For world travellers, trying to keep in touch with your loved ones and the world can be freaking mega, super duper, massively (insert more synonyms for ENORMOUS here) expensive, costing upwards of $1000 for 2GB of data if you take your Telstra sim-card over. Enter GlobalGig who promise to reduce those costs and make international roaming affordable by giving you only data to use in 11 international countries for a very reasonable price.
What makes GlobalGig special is of course, its price – plans start from $19 a month for 1GB and go up to $49 for 5GB a month. If you go over your usage it’ll cost you about as much as it would if you went over at home, costing 5c/MB if done in your included 11 countries (More on them later) or 20c/MB in other countries. Compared to taking your Australian sim card over you are saving an absolute fortune, which can costs your hundreds for similar value. Vodafone offers the closest alternative with price, offering you all your included Australian plan for $5 a day – but even then it is very expensive in comparison. You can only buy the sim-card in Australia for $2 in both standard, micro and mini sizes.
Using the sim
Set up is fairly easy – in most cases you just pop your sim in and go. Other locations, however, require you to manually search for your network, connect to it and add the right APN settings which can be quite annoying especially for people who aren’t used to messing with their phones settings like this. Once that’s all done you’re good to go use up all your data in the 11 included countries – Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK and the USA. Over the past 4 weeks I’ve used it in Austria, Italy, Hong Kong and the UK with my coverage and speeds varying in each country and the network that you roam on. In both Austria and the UK I was browsing on Three on their 3G network with HSPA+ connection which worked fairly quickly, but coverage in the UK was quite patchy with no service in the underground subways and often no service in some restaurants and shops due to the thick bricking used on these 300+ year old buildings. Browsing in Italy was almost unusable, with 3G only coming in the very centre of Rome and being pushed back to GPRS or EDGE in most places at speeds that often caused my browser to time-out before a page would get to load.
If you want a service that can call or text, then GlobalGig is not for you as it offers only data. With apps and services like iMessage, WhatsApp, BBM and Skype this never seems to really matter, though – you can always text or call people over these apps and most of the time it works seamlessly and feels just as natural as a traditional text message or phone call.
Support from the GlobalGig team is easy, and the staff are very helpful with 24/7 support over email with teams based in both Australia and the UK ready to help.
If you’re travelling overseas and traditional calling and text messages don’t matter, then GlobalGig is definitely the way to go for you – most networks you use are fast and the pricing is a gazillion times better than any of your other options.