Business travellers in the European Union seeking to avoid expensive roaming charges could benefit from a service launched on Wednesday that rents mobile phones and pocket Wi-Fi devices to use abroad.
Launched by a firm called Tep, the pocket Wi-Fi device turns 3G signals from overseas operators into a wireless connection to offer free internet browsing.
The rented smartphones also offer free internet access and the ability to make calls and texts at local rates.
Renting a phone means that travellers will be without important numbers saved to their primary work devices, but Tep suggested that this could be overcome by copying data from the personal SIM to the rented phone and then deleting the data before returning the handset.
All devices can be posted to a home address or hotel, or picked up at the airport, and can be returned in a free-post envelope. Tep will also erase any data left on devices to allay fears of compromised information.
Access to a Tep smartphone - currently Samsung's MiniS or Europa Android devices - or the Wi-Fi hotspot costs £4.95 per day, with unlimited internet access and calls and texts at local rates.
Tep founder Tomas Mendoza told V3.co.uk that demand from almost all travellers for cheap access to the internet on the go makes the Wi-Fi hotspot ideal for workers to get the most from their devices at a fraction of the cost.
"Connectivity is vital with laptops and tablets like the iPad in constant use and running applications that require internet access too, but for many using them abroad is very expensive if running on mobile networks," he said.
"Furthermore, Wi-Fi in hotel rooms can be very expensive, up to £15 in some hotels, while if you're out and about finding Wi-Fi is not always easy."
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