Skyroam vs GlocalMe
Which mifi is best for international travel?
Oct. 19, 2018
Oct. 20, 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.
May contain affiliate links.
You're about to travel in a foreign country. Maybe more. You want to stay connected. You're not sure how. You know there are a few different mifi devices but you don't know what the difference is between them Right? And really, how different could they be?
Skyroam and GlocalMe Are Basically Opposites.
SkyRoam and GlocalMe are about as different as you can get. In almost all cases GlocalMe is the better deal, but there are a few cases in which SkyRoam would be better, all of which I'll detail below. First I'll explain the difference between SkyRoam and GlocalMe. Next, I'll explain why GlocalMe is usually superior. Finally, I'll begrudgingly explain the few cases in which SkyRoam is the better choice.
Despite their differences, SkyRoam and GlocalMe do have a few things in common:
Skyroam and GlocalMe: similarities
- They are both devices that provide internet, commonly called "mifi"
- Both cost about $150 to buy.
- Both provide internet to up to 5 other devices.
- Both work in over 100 countries around the world—just about anywhere you're going to go.
Skyroam and GlocalMe: main differences
Skyroam's main deal is that it works in 112 countries, costs $9.99 a day, and you can either rent the device or buy it for about $150. They offer "unlimited" data, but the fine print is that it throttles to 2G after 500MB in a day. The really terrible thing about Skyroam, the reason I think you pretty much have to be an idiot to buy one, is that it is a locked device, meaning you can only use a Skyroam device with Skyroam service—you can't insert a different sim card in the device. Once you buy Skyroam's Solis, you're stuck with Skyroam's super high data rates. Forever.
A GlocalMe device works in 107 countries, also sells for $150, and the the best of my knowledge they can't be rented. A cool thing about GlocalMe is that their devices double as a power bank. But GlocalMe's main selling point is that they have 2 sim card slots, so you can choose between using GlocalMe service, or get a local sim card and connect through them. A local sim card will always be cheaper. For example I'm currently using the SIM card I bought in Spain 4 months ago, which costs me about $15 a month for 2GB and unlimited social app use. And it works all across Europe and even in the USA. When I'm in Thailand I usually pay about $10/a month. So on and so forth. You will almost never find a situation where you can't save a ton of cash by going local, which is why I personally love GlocalMe—they make it easy for you to make the most cost-effective decision, but also let you stay connected in places where it's hard to get a local SIM card (like Germany)
In other words, buying a Skyroam is like getting married on the first date, and buying a GlocalMe is like getting married to the person you love but also maintaining a polyamorous open relationship.
Summary of Differences between Skyroam and GlocalMe
- GlocalMe has 2 sim card slots so you can choose between using their service, or another provider. Skyroam requires you to use their service.
- SkyRoam can be rented for about $9.99/day, whereas GlocalMe must be purchased.
- Skyroam's "unlimited" plan throttles at 500MB/day, GlocalMe's "unlimited" plan throttles at 2 GB/month.
- GlocalMe's device doubles as a power bank.
Why GlocalMe is Better than Skyroam
GlocalMe offers you freedom to choose between their service or someone else's, and their dual sim card slots mean that you don't even need to worry about losing SIM cards. This is useful because local SIM cards will always be cheaper than some international deal, the only thing is you might not have time to get one, or might be in a place where it's hard to get a local SIM card. Skyroam makes you use their overpriced service; if you buy a Skyroam Solis you're stuck paying $10 a day forever.
You might think I'm making a big deal out of nothing—what's $10 here and there—but just do the math for a second. If you take a 2 week vacation, that's another $150 you're spending, when odds are you could have gotten a local SIM card—or even one on Amazon—for about $15. And that's just for one trip. If you're going to take another trip next year, do you want to spend that all over again, or just pop a $15 sim card in the Glocalme device that you bought last year? And oh look, you can leave your battery pack at home because GlocalMe can charge your device, as well. It's just a no-brainer. That's right, I said it. Skyroam is for people with no brains in their heads. It's just stupid.
The Few Cases for Which SkyRoam is Better than GlocalMe
I take back what I just said about Skyroam, but only a little bit. There are only two cases in which a Skyroam might be better choice for you:
- You're only going to be gone for a about 3 days, and paying $10/day to rent a device actually is the cheapest option. For a day-by-day, dollar-to-dollar, cost breakdown, see where I do the math.
- You're going to one of the few countries Skyroam covers that GlocalMe doesn't:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belarus, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Curaçao, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Martinique, Montserrat, Oman, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, or Uzbekistan.
GlocalMe is a great mifi for people who want a device that will work almost everywhere and don't like wasting their money. However, since buying a GlocalMe will run you about $150, they might be too much of an investment for you. If that's the case, you can still get online anywhere starting at about $40. Either way, Skyroam is only the best choice for very short trips, and is otherwise highly discouraged.