Travel products

Tep pocket wifi update


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.

Tep pocket wifi makes data roaming dirt-cheap

ABOVE: Tep pocket wifi puts a hotspot in your pants or purse. (Or in your trousers or purse, if you're British.)

by Durant Imboden

Many of us rely on Wi-Fi connections these days when we're traveling with notebooks or tablets. Wi-Fi can also be a huge money-saver for smartphone users who travel internationally, thanks to Skype.

There's only one downside to Wi-Fi: finding a hotspot when you need it. Tep Wireless, a British company, has come to the rescue with tep pocket wifi. The device, which looks like a TV remote, connects to the Internet via local cellular phone carriers who have signed 3G network agreements with tep. For a relatively modest daily fee, you can access the Internet 24/7 without roaming charges.

How it works:

First, reserve a tep pocket wifi online at (The price includes rental of the device and data access. Rates vary by destination and length of rental, but the cost is much lower than you'd pay for data roaming through your phone carrier. Best of all, you get unlimited Internet access in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. In the other 11 countries that tep serves, you're allowed 50 Mb of bandwidth per day.)

Tep will deliver the pocket wifi device to addresses in the UK, Continental Europe, or the USA. Alternatively, you can pick it up at London's Heathrow, Gatwick, or Stansted Airport or in central London.

At the end of your trip, you return the tep pocket wifi device in a prepaid, pre-addressed envelope.

Also available: tep smartphones


Tep also rents prepaid smartphones that give you a local number and let you make calls or send texts at domestic rates.

For more information about tep pocket wifi and smartphones, visit tep wireless's Web site at

(Note: We haven't had a chance to try tep's services, but I hope to field-test the tep pocket wifi device in Italy next month.)

PodFlexPro turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a seatback video player


PHOTOS: Hook your PodFlexPro over a closed tray table (above), or turn it into a pyramid on your open airline tray (inset below).

by Durant Imboden

On a recent Lufthansa transatlantic flight that featured two kids' movies and a selection of forgettable TV shows on overhead monitors, I envied the passengers around me who were able to view their own inflight entertainment on laptops, iPod Touch players, or other electronic devices. And if I ever bite the bullet and spend money on an iPod Touch or smartphone, I'll consider tucking a PodFlexPro into my backpack.


PodFlexPro is a neoprene electronic device holder with a difference: Like its competitors, it protects an iPhone, or iPod Touch, or compatible Android smartphone with a sleeve that has a clear viewing window. But it does more than that: By bending a strap with a "micro-mesh frame" and hanging it from a closed tray table, you can turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a seatback video player. Or, if you prefer, you can bend the PodFlexPro into a pyramid shape (see inset photo) and place it on an open tray table.

When you aren't traveling, you can use the PodFlexPro during cardio workouts at the gym, on your desk at work, or on a table at mealtimes when you're eating alone.

The PodFlexPro sells for US $24.95, with an additional $7.95 for shipment to addresses in the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Belgium. For more information, visit

Photos: PodFlexPro.