(We are not affiliated with this company other than as a satisfied customer). aXcess MiFi Mobile Hotspot
- Compatible with 3G and GSM network
- Tri-Band: 850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz (HSPA / UMTS)
- Quad-Band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz (EDGE / GPRS)
- Speeds of up to 7.2Mbps download and 5.76Mbps upload*
- Enables 5 Wi-Fi devices to simultaneously connect
- One touch remote connectivity
- (up to 30 foot range) – no need to connect with cable
- Compact size of 62 mm x 98 mm x 15.3 mm and 81 g
- Removable, rechargeable Li-Ion battery with charger
- Computer WiFi connection supports 802.11 b/g
location and coverage.
In an effort to avoid UPS from charging us $10 per day per item for holding packages for us while we’re in Miami Beach for part of one day, we’ve decided to have the Xcom Global MiFi device that we’ll use worldwide, sent to our mailing service in Nevada.
It will arrive at our Nevada mailbox by April 1st to be placed into one of the large boxes along with the other supplies we’ve ordered for our continuing world travels. The mailing service will wrap and ship all the items to the UPS store in Miami Beach for our pickup (by cab) when our ship arrives in port for the day on April 13th.
Once we receive the MiFi, a device that grabs the signal from Internet providers in most countries, enabling us to be online with up to five devices, we’ll activate it and be online. The device only works when we can see land, less than a mile away.
Aboard ship we’ll use the MiFi when we’re in port for the day, avoiding the outrageous WiFi charges on the ship. When we’re out to sea, we’ll use the Internet package we’ve purchased on the ship. For example, on our last two-week cruise through the Panama Canal on the Celebrity Century, we paid $399 for the ship’s service which served us well, although it’s relatively slow.
Adding the cost for Xcom Global service to the cost of the ship’s Internet service, we expect our total cost to be around $1000 per month while cruising and only the monthly rate of $395 to Xcom Global when we’re situated in one of our vacation homes.
One thinks, why in the world are we willing to pay upwards of $1000 a month for Internet access while cruising and $395 a month when staying put? For us, the answer is clear. In order to achieve the level of planning and organization we’ve chosen for our years-long worldwide travels, there are costs we must bear.
On average, we’ll only be on cruises for two months per year ($2000) and most likely we’ll only need the device for another 5 months each year (at $395 per month) which totals $3975 per year, totaling $331.25 a month.
In our old lives, our combined cell phone bill for calling and data was $185 a month. Our cable and Internet bill was $235 a month. The total for these two expenses was $420 a month which is $88.75 more than that which we’re paying to be online at all times as we travel the world. It all boils down to numbers.
Another factor we consider is our lack of spending on “extras” on cruises. We don’t pay for excursions (although we will in order to see the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and Giza in May. No point in one going off on our own in these areas).
We don’t dine in the “extra” cost restaurants. I don’t drink alcohol or soda and Tom drinks very little alcohol, thus our alcohol bill is low. We don’t buy highly marketed souvenirs, photos, spa services, personal trainers, go to art auctions, buy clothing, watches, or jewelry.
At the end of our cruise, our bill will consist of charges for Internet service, Tom’s cocktails and as on the last cruise, two bottles of duty-free liquor we thankfully brought to Belize. Tom’s favorite, Courvoisier is US $65 in Belize, as opposed to the US $37 duty-free, we paid on the ship. Of course, one is not allowed to drink their liquor purchase aboard the ship.
Fortunately, most locations we’ve booked for the future have wireless broadband service in the property at no charge. For example, we are certain the connection will be adequate for our 13 days in Dubai in May, although we’ll still have the device with us and will be paying for it.
However, the advantage we’ll have when out of our condo in Dubai, visiting the various sites of the city, we’ll be able to use the device as a “portable WiFi” which allows us to use “Maps” on our smartphones with full access to the Internet although neither of us has a cell phone contract! We love technology!
We aren’t so certain about the Internet service at the 17th-century villa in Tuscany Italy, where we’ll be spending most of the summer, as having anything other than a dial-up connection. The lovely owners, Lisa and Luca, don’t speak English and we’ve had a difficult time using the correct words to communicate a full description of the quality of the connection at the property.
Once we arrive in Tuscany on the June 16th, we’ll immediately test their service and if not adequate, we’ll email Xcom Global explaining that we’ll need to continue to use their service and won’t be returning the device at that time. We’ve alerted their customer service department to this possible scenario and they are more than willing to work with us.
While on our first cruise, as we were learning to use the device (very easy), we had a few questions that we sent by email. They couldn’t have responded more quickly with an immediate resolution. This company has the best customer service in the world!
Some have asked us, why “rent” this pricey device when you can purchase one for under $300? Well, let’s say this would be comparable to buying a modem from a cable company but having no service with the company.
Worldwide WiFi is not FREE. A few countries offer it for their citizens, for which they are ultimately taxed. Xcom Global has contracted with providers all over the world to allow its customers to “tap in” to the various networks.
These providers are well aware when we’re utilizing their network to the extent that they have some restrictions on usage, such as not being able to download huge files or use Skype. using the device. It uses too much bandwidth. Our understanding is that this is to prevent piracy of videos, movies, and large international files and, from using too much of their data that is distributed to their own customers.
Worldwide Internet access is a complicated issue. We have spent considerable time researching our options and are satisfied with the choices we’ve made. In time, as technology improves, hopefully, less expensive options will be available to us. For now, we feel we have the best service available for our needs.
After all, if we couldn’t be online, we’d hardly be able to share all of our travel experiences with all of you on an an-almost-daily basis.