Users get 500MB of 4G data usage for each 24-hour period at speeds up to 150Mbps for downloading and 50Mbps for uploading. After that, connection speeds can drop to 256kbps downloading and uploading. The company calls its data plan unlimited, but it provides the 4G service for a maximum of up to 500MB per 24 hours. Users may only receive 3G internet access in some countries, because RoamingMan services are provided through local internet service providers.
RoamingMan notes that the device may have weak or non-existent signals in airports, mountainous areas, highways, ports, basements, islands and other remote locations. The portable hotspot is not meant for video streaming or other high data uses, according to the company.
The device can be used in more than 100 countries around the world, including in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Australia, Fiji Islands and New Zealand.
The mobile hotspot, which rents for $9.99 per day, comes complete to the user with a small zippered nylon carrying case and a charger cord. The user must provide a USB to wall charger plug, which is not included.
An insurance policy for the unit is an additional $19.99 for each rental period. The replacement cost of the unit is about $200 if it is damaged and if the user did not purchase insurance. Shipping the unit to and from the user costs another $29.90 combined. Users can also pick up and return the device for free by meeting a courier at JFK International Airport in New York before and after their trips. The courier service will be available at other airports, including Miami, in 2018.
I found the RoamingMan device to be convenient and useful on my trip, but I also was torn about its necessity since my carrier, Verizon, and others now usually offer special $10 a day services for international travel which let travelers use their smartphones on their normal phone plans as if they were back at home.
So why would I need to pay for a RoamingMan device when I could simply use my Verizon Travel Pass option for $10 a day?
Raphi Salem, RoamingMan's U.S. marketing director, told me the key benefits of the company's device over international mobile carrier plans is that it requires no SIM card changes, provides 4G service and can be used at the same time by multiple users provided they are within proximity of the hotspot at the same time.
With its tethering capability, the device was incredibly useful on my trip and the high-speed services were also appreciated. When traveling with a friend, I can certainly see the value and convenience of sharing a mobile hotspot compared to using a service like Verizon's Travel Pass.
On the other hand, the RoamingMan hotspot doesn't offer voice calling, which is included in my Verizon Travel Pass service. In Japan, I made some calls home using the voice calling capabilities in WhatsApp, which had some minor echoing but worked well.
Users will have to add up the daily $9.99 fees as well as the insurance and shipping fees to determine if the device is the answer they are seeking for WiFi access during trips abroad.
Formerly known as GlocalMe, the company was rebranded as RoamingMan earlier this year, Salem said.