Global “unlimited” data options: Wraptel, Keepgo & Solis
Ahead of this year of sailing, I wanted to ensure I had as many high quality connectivity options as possible. As already mentioned I bought a Digital yacht WL510 and 4G Connect, the latter of which needs sim cards in order to connect.
The world seems to be half way between using physical sim cards, and ESIMS, and the digital yachting world hasn’t quite caught up with this trend just yet. So I wanted to find the best, hopfully mostly unlimited, mostly worldwide, sim card options to put in the 4G Connect.
All options that I managed to find had some sort capping system before data would slow down. Some even had an actual data cap despite advertising themselves as “unlimited”.
Below you can find a comparison of the options I tried.
|Per day fast cap
|Per month fast cap
Unlimited data plans, Global
GoFi prepaid plans USA & EU
($8/GB & unlimited after $64)
|WiFi Hotspot / ESIM
Global wifi plans, Global
If you want the TLDR; of this post, I tried these 3 options but landed back with my good old trusty Solis WiFi hotspot!
WrapTel was the first sim that I tried. This was mainly for sailing in the UK, France and down into Spain.
This is a HongKong based sim card, so your traffic ends up getting routed there, not sure if this has an impact on speeds at all but I expect its likley. Speeds did tend to be slightly slower than what I would expect at 4G, and slightly slower than other sim cards tested.
Also at the time of testing there was only a 0.5GB per day fast cap avililible, which really wasn’t enough. This might be a better offering now you can opt for a 1GB or 2GB per day fast cap. Thankfully during this period of sailing I was also using my UK simcard which included roaming in the EU, otherwise the experience would have been very poor.
The slow cap limits you to 384kbps, and was preventabily slow, I couldn’t use most apps on my phone as connections would time out, sometimes I wouldnt even make it past login pages. DNS lookups would also timeout and fail, genrally leading to a very bad experience. Infact, I couldn’t even runspeedtsts most of the time I was in slow mode 👎.
However having a per day slow cap is quite nice, it gaurentees that you will have some fast data every day of the month, compared to other offerings where you may accidently use your entire cap in the first 2 weeks, resulting in a slow experince for the rest of the month.
Signing up for the next month, or next package of data is also quite a chore. You need to loginto the website, buy the package and enter your “SIM ICCID Number”. Once done, the data package will start at some point inthe next 24 hours.
There are packages other than a worldwide option here too, so price may vary, and you can switch it up every month. At 2GB the EU is $66/pm, USA $129/pm and worldwide $168/pm. Many other options exist such as Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South Korea etc.
KeepGo was the second sim that I tried, primarily off the coasts of Spain and Portugal. But note the plan that I am testing here is only covering the EU and USA. I’ll be visiting some places between that owuld not be covered by these plans.
Out of the gate the experience was much better, speeds were faster, it was easier to have a reoccouring package, and no data being routed through Hong Kong!
At the time I bought this sim card it was advertised as “unlimited” and did not mention a data cap at all, so I was very excited for using it in multiple European countries.
We burned through the first 30GB quickly wanting to test out the slower speeds that came after. WE hit 30GB and I didn’t really notice any speed decrease! But I became suspicious when I noticed on the website there was a progress bar past 30GB what seemed to be filling up.
Doing some maths with the % filled ammount it looked like it would reach the end at 60GB.
And a few days later it happened, they emailed saying they were about to deactivate the line…
So all in all, nice and fast for 60GB of usage, which is around 2GB a day, but no usage beyond that.
When comparing with WrapTel that means it is slightly cheaper than their 2GB fast offering for the EU, but more expensive than WrapTel for every other offering.
By the time we were reaching the south of Portugal I had switched back to my old trusty Skyroam Solis hotspot that I have used for travelling in the past.
I emailed in advance to check to see what the speed would be limited to and if they had a hidden data cap, and they said:
Our unlimited plan doesn’t have a cap, it is unlimited, however, the speed is not unlimited, after the 20GB of use, the speed will be reduced from 4G to 3G.
The speed will be reduced to 512kbps.SIMO Support
When reaching the slow mode of Solis, unlike WrapTel all of my apps keep functioning, and DNS queries work!!!
Purchasing a package was easy as I already had the hotspot, but this did mean that I couldn’t use the 4G Connect that I had bought to connect while further offshore. Nonetheless the experience with Solis so fas has been much better than with WrapTel or KeepGo. The app is also lovely to work with.
There are deals on packages to bring the price down if you know your travelling for a while, as the prices in the table certainly are not the cheapest. 1 month of global unlimited is €80, but this reduces to €160 for 3 months (€53/pm), and €240 for 6 months (€40 per month), all purchasable in the app.
It’s also worth mentioning that SIMO, the parent company to Solis appear to do ESIMs with the same data packages.
This means you can bring your own wifi hotspot, or potentially use the ESIMS with large antennas aboard such as those that come with the 4G Connect. There certainly appear to be some 4G routers out there that looks similar to the 4G Connect just not in a nice marine box that could work with my existing antennas.
I may try and do a more in depth review of just the Solis offering in a few more months, once I have been using it aboard for longer and repetidly reach the slow data cap in several countries and environments.
I looked at a bunch of other ESIM and Sim options, from various companies, but none seemed as appealing as the 3 I chose to test.
- WorldSim: 10GB in portugal is 30GBP/pm
- Surfroam 0.07/pMB = 20USD per GB in Morocco
- Knowroaming: Global 5GB = 50USD
- Flexiroam: Global data 1GB = 30USD
- 3: 5GBP unlimited data a day = 150GBP a month
- WaveSim: 2EUR/GB, 40EUR for 20GB
Some of these might be worth trying in the future, but for now I’l stick with Solis.
You can find my raw scribbles below…