These days, Internet access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. For most of us, it also means this luxury could be quite a challenge when we’re travelling abroad. You’re either stuck with expensive data roaming charges, or be adventurous and drop by a local telco store and purchase a prepaid SIM pack with some data.
Enter Wiyo. Originally from Hong Kong, this mobile WiFi service has been available in Malaysia for some time now, and we were invited to test out its services in some of our international assignments last month.
What is it?
Wiyo is a mobile WiFi service targeted at those travelling outside of Malaysia for a short period of time. It offers MiFi devices that cover over 30 countries around the world, and since it’s based in Malaysia, Wiyo is also a convenient proposition for those who need to stay connected for their entire journey abroad.
For about the same price as activating data roaming, Wiyo offers a MiFi device that offers up to 4G speeds and allows up to 10 devices to be connected at any time, as well as the convenience of having the devices delivered to your doorstep a day before your departure date.
Is it any good?
Depending on where you’re going, you’ll be given one of several types of MiFi devices by Huawei or TP-Link.
As far as we know, this is the only mobile WiFi service in Malaysia that is tailored for users going abroad. Wiyo offers a hassle-free experience of sorting out your Internet issues when you’re going away on a holiday or business trip, because since the service is based locally, you don’t have to worry about picking up a MiFi device at your destination or face any potential language barriers when purchasing a local SIM.
The entire process is pretty easy, too. Just fill up a booking form in Wiyo’s website, perform a bank transfer (including a RM200 security deposit) within two days after booking and you’ll receive a confirmation email. You can then arrange to pick up the MiFi the day before departure at Wiyo’s office in Publika, or have a courier dispatch it to you for RM15 (
only in Klang Valley, though Wiyo has confirmed that it delivers nationwide). The MiFi devices are also pre-charged so you can use it straight away when you arrive at your destination.
Some of the countries where Wiyo offers its services.
When you’re back home, you’re required to return the MiFi no longer than one day after your arrival or request for a courier pick-up. Once the MiFi is returned, Wiyo will then issue a cheque (if you return the MiFi by hand) or bank-in the security deposit if the MiFi device is received in good condition.
We tested out Wiyo’s service last month in three different countries: Indonesia, Japan and the US. Wiyo provided us with the MiFi devices a day before our scheduled departure dates, and each MiFi device contained a SIM card preloaded with mobile Internet data for the country you’re travelling to. For example, those who purchase a MiFi for the US will receive a device containing an At&T SIM with a set amount of data. Each MiFi will also come with a country-specific charger, and you also have the option of renting a power bank for an additional RM5 per day.
In countries like Indonesia and Taiwan, users are also offered the option of choosing a 3G or 4G-capable MiFi – depending on the location you’re travelling to, Wiyo staff will recommend the most suitable option. When we travelled to Indonesia, for example, we were asked if we were travelling anywhere outside of Jakarta; the reason being the 4G MiFi works best only in that city due to the country’s lower 4G coverage – for RM5 less a day, we could opt for the 3G MiFi with greater and more stable coverage.
In Japan, things were a lot more interesting. While almost every country that Wiyo offers its services has a daily data cap (usually 500MB per day), Japan – as well as South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam – has unlimited 4G data enabled by Wiyo. It’s quite competitively priced, too, at just RM35 a day.
Speaking of data caps, it is worth noting how Wiyo calculates its data quota. Its website shows a daily data allocation, where it is usually 500MB per day. It may not seem like much, especially for those on work trips, but Wiyo shared the above inforgraphic to demonstrate how much that amount of data can do for you and your connected devices. Wiyo will also send you an SMS warning you of your data usage once you hit 80% of your total allocated data.
If you exceed the allocated daily data allowance, you will be charged at a rate of RM25 or up to RM50 per 500MB – the full list can be found here.
Wiyo has also confirmed that the company calculates its data allocation cumulatively, where your total data allocation is not calculated on a daily basis. For example, if you travel to the US for five days, the total data quota allocated to you is 500MB x 5 days = 2.5GB. Any usage beyond that amount will be charged at a rate of RM35 per 500MB of data. That obviously brings a lot of value to the user, since we don’t actually use the same amount of data every day.
Besides that, we found the experience of being able to pick up and return the MiFi device before and after our trips to be very convenient. In countries like Japan, despite the painless experience of being able to pay for your MiFi ahead of your trip and have the device delivered to your hotel on the day of your arrival, you’ll still be required to drop them off at the airport on the day of departure – there’s a hefty penalty fee to pay if you forget. With Wiyo, you keep the MiFi with you and literally stay connected throughout the entire trip.
The bad stuff. Tell me.
While our experience using Wiyo on the three assignments was exceptionally convenient, we felt that the booking process could be handled a little more efficiently. Having no payment gateway integrated into the booking process, and instead requiring customers to bank in the rental fees before passing the bank-in slip to Wiyo is rather inconvenient. With the proliferation of e-commerce sites offering painless payment integration, we believe most Malaysians would prefer some form of online payment portal integrated into the site itself.
In addition, Wiyo’s services appears to be geographically limited in the Klang Valley or anywhere within KL and Selangor for now. You’re required to pick up and return the MiFi devices to its office in Publika, which is situated close to Seri Hartamas and Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, while the
courier option is limited to addresses within the Klang Valley only. (CORECTION: Wide has courier options across Malaysia). Wiyo says this will naturally expand as the business grows, but for now it is focused on the areas mentioned above.
Should I buy it?
With rental rates between RM30 to RM40 per day, Wiyo’s MiFi services is comparable to subscribing to data roaming – with the added advantage of allowing up to 10 connected devices. And, if you compare with the costs of data roaming for each local telco, using Wiyo’s services appears to be a lot more sensible (especially if you’re travelling in a group – costs can be divided!)
Also, the convenience of being able to stay connected throughout the entire trip, not to mention having someone pick up and return the MiFi devices for you, is a powerful factor.
And, if you’re travelling with AirAsia anytime soon, Wiyo is also offering a 10% discount off the total rental fees.
For more information about Wiyo and its services, head on to its official website here.