Earlier this year we had the opportunity to travel to both HK and Shenzen without having to worry about not having an internet connection via SkyRoam – an awesome little gadget that uses virtual SIM technology to get the fastest available internet speeds to your phones. While that service was pretty awesome, it came with a bunch of limitations, namely a small, 350MB data cap, 3G speeds and a hefty Php 490 charge for 24 hours of internet access.
A few days ago Smart announced their Smart World Travel WiFi service, and from the looks of things the local telco has partnered with SkyRoam to give everybody (even non-Smart subscribers) a way to get fast internet without having to resort to data roaming plans.
In a nutshell, the Smart World Travel WiFi is a small portable WiFi router that gives you internet access for 24 hours in over 100 countries for less than Php 500.
So why go with this pocket WiFi over data roaming? Well, speed and cost – when you’re using data roaming for your plan, the data is first piped back to the PH before heading to your device, which adds latency and slows down the experience. It’s pretty expensive too, and anybody who has accidentally kept their roaming data option on their phone can attest.
With Smart World Travel WiFi, you’re essentially using the local infrastructure for data, since the device uses a virtual SIM that taps directly into the strongest and fastest telco signal in the country of your destination. And unlike SkyRoam’s service, the Smart World Travel WiFi has LTE speeds and has 1GB of data allowance. Better still, once you hit that 1GB of data, you’ll still be able Spotify, Waze, Google Maps and other essential travel apps.
There’s two pricing tiers for the Smart World Travel WiFi: you’ll be paying Php 390 for 24 hours of internet access within Asia (places like HK, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) and Php 490 for the rest of the world. Customers within Metro Manila will be able to borrow the device free, though a Php 150 delivery charge extends to customers outside the Metro. Payment can be done through your bill (if you’re a Smart subscriber), via debit card like PayMaya or through airtime load (for Smart pre-paid customers). Smart is also adding credit card payment options at a later date.