Globalgig mobile broadband: for use at home and while roaming overseas

Get cheap mobile data rates for the US, UK, and Ireland

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Globalgig mobile broadband
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Can be used locally and overseas
  • Good roaming data rates

Cons

  • Network coverage can be splotchy
  • Web site needs to be improved

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Globalgig’s mobile broadband SIM cards are great if you want to add Internet access to a mobile broadband-enabled tablet, or if you are planning on going travelling overseas. Indeed, you can use Globalgig’s SIM cards for data access in many countries without having to deal with sky-high prices per megabyte, but the company offers its best rates for the USA, UK, and Ireland.

To get started with Globalgig, all you need to do is select the SIM card that’s suitable for your device, and then the payment and data plan that’s in line with your usage habits. The plans are cheap, both when it comes to their monthly cost, and their excess data usage cost. Plans for a Globalgig SIM card start at $9 per month for 1GB of data, but you can also choose $19 per month for 3GB of data, or $29 for 5GB of data.

Excess usage is measured at 2 cents per megabyte if you go over your allotted cap while in Australia, USA, UK, and Ireland, while other countries will set you back either 10 cents per megabyte or 20 cents per megabyte, depending on the zone they are in (refer to Globalgig’s Web site for that). Either way, this all means you probably won’t end up having to deal with bill shock if you go a bit crazy on the downloads, especially when compared to other telcos, such as Telstra, which, in some cases, can charge you in the realm of dollars per megabyte when roaming.

We used a Globalgig SIM card extensively this year, both at home and abroad (which, incidentally, is what Globalgig calls its plans), with mixed results concerning its performance. The Globalgig service uses the Optus 3G network, so don’t be too surprised if you run into any dead spots around your city. In Sydney, we ran into dead spots in what we would call popular areas, such as Moore Park and Randwick, as well as near Redfern.

For the most part, though, we found the service to be good enough for our needs. We didn’t use the Globalgig service for critical work, only for casual Web browsing and social networking, so we can live with the now-and-then dropouts in the signal. Remember, you aren’t paying a lot, so you shouldn’t expect perfection.

When the service was used in an area of good coverage, the performance was solid. In North Sydney, for example, our speed test shows a download speed upwards of 10 megabits per second (Mbps), and an upload of almost 3Mbps. That’s faster than our ADSL2+ connection at home, which generally clocks between 8-9Mbps.

The Globalgig SIM installed in a Windows 8 tablet.
The Globalgig SIM installed in a Windows 8 tablet.

The Good Gear Guide Speed Test from North Sydney.
The Good Gear Guide Speed Test from North Sydney.

We also used the Globalgig while in London, San Francisco, Greece, and New Zealand. Surprisingly, the best service and the most reliable performance that we experienced was in northern Greece, with the Globalgig supplying us with solid connectivity throughout our stay. London also fared well, allowing us to easily stay in touch with friends via email and social networking sites.

San Francisco wasn’t a great experience, however. We could barely get any Web pages to load, and the ones that did took a very long time. In New Zealand’s Queenstown, the Globalgig SIM struggled to find service.

It’s hard to know how the Globalgig will fare in various countries. You’ll just have to do a search on forums to see what other users have experienced. We like it for the fact that it’s cheap, and that it can be used to get a tablet or spare smartphone online. Being able to use it while overseas is a bonus, and it means you don’t have to worry too much about staying in touch, at least via email and social media.

Read more: Dick Smith awards SIM-enabled tablet purchases with $30 Globalgig credit

A downside to the service is that the Globalgig Web site isn’t good. Even though we activated our SIM card and initially entered our payment details, on subsequent logins, the site showed that we didn’t have an active service, and we didn’t have access to any billing or payment options.

We still received monthly invoices via email, and we had to call Globalgig when we wanted to make a change to our payment method. This might all be a hiccup on our end, but we’re mentioning it just in case. If you're a user of Globalgig or have previous experience with it, then leave a comment and let us know if it works well for you or not.

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