Skyroam Throttle Point
Does the so-called unlimited wifi hotspot actually give you unlimited data?
Nov. 10, 2018
Nov. 11, 2018
This post makes the following assumptions: You are a digital nomad who works online while traveling internationally, you change countries frequently (every other month or more), and you need large amounts of data (more than 10 Gbs per month). If these assumptions do not apply to you, this advice may not, either.
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An important question that is not answered on the Skyroam website is: What is Skyroam's throttle point? They claim to offer "unlimited" data, but will they always offer it at the same speed? The answer, of course, is "NO", but I had to chat with customer service to get it. To the best of my knowledge, the Skyroam Throttle threshold is not advertised anywhere on their website. Fear not, that's what grumpy bloggers are for: to explain to you fine points companies might not want to!
In this article, I'll address the following:
- Skyroam: The International Portable Wifi Hotspot (ie what is it?)
- How "Unlimited" is the reputed Unlimited Data Hotspot?
- Skyroam Throttle Points
- Which Wifi Hotspot Devices Offer Unlimited Data?
- The Best Mobile Hotspot for World Travel
But first, what am I even talking about? What is a Skyroam?!?
Skyroam: The International Portable Wifi Hotspot
Skyroam is a company which offers, for sale or rent, two portable internet devices: the 3G rentable, and the 4G/LTE Solis, which you can either buy or rent. These types of connectivity devices go by various names such as:
- portable hotspot
- unlimited wifi hotspot
- unlimited mifi hotspot
- mobile wifi hotspot
- data hotspot
... so on and so forth. You get the idea.
Basically, it's a thing that lets you connect to the internet while on the go, and generally allows up to 5 users/devices to connect through it.
Skyroam's particularly distinguishing factors are:
- They cover over 120 countries
- You can buy or rent their devices
- Some of there plans are "unlimited"—but there's some fine print, explained below
How "Unlimited" is the reputed Unlimited Data Hotspot?
There's no such thing as a free lunch, and there's also no such thing as a truly unlimited international wifi hotspot. The only Skyroam plan that does not throttle is the new GoData plan where you pay per GB. Why would they? If you want to buy GBs all day at $10 a piece, they're not gonna stop you. All of their "unlimited" plans, however, will throttle you after either 500MBs or 1GB per day. That may be fine if you're a light user— but then again, if you're a light user you could be paying a lot less than $10/day— but if you're looking for something to stream or do a lot of downloads, this is not the plan for you.
Skyroam Throttle Points
|Plan||Device||Daily Data Allowance||Reduced Speed|
|Daily Rental||3G Device||500 MBs||2G|
|Daily Rental||Solis||1 GB||3G|
|Day Pass Purchase||Solis||1 GB||3G|
|$99-$125 /month "Unlimited" plan||Solis||550MBs||256-512 kbps|
|GoData plan||Solis||NA—1GB costs $10||NA|
Which International Wifi Hotspot Devices Offer Unlimited Data?
None. Are you crazy!?!? They need to make money. Which is fine. You just need to know the details so you can make sure you're not getting ripped off. There's no such thing as a true unlimited international mifi data plan. All of the so-called "unlimited" plans throttle at a maximum of 500 MBs to 1 GB a day. Even the GlocalMe, which is my personal favorite of all international hotspots, throttles after a measly 2GBs a month! Honestly you're better off avoiding any "unlimited" claims and just figuring out about how much data you need, and getting a pre-paid card for about that much. In most places you can get a local SIM card for a few dollars per GB.
The Best Mobile Hotspot for World Travel
This is subjective, of course. Personally, I love the GlocalMe (read my love letter to GlocalMe here) because it offers you data in over 100 countries, but also has an additional sim card slot so you can use a local SIM card instead, which will always be way cheaper. In general I think Skyroam is a huge scam, but I'll admit renting one is the most economical option for people who will only be traveling for 3 days or less. And I just today heard of their brand-new GoData plan, which—and it pains me to say this—might not be a terrible option for long-term travelers. I still think it's crazy to buy a locked device that only works with one service provider—which is the case with a $150 Skyroam Solis—but I can also admit that $10 a month for 1 Gb is not a terrible price to pay. So, I guess the answer to this last question is, it depends on what kind of traveler you are!