldwide.
Their new Solis X device ($179.99) doubles as a 4200mAh power bank that can recharge your wireless devices via USB-C and power them with Internet at the same time. The Solis X can last more than 16 hours on a single charge (if not used as a power bank) and connect up to 10 devices at once. The device size is 3.5″ x 0.9″. It includes an 8MP remote operated camera and 4GB of storage, which you can upgrade by connecting to your Dropbox account. The new Solis X also includes an App with Skyroam's new Smart Assistant builtin. The Smart Assistant is basically a connection to IFTTT (If This Then That) service, which then allows you to make connections to other services you use like Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Nest, Fitbit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
They also offer a Solis X Lite device ($119.99) which is the same size, can also connect up to 10 devices, but doesn't offer the camera, speakerphone, or Smart Assistant feature like the Solis X. The power bank is also optional with the Solis X Lite.
These two devices replaced their old Solis device, which you can still use for service if you already have one, but can no longer purchase the device new.
COST: How much does Skyroam cost?
1) UNLIMITED: You can BUY the new Solis X device for $179.99 or the Solis X Lite for $119.99 + shipping (calculated at checkout based on your location) and pay $9/day or $99/month for unlimited Internet. Purchasing the device also includes 1 Free Day Pass.
2) PAY PER GB: You can BUY the new Solis X device for $179.99 or the Solis X Lite for $119.99 + shipping and then pay $6/month for their pay-as-you-go GOData subscription + $6/GB (USA/Europe) or $9/GB (Worldwide). This plan requires that you own the Solis device. So to explain that in a different way for clarification, you pay $6/month for the service no matter what, then you just buy the gigabytes as you use them.
3) You can RENT the Solis X device for $8.99/day + shipping. If you choose to rent, you prepay for shipping both ways, and they include in the package a box with shipping label to return the device from whichever country you choose, or you can drop it off at one of their 150+ worldwide dropoff points.
COVERAGE: What countries does Skyroam offer coverage?
Skyroam provides Internet service in 190+ countries and growing. (It was 130 countries when I originally published this article, so they are definitely expanding.) Keep in mind that their local coverage is only as strong as the local towers they are renting from, so your service with Skyroam will only be as good as the towers around you. Skyroam offers service in a lot of countries, but they don't magically provide Internet where towers don't exist!
Speed Throttles: If you use over 500mb in one day on the $9/day or $99/month plan, they switch you from 4G speed to 2G/3G for the remainder of the day and then set you back to 4G speeds the next day. If you pay the $6/GB (USA/Europe) or $9/GB (Worldwide), you will always have 4G speed.
Best Skyroam Alternatives: TEP Wireless
Skyroam Cons: 4G speed is limited to 500mbs/day on their unlimited plans.
Skyroam Discount Codes: Use this link and promo code “TRAVELISLIFE” at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase or rental.
#2) TEP Wireless / Travel Wifi / Sapphire Review 2020
TEP Wireless is a pioneer in the worldwide Internet industry and has been recommended by top travel bloggers around the world since they launched in 2011. They have proven to be one of the most popular choices amongst my readers. Recently they merged with Travel Wifi (who were formerly #4 on this list) and Sapphire — and are now all selling under the Travel Wifi brand.
TEP Wireless stands out amongst the crowd of hotspot providers because they offer a lot of valuable extras with their subscription including the following.
1) Prime WiFi – Free WiFi hotspot access at over 60+ million hotspots worldwide + free in-flight WiFi service on American Airlines, Lufthansa, Etihad and Air Lingus fleets equipped with WiFi. This is a HUGE perk because it'll allow you easy Internet access even in places with poor cell phone coverage.
2) Kitestring – an 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.
3) TEP Guru – a free local concierge service that 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.
4) VOIP Phone & SMS Service – built-in to your service via their app with international calling prices that cost about $0.01/minute.
COSTS: How much does Travel Wifi / TEP Wireless “Teppy” cost?
1) You can RENT a Teppy starting at:
- $7.95/day for 1GB/day of 4G service $8.95/day for 5GB of 4G service (includes travel adapter)
- $11.95/day for UNLIMITED 4G service (includes travel adapter)
The actual prices listed above vary by country, and there are too many to list. However the more expensive countries only add about $1-3/day to the numbers above.
Shipping to you is free for a few countries but ranges in price for the rest of the world. You can then either return the device to one of their drop off points for free or pay to ship it back to one of their warehouse locations.
2) You can BUY a Teppy for $149 + $9.95 shipping (or higher depending on the country) which includes 1GB, and then Pay As You Go. There are too many pay-as-you-go options to list them all, but they've got plans through Sapphire ranging from Pay-Per-MB/GB all the way to Unlimited Daily plans like when you rent. You have a lot more options when you Buy the Teppy vs Rent the Teppy. With Daily Unlimited Pay-As-You Go plans, you can start and stop service anytime for 24 hour coverage windows. Purchasing the device comes with 1 Free Day Pass.
2) You can Subscribe to a monthly plan. Update Jan 2020: Monthly plans are no longer offered.
3) You can BUY a Travelwifi SIM Card for $34.95 with 20GB included and use it in your unlocked phone, then use your phone as a hotspot to connect other devices. This is currently offered in 85 countries. After you use up the initial 20GB, you can re-up your data with similar data packages as offered above.
Coverage: TEP Wireless works in 130+ countries. Now before you go thinking, “But Skyroam works in 190+ countries!”, keep in mind that you probably won't be visiting that many countries on your next trip. So you only need to make sure that these devices work in the countries that YOU are going to. You'll want to consult both of their websites to check your specific travel destinations for coverage before purchasing or renting.
Speed Throttles: After you've used 1GB/5GB per day (depending on your plan), your connection speed gets slowed to 256kbs until the end of the day and then the speed resets the next day.
Best TEP Wireless / Travel Wifi / Sapphire Alternatives: Skyroam
Full Review: For more info, read my full TEP Wireless Review & Comparison.
TEP Wireless Pros: 60+ Million WiFi Hotspots • Easy flat rate pricing. • VOIP services offered. • Worldwide coverage. • Rental program. • Exclusive discount for Travel is Life readers.
TEP Wireless / Travel Wifi Cons:Throttled 4G beyond 1GB. • Shorter battery life.
TEP Wireless / Travel Wifi Discounts: Use this link to TEPWireless.com and discount code 0TEPTILORG10 for 10% off your purchase or rental.
#3) KeepGo Review 2020
Keepgo offers WiFi hotspot devices and World SIM Cards that work with your existing unlocked mobile device. They sell prepaid data by the gigabyte that is unthrottled and usable up to a year after purchase (unlike many companies where the data expires after 30 days). They offer 24 hour customer service via live chat or telephone. KeepGo currently does not offer an unlimited plan, but there is one in the works.
COST: How much does Keepgo cost?
UPDATE February 2020: Keepgo significantly reduced the cost of their data last year. This month they introduced a new GoFi Europe USA Plan for cheaper data in those countries. More info below.
Their SIM Cards cost $49 and their WiFi Hotspots cost $99 with free shipping to 38 countries. Their hotspots weight 75 grams and can power up to 16 devices for up to 11 hours per charge. Worldwide Data is priced in bundles at $14 for 500MB, $26 for 1GB, $61 for 3GB, $88 for 5GB, and $165 for 10GB. Their new GoFi Europe USA Plan offers data at a flat rate of $8/GB in those regions. You can switch between the plans anytime. They do not offer device rentals or unlimited plans.
Coverage: Keepgo offers service in 100+ countries.
Speed Throttles: Keepgo does not throttle your 4G speeds since you are paying per gigabyte. This is a huge perk of their service. If you're willing to pay for the data you consume without worry of being slowed down, then Keepgo is a good option for this reason.
Best Keepgo Alternatives: Skyroam – specifically their new GoData Plan
KeepGo Pros: Unthrottled 4G data. • 24/7 customer service. • No extra device needed if you choose the SIM Card option. • Free shipping. • Exclusive 10% discount for Travel is Life readers.
KeepGo Cons: No unlimited data plans (yet).
KeepGo Discounts: Use this link to Keepgo and promo code TRAVELISLIFE for 10% off your purchase.
#4) Travel WiFi Review 2020
Travel WiFi was started in Nov 2013 by five entrepreneurs in France who above all else value customer relations. They primarily cater to travelers in France and Europe (for example, they are distributed at every Tourism Information desk in CDG and ORLY Airport in Paris), however they also offer worldwide service. Their device lasts up to 10 hours on a charge and you can connect up to 10 devices at once.
COST: How much does Travel Wifi cost?
Travel WiFi is now part of the TEP Wireless / Sapphire family of services. See my review of TEP Wireless above for their updated pricing.
Coverage: Previously Travel Wifi catered to France and Europe and offered limited Worldwide coverage, but now that they merged with TEP Wireless and Sapphire, they are able to offer worldwide coverage in 130+ countries.
Best Travel WiFi Alternatives: Skyroam
Travel WiFi Cons: No option to purchase device. • Shipping rates increase outside of France.
Travel WiFi Discounts: Use this link to Travel Wifi and the promo code “0TEPTILORG10” for 10% off your purchase.
#5) Roaming Man Review 2020
Roaming Man offers a 4G WiFi hotspot that works in over 130+ countries for one daily flat rate. Their device can power up to 5 devices at once and can last over 12 hours on a charge.
COSTS: How much does Roaming Man cost?
Roaming Man‘s rental service starts at $7.99/day in North America, Asia, and Europe and $9.99/day in the rest of the world + shipping in both directions and they require a minimum of 5 days rental period. As of Dec 2018, they now offer an option to purchase a device for $149.99 which you can activate with service as needed.
Coverage: 130+ countries and regions..
Speed Throttles: If you use over 500mb in one day, they switch you from 4G speed to 2G/3G (or around 256kbs).
Roaming Man Pros: Easy flat rate pricing. • Worldwide coverage. • Rental options. • Exclusive discount for Travel is Life readers.
Roaming Man Cons:4G speed is limited to 500mbs/day on Basic and 1GB/day on Premium with no option to add more.
Roaming Man Discounts: Use this link to Roaming Man and promo code TILORG for 10% off your rental or TILORG10 for 10% off your purchase.
#6) Google Project Fi Review 2020
Project Fi is an international cell phone plan offered by Google that works in over 200+ countries and territories. They do not offer a hotspot device, however, you can tether their phones to your laptop or wireless devices to share your Internet connection.
Currently through Google, you can purchase the Pixel 4 & 4XL, Pixel 3a & Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 3 XL, and Moto G7. However you can also check their compatibility list to see if the service will work with our existing phone. (For example, it'll work with my Verizon unlocked Samsung 9.) Their service lets you seamlessly shift from their cellular coverage partners to over four million WiFi hotspots around the world. You are only charged for data received over their cellular network and not when on WiFi networks. You can port your existing phone number over to Project Fi from your existing carrier or get a new number. In the USA, they partner with Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular to provide coverage.
Cost: Project Fi offers worldwide flat rate service fees w/ free calls to 50+ countries and rates starting at 1¢/min to other countries. They offer a combination of Pay-Per-GB and Unlimited Plans for individuals and families including:
- Individual: $20/month for unlimited calls & texts + $10/GB for data Individual: $70/month for unlimited calls, texts, and data (High-speed data up to 22 GB/person & slower after)
- Family: $16-$18/month for unlimited calls & texts + $10/GB for data
- Family: $45-$60/month per line for unlimited calls, texts, and data (High-speed data up to 22 GB/person & slower after)
For the Pay-Per-GB plans above, you only pay that amount you use at exactly $10/GB. So for example, if you used 1.226GB you'd pay $12.26 (not $20 for 2GB like some companies who charge for the next tier up).
Each plan also includes a free Google One membership ($19.99/year).
You can add as many tablets to your plan as you'd like for free and just pay for the data they use. While traveling outside of US, a flat $0.20/minute applies. While calling from within the US, international rates apply and vary by country. International data is the same flat rate of $10/GB in every country.
Coverage: 200+ countries and territories.
Speed Throttles: The unlimited plans throttle your speed after 22GB per month, however you can then switch to $10/GB if you need more 4G speed that month. The Pay-Per-GB plans throttle you after 15GB.
Google Fi Pros: Unthrottled 4G high speed data. • Unused data is credited back. • Includes voice/text since it's a phone.
Google Fi Cons:Only works on certain devices. • No hotspot devices. • No discount offered to Travel is Life readers.
Google Fi Discounts: Project Fi does not offer any discounts, however, you may find individual promotions for specific devices depending on when you look.
#7) Always Online Wireless Review 2020
Always Online Wireless offers a 4G World SIM Card that works in your unlocked mobile device and data plans by the day, hour, or megabyte. They also work with iPad's Apple SIM Card. Essentially they are like a data broker, selling you an individual plan with different prices for each country using the same SIM card. AOW has agreements with multiple carriers in almost every country, so their SIM will actually jump from carrier to carrier to give you the best signal/speeds wherever they are. They do not offer a single rate worldwide plan.
Cost: Their SIM Card costs $14.95 + $5 shipping. Data rates start at $2.99/day, $0.11/hour, and $0.01/mb but vary per country. Their international rates average about $1.99/hour for 20mb, $9.99/day for 200mb, and $49/GB.
Coverage: 90 countries.
Speed Throttles: They do not throttle your speeds since they are essentially charging you per megabyte to be used within a window of time.
Best Always Online Wireless Alternatives:
Always Online Wireless Pros: Works with your existing device. • Unthrottled 4G speeds. • They offer small data packages by the hour or per megabyte for occasional use.
Always Online Wireless Cons:Data fees vary by country (sometimes substantially). • Separate data plan for each country. • No discount offered to Travel is Life readers.
Always Online Wireless Discounts: At this time, I do not have a discount available to my readers for Always Online Wireless, but have reached out to the company to obtain one. Please let them know in the notes section of your checkout process that you found them via TravelisLife.org.
#8) COMING SOON
I'm currently looking for a new service to replace them on my top 8 list since I had to remove one of them from the list. I've spent months and a lot testing / research with hotspot companies, and I'm narrowing in on one to add to the list soon. Rest assured, the wheels are in motion, but for now, I'd rather have a GREAT list of seven options than just add an eighth for the sake of having 8 options. In the meantime, stick to one of the other options mentioned on this list.
Which is the best mobile hotspot 2020?
If unlimited data is important to you then Skyroam or TEP Wireless will be a good choice because of their unlimited data options, flat rate pricing, and affordable devices. (Note: If you do go with Skyroam, be sure to use our promo code TRAVELISLIFE at checkout to save 15% off your entire purchase or rental. And if you go with TEP Wireless be sure to use our promo code 0TEPTILORG10 for 10% off.)
If you'd rather pay per gigabyte and have unthrottled 4G speed no matter how much you use, give either Skyroam or Keepgo a try and use our link for 10% off your purchase. If you have any questions about which service will fit your needs best, drop me a comment below and I'll do my best to help you out.
What's the cheapest WiFi hotspot service?
The least expensive hotspot for daily use is Skyroam with their $99/month unlimited plan which come out to $3.30/day for Internet access.
Keepgo doesn't offer an unlimited plan – but their data does not expire. So if you're only looking for occasional or emergency use Internet abroad, you can purchase 1GB from KeepGo and only use it when you need it. For minimal usage, this can be a savings because you're not paying for unlimited data that you don't need. Use this link to Keepgo and promo code TRAVELISLIE for 10% off your purchase.
Travelers found this article by searching:
• International Portable Wifi Hotspot Reviews
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• Unlimited Worldwide 4G Wireless Plans for Traveling
• Best data plans that work in every country
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• Best mobile hotspot unlimited plans
• How do I get Internet anywhere in the world?
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International Wifi Hotspot Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Since publishing this article, I've received hundreds of e-mails from travelers asking my advice about their particular situation and which hotspot service I'd recommend. I've responded to all of them privately, however, the questions they ask could benefit other readers. So moving forward, I'll be publishing some of the questions below as FAQs (however removing any personally identifiable information from the question). If you've got a question, feel free to contact me as well.
Why is Glocalme not in your review, as their devices seem pretty convenient and affordable?
I'm familiar with GlocalMe. They're actually owned by the same company who own Roaming Man who I do include on the list.
Can I use a Skyroam plan with a different hotspot device?
To help soothe my 93 year old mother’s worry when I travel to KSA and countries in Eastern Europe, I am thinking about purchasing (not renting) a portable wifi hotspot and have read your recent reviews. The Roaming Man purchase device highly rated by you is out of stock and I have heard some recent concerns about Solis regarding connectivity/dropped signals. Any advice?
Reviews about these kinds of devices are tough because they're so anecdotal. So someone in a rural part of France could have a negative experience with Skyroam/ TEP / Roaming Man (or whichever) while someone else in Paris could have zero issues. The variance is that any of these devices are connecting to local towers, which play a big role in how people perceive the device itself.
I personally use Skyroam and TEP Wireless — which are also the two highest picked choices by my readers. However I'm mostly in South America (although was in Georgia for two months this year and it worked fine there). Those would provide you with the most options if you own the device itself. You could also just pick up a cheap unlocked second phone as a device and use Keepgo for emergencies only (because the data lasts a year and doesn't expire if you up it a little each year). For example, you can get new unlocked phones for like $100-200 and use them as a hotspot with an International SIM like Keepgo and have the best of both worlds.
Sorry it's hard to give specific advice. So much is country / regional specific as to how well your devices will connect. You might want to make a list of each country you'll be going to and cross reference the coverage of the specific companies you're interested in to see which would provide the best coverage overall. I think you'll find that those three companies will be pretty similar though coverage-wise.
Happy to help if I can offer further assistance. The advice above is what I use / what I would do in your shoes.
I am considering being a digital nomad and traveling extensively. In the past, I just got a SIM card that included tons of data (EE, Vodafone). Your article on The 8 Best WiFi Hotspots for International Travelers is informative but can't help with my needs, as the options have data/ speed thresholds/ limitations. Am I already doing the best bet by simply tethering my cell phone's wifi to my computer? Know of anything else?
I mostly use the hotspots for convenience purposes, but like you, when I stay long periods of time places, I just buy local SIM cards from local carriers. That's always been the cheapest option for me. FYI though – not all of the options I profiled in that article you found me on have data caps. Keepgo for example doesn't throttle your speeds.
The only other suggestion I have for you is to look into subscriptions for WiFi hotspots around the world like Skype Wifi (formerly Skype Access) or Boingo. But it might be hit or miss with whether they offer wifi near where you're traveling. Sounds to me like you're on the right track with what you've got now.
Question / Suggestions
If you've got a question or suggestion, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.