Hi Travelers – I do my best to keep this article regularly updated and accurate and my readers have been a big help with this. Things change quickly in this industry, so if you happen to notice any inaccurate information in this article, please leave a comment or e-mail [email protected] and I’ll be sure to update the post right away. I’ve updated this post over
34 35 37 37 times since publishing it last year and will continue to do so. Last updated on Aug 22, 2019 and ready for your 2019 travel needs. Thank you! – PAUL
Introduction to International Wifi Hotspot Devices
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
- #2) TEP Wireless
- #3) Keepgo
- #4) Travel WiFi
- #5) Roaming Man
- #6) Google Fi
- #7) Always Online Wireless
- #8) COMING SOON
- What’s the best Wifi hotspot?
- What’s the cheapest Wifi hotspot?
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 2019
UPDATE Aug 2019: Introducing the brand 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+ dropoff points worldwide.
Their new Solis X device ($179) doubles as a 7200mAh 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. 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.
Their older Solis device ($149) is still available and also doubles as a 6000mAh power bank (so a little less battery life). It can connect up to 5 devices versus the new Solis X’s 10 device capacity. The older Solis device does not have a builtin camera or come with their new Smart Assistant App capabilities.
COST: How much does Skyroam cost?
1) UNLIMITED: You can BUY the new Solis X device for $179.99 or the older Solis device for $149.99 + 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 older Solis device for $149.99 + shipping and pay $9/GB with their new Go Data plan. The service costs $9/month and includes 1GB, then you pay $9/GB for what you need in addition to the first included gigabyte. This plan requires that you own the Solis device.
3) You can RENT the Solis X 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, 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 130+ countries and growing. 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 $9/GB, 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 Review 2019
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. Their pocket WiFi “Teppy” device lasts up to 6 hours on a charge and can connect up to 5 devices at once.
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 TEP Wireless “Teppy” cost?
1) You can RENT a Teppy for:
- $8.95/day for 1GB/day of 3G service
- $10.95/day for 1GB of 4G service
- $12.95/day for 3GB of 4G service
Shipping to you is free, and you pay to ship the device back to either Durham NC, USA or Enfield, United Kingdom.
2) You can BUY a Teppy for $129 + $9.95 shipping and then Pay As You Go:
- $7.95/day for 1GB of 4G service
- $9.95/day for 2GB of 4G service
The above option is Pay As You Go so 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 which includes a FREE Teppy device for:
- $99/month for 30/GB of 4G service
- $139/month for 60/GB of 4G service
You are charged monthly for the service above, but can cancel anytime. If you cancel before 3 months, you are charged for the cost of the device ($129), but if you keep it for 3 months or longer, the device is free forever.
With both the Pay As You Go and the Subscription plans above, 4G service is capped at 1GB per day. After that they slow you down to 256Kbps until the next day when it starts over.
Coverage: TEP Wireless works in 100+ countries. Now before you go thinking, “But Skyroam works in 130+ 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 per day, your connection speed gets slowed to 256kbs until the end of the day.
Best TEP Wireless 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 Cons:Throttled 4G beyond 1GB. • Shorter battery life.
TEP Wireless Discounts: Use this link to TEPWireless.com and discount code 0TEPTILORG10 for 10% off your purchase or rental.
#3) KeepGo Review 2019
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: How much does Keepgo cost?
UPDATE Aug 2019: Keepgo has significantly reduced the cost of their data. Below is their most current pricing.
Their SIM Cards cost $49 and their WiFi Hotspots cost $99 with free shipping to 38 countries. Data is priced in bundles at $14 for 500MB, $26 for 1GB, $61 for 3GB, $88 for 5GB, and $165 for 10GB. 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 2019
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 charges different daily rates depending on if you’re traveling in France only, Europe, or Worldwide. Their France packages start at €6.9/day and includes unlimited data (no throttling in France). Their Europe package starts at €7.9/day and includes up to 5GB at 4G speeds. And their World Plan works in over 100 countries and starts at €8.9/day and includes up to 500Mb/day in 4G speed. They also offer an optional insurance package to cover loss or theft. 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.
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 “TRAVELISLIFE2K19” for 5% off your purchase.
#5) Roaming Man Review 2019
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
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 the service is offered on the Pixel 3, Moto G7, and Moto G6. 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. Their plan costs $20/month for unlimited domestic calls & texts and $10/GB for data. Or they offer an Unlimited Data plan for $60/month (in addition to the $20/month for calls & texts), but you only pay that amount if you use more than 6 GB, otherwise you just pay for the data you use at $10/GB. So for example, if you only used 2GB you’d pay $40 (2 x $10/GB + $20 calls/texts), but if you used 12GB you’d only pay $80 ($60 unlimited data + $20 calls/texts).
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: 200+ 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.
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 2019
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 2019?
If unlimited data is important to you then Skyroam or TEP Wireless will be a good choice because of their unlimited data, 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?
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
• What is the best portable WiFi hotspot for international travelers?
• Unlimited Worldwide 4G Wireless Plans for Traveling
• Best data plans that work in every country
• Best international wifi hotspot devices for travel
• Best mobile hotspot unlimited plans
• How do I get Internet anywhere in the world?
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