The days of buying a different SIM card in every country you visit are OUT, and international data plans that work everywhere you go are IN!
During your adventures around the world, you may have seen other travelers with portable WiFi hotspots accessing Internet seamlessly while you've 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.
How International 4G Hotspots & SIM Cards Work
The way these 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.
Top Worldwide 4G Wireless Internet Services for International Travelers
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. (See my Deals page.)
Skyroam launched in 2008 and has 500+ retail locations and 150+ dropoff points worldwide. Their new Solis device doubles as a 6000mAh power bank that can recharge your wireless devices and power them with Internet at the same time. The Solis can last more than 16 hours on a single charge (if not used as a power bank) and connect up to 5 devices at once.
Cost: You can BUY the Solis device for $79.99 + shipping (calculated at checkout based on your location) and pay $8/day for unlimited Internet, which includes 3 Free Day Passes. Or you can RENT the device for $9.95/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.
Coverage: 110+ countries.
Speed Throttles: If you use over 500mb in one day, they switch you from 4G speed to 2G/3G.
GeeFi launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign in Sep 2016 that was backed by over 1200 travelers. Their GeeFi device doubles as a power bank, lasts over 48 hours on a single charge, and can connect up to 10 devices.
Cost: The GeeFi device costs $199 (free shipping) and their unlimited Internet pass costs $9.99/day, which you can activate and deactivate as needed. They do not currently offer a rental program.
Coverage: 100+ countries.
Speed Throttles: GeeFi limits your daily 4G speeds to 500mb in some countries and 1GB in others. After that allotment, your Internet slows to 2G/3G speed.
#3) TEP Wireless
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. Their pocket WiFi “Teppy” device lasts up to 6 hours on a charge and can connect up to 5 devices at once.
Extras: 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. 4) Coming soon is an In Flight WiFi service which looks like it will be free or discounted Internet service during flights. I will update this post when that feature is released and more details are provided.
Costs: 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 to either Durham NC, USA or Enfield, United Kingdom. Or you can BUY a Teppy for $99 + $9.95 shipping and pay $8/day for Internet services, which you can start and stop anytime for 24 hour coverage windows. Purchasing the device comes with 3 Free Day Passes. They also offer a 4G Upgrade for $1.95/day which adds 500mbs to the amount of daily allotted 4G data.
Coverage: 100+ countries.
Speed Throttles: If you have the 4G upgrade (+$1.95/day), you get 1GB of high-speed data per day. After you've used 1GB, your connection speed gets slowed to 256kbs until the end of the day. If you do not have the 4G upgrade, you get 500MB of high-speed data per day and then it slows to 256kbs.
#4) Travel WiFi
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: Travel Wifi charges different daily rates depending on if you're traveling in France only, Europe, or Worldwide. Their plans become less expensive the longer you rent the device for and they offer two data tiers. Their Starter plans include 500mb/day and their Premium plans include 1GB/day. World Starter Plans start at 30€/day (about $35 USD) for a single day of service, then drop to 15€/day for 2 days, 9.9€/day for 4 days, and 8€/day for 30 days or longer. Their World Premium plan starts around the same price and gets as low as 12€/day for 30 day rentals. Visit their website for exact pricing for your trip, since the daily rate varies by plan, locations used, and number of days needed. You pay for shipping the device to and from and varies based on your location. Since they are a French based company, it is cheapest to ship within France and Europe.
Coverage: They cater to France and Europe but also offer Worldwide coverage to about 100 countries.
Speed Throttles: For the European and Worldwide offers, after the daily limit is reached, the speed is reduced to 265Kbps. For the France offers, there's no throttling. When the total data allotment is used, you are prompted to add more data.
#5) Google Project Fi
Project Fi is an international cell phone plan offered by Google that works in over 135 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 the service is only offered on the Pixel 2, Pixel, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Android One Moto X4 phones. Their service lets you seamlessly shift from their cellular coverage partners to over one 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. Their plan costs $20/month for unlimited domestic calls & texts and $10/GB for data. Additional phone lines cost $15/month. 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: 135+ countries and territories.
Speed Throttles: They do not throttle your speed since you pay per gigabyte. They always offer you the fastest available speed in whichever country you're in at the time.
#6) XCom Global
XCom Global offer two hotspot devices, one which allows up to 5 device connections and the other which allows up to 10.
Cost: Renting a device is $7.77/day + shipping, plus additional charges depending on the number of countries you'll be using your device in. Your 3rd and 4th countries cost an additional $30 per country (one time charge per rental period), with no additional charge for your 5th or more countries. Shipping starts at $9.00 for their early bird pricing if you order more than 15 days in advance and gets as high as $35 depending how quickly you need the device. You pay for delivery and return shipping
Coverage: 175 countries.
Speed Throttles: They say they adhere to “International Fair Usage Policy” but do not specify exactly what that is and varies per country.
Keepgo offers WiFi hotspot devices and World SIM Cards that work with your existing unlocked mobile device. They sell pre-paid 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: Their SIM Cards cost $49 and their WiFi Hotspots cost $129 with free shipping to 38 countries. Data is priced in bundles at $19 for 500MB, $35 for 1GB, $85 for 3GB, $119 for 5GB, and $219 for 10GB. They do not offer device rentals or unlimited plans.
Coverage: 70+ countries.
Speed Throttles: Keepgo does not throttle your 4G speeds since you are paying per gigabyte.
#8) Always Online Wireless
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.
Which one should I go with?
If unlimited data is important to you and you're fine with your speed being reduced past a certain usage point each day, then Skyroam will be a good choice because of their unlimited data, flat rate pricing, and affordable devices. Be sure to use our promo code “TRAVELISLIFE” for 15% off your entire purchase or rental. If you'd rather pay per gigabyte and have unthrottled 4G speed no matter how much you use, give Keepgo a try and use our link for 15% off your purchase. If you have any questions about which service will fit your needs best, drop us a comment below and we'll do our best to help you out.
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