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Pocket WiFi vs eSIM, which one is better?

Pocket WiFi vs eSIM. Discover which option is best for your trip with this comparison. We review features, advantages, and differences (2023)

יולי 10, 2023

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When it comes to having a positive connectivity experience, travelers tend to go for alternatives that provide fast, secure, and reliable internet connection. Thankfully, today multiple options meet these requirements; however, when deciding which one to choose, the best thing to do is to compare features and advantages, as we will do in this post about Pocket WiFi vs eSIM.

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What is Pocket WiFi and what is it for?

Pocket WiFi, also known as MiFi or Portable Modem, is a pocket-sized device that you can take anywhere. It generates a link to the internet through a private WiFi connection, which you can share with nearby compatible devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, and even gaming devices.

It works with a SIM card that must include an active data plan, so the user needs to be sure to sign up for this service. The browsing speed can be 3G, 4G/LTE, or 5G, depending on the selected plan, and it has a battery that runs for between 8 and 13 hours depending on the device’s capacity.

Where to rent or buy a Pocket WiFi?

If you travel frequently, it’ll be much more convenient for you to buy a Pocket WiFi. You can get it on e-commerce platforms such as Mercado Libre, Amazon, eBay, and others. Also, you should sign up for a data plan through an internet provider or cellphone operator.

Alternatively, if you’re going on a short trip, you can rent a Pocket WiFi. There are domestic providers in each country, so you can get the device and the services you need without any major setbacks.

However, keep in mind that you should do your due diligence and order with enough time beforehand because Pocket WiFi and SIM card delivery requires a physical address or pick up at authorized locations.

For example, if you travel to Europe, you’ll find companies such as WiFiVox, Travelwifi, Miowifi, and My Webspot, which allow you to rent a Pocket WiFi through their website. There you can get all the information you need to rent a Pocket WiFi.

What is an eSIM and what is it for?

The eSIM is the future of the SIM card that we use on our cellular. In other words, it’s a digital SIM that is embedded in cellphones compatible with eSIM technology.

With this eSIM, you can activate data plans for multiple destinations, without relying on a cellular carrier, a WiFi device, or a physical chip. The user can wirelessly set up and connect the device, allowing them to install the eSIM and activate a data plan anywhere in the world on their own.

So far, it’s the easiest and most handy option to get a data plan, which is why it has become the go-to choice for many travelers.

Where to buy a data eSIM?

A data eSIM is widely available at online stores such as Holafly. All you have to do is search for your destination, check the available data plans, add the plan that best suits your travel needs to the shopping cart, and checkout online, just like any other e-commerce platform.

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Holafly home website.

After completing this process, we will email the user the new eSIM, which they can manually install on their cellphone or install automatically by scanning a QR code. The user activates the data plan upon arrival at the destination, and they can start enjoying it from the moment the plane lands or crosses a border.

Pocket WiFi vs eSIM, what is the difference?

If you want your data plan to connect to while traveling outside your country, without paying roaming, then Pocket WiFi and eSIMs will help you sort this out. However, each option has significant differences, as you’ll see in the following comparison table:

FeatureseSIMPocket WiFi
Internet without roaming chargesYesYes
Easy to use and installYesNo
Internet connection sharingYes / NoYes
Flexible plans and ratesYesNo
Immediate deliveryYesNo
Physical SIM requiredNoYes
Shipping costsNoYes
Fee in case of lossNoYes
Table 1. Differences between Pocket WiFi and the data eSIM

From the above comparison table, we can conclude that there is no better alternative between the eSIM and the Pocket WiFi, considering that each of these choices is intended to address different connectivity needs for travelers.

For example, the eSIM is perfect for people who need an easy and convenient option to connect to the internet on short trips, keeping their WhatsApp number and SIM card as usual. Meanwhile, the Pocket WiFi is ideal for travelers who need to share an internet connection with multiple nearby devices.

Pocket WiFi vs eSIM, which one is better?

If you know what type of trip you have in mind, as well as your connectivity needs and personal preferences, you’ll be able to easily identify the best option for your travels.

The data eSIM provides fast, secure, and reliable connectivity without depending on a cellular provider or a physical SIM card. In other words, you can get it on your own anywhere in the world and install and activate it in just a few minutes.

On the other hand, with Pocket WiFi you’ll depend on a provider, a smartphone device, a SIM card, and a data plan, but of course, if you need to connect several devices, it’s a suitable alternative.

In terms of availability, it’s undeniable that the eSIM is the fastest way to get a data plan for your trip, no matter where you are. Whereas with Pocket WiFi, you have to pick it up or wait for delivery at an address that can be your home, office, hotel, etc.

FAQs about Pocket WiFi vs eSIM

We hope this information has helped choose the best way to connect on your next trip. Now you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about this topic:

How many devices can connect with a Pocket WiFi?

Normally, a Pocket WiFi allows you to connect 5, 10, 15, 15, 20, or more devices simultaneously, but this depends on the capacity of the equipment you have selected.

Where can I pick up and return a Pocket WiFi?

Each provider defines the pick-up and drop-off locations for the Pocket WiFi that is rented. You’ll receive the following information when you order online.

How long does the battery of a Pocket WiFi last?

The battery can last between 8 and 15 hours approximately. You can extend the battery life with an extra battery, but this should be included when renting or buying a Pocket WiFi.

What do I need to use a data eSIM on my trip?

To have a data eSIM on your next trip, you need an eSIM compatible cellphone, and check if your device must be unlocked for international use.

What are the alternatives to Pocket WiFi?

Alternatives to Pocket WiFi include data eSIMs, data roaming, SIM cards, international chips, and free WiFi.

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