XCom Global announced a new high-speed wireless data rental service that I may need to try out on my next trip overseas. The most intriguing part of this service is that they offer MiFi cards, which means I could actually use my iPhone 3GS when traveling abroad.
The company’s Unlimited aXcess plan is only $14.95 per day if you opt for a USB modem or $17.95 per day if you want a Novatel MiFi card. The unlimited data pricing covers your choice of 21 countries per trip. If you find yourself in more than one country during a single trip you’ll have to pay $9 per day extra for an extra MiFi card that’s loaded with an additional SIM.
The company delivers 3G sticks or MiFis to its clients before they leave the U.S. so they can get online as soon as they touch down in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand the UK, or Vietnam. XCom Global’s roster of 3G providers looks pretty solid, but there are some holes that would keep me from using the service without a closer examination. For example, XCom Global offers Vodafone IND SIM cards to customers travelling to India. While a big name like Vodafone might sound good, the max download speed on the company’s network in India is just 236Kbps. On the other side of the spectrum, customers traveling to Korea will be treated to 18.4 Mbps service.
A rental service like XCom Global’s far cheaper than paying for overseas roaming charges and simpler than trying to wrangle a mobile Internet card overseas. Paying this much money for a 3G connection might sound expensive, but the peace of mind of having a speedy Internet connection would be well worth the price on my next trip. I certainly would have been able to justify the cost on several trips and saved myself a lot of headaches.
When I went to Italy about a year and a half ago I was very frustrated when I had to pay for WiFi by the hour at one hotel. A bed and breakfast in Tuscany that promised me they had free Wi-Fi so I could quickly complete projects before heading out to enjoy the countryside failed to tell me that their router was hooked up to a 56k dial-up modem. I had to go the first day and a half in India without an Internet connection late last year until I was able to secure a modem from Reliance. I could have really used a T-Mobile wireless connection when I was in Germany a couple of years ago and Notebooks.com ran into some serious server issues. The conference center’s network was locked down and wouldn’t let me use any applications besides a web browser.