Earlier this year, I reviewed the Tep Wireless mobile hotspot rental service. I was not offered the hotspot for free as a member of the media; I paid for the service out of my own pocket and took the wireless hotspot with me on my three-week trip through Europe.

For the most part, I was reasonably happy with what I got. I rented the hotspot for three weeks, paying for 1GB of total data that could then be used across three countries on the continent. That came to $162.95 total, including shipping. Since my review was published, however, a couple of comments have showed up on the post saying just how horrible Tep Wireless really is. They complain of the device not working at all and of receiving the worst customer service too. So, I decided to follow-up and do a little research of my own online.

The Good

Many reviews are in line with my overall Tep Wireless experience. PCMag.com gave the mobile hotspot an Editors’ Choice award, saying that it is a “great choice if you’re traveling to countries the service covers.” They received a different device than mine, but the service should have been similar. The review cites simple usage and decent speeds on the plus side, but they did find the pricing structure to be confusing.

For the most part, Engadget also agreed with these sentiments, calling Tep Wireless “another great option for international mobile hotspot rentals.” It doesn’t have as broad coverage as XCom Global, but Tep is “far more affordable for short-term jaunts,” making it “an option that’s easy to recommend.” They did experience some issues, though, as the box they initially received was empty. Thankfully, the issue was resolved and another unit was overnighted to their hotel in Sweden.

The brief review by Nomadic Chick was similarly positive. She was happy with getting signal on moving trains, saying that Tep “wins hands down” for reliability and it is far more affordable than hotel Internet access.

The Bad and the Ugly


Of course, not everyone has been completely pleased with what Tep Wireless has to offer and how it chooses to operate. For instance, Not Quite Mainstream says that he had an “awful experience.” The device he received wasn’t the one he was expecting, Tep sent the wrong power adapter, and the hotspot was not getting any Internet connection. E-mails and voicemails to support either went unanswered or unresolved and he never received a refund. He cites the same positive reviews from PCMag and Engadget, saying that Tep must have “made extra sure that the press had a great experience.” While I am a member of the press too, Tep never knew that and my experience was generally positive.

However, Not Quite Mainstream was not the only one to have a negative experience with Tep Wireless. A complaint was sent to Ripoff Report, describing poor to no connectivity in most European countries, as well as severe inconsistencies in data usage. The MiFi data counter was showing minimal usage, but the customer service agent said that they may have been hitting their 150MB daily cap.

Scottish Bookworm in Quebec had significant struggles with connectivity and customer service too. The signal would keep dropping and the Tep agent refused to budge on a refund for the lack of service for which the customer had already pre-paid.

The Final Word

Based on this quick survey, it seems like the experience with Tep Wireless is very much a mixed bag. Some people, myself included, got basically what we expected. The signal strength and Internet connectivity were reasonably reliable, working seamlessly across multiple networks in multiple countries. The pricing, while not exactly cheap, was certainly fair for what you receive.

Other people, however, had an entirely different experience with Tep Wireless. The hotspot itself didn’t work as advertised, struggling to maintain connectivity, and the absolutely deplorable and unresponsive customer service only made the exacerbated the already bad situation. To this end, reviews of Tep are wildly polarizing.

Given this, it seems that Tep Wireless is perfectly fine if everything goes according to plan. As soon as anything goes awry, however, you may want to prepare yourself for a world of frustration, resentment and anger.

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