International Data Fees are for Suckers / by Damon Lavrinc

The Overlords assigned me a corporate Blackberry a few years back for my trips abroad, but it just wasn’t worth the expense for a half dozen events a year, particularly when I was primarily using data. So for this most recent trip to Germany I decided to try a different tact: Rent a mobile hotspot.

XCom Global has a suitably SciFi name, seems to have the market sewn up, and for $14.99 a day with unlimited data (another couple bucks for an additional battery), it was worth a shot.

XCom ships the MiFi a few days before the trip and includes a pre-paid envelope to send it back when you return. I opted for the additional battery as a precaution, but it was almost a necessity two days in. With marginally heavy usage I was getting about three hours out of each battery, but the biggest issue was that the MiFi wouldn’t broadcast a signal when it was charging. Odd. And highly inconvenient. Just as annoying was the occasional inability to connect, but it was rare enough not to be an issue over the course of six days.

All in, the bill rang up to around $120, or just over a month’s worth of service for the Blackberry. A helluva deal when you consider international roaming and data rates – and even better when you can Skype and FaceTime over the wifi connection. Now let’s see if it’ll work for Tokyo…