Connectivity overseas can be a real pain. Roaming is prohibitively expensive, so a local SIM is best. But most American mobile phones are “locked” to a carrier, and American phone companies use different network technologies and frequencies than most other countries. That’s why I was excited to test my Verizon iPhone 5 abroad.
It’s hard to believe that a true prepaid mobile data SIM doesn’t exist in the USA, but it’s true. A GoPhone, H2O, or Net10 SIM isn’t a bad idea for your smartphone, but it’s not exactly cheap. The best option for those needing just mobile data is a local Virgin Mobile hotspot or a brand new Android phone or iPad!
The mobile phone network landscape is incredible confusing. I pulled together the following overview to help myself make sense of it, and I thought it might benefit my readers, too.
The Tech Field Day events I run are hotspots of social media, but it has been hard building an Internet presence to keep up. Constantly on the move, I need a flexible network with scalability and failover (and fail-back) between 3G/4G and wired Internet. My latest design relies on CradlePoint’s MBR1200 “Failover Router”, which can load-balance across multiple 3G and 4G data cards.
Apple may make their product lines easy to understand, with simple and consistent names, but there sure are a lot of iPad 2 models. Which iPad is the best choice? I picked the 32 GB Wi-Fi model personally, but I can see cases where others might prefer a 3G or base model. Let’s consider it.