Why the Skyroam Unlimited Monthly Subscription is Not Actually Unlimited
It throttles after 550mb a day
April 7, 2018
Oct. 15, 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.
The Skyroam Solis has just offered an "unlimited" monthly subscription for $99 a month (after the purchase of a $149 device, so a realistic initial investment of approximately $250). Why the quotation marks, you may ask? Because the so-called "Unlimited" plan might not suit everyone's definition of the word.
- Device: $149.99 for a mifi that works in 120+ countries
- "Unlimited" internet all over the world
- $9.95/day of use, or $99/month (limited time offer, will rise to $125/month)
The Devil (ie the troublesome details)
As alluded to, the $99 is only an introductory price, it will eventually rise to $125 a month. I don't know when, and neither did the customer service representative I spoke with, but they did say that it would happen. People will be given the option to discontinue service after it undergoes this 30% price hike, of course, but that will be after they've already spent $150 on a device that only works with that service, and I'm betting Skyroam is banking (literally) on the Sunk Cost Fallacy and that most people will stick with Skyroam just because they already spent the money on a device that would become worthless if they were to cancel service.
Next, I asked the customer service rep if there was any kind of fair use policy—i.e. throttle point. They said:
For any usage over 550mb within 24-hours, it goes to a lighter speed, which is still great for email, web surfing, social media, apps, and messaging. Data always resets with the next global daypass.
I then asked the customer service rep to clarify what "lighter speed" meant, and they said that after 550 Mb the speed is 512kbps, and at 700Mb it goes down to the barely-usable 256kbps.
The price if the Solis device alone is nearly twice as much as a comparable mifi device, and if you ever decide you don't like Skyroam's terms, your Solis becomes an ugly worthless brick. You pay $99-$129 a month to be throttled at 550 mb a day, for an approximate maximum of 15Gbs ($6-$8 per Gb). If you're going to be outside the United States, you can absolutely get a lower price; many of the best options are reviewed in our 2019 International Sim Card Ultimate Guide. If you will be within the United States, you have tons of options, from a very lightweight Ting plan for around $20 a month, to a T Mobile unlimited plan for $75 a month—with a much better throttle point, at 50 Gbs! Either way, if you can find a person for whom the Skyroam (not really) "unlimited" monthly plan is the best use of their money, email me about it. I'm not able to figure out a person this is true for. For most people, it's just another overpriced scam.