About a month before Mobile World Congress was set to kick off, I got an email from KnowRoaming's PR explaining to me what KnowRoaming was. I had never heard of the company, prior to that. Basically, KnowRoaming gives you a very thin sticker that goes onto your sim card. The sticker stays dormant until you land in another country. Which I was able to test it out before leaving, just by going across the river to Canada. The thing here isn't just that you don't need to worry about another SIM card, but the fact that you can get unlimited data for just $8/day. But we'll get to that more in a minute.
I used KnowRoaming almost exclusively at Mobile World Congress. Except for the first few days I was in Barcelona, let me explain why, as it's important. Having that very thin sticker on the back of your SIM card is cool and all. But if you're like me or most journalists, you switch SIM cards all the time. And after a while that will make the sticker start to peel off, which means it won't work. And with all the devices I had reviewed before going to Barcelona, my sticker was peeling off, and the phone couldn't recognize the SIM at all. So I was stuck until the show opened on Monday, when I could get another sticker from their booth.
So I pretty much used KnowRoaming on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (when I was traveling back home). In a lot of countries, especially in Europe, they have data packages you can buy. In Spain, specifically, I was able to grab unlimited data for just $8 per day. Which is pretty insanely cheap. Now their fair use policy is 500MB. However, I don't think they enforce that, too much. As I went over 500MB on Tuesday, and never got shut off or slowed down. While we're talking about data speeds, right now you get up to HSPA+ speeds. 4G LTE is coming soon, the issue with LTE is the fact that carriers don't support roaming on LTE networks yet.
With KnowRoaming, you get a UK number, as well as a US number. So, when you're in Europe, you aren't paying outrageous roaming fees for calls. For data, you can get 1 day at $7.99, 3 days at $23.97, and a week or 7 days at $55.93. Which is insane. I did some research on roaming plans from the US carriers here and the cheapest was actually T-Mobile, which would give you 500MB of high-speed data for $50. Which sounds pretty sad, but compared to their competitors, it's not too bad. But then look at KnowRoaming, and it's a no brainer.
So how well does KnowRoaming work? Well before I give you my opinion on that, let's give you some background. I spent most of the week at Fira Gran Via, where Mobile World Congress was held. And most of that time, there was no WiFi or mobile networks. Since you had roughly 100,000 people there all trying to connect and use them. But outside of Fira Gran Via, my experience was great. Pretty much had HSPA+ speeds the entire time. Some speed tests showed around 10mbps or lower. Which isn't amazing, but it's definitely better than EDGE. I can't comment on the voice side of things, as I never needed to call anyone. But for data, it was fantastic, and I will definitely be using it for future trips like to IFA, and so on.
If you do a lot of international traveling, or even a little bit, it's definitely worth it to check out KnowRoaming. So far, I've found no other service to even come close to what they offer, and at the price they offer. I highly recommend KnowRoaming, if you know of any other companies that offer something similar, be sure to shout them out in the comments below. Would love to try them out and see how they compare.