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Has Anyone Tried an Unlocked Hotspot for WiFi?

I've seen a lot of discussion about bringing an unlocked cell phone to Europe and buying a SIM card there, but has anyone ever tried to buy an unlocked wifi hotspot and pop in a European SIM card for data only?

My idea is that I can use Skype and Google Voice from my devices whenever I have WiFi (in hotels, for example), but for times when the WiFi is unreliable or unavailable I might have to resort to cellular data--but I'd still likely want to use my Skype or GV services, hence carrying a small, unlocked WiFi hotspot and buying a local SIM card for data.

E.g. search for "Unlocked Hotspot" on either eBay or Amazon.

Posted by
154 posts

Mobile hotspots tend to be a more expensive for travelers. Even an unlocked option with a European sim-card will add up fast since most prepaid data minutes in Europe are more expensive than you might think. If the device you mentioned is a smartphone then it might be worth just checking what the international plan options are through your current provider. They are getting better each year and for minimal use can be the most affordable and easiest option. If your provider isn't an option or not a good option then when you need to connect to data/internet while you are exploring or if you hotel has less than great wifi I recommend just heading to a local coffee shop to do most your emails or Skype conversations. Dealing with a hotspot in most cases will end up more expensive and not worth the hassle.

As stated earlier a European sim-card is great for calls within Europe since it offers the best cellular call rates but prepaid data usually isn't much better (if not more expensive) than an international plan through your provide.

Posted by
672 posts

If you are visting a lot of EU countrys for couple of days,an international plan might be best way to go.
Otherewise an EU SIM will give much cheaper data,typically $8 for 500MB..and cheaper yet the higher you go.

Posted by
4686 posts

If by chance you have T-Mobile service in the US, you can use cheap international roaming in Europe (in most countries e.g. Germany, France) - 20 cents a minute mobile calls within the country or back to the US. If you have a smart phone, you also get FREE 2G data roaming (unlimited) and FREE WiFI calls to/from the US if your phone supports WiFi calls. I recently got back from Germany and used my new Android phone there extensively. 2G data is really slow but is usually quite usable. I also used the phone's hotspot feature to put my netbook on the internet - again, free as part of 2G roaming.

I used to buy SIM cards for my phones when I traveled - not anymore!

(FYI, you can't use Google Voice in Europe unless you connect to a VPN back in the US. I have used Google Voice this way a few times in Europe with my VPN.)