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In-flight Wi-Fi is a luxury that many desire but few are willing to pay for. Save for the business traveler on the go, many reluctantly choose to part with their phones for a couple of hours in the air than to fork out $50/month for a monthly airline plan. That may all change, however.
Two weeks ago, US Mobile launched an unlimited Wi-Fi plan that will give users access to over 30 million hotspots in 120 countries for only $10/month — including in-flight Wi-Fi.
Why is this a good deal?
US Mobile’s unlimited Wi-Fi plan is similar to Boingo’s global Wi-Fi plan that comes complimentary for American Express Platinum cardholders. Besides the wider network coverage (30 million hotspots versus Boingo’s one million), US Mobile’s coverage extends beyond the ground to also include in-flight Wi-Fi — something Boingo does not.
In-flight Wi-Fi within the North America is primarily provided by Gogo, and the rates aren’t cheap. A hourly pass goes for $7 and monthly airline plans start at $49.95/month, limiting travelers to just one airline to choose from. In addition, international flights are not covered by most of these plans — except for the Global Delta Plan, specifically for Delta Air Lines.
This is where US Mobile shines: It partners with both Gogo and Panasonic, providing in-flight Wi-Fi not only on domestic, but also on international flights. Within North America, the US Mobile Wi-Fi plan works on all Gogo-enabled aircraft:
On international routes, the Wi-Fi plan will give you unlimited internet access on select airlines:
Let’s also not forget about the 30 million other hotspots around the world travelers will instantly gain access to with this Wi-Fi plan — perfect for those keen on exploring the top destinations in the world.
Signing up was a straightforward process that was easily accomplished in under five minutes. I signed up using a 40% off promo code RPUSMWIFI that US mobile offered on Reddit, lowering the cost to $6. This code, unfortunately, was taken down within the hour after I’ve registered. Nonetheless, $10 is a very reasonable price to pay for Wi-Fi on one device — you can sign five devices up for the same price as a single device plan with Gogo.
Users will have to download the iPass app to bypass the sign-in and payment pages that most of these pay-per-use Wi-Fi spots have. Given how this service used to be targeted mainly at corporate clients, users are asked to enter their company email when launching the app for the first time. Fortunately, there is a workaround.
First, log in on the US Mobile website using the icon at the top-right to access the dashboard.
Click on “Check the Line” under WiFi plan 1 to access a page with more information about your plan, including a short troubleshooting guide at the bottom.
Follow the link and click on “Renew Wifi Plan.”
On mobile, this should bring up the app on the phone and bypass the company email requirement. The iPass app can also be downloaded on Mac and Windows platforms, although there are also ways to access directly from the web browser (refer to this quick start guide).
Speaking to TPG, US Mobile CEO Ahmed Khattak mentioned that the company is aware of the set-up issues and is working towards improving the on-boarding experience for new users. The telco intends to roll out its own mobile app in the near future, with the possibility of integrating the iPass interface to make it a seamless process for users.
That said, connecting to Wi-Fi is still really easy. Hotspots that are part of the iPass network will show “Check for iPass” under the network name. Simply select one of these networks and the iPass app will do the rest. On a recent flight with Delta, I was able to connect to Gogo In-flight Wi-Fi through iPass, saving $16. Even without the promo code, US Mobile’s Wi-Fi plan has already paid for itself.
Since US Mobile aggregates and taps on other Wi-Fi networks, there is no difference in terms of connectivity and performance as connecting directly with Gogo (although I did secretly wish it will somehow miraculously become faster).
While in-flight Wi-Fi is a huge reason to sign up for this, let’s not forget the millions of worldwide hotspots travelers will have access to with this plan. Although I wasn’t able to test this out, others have reported that it works really well in hotels and shopping malls.
If you’re a business owner who needs connectivity on the go, a world traveler who’s hopping across different countries, or simply someone who needs to be connected with social media even when up in the air, $10 is a really reasonable price to pay for unlimited Wi-Fi across the world. With comparable connectivity speeds and worldwide network coverage both on ground and in air, this is perhaps the Wi-Fi plan to sign up for. We don’t expect this introductory price to stick on forever, so if traveling is on your cards, we’d recommend signing up now.
H/T: View From The Wing
Featured image courtesy of Juice Images via Getty Images.
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