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 difference between American and European mobile phone providers are vast, and the modern traveler is likely to run afoul if they are unprepared, running up a surprisingly large bill! Here’s a rundown of my standard techniques to prepare my American mobile phone for travel abroad.
You wouldn’t know it from hefting my backpack, but I’m always looking to lighten my load with clever, compact, versatile cables. With so many devices now using USB for both data and power, I’m always on the lookout for nifty new cables. Here’s a quick overview of a few cables that I found useful recently.
The T-Mobile NL Laptop PrePaid SIM card is a great choice for use with an unlocked MiFi device like the Huawei E585. But make sure to set up the APN first, and register the card online immediately to get the full â‚¬10 credit!
I would not hesitate to recommend Verizon’s 4G LTE network. It’s head-and-shoulders above Clear/Sprint WiMAX and will likely stay that way for a while thanks to their use of the 700MHz band. Verizon’s rapid network expansion and broad 3G network are reassuring enough to entice me into a 2-year contract. And the Novatel MiFi 4510l is a fairly solid device, though not perfect.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Huawei E585 for use in the UK, especially with Three’s generous prepaid data offer. Since it can be unlocked for use in other European countries, it becomes all that much more useful. But it is disappointing it’s not more useful in the USA!
As an IT guy, I know that outages sometimes happen. But a nationwide data outage that lasts almost a day and leaves devices unable to reconnect is serious. And a complete lack of any customer service availability or system status notification is absurd.
I simply cannot recommend any Eye-Fi card, even the fancy new X2 line, to average camera users. Even enthusiasts like me would be wise to curb their enthusiasm. Most features barely work in practice, and the device frequently failed to perform.
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.
Amazon is offering the PHS300 for just $79 with free shipping available. This is $100 off the retail price!