MiFi for International Travel

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semperlux
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MiFi for International Travel

Post by semperlux » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:13 pm

Anybody buy a MiFi for international travel? Going to visit Britain, and cost of renting a MiFi twice is the same cost as buying one, so I'd like to purchase one, preferably that can work in as many countries as possible, so I can bring it with me, and buy a local sim card to pop in for internet access. Looking for one that works in Europe (Britain, France, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark) and Asia (Korea, Japan, Hong Kong,Taiwan, China) especially.

Anyone have a good recommendation for one geared for international multi country use?

I use Verizon for mobile service. Verizon's MiFi doesn't allow inserting third party or "non approved" SIM from other countries for use.

After some googling, here are some of the ones I've found. Anyone use any of these who can chime in on how well well they work? Other suggestions?

GlocalMe U2
works for over 100 countries, can use local SIM cards as well as the company's own cloud SIM cards; cloud SIM cards are relatively more expensive, caps data to 2 GB, and drops the speed down to 128 kbps after 2GB, and some people reports data "leakage" where it burns through data when you're not using the MiFi.

Huawei E5786
One of the fastest at advertised 300Mbps, supports double bands of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz for Wifi and dual band LTE, one of the smallest sized MiFis, expensive at >$200

TP-Link M7350
One of the cheapest unlocked MiFi's on the market, but may not be compatible with as many countries as GlocalMe and is not as fast or support as many bands as Huawei's MiFi.

keaton
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by keaton » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:16 pm

I personally just have an old iPhone and toss any sim into that, start up hotspot and bam, done. It has to be an iPhone 5 or newer Verizon model.

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kramer
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by kramer » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:03 am

keaton wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:16 pm
I personally just have an old iPhone and toss any sim into that, start up hotspot and bam, done. It has to be an iPhone 5 or newer Verizon model.
yes, most of the modern phones can become a hotspot. Both Android and iOS. I no longer see a reason to bother with MiFi when traveling. Also, when I am using my laptop instead of my phone, I am normally in a WiFi area. But, if not, I can use my phone as a hotspot and then my laptop can use that WiFi. Instead of bringing a MiFi, bring a portable 3 to 5 ounce battery to keep up your phone charge in that situation. yet another negative is that you will need to get 2 sims when traveling to another country (one for you phone and one for your MiFi), so it's more expense and trouble. Just not worth it.

I am traveling to Japan next month and have got an AirBnB place in each of Kyoto and Tokyo. Unlike a hotel, these places do not have WiFi. But both owners provide a free MiFi with the rental ... so in the one situation where it might be handy for me, it is already provided for free. If they didn't provide it, I could have still used my phone for that, however.

langleybc
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by langleybc » Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:59 am

There is no need to get MiFi if you travel to the UK. Sim cards are free, data/voice/txt plans are so cheap. Speed is not that fast though.
UK 3 sim card can also be used to roam in EU, data is 1p per mb, limited to 3g. DL is about 2m, UL about 700k.

jbolden1517
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by jbolden1517 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:04 am

Agree with everyone else use your phone. Big advantage is you'll be able to SMS which will quite often need. On top of that your phone already has the apps you use and one less thing to be carrying around.

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semperlux
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by semperlux » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:13 am

Thanks everyone. I agree, using the mobile phone is more efficient and one less thing to carry.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with Verizon. However in order to use their hotspot feature, they require me to enroll for that feature to pay extra to use the function that's already on the device on data that I've already paid for on my phone. Do I need an unlocked phone to use it? Or does it automatically let me use the hotspot feature as soon as I pop in a sim card from the country I'm visiting?

jbolden1517
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by jbolden1517 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:44 am

semperlux wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:13 am
Thanks everyone. I agree, using the mobile phone is more efficient and one less thing to carry.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with Verizon. However in order to use their hotspot feature, they require me to enroll for that feature to pay extra to use the function that's already on the device on data that I've already paid for on my phone. Do I need an unlocked phone to use it? Or does it automatically let me use the hotspot feature as soon as I pop in a sim card from the country I'm visiting?
That's an old phone. They will likely unlock for free if you tell them and are just suspending for a week to three. They aren't in the phone business the same way there were a few years back. Plus they like collecting monthly fees on people who are going to use 0 services.

richardglm
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by richardglm » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:18 am

I think MiFi's are useless. Buy a second phone if you need to.

One reason US MiFi's are useless is because they don't support European LTE frequencies. Your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 doesn't either. So you won't get LTE speeds no matter the carrier. Sadly only newer higher end smartphones (iphone 6/6S/7/SE, some nexus/pixel etc) support both US and EU LTE frequencies.

But, your Galaxy Note 4 is unlocked already. All Verizon LTE devices are. The FCC requires it. So you can stick any foreign prepaid SIM you want into it. While the foreign SIM is in your phone it doesn't matter what plan you have with Verizon.

takeshi
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by takeshi » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:16 am

semperlux wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:13 am
Do I need an unlocked phone to use it? Or does it automatically let me use the hotspot feature as soon as I pop in a sim card from the country I'm visiting?
The subsidy lock has nothing to do with the hotspot feature. However, is relevant to using a foreign SIM. You will need to have it unlocked to use any SIM aside from ones from the carrier it is locked to.
semperlux wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:13 pm
Anybody buy a MiFi for international travel? Going to visit Britain, and cost of renting a MiFi twice is the same cost as buying one, so I'd like to purchase one, preferably that can work in as many countries as possible, so I can bring it with me, and buy a local sim card to pop in for internet access.
I'd advise against relying on using one in multiple countries unless you know exactly which countries you will use it in and which specific carriers provide coverage in the specific areas that you're traveling into and which networks and bands the device needs to support. For Japan I had to use different devices on different trips since I was only in a major city one trip but spent quite a bit of time an outlying area on a subsequent trip. The device that worked for the first trip would have been a complete waste of money for the second trip. I was, however, able to find a device that provided the coverage I needed.

ryman554
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by ryman554 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:02 pm

Better yet is to go get a Google Fi plan.

International data costs the same as domestic data.

For a frequent international traveler, can't be beat.

TravelforFun
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by TravelforFun » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:23 pm

I used Skyroam the last couple of times I went to Europe and Asia. They worked great both times but it seemed the battery drained a lttle too fast the second time. $10 a day, unlimited data, and 5 devices can connect to it.

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semperlux
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by semperlux » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:41 am

UPDATE:

After considering all the information and evaluating my needs, decided to go with a mobile wifi instead of using my phone as a hotspot. I use my phone to take all my pictures and videos for vacation, so it would drain my battery way too fast. After reviewing some other websites of travelers who complained of poor quality connection with their phones compared to a mobile wifi (which in general supports more channels), signal dropping often with the phone as a hotspot, and the hotspot connection dying as soon a in incoming call is answered, I bought a Huawei E5885LS 93A.

It is the newest model that supported the most number of bands (LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B20/B19 LTE TDD: B38/B40/B41 UMTS: B1/B2/B4/B5/B6/B8/B19 GSM: B2/B3/B8/B5), way more than what my phone supported. Got it for $225 on Amazon, found it for $140 on Ebay but didn't trust a China seller, so still paid more and went with Amazon. At least I know Amazon has a much more reliable and safer return policy should the unit turn out to be a lemon. I wouldn't have to pull teeth to get someone in China exchange or refund me like I have for other items through Ebay.

Went to London, visited a Three shop in the city, bought a £20 data only sim card for 15Gb of data, instantly worked, teathered 4 devices to it, super fast connection, didn't drain my phone battery, auto turn off feature when idle to save power and not burn through data, only used 4 Gb total on 2 week trip. Didn't stream any media. Only used it for maps, looking up restaurants and activities, making phone calls, texting, and looking up information about pieces at various museums.

Overall, I'm glad I went with the mobile wifi, because I don't have to worry about what phone I buy next, what bands the phone supports, or whether the phone has an extremely long battery life to support hot spotting. The unit is fast, data sim cards are relatively cheap.

Thanks for all the information everyone provided. It was all very helpful in helping me make my decision.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:47 am

I'm going to London later this year. I ordered a giffgaff SIM last week, shipped for free to my house here in the US, before I leave I'll purchase the plan I want,and once I land in London I'll finish any configuration necessary. Looking forward to trying it out.

CDub
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Re: MiFi for International Travel

Post by CDub » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:35 am

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:47 am
I'm going to London later this year. I ordered a giffgaff SIM last week, shipped for free to my house here in the US, before I leave I'll purchase the plan I want,and once I land in London I'll finish any configuration necessary. Looking forward to trying it out.
Will giffgaff work outside the UK? I'm looking for something like that for an upcoming trip to a few other European countries.

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