When you go on a business trip to another country, having internet access becomes crucial. Even if you carry a phone, it won’t be very helpful since most of the apps on your phone require an internet connection to function properly.
This is especially important if you don’t speak the local language, since an internet connection is essential for finding information about nearby restaurants, scenic spots, and most importantly, for communicating with the locals.
When it comes to staying online during business travels, what are the pros and cons of using a pocket WiFi vs eSIM? If you’re still wondering which is best, continue reading for more insights!
Save on business travel costs with a pocket WiFi or eSIM
One way to access data while travelling is to purchase an international pass from your home phone network, but this can often be quite expensive and come with a limited data allowance. The more cost-effective options typically involve renting a pocket WiFi or purchasing an eSIM for your phone.
Many business travellers find that a data-only option is sufficient for their travel needs since they can easily communicate with friends, family, and businesses through messaging apps such as WhatsApp, social media platforms, and email without relying on traditional phone calls or text messages.
Although there may be free WiFi options available while you’re travelling, there may be security concerns associated with using them. Plus, logging into each WiFi hotspot can also be time-consuming. When you have your dedicated data provider however, you only need to set it up once and then proceed with your day, knowing that you have a reliable data connection that meets all your requirements.
Enter 2 popular options: Pocket WiFi vs eSIM
When it comes to comparing pocket WiFi vs eSIM, each option offers unique advantages depending on the specific situation.
Pocket WiFi in business travel makes an excellent choice for groups and sharing data among multiple users. It allows you to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, making it convenient for sharing internet access among friends and colleagues.
On the other hand, eSIM in business travel stands out in terms of price and convenience. It eliminates the need for a physical SIM card and provides a more streamlined approach to accessing mobile internet.
To make a more informed decision about the most suitable connectivity solution for your travel needs, it’s important to understand the differences, benefits, drawbacks, and compatibility of pocket WiFi vs eSIM.
Pocket WiFi: A brief history
During the mid-2000s, as the internet grew in importance, the idea of personal and portable WiFi devices emerged. This innovative device, eventually referred to as pocket WiFi or mobile hotspot enabled individuals to have their own personal internet connection wherever they travelled. The concept rapidly gained popularity, driving technological advancements and a boom in the industry.
How does a pocket WiFi work?
A pocket WiFi device operates similarly to a home WiFi router, allowing users to access the internet in a convenient and portable manner. It utilises 3G, 4G, or 5G networks to establish a WiFi hotspot, enabling multiple devices to connect and enjoy internet connectivity. This feature grants the ability to maintain a secure and private internet connection while you are on the move.
Globally, numerous providers offer pocket WiFi services, including well-known brands such as GlocalMe, Skyroam, and Huawei. These providers offer a range of plans and options tailored to accommodate diverse travel requirements.
Advantages of pocket WiFi in business travel:
Consistent, high-speed WiFi access no matter where your travels take you
Reliable connection without the hassle of searching for insecure public WiFi networks
Much more cost-effective than paying for data roaming while travelling overseas
Offers a secure way to connect to the internet, unlike public WiFi in places like cafes and bars
Able to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, typically up to five to ten devices
Guaranteed WiFi access when you need it the most
Make internet phone calls even when you have no phone signal
Compact and lightweight making it an ideal companion for travellers
Disadvantages of pocket WiFi in business travel:
These devices require charging as they can run out of battery
Having to carry around an extra device with you at all times
A chance of being misplaced, especially when you’re on-the-go during your travels
Keeping in mind to return it back if you’re renting the device
eSIM: A brief history
eSIM, also known as “embedded SIM”, is a relatively new advancement in the telecommunications industry. This technology, standardised by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), aims to eliminate the requirement for physical SIM cards, ultimately simplifying the process of switching between different carriers for users.
How does eSIM work?
An eSIM is a compact chip integrated into your device, serving as a replacement for a physical SIM card. Activating an eSIM is a straightforward process that involves scanning a QR code or downloading an eSIM profile from a compatible carrier. They make a favourable choice for individuals who travel alone, digital nomads, or those who frequently change their mobile carriers.
Some of the well-known eSIM providers available globally include Holafly, Airalo, Truphone, GigSky, and Ubigi. Additionally, several mobile carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Vodafone also support eSIM technology.
Advantages of eSIM in business travel:
Users no longer have to go through the process of physically inserting and removing SIM cards
Uninterrupted personal communication, which is particularly vital in emergencies when travelling to regions with limited connectivity
Provide cost-effective internet connectivity options with a range of roaming packages designed for unique needs
Environmentally friendly as it eliminates the need for plastic SIM cards
Users can switch providers without needing to switch between physical SIM cards of multiple smartphones
Disadvantages of eSIM in business travel:
Limited compatibility as not all mobile devices support eSIM technology
Possible troubleshooting or technical difficulty while using an eSIM just like with any other SIM card or technological tool
Easily tracked by network providers which can be an invasion of privacy
Risk of fraud as hackers can hack into vulnerable mobile carriers’ system to retrieve user profiles and information
Considerations when comparing pocket WiFi vs eSIM for business travel
Business travellers frequently require a secure, dependable, and high-speed internet connection. Both pocket WiFi and eSIM can fulfil these requirements, but the advantage lies with pocket WiFi in business travel due to its capability to connect to multiple devices. This feature becomes particularly advantageous if you carry multiple devices for work purposes.
One of the major challenges of travel is the expensive international roaming charges. In this aspect, using an eSIM in business travel provides a benefit by enabling seamless switching to local carriers, thereby avoiding excessive roaming fees. On the other hand, with pocket WiFi, although you can evade roaming charges, you may encounter the inconvenience of renting a device in each country or dealing with fluctuating rates.
The choice between pocket WiFi vs eSIM can also be influenced by your data usage habits. If you are a light or moderate data user, both options can suit your needs adequately. However, for heavy users who engage in data-intensive activities such as streaming or downloading large files, an unlimited eSIM plan could offer best cost-effectiveness. It is important to consider that certain pocket WiFi providers may impose data limits or reduce speeds after reaching a specific usage threshold.
Pocket WiFi offers a notable benefit in terms of universal compatibility. Regardless of whether you have an older phone model or a device that does not support eSIM, you can still access the internet using pocket WiFi. On the other hand, eSIM relies on having a compatible device and carrier, which can restrict its usage for certain travellers.
Your individual requirements:
The decision between pocket WiFi and eSIM is highly dependent on your individual requirements, travel habits, and device preferences. If convenience is a priority, or if you frequently travel alone, or often to different countries, using an eSIM in business travel may be the ideal option for you.
However, if you’re travelling in a group, seeking a universally compatible solution, or placing high importance on a secure and private connection, using a pocket WiFi in business travel would be the more suitable choice.
Business travel made seamless with Holiday Tours
At Holiday Tours, we firmly believe in considering all aspects of travel such as this, in order to provide you with the utmost convenience during your trips. Our team of experts are with you every step of the way when it comes to business travel management so you can go wherever in the world worry-free.