Our recent trip to Budapest was a bit of a test for me and Andy. We were working and traveling, with actual contracts and deadlines, for the first time, and we wanted to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. Even though the apartment we rented had WiFi, we decided it might be good to test out Tep Wireless to see how their mobile WiFi works in case we ever need it as a back-up while we’re traveling.
Our experience with Tep Wireless
The mobile wireless device works for up to five devices, which was great for me and Andy using our two laptops and two phones. One day we tested out the device while working instead of using the apartment’s WiFi. Andy’s work involves big databases and a lot of heavy processes (can you tell I still don’t really know he does?) plus he has Skype calls with his client a few days a week. But he didn’t notice any issues with speed or function while using the wireless device. I was also on my own laptop working at the same time, and it all worked great. We didn’t notice a difference between the Tep Wireless device and the apartment’s WiFi.
We also took it out on the town with us most days. A few tweets here and there, playing Words with Friends while waiting in line, nothing major. But there were a few times when we pulled up Google maps to look for restaurants for dinner. Having the WiFi device was helpful in these cases because we didn’t plan too well, and I had restaurant recommendations in my email. Like this delicious burger place.
Things to know
The wireless device works on the cell network, so it will only work when you’re within cell range. This means it won’t help you on your camping trip deep into an isolated forest, but it will help in a city. And if you’re in a place with bad cell coverage, your wireless device is only going to work as well as the cell network will let it. Traveling in any decent sized city in Europe shouldn’t be a problem though. (See here for a list of countries where you can use Tep Wireless.)
Another detail to note is the cost. It costs about $6 a day for 150 megabytes of data a day. That’s about 1 gigabyte per week at $43 a week, so it’s not cheap.
While we were in Budapest, I logged into one of my email accounts and saw a warning message that perhaps my account had been compromised. While using the wireless device, my location was showing up as UK instead of Hungary, which set off a false alarm with my email provider. It’s not a big deal and my email account was fine, but it took me awhile to figure out, so just something to be aware of.
Tep mailed us our device before we left for our trip, but they also have options for you to pick it up at your destination, depending on where you’re going. Then you mail it back at the end. Pretty simple.
Overall I liked using Tep Wireless. I’m not sure I would get one for a standard vacation, unless we really couldn’t find any accommodation options with WiFi. But I could see using it again on a trip when we’ll be working and we feel like we need a WiFi back-up plan to stay connected. The cost might be a bit high for a typical traveler, but it could be a worthwhile expense for a business traveler or someone like us who works remotely and requires internet connection.
I received a complimentary mobile WiFi device rental from Tep Wireless for our week in Budapest, but all opinions are my own.