Mobile Hotspot Rentals: How to Stay Connected While Traveling

XCom Global and Others Simplify on the Road Connectivity

By Jonathan Spira on 17 July 2014
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Today, more so than ever before, there is an expectation that your circle of acquaintances will remain connected, regardless of what time zone one may be in.  Connected to what, I hear some of you cry.  Well, to the Internet, of course, the tangle of wires and cables and routers and switches that enables your reading these words right now.

The idea of ubiquitous connectivity is not new.  Well before everyone started walking around with a smartphone in his pocket that was more powerful than the mainframe computer the company where my father was CEO had in the 1970s, innovators in the tech field were planning ways of keeping people connected.

Fast mobile data, which started to appear as 3G at the start of the century, made all this possible.  A trickle of mobile hotspots followed and by the end of the first decade, smartphones that provided a hotspot feature – such as the Apple 3GS and the Palm Pre Plus as well as some Android and BlackBerry phones – were becoming commonplace.

Today, especially when at home, most people take their connectivity for granted.  LTE, or long-term evolution, is available in most major metropolitan areas and in some rural areas across the globe.  As I’m writing this, I ran a network speed test on my T-Mobile LTE service in New York City and the test reported a download speed of 42 Mbps and an upload speed of 21 Mbps.  That’s nearly as fast as the Verizon FiOS service I have at home, which just clocked in at 55 Mbps downstream and 37 upstream.

The frequent traveler, however, knows that there are limits to connectivity.  Hotels that promise Wi-Fi have dead spots or service outages; mobile phones with built-in hotspots may not work abroad or the roaming charges will cost more than the first-class ticket to your destination.

Enter XCom Global.  The company is one of several that rent mobile hotspots to travelers, and the rental fee includes both the device and service.

I’ve reviewed XCom Global’s rental service before but, especially with the prevalence of better in-hotel Wi-Fi as well as the free data roaming (albeit at 2G speeds) that T-Mobile now offers customers, I’ve wondered if I still need to be renting a hotspot when I travel.

The answer is a resounding yes.

Click here to continue to Page 2Using a Mobile Hotspot when Traveling

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