by Durant Imboden
I n mid-June, I wrote a post titled "Tep pocket wifi makes data roaming dirt-cheap." The story described a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that uses cellular data networks in various European countries to provide Internet access for laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other wireless devices.
In the article, I mentioned that I'd be field-testing the tep pocket wifi in Italy, and the results are now in.
The good news: The tep pocket wifi connected to the Wind cellular network in the three cities of Northern Italy that I visited.
The bad news: Although my laptop recognized and connected to the tep pocket wifi, I had no access to the Internet.
At first I thought there might be a problem with my laptop's network settings, but on reflection, that seemed unlikely because I was able to reach the Internet with three different hotel Wi-Fi networks and the city of Venice's public Wi-Fi network during my trip.
I e-mailed Tep's support address with a description of the problem, but I never got a reply.
To add insult to injury, it cost me US $34 to send the unit back to London from the United States after my trip. (I could have used the business-reply envelope that Tep provided for returns from locations within Europe, but I wasn't willing to entrust an uninsured $200 device to Italy's much-maligned post office.)
Bottom line: The tep pocket wifi is a great concept, but my experience suggests that tep's Internet roaming service may not work for everyone. If you've used the tep pocket wifi or other private-label versions of the Huawei Mobile Wifi, feel free to post a comment below.