Review of Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Router Internet Services27 August, 2013
During our recent trip to China with Shangri-La Hotels, we tried out a new travel mobile Wi-Fi service provided by Telecom Square Singapore. While Shangri-La Hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and even within limousine transfers, our itinerary took us to places where we don’t expect to receive good or even any Wi-Fi signal e.g. deserts, grassland in the middle of nowhere, huge lakes so the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service came in handy for our regular Facebook, Twitter (via VPN services such as Breakwall.net), Instagram updates or just general web surfing during train rides.
How Much is the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service?
Telecom Square Singapore rents out portable Wi-Fi router equipped with international SIM cards (with mobile broadband data plan) to travellers at a flat rate of 15 Singapore dollars per day (includes GST).
Which Countries do the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service cover?
Telecom Square international mobile Wi-Fi services cover the following countries: USA, UK, Australia, Singapore Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, India, Japan, China and Hong Kong.
How do I Pick-up and Return the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Router?
Travellers can pick-up and return the Wi-Fi router (as well as all its accompanying accessories) at the Telecom Square booth at Changi Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 Arrival Hall. Both Terminal 1 and 2 Telecom Square booths are open 24 hours daily and the Terminal 3 booth is open from 9.45am to 10pm daily. Make your order for the Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi service here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form
Travellers are provided with a carrying case, international adaptors, micro-USB to USB cable charger, portable Wi-Fi router and a user quick guide. The battery life of the portable Wi-Fi router can typically last for about 3-4 hours continuous usage. Travellers can also rent an additional spare battery for S$3 per day. Make your order for the Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi service here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form
If you are concerned about losing any of the equipment, you can purchase insurance at S$3 per day which covers the theft, loss or accidental damage of the Telecom Square mobile Wi-Fi router unit. With the insurance, you only pay 30% of the unit price in the event of theft, loss or accidental damage. The insurance does not cover the spare battery though.
How Do I Use the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Router?
Usage of the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi router is easy – upon arrival at your destination, hold the Power button on the right side of the Wi-Fi router until it turns on then wait for the signal to be picked up by the router. Once the local telco mobile broadband data service is picked up, connect to the router wirelessly using your smartphone or laptop just like how you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Wi-Fi hotspot name and password is indicated on the mobile Wi-Fi router. You can connect up to 5 different devices onto the mobile Wi-Fi router. You can make your order for the Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi service here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form
Important: Set your smartphone to Airplane Mode while overseas and switch on Wi-Fi manually. We have all heard of horror stories of travellers incurring hundreds or even thousands of dollars of roaming data charges so always ensure your smartphone is on Airplane mode when surfing the net overseas (unless you are waiting for a call or going to make a call).
To conserve battery life of the Wi-Fi router, I recommend switching it off whenever it is not in use – that way, you can still use the Wi-Fi router for a longer period without charging (for example, if you are on a 2-day desert tour with no electricity socket out there – just turn it on whenever it is necessary to check emails and Facebook updates and then switching it off when not in use). Using a micro-USB to USB cable, you can also charge the Wi-Fi router on the go if you have portable powerbank.
Keep all the international adaptors, quick guide and even the charging adaptor head and micro-USB to USB cable in the carrying case and store them somewhere safe in your luggage. If you are using smartphones, it is likely that you already have the micro-USB to USB charging cable and if you brought along your laptop, you will be able to charge the Wi-Fi router while on the go. This will minimise the risk of equipment loss and incurring hefty charges.
Telecom Square does not explicitly state the data cap for the international mobile Wi-Fi service but the respective local Internet Service Providers adopt fair use policy i.e. if you are using excessive data by downloading movies/big files or playing online games, they reserve the right to cut off the mobile broadband service.
Is the Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service Worth It?
It depends on how much you need Internet access when travelling and how much is the local Internet services. If you need to be connected online regularly and on the go – be it to check reviews of attractions and restaurants or get in contact with your guide or family through Whatsapp or WeChat and hotel room internet charges are exorbitant (more than S$15 per day), then you should get Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi service.
Singtel, Starhub and M1 all currently offers unlimited data roaming plans at relatively affordable prices (about S$15 – S$30 per day per phone depending on your destination) but there is the issue of reliability of service and the plan is only applicable for one device. Before using Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi services, I had tried the plan of buying a local SIM with data plan when travelling in the USA; I didn’t expect that even finding a local Verizon shop (similar to our Singtel hello shop) can be so difficult and by the time I found one, I was on the last day of my business trip. Furthermore, this method also restricts net surfing to one device.
Thus, in my opinion, Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi services can help to save a lot of time and is very convenient – order online at Telecom Square Singapore website, pick-up at Changi Airport, arrive at destination and “voila” surf the net from up to 5 devices. If you are travelling with 1-4 friends, the daily rental cost of Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi router comes down to just S$3 to S$7 only! Make your order for the Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi service here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form
My Experience with Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service in China
Overall, the experience with Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi service was great! The Wi-Fi service speed was great for checking emails, Whatsapp, WeChat and Facebook updates (through VPN). The speed varied when streaming online videos – pretty much like what we typically experience with 3G service in Singapore – when on the go in subway/MRT/metro or in crowded places, the internet speed tended to get quite slow; when we are back in the hotel, the internet speed was ok.
Internet coverage was quite comprehensive in city areas – at more remote areas e.g. grassland, deserts, internet connection was more patchy but that is understandable considering that we were so far away from the nearest city.
Where do i Sign-up for Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi Service?
With effect from 1 September 2013, you can sign-up for Telecom Square International Mobile Wi-Fi services here: Telecom Square Mobile Wi-Fi Order Form Do note that you have to place your order online 3 days (72 hours) prior to your departure date of your travel. Contact Telecom Square Singapore directly at 6692-8321 (9am-6pm on Weekdays) if you need the Mobile Wi-Fi service urgently (less than 3 days before departure). VISA and Mastercard credit card payment is accepted at Telecom Square Singapore rental website.