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Thread: WiFi Hotspot? iPhone 4? Why Not Both?

  1. #1
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    Post WiFi Hotspot? iPhone 4? Why Not Both?

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    If you're in the market for a mobile Internet device and/or you really miss your old iPhone 4, the GlocalMe G3 is here to save the day!

    Terrible name aside, they're currently running a promotion on Amazon where you can get almost $40 off the $150 USD list price with the promo code "25GlocalMe". But wait, there's more...! According to CNET, you'll also get 1 GB of free data anywhere that GlocalMe provides service. Canadians will have to pay the full $189.99 CAD list price, but will at least get the free data.

    The G3 uses what GlocalMe calls "cloud SIM technology" (sounds like an eSIM) but also has two slots for physical nano SIMs. By far the best thing about this hotspot, though, is its massive 5,350 mAh battery, which should be enough to keep multiple devices connected for multiple days.

    It's certainly not for everyone—least of all those of us who have a "roam like home" option on our existing plan—but if you travel a lot and want to get connected the moment you touch down, the GlocalMe G3 could be what you're looking for.

    Links: Amazon Canada, Amazon USA via CNET
    My mobile memoirs — free ebook available here.
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    “Roam like home” is not always all it claims to be. I’m in China now, and there are two very upset T-Mobile subscribers in our entourage. The included data roaming is very slow. It’s much better to have a data solution that includes high-speed data.

    I bought a $15 China Unicom Hong Kong data-only SIM card on Amazon before I left (because it’s from the Hong Kong division of the carrier Google and Facebook are not blocked). It’s working wonderfully well. As soon as I turned on the phone in Shanghai it activated, and the data is very fast. Voice calls are via Google Hangouts. I forwarded calls and SMS from my regular AT&T account (to forward SMS you have to leave an Android phone behind running an SMS Forwarding app). I did try T-Mobile once to get the “roam like home” and had the same bad experience with data, though voice (20¢/min) and SMS (included) worked fine.

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    As a longtime defender of local data SIMs, this makes me feel better. Thanks, and enjoy your visit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
    As a longtime defender of local data SIMs, this makes me feel better. Thanks, and enjoy your visit!
    Back now. It was only a four day/three night trip to visit one of my City's Friendship Cities in China and to go to a trade fair.

    I had three devices with me.

    Moto X4 64GB/4GB Knowroaming SIM Card (roaming on China Unicom). I brought this in case I needed a phone with a SIM card that provided an actual phone number for calls and SMS. I did not use this phone at all. This SIM also has free incoming SMS and my SMS was forwarded to this number as well as to Google Voice. I already had this SIM from my wife's trip to Peru in July.

    Moto X4 32GB/3GB China Unicom Hong Kong Data-Only 2GB/8 day SIM Card <https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YILRXKM> (roaming on China Unicom's Mainland China network). I used Hangouts with Google Voice to make and receive phone calls. I purchased this card on Amazon. One guy in our entourage said that he always flies to China through Hong Kong so he can buy a data SIM card to use in China because the cards they sell in China don't allow access to some websites. When I told him that he could order them from Amazon he said that he likes buying the card in person, in cash, so that there is no record of it.

    iPad Pro 10.5" LTE with Verizon data roaming package (roaming on China Unicom)

    China Unicom uses LTE bands 3 and 41 and all three devices support those bands.

    Prior to leaving I set up voice and SMS forwarding to my Google Voice number. The SMS forwarding required that I leave an Android phone behind with my main U.S. number's SIM installed and an SMS forwarding app installed.

    "The Great Firewall" was not a problem. The Hong Kong China Unicom data-only SIM card allowed access to all sites, including Google and Facebook, as did the Verizon roaming on the iPad Pro. The hotel Wi-Fi did not allow access to Google.

    I was traveling with a couple who had T-Mobile and they thought they would have no need for a foreign SIM card because of included worldwide data roaming. They were very wrong, as were others in our entourage that thought they were going to be just fine with T-Mobile, and in fact had chosen T-Mobile solely because of the supposedly free global data, since T-Mobile U.S. coverage is not so great.

    The T-Mobile data was extremely slow even though the phone showed an LTE connection. It's because T-Mobile throttles to 128Mb/s (T-Mobile One) or 256Mb/s (T-Mobile One Plus) unless you pay an extra $5 per day for 512MB of high speed data. $5 per day is not bad, though it's more expensive than buying a prepaid SIM card. A dual SIM phone with the T-Mobile SIM for calls and a foreign prepaid data SIM would be a good solution.

    Using the hotel's Wi-Fi was fast, but many sites were blocked, including Google and hence gmail. This was in a very fancy hotel where normally they don't block sites <http://inspirock-hotel-luxury-tongxiang.booked.net/>

    I let one person use my VPN but it's not one of the VPNs that work best in China and it was hit or miss as to whether or not it would connect. It's called "Pure VPN." I was going to get one month of one of the better VPNs but decided that I didn't really need it.

    What worked well was to let others use the hotspot from my iPad Pro. The data speeds on China Unicom were very fast.

    Most communications was via WeChat. It's not an exaggeration to say that nearly every smart phone user in China is on WeChat. It is ubiquitous, and they are CONSTANTLY on it. Of course it is highly insecure so you never use it for anything confidential.

    Phablets are the rule in China. There are very few people with small phones, and not a preponderance of mid-sized phones wither. A Samsung S9 or iPhone Plus would not be considered a large phone. >6" phones are the norm. Apple's new Xs Max and Xr should be pretty popular especially because dual SIM support is very important.

    I brought along a battery pack that had support for QC 3.0 and USB-PD for fast charging. You see a lot of people in China carrying around an external power pack. My idea for a phone manufacturer would be to design a phone where the user can simply carry a spare phone battery and swap out the battery, rather than having to use an inefficient and clunky external battery pack. I don't know why no one has thought of designing a phone with a removable battery. Maybe I should patent this (this is a sarcastic remark).

    I used the Mobile Passport app when I returned to the U.S.. This was wonderful. There's a separate line for users of this app and there were only two people in that line in San Francisco. See <https://mobilepassport.us/>.

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