3G When Travelling Internationally

by Lilminx
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

I have a 3G enabled LGX110 netbook bought in Asia. Would I just buy a regular phone SIM chip and put it in my netbook to enable me to use it in all Asia. Is there one SIM chip that handles all Asia (China, Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan?)

Some of my friends say I can use Fring or Skype but I am not familiar with those technologies and how they would work on my netbook.

Thank you so very much for your help!

Comments for 3G When Travelling Internationally

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May 27, 2010
International Prepaid Broadband
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for the additional information. You have a fully capable system; however, in my opinion, the recommendation is still the same in terms of your best available options. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

May 26, 2010
More information
by: Lilminx

Thank you for your suggestions. I have included a summary of the LG X110 specifications to see if this would change your answer.

Processor Intel Atom Processor N270 1.6GHz
Chipset Mobile Intel 945GSE Express
Graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Memory 1GB DDR2 667MHz
Storage 160GB 5400rpm HDD
Communication WLAN 802.11b/g, LAN 10/100, 3.5G HSPA, BT 2.0
Expansion 3x USB, VGA, RJ-45, audio in/out, 4-in-1 reader
Battery 3-cell or 6-cell (optional)
Dimensions 262mm x 180mm x 19-31mm
Weight 1.19kg (w/ standard battery)

Thank you so much for your help.

May 25, 2010
Prepaid Broadband in Asia
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Normally what you would do is purchase a prepaid external modem (typically a USB modem) in the country in which you're interested in traveling, and a getting prepaid wireless broadband plan for the duration of your stay. Some countries do offer prepaid SIM cards for Internet access, however, your laptop would need to be a SIM-based technology, and the radio/frequency would need to be compatible with the technology in the country in which you're traveling.

It's certainly possible to determine compatibility before leaving, and people have been doing such research for a long time for traveling internationally with phones. However, without knowing more about your laptop and what technology you have built-in, I would presume that buying an external USB modem would be your likely approach.

That said, while India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore are Asian countries that have prepaid mobile broadband products, I have been unable to find/confirm that China, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan have such prepaid broadband products available. (Find a listing by country at Pay-As-You-Go Broadband.)

The option inferred above is that you would essentially buy a local product. This is virtually always MUCH cheaper than buying through a third party that allows access and/or roaming in one or multiple countries. Of course, you could also buy a service in your local country (i.e. the U.S.), and pay for international data roaming charges if you have a carrier that can roam in the destination country. This option, unfortunately is usually so insanely expensive that it's simply not worth considering unless this is for business purposes and you work for a company whose policies allow you to expense it.

Another option is to look at 3rd party companies that specialize in international travel (see Prepaid SIM Cards; Mobility Pass is an example of a provider that offers prepaid Internet, though their pricing may not meet your needs ;-).

In my opinion, the bottom line is that the countries you listed don't appear to offer prepaid mobile broadband service for you to buy locally, and any other option at this point is likely not going to be cost effective for personal travel. I expect that in the future there will be an abundant of options, however, in the meantime it's not looking good!

If the 3rd party options (or U.S. broadband provider roaming) are too expensive, you may just want to seek out free WiFi hotspots, or even pay by the day as you need it. I'm sorry that there's no great solution for you at this time.

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