Global Mobile Data Plans: Small Print. Big Issues.
If you need to stay connected, and most of us do, having a data plan when traveling is a must. There are many offers out there, prices vary, and choosing the best option might prove to be difficult. Naturally, many people are attracted to low prices, because hey, why should you pay more than necessary? After all, most offers are essentially identical, aren’t they? It’s just mobile Internet we are talking about.
Well, not exactly. The truth is attractive price tags usually mean more usage restrictions you might not be aware of, so reading the small print before making a decision becomes crucial. Not sure what is it you should be looking for when going over the terms of a deal? Read on to find out.
There is no such thing as Unlimited Mobile Data
Unlimited sounds good and you might ask yourself: Why should I buy a restricted number of Gigabytes, when I can just use as much data as I want? The thing is unlimited mobile data is like unicorns – it doesn’t exist. When the bold print promises unlimited there are usually two types of small print restriction clauses. The first type states that you will be able to use a certain amount of data before your connection speed is drastically reduced. The second type will mention that ‘abusive usage’ may lead to disconnection of the service or throttling (speed reductions). Rarely will the server provider be clear about the meaning of ‘abusive usage’, and that means you can find yourself with no Internet connection pretty much out of the blue.
The initial price is right, and then you need more data…
The initial price of the bundle is not the only thing to consider, money-wise. You should always check out, in advance, what happens when you run out of data. In some instances, especially when major telecom providers are involved, you will begin paying an outrageous overage fee the moment you exhaust your data allowance without being able to buy more data at reduced prices. Alternatively, your only option may be getting another bundle, similar to the initial one, even if you need to add only a small number of Megabytes. Our favorite catch, though, is a time- and data-restricted package. When you get one of those, you receive a fixed amount of data that is valid for a certain period of time, let’s say 300MB for five days. Should you deplete your data in less than those five days, you will not be able to purchase another bundle right away, but only after the time frame expires.
Keeping Your SIM and Your Data Alive
Seldom will you find data packages with no expiration date, so make sure you have enough time to use every drop of it. Most offers have a time frame of 30 days, so even if you receive a lot of data for your money, you will probably use only a small portion of it. So don’t be fooled by deals that promise more MB's for less and carefully calculate the real price per MB based on your expected usage. In addition, if you plan on refilling your SIM card and using it on future trips, make sure the company doesn’t charge you for keeping the card active. Sometimes a monthly or yearly fee is required, and if you deactivate the card to avoid paying you will not be able to use it again.
Please note that you won’t face those issues when using Keepgo. Our Lifetime Mobile Data SIM and Mobile WiFi Hotspot come prepaid with 1GB of data that is valid for a year, and each refill extends all data validity by yet another year. The SIM card itself never expires, and you don’t have to pay anything to keep it active. Just add data before your next trip, whenever you go on one, and browse away.