May 12 2014, 7:14am CDT | by Forbes
Data roaming when you’re overseas can be a horrifyingly expensive prospect, particularly if you’re a big data user who’s always on the move. The problem is that many of us have phones that are ‘locked; to a network and tethering an iPad or laptop to a mobile phone can be impossible, depending on your contract. There’s also an option of fitting a local SIM for the country you’re visiting but once again, that requires an unlocked phone.
Now Finnish company Uros has addressed the roaming problem with the Goodspeed: a pocket device the size of an iPhone that can hold up to 10 SIMS and offers up to 1GB of daily data usage over any 3.5G network. The Goodspeed then functions as a Wi-Fi hotspot so that up to five devices can connect and access the Internet at the same time.
Getting started with Goodspeed is easy: buy a unit (available for €239 or £260 via the Goodspeed website) which can be preloaded with up to three destination SIMS for €254 via the Uros website at www.getgoodspeed.com. At the moment Uros offers coverage in 57 countries around the world and you can also add your own home SIM into one of the slots and the device can be managed easily via the Goodspeed website.
To give the unit a thorough testing I took a Goodspeed to Portugal for a week where I had no roaming on my iPhone. The Goodspeed was my only access to the Internet and I used it to connect an iPhone, iPad and a laptop. The Goodspeed connected up to the local 3G network after a couple of minutes and then I was able to log on to the Wi-Fi signal which was exceptionally strong, easily penetrating the 1.5-metre stone walls of the old cottage I was staying in.
On the front of the Goodspeed there’s a small white OLED display that shows the signal strength and the quality of connection being received. There’s a switch on the side of the Goodspeed that can toggle the display to show its SSID network name and the associated password as well as a running total of your daily data usage. The display also shows how many devices are connected to the Goodspeed at any one time.
The really great thing about the Goodspeed is that you only pay for data on the days you use it. The charging period goes from midnight to midnight and the charge for up to 1GB of data starts at €5.90 a day, which works out massively cheaper than the several pounds per megabyte that your regular phone provider might charge. Fees for far-flung countries such as South Korea or Brazil will set you back up to €9.90 per day but that’s still a bargain in my opinion. There’s also a €9.90-per-month membership fee to access the Uros network. If you don’t like the idea of paying a monthly fee you can opt out of the membership fee but your daily charge will rise to €16.50-a-day for any data use. It’s still a cheaper option for heavy users.
The shiny black Goodspeed unit is powered by a 2550mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery that takes four hours to fully charge and is supposed to last for eight hours before needing a top up. My estimate is closer to four hours in constant use but as you can also use the Goodspeed with the supplied power adaptor that’s not really a problem.
The Goodspeed is an amazing piece of kit for the international traveller and it’s ideal for businesses. There is an alternative. You could buy an unlocked Huawei MiFi device and fit a local SIM for the country your visiting, but if you’re a heavy user then Goodspeed is a superb solution that I’d highly recommend. I look forward to a 4G version soon.
Goodspeed can work in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Disclaimer; Uros provided me with Goodspeed unit to test for a week and provided the data usage without charge.
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