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Xcom Global international MiFi rental service review

Xcom Global international MiFi rental service review

Old Oct 2, 10, 3:56 pm
  #1  
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Xcom Global international MiFi rental service review

A few months earlier in the year, we covered the arduous process of staying connected while traveling abroad. One of the ways we mentioned for jetsetters, backpackers and common tourists to stay jacked in while situated far from their homeland was a MiFi rental service from Xcom Global. The company has only been operating for a matter of months, but we recently took their services for a spin in order to give you a more detailed look at what to expect. The long and short of it? These guys are the guys to contact when you're about to grab your next passport stamp. Read on to find out why.

So, who exactly is Xcom Global? A smaller company solving an obvious problem for US-based travelers -- how to get unlimited data whilst traveling internationally with as little fuss as possible. It offers a couple of primary options; you can rent a USB WWAN device for a given country for $14.95 per day, or you can rent a MiFi for a given country for $17.95 per day (barring any specials). And if you're coming to America, you can rent a US dongle from these guys too. Being the connected junkies that we are, we honestly didn't think twice about it -- it was MiFi or bust for us, and we'd recommend you do likewise. If you're unclear on how a MiFi works, it's essentially a pebble that's around the size of a credit card, but a bit less than a centimeter thick. Perfect for toting around in your pocket. You slap a SIM card in, toss the rechargeable battery in, and press the Power button -- within a few seconds, it'll be connected to a local mobile network and serving up mobile data via WiFi.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/01/x...ervice-review/
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Old Oct 3, 10, 10:30 am
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"We" as in you contributed to this review, or posted part of it as fair use?

just want to be clear
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Old Oct 3, 10, 4:48 pm
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While it does sound a bit commercial(Cut and Paste) in nature it is still good info.
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Old Oct 3, 10, 8:21 pm
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They have an interesting offer. I think their price for lost equipment is a bit high and would be curious if they had a SIM only deal. For the UK, I'd look at fonmigo.com which has cheaper MiFi rental. Another rental company which has some interesting stuff is www.rebelfone.com. Lastly, I've been interested in iphonetrip.com. Despite the company's name, it appears that their SIMs will work in other smart phones.
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Old Oct 4, 10, 12:50 am
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Pretty expensive, esp if you are away for a few weeks.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy the mifi router and a sim card yourself, rather than through a company?
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Old Oct 4, 10, 7:54 am
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It really depends on the traveller, the country, and the particular trip. For example, while Russia has cheap prepaid rates, it is difficult for a non-resident to buy a SIM card. In France, the prepaid data options are very limited even though they have some nice contract plans. If you rent a MiFi and forego hotel internet, you pretty much break even and have a more flexible solution.

If you are not a frequent traveller, buying a MiFi for a single trip might not be cost effective (particularly for example an American who uses a CDMA device at home).

Then there are configuration issues. I can't speak to a GSM MiFi, but it took a little work to configure my Cradlepoint router to work with a UAE SIM. I got the job done, but had to delete my US APN information when I put the modem (carrying the UAE SIM) in it and then I had to delete the UAE APN to make it work in the other direction.

A year ago, I bought a Euro Nokia E66 (2100mhz, not 1900/800mhz HSPA) with Jokuspot and have used it in place of a MiFi, but for some countries I could see that I want to use a different SIM for data and voice.

In sum, there is no one size fits all solution. Every solution varies based on the technical competency of the travel, the frequency of their travel, the number of countries, local weirdnesses.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 11:59 am
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So who's going to try this and report back?

xcomglobal.com.

It's a Mifi and USB modem rental service, which includes a prepaid SIM for about $10-20 a day.

Wouldn't make sense for many countries like Italy, where you can get a cheaper prepaid SIM for data, along with buying an unlocked Mifi on eBay.

But it might not be too bad for somewhere like France, where the prepaid data options aren't too competitive.

SOme hotels charge about this much for Wifi per day, while others have free Wifi.

Main advantage of this would be for people with smart phones who wanted to use them out in the field as well as data for their laptop/iPad/smart phone back at the hotel.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 12:19 pm
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Old Oct 13, 10, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
xcomglobal.com.

It's a Mifi and USB modem rental service, which includes a prepaid SIM for about $10-20 a day.

Wouldn't make sense for many countries like Italy, where you can get a cheaper prepaid SIM for data, along with buying an unlocked Mifi on eBay.

But it might not be too bad for somewhere like France, where the prepaid data options aren't too competitive.

SOme hotels charge about this much for Wifi per day, while others have free Wifi.

Main advantage of this would be for people with smart phones who wanted to use them out in the field as well as data for their laptop/iPad/smart phone back at the hotel.
Looks pretty sweet! Has anyone tested the quality of service of one of these devices? I would imagine that at that price for unlimited data that there has to be some major catch.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 12:38 pm
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I'm trying to figure out the catch - no cost for data? Impossible!

I'm also trying to understand the Mifi unit - can it just run off AC power or only off a rechargeable battery which needs to recharge outside of the unit?
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Old Oct 13, 10, 1:06 pm
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The USB device may be an option for me in a couple of months when I'm in Europe. I wonder if it would work with my Cradlepoint MBR1000 router?

After the Engadget review, there is a discussion thread. A quick scan didn't find any people getting dinged for a high damage charge, and folks seem to like the service for data.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I'm trying to figure out the catch - no cost for data? Impossible!

I'm also trying to understand the Mifi unit - can it just run off AC power or only off a rechargeable battery which needs to recharge outside of the unit?

You can run it off AC or you can use it's internal battery (which you do not need to remove to charge). They are offering a second external battery which is what's confusing you.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
You can run it off AC or you can use it's internal battery (which you do not need to remove to charge). They are offering a second external battery which is what's confusing you.
I'm still trying to figure out how they do this - a flat fee for unlimited data??

All I can come up with is they've negotiated bulk unlimited accounts with providers in each country. Assume the rate runs about $100 USD per account per device or SIM, they would need to have each unit rented in the field for roughly 7 days a month to break even.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I'm still trying to figure out how they do this - a flat fee for unlimited data??

All I can come up with is they've negotiated bulk unlimited accounts with providers in each country. Assume the rate runs about $100 USD per account per device or SIM, they would need to have each unit rented in the field for roughly 7 days a month to break even.
If I read it correctly, you need a different unit for each country you travel in. Assuming that to be the case, then I'd also assume you get the units with a local SIM for each country.

Many countries have a pretty inexpensive prepaid rate for data. In some of those countries you don't actually get cut off if you hit the max data limie (say the limit is 5 GB, for example), they just cut the rate back to a slooow rate like 1x.

The break-even is pretty low for the prepaid cards if the use stays in-country.
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Old Oct 13, 10, 2:45 pm
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I have a Sprint USB modem for $60 per month, or ~$2 per day as an example with no cap (although I have a legacy business account, others have a 5GB cap). Some hotels charge about the same as what XCom does per day, so it doesn’t seem that unusual.
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