There’s a lot of talk on wireless broadband in the United States. Try something else though.
Google international wireless broadband plans(popout) and see what happens. The going gets tough. Answers become hard to find.
You might discover that Verizon has some kind of international option. But that’s about it.
Everything else is just…er…well…pages trying to sell you stuff. Or you’ll end up on an Europe/Asia site that doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re trying to find.
Nothing wrong with those sites. They just don’t answer the burning questions like:
- Who provides international mobile broadband (wireless broadband) plans?
- Will I have to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for it?
- How do I pick a sleek broadband card that’ll fit my laptop that turns heads with intrigue as people go by?
- Can I get online in the country(ies) I need it in the most?
- If I just need it for a couple days, what are my options?
- How do I pick the right plan so I don’t waste money every month?
Sadly, that information just isn’t in one coherent place, until now. We’ll cover exactly those points here so you don’t get charged $19,370 by AT&T(pop-out) like this poor kid.
After taking a look at the major providers, here’s the quick rundown. While T-Mobile’s got great international partnerships, they don’t sell broadband laptop cards yet. If you don’t have a card to connect to international networks in the first place, you’re SOL (Seriously Out of Luck).
To their credit, AT&T has a lot of worldwide partnerships. That kind of networking let’s them pull off the sorts of plans international wireless broadband plans that they have. Here’s the lineup:
Whoa! What heck is going on here? These plans look deceptively similar. Let’s clear the fog on that one.
The difference between the 1st and 2nd plans is the countries you get to use the 100 MB in. For the North America plan, you can use the 100 MB in Canada or Mexico.
For the DataConnect Global, you can use the 100 MB (or 200 MB) in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia (Japan included) and the Caribbean to name a few. \
If you go over the 100 MB in selected countries for your plan, they charge $.005/KB. If you use it in countries that aren’t in your plan, they charge $.0195/KB. That’s a huge difference. 4 times as much if the country is not in your plan. Definitely something to watch.
International Wireless Broadband coverage is really where AT&T shines. Check out the full list of countries here(popout), or use the AT&T Travel Guide to literally plan your trip and see what coverage is where, and at what price:
There are none.
How’s that for to the point? Sprint used to have an unlimited data plan for Canada, US and Mexico. Sweet huh?
You know something though? It just wouldn’t be very…umm…Sprint-like to keep a feature that their customers liked. Kinda like canning the unlimited data plan. Nice one. Maybe they’ll surprise us withWiMAX. Keep your fingers crossed.
What Sprint does have is a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. For most common destinations, it’s $0.002. Naturally, it varies from place to place. You can find the full list of places and rates(popout) below:
Verizon has two options for international wireless broadband plans. A pay-as-you-go plan that you can add to the regular Mobile Broadband Connect plan and GlobalAccess Monthly plan.
Pay Per Use
The pay per use plan, as the name implies, is for the occasional traveler. It’s $0.002/KB in Canada, $0.005/KB in Belarus, Mexico and Mongolia, and $0.02/KB everywhere else(popout).
They give you 5GB to play with in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 100 MB to play with in Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and a couple other places(popout). Everywhere else(popout) is $0.20/KB.
If you travel a lot and you’re looking for your international wireless broadband fix, AT&T or Verizon is looking like your best bet. I really recommend AT&T though.
Their GSM based network is what most other countries networks use. That means more 3G speeds in more places without having to use a separate device (as in Verizon’s case).
To get one of the aforementioned providers, check out the Top 4 Places To Get An Aircard. To compare the actual broadband cards check out the 2010 Broadband Card Comparison.