For all the bitching and moaning about expensive Internet access in this country — mostly by yours truly — things can get exponentially worse in a hurry when Canadians travel abroad.
Consider the in-room Internet I had at my Hong Kong hotel, offered by DoCoMo interTouch and, unsurprisingly, not included in my daily rate. Unlimited access set me back $160 HKD per day, or about $25 CAD. At this price you might think I’d be tempted to leave my laptop packed and use my phone exclusively, but even with Opera Mini paring down the average full web page to a paltry 50K or so I would still pay 5¢/kB in data roaming charges — or in other words, for the same cost per day I’d only be able to pull down a mere 10 web pages on my phone!
For an extra $40 HKD/day ($6.25 CAD) I could supposedly access the hotel-wide WiFi via my phone — a great idea for reading the morning news over breakfast in the restaurant, except that interTouch uses some kind of stupid web redirect to log in to their network, likely designed with laptops only in mind. Thankfully I only signed up for this “value-added feature” for one day…
Meanwhile, for less than $40 CAD/month a local can get 30 — that’s right, thirty — Megabits per second of uncapped broadband Internet piped into their home, and for an extra $3 CAD/month can get 100 minutes of WiFi service anywhere in Hong Kong, including the airport!
What can Canadian travellers learn from this?
- Don’t use data on your phone when abroad;
- Try to book a hotel that includes free Internet access;
- If you want cheaper access on your phone or computer, move to Asia!