Tep Wireless Review: Is It the Best Portable Wifi For Travel?
This my honest review of Tep Wireless, whose portable WiFi I’ve been using for the past 6 months. As a solo traveler, access to reliable WiFi has been a godsend. I can’t believe I used to travel without it! I’m sharing my experience traveling with the Teppy pocket WiFi device. Through this Tep Wireless review, I want to show you the features, pros, cons, and everything in between so you can decide if Tep Wireless is the right portable WiFi for you.
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What is Tep Wireless?
Tep Wireless is a UK-based telecom company that provides internet for international travelers. The company’s mission is to help travelers communicate easier abroad and avoid hefty roaming charges. Its main product is the Teppy, a small pocket WiFi device provides internet access in over 100 countries. It delivers 3G or 4G speed internet to your WiFi-enabled devices.
How does the Teppy provide WiFi worldwide?
Similar to a wireless router, the Teppy creates a WiFi hotspot when turned on. This is basically a private network for you unless you decide to share. With the password, you can connect your phone, laptop, computer, or another WiFi-enabled device. You can connect up to five devices at a time.
When you visit a country, the Teppy figures out what country you’re in. Then it connects you to the best WiFi network in the area. You don’t need to purchase a SIM card because Tep Wireless uses its patented SIM technology to connect a local data network. You can think of your Teppy as essentially virtual SIM card swapper.
How do you use the Teppy abroad?
Using the Teppy is quite simple. First, you turn on the device by holding the button at the bottom center. When it’s on, you can see the network name and the password on the screen. The network name will show up as an option in the WiFi networks on your phone or whatever device you’re using. You then select it and enter the password.
In what countries can you use the Teppy?
The Teppy works in over 100 countries, and its network is constantly expanding. In every country, it partners with the biggest network companies. If you’re traveling to a city, you can always expect excellent coverage. If you’re going to a rural area, connectivity may be limited. You’ll have to contact Tep support to verify whether the device would work in that destination. Below is a complete list of the TEP Wireless coverage areas.
What can you do with a Teppy?
The Teppy provides access to the internet only. You can’t use it to make regular voice calls. That said, you can use Skype, Google Voice, or Whatsapp audio. If you download the Tep+ app, you can call and message others who have the app for free. I didn’t even know that until recently so I’m going to take advantage of that in the future.
Now that we’ve gotten the technical stuff out of the way, let’s dive into the pros and cons. My overall experience with Tep Wireless has been phenomenal. I’m a critic at heart so I have to be really impressed to gush about a product. Having a Teppy has completely transformed the way I travel, and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. Let me break down the pros of using the Teppy device.
The Teppy works in all types of places
I’ve been using my Teppy for 6 months now. So far I’ve only traveled with it in Europe and North America. Over the summer, I traveled solo to Spain and used my Teppy all over the country with no issues. I used it in Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Vigo, and the remote Cies Islands.
While cruising on the Atlantic Ocean to the Cies Islands, I did a Facebook live. This was in the Atlantic Ocean, right off the northwest coast of Spain. The WiFi held up for about 30 minutes. Then the bars slowly dropped as the boat got too far away from the land. I was worried that the WiFi wouldn’t work at all so the fact that it lasted 30 minutes was impressive. The Teppy isn’t intended to work on boats or cruises because the device connects to signals on land, not satellite signals.
I spent the whole month of August traveling solo in Europe. I went to Spain (again, I’m an addict) and then to Germany, the UK, Poland, and Portugal. It worked fine in each location. I went to the Scottish Highlands, and the connectivity was just like normal. I used my Teppy to find directions, text friends, find reviews for nearby restaurants, find a nail salon, call my mom, find the bus schedule…the list goes on. I could do so many things that I just couldn’t do before!
It has long-lasting battery power
The battery is designed to last 6 hours when it’s fully charged and connected to one device. I normally charge my Teppy overnight so that it’s ready to go the next day. When fully charged, the battery lasts me around 8 hours. I should also mention that I turn off my Teppy when I’m not using it to conserve the power. Let’s say I’m out for dinner with a friend. I don’t want my Teppy to be running in the background for an hour if I’m not using it. If I’m taking the bus somewhere, I’ll leave it on just in case I need to double check the route. If you decide to purchase a Teppy, I would recommend you conserve the power when you’re not using it.
It takes the stress out of travel
Having a Teppy has taken the stress out of planning my travels in particular. Before, I had to map out directions ahead of time or try to figure out a tourist map. I would actually take screenshots of the directions on Google Maps. If I somehow got lost, I’d look for a Starbucks to get free WiFi or ask strangers to direct me. Those days are long gone.
Having a Teppy gives you access to information at your fingertips. Now, I can be more spontaneous with my travel plans. I can venture off the beaten path knowing that I can find my way back. This has made traveling so much easier for me.
It gives you peace of mind
I think the best thing about traveling with a Teppy is that it gives you peace of mind. As a solo traveler, I don’t have anyone to rely on if something goes wrong. But with access to WiFi, I call instantly make a call, request an Uber, file a travel insurance claim, and a whole range of other things. It’s incredible that having a little device in your purse can give you so much more confidence and security.
I also recently learned about Tep Wireless’s personal safety feature, Kitestring. This app is designed for solo travelers. You set a timer for Kitestring to check up on you every day. If you don’t respond, it will send a message to your emergency contacts. What a great idea! It’s as if someone is constantly checking up on you, except that the someone is an app. The best thing is that Kitestring comes free with a Teppy rental or purchase.
No product is perfect so I’m going to share the Teppy’s imperfections based on my experience. These are the areas where I think it could improve.
It was slow to connect at times
The main issue I’ve had with my Teppy is that, occasionally, the signal took some time to come on. By some time, I mean more than 6-10 minutes. Maybe I’m just impatient, but I want to get on Google Maps and be out the door fast. Because the quality of the local network coverage varies, the strength of your signal will also vary. So will the quickness of your connection. I’d likely to say that you can instantly access WiFi, but that’s not always the case. Location matters too. Bad weather and network congestion can also affect your connection.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the WiFi actually not unlimited. But let’s say you have the 4G speed plan like me. When you reach 500 MB of data for the day, your speed starts to slow down to 3G levels. As I mentioned before, most of the time I turned off my Teppy when I wasn’t using it. That’s why I haven’t an issue with slower speeds later in the day, but I understand how that could be an issue.
How much does a Teppy cost?
Now, let’s talk prices. There are two options.
Rent a Teppy – you can rent a Teppy for $8.95/day. This plan is ideal for short trips.
Purchase a Teppy – you can buy a Teppy for $129 then buy daily passes for $8/each. A daily pass gets you 24 hours of WiFi. This plan is ideal for frequent travelers. It’s the one I have.
Let’s compare that to Skyroam, a popular alternative. Its portable WiFi costs $9.95/day to rent and $149.99 to buy. Then you pay $9 for daily passes. I’ve never used Skyroam before so I can’t speak to the quality.
What does your rental or purchase come with?
Your delivery will contain the following items:
- Teppy pocket WiFi device
- Global travel adapter
- Three instruction manuals for the Teppy, the global travel adapter, and support
- 24/7 support – if you need anything you can email, call, live chat, or send a Facebook message.
Extras you can add
Tep Wireless has extra services you can download for free or buy:
- Kitestring – this is a security measure that Tep provides to help travelers in case of an emergency. The Kitestring app allows you to set up regularly check-ins based on the frequency you’d like. At a time you choose, Kitestring will send you a text message. If you don’t respond, the app will send an alert to your emergency contacts. This feature is especially useful for solo travelers.
- TEP + App – this free app allows you to call and text anyone in the world who has the app. This comes at no charge to you.
- Local Concierge – people often get recommendations for what to do from their hotel concierge. Tep Wireless took this idea and added a more personalized twist to it. Instead of asking the hotel staff, you can chat directly with a local via the TEP + App to get recommendations on what to do, see, and eat. Your local concierge will be available to chat from 9 am to 8 pm every day.
- Call and Text Abroad – With the TEP + App you can make and receive international calls at a rate of $0.01 per minute.
- Prime WiFi – you’ll get access to in-flight WiFi for free or at a low rate. This service is still in the works so I’ll write an update when it’s out.
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The final verdict
I love my Teppy despite its minor flaws. As I mentioned before, this device has been a game changer for me as a solo traveler. I don’t know how I was able to travel without it for so long! Whether or not you’re a solo traveler, the Teppy will make your travels easier. Having easy access to WiFi can be the difference between a great trip or a frustrating one. I think back to when I arrived in Tokyo last year and wandered the streets for an hour looking for my hostel. What a difference having a Teppy would have made! Overall, I think the Teppy is a great choice if you’re looking for reliable portable WiFi for your holiday travels and beyond.
Use my code, SOMTOSEEKS, to get 10% off your rental or purchase. Renting is a great way to test out a Teppy without committing to buying it. it’s also ideal if you don’t travel often. If you’re a digital nomad, then purchasing would serve you better in the long run.
Wow!!! I have such a hard time with Wifi and I always need it so I get really anxious. This really is a god send! Thank you for writing about it and I will be looking into it over xmas!
You’re very welcome. WiFi used to be a hassle for me, too. Now, I don’t have that problem anymore!
I’m definitely curious about this because with my AT&T international plan, it’s $10.95 a day. Which is a little more expensive than this gadget, but it does seem a little bit more costly up front. I guess my main question is, why is this device possibly a better choice than simply an unlimited cell phone and data collection. I definitely didn’t know about this device though so your review really helps
This device is a better choice if you’re a frequent traveler. You purchase daily passes as needed instead of having to pay a fixed amount daily. With an international phone plan, you get charged per device. You also get charged if you have apps running in the background. With Pocket WiFi, you can use up to 5 devices at the same time, and it’s perfectly fine for apps to run in the background. Before getting the Teppy, I looked into Verizon’s international plan, and I was going to end up paying way more for it. Hope this helps.
What did you end up choosing? I have At&t as well and I am just trying to figure out my options.
Ohhh I have always wanted a portable wifi, we were just investigating this one too, so what good timing I fell upon your blog. Great review!! Thank you! 🙂
I’m glad you found the review helpful! Thanks for the nice comment.
What a great idea to have your own portable wifi hotspot with you. It’s interesting that you are able to rent one. I am going to explore this a bit further. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome. Glad you found this review helpful! And, yes, renting is a great option if you want to test out the device.
What an awesome idea. Normally I just put an international data pack on my phone and I am paranoid about going over. I was tempted to pick up new sim cards on our next international trip, but I think this looks like a much better idea. Then I can still keep my normal mobile number.
You’re right. Pocket WiFi is much more convenient than buying new SIM cards. You just arrive at your destination and instantly connect to the internet.
I have never heard of such a device before, just buying SIM cards in every place I go to… Thanks for sharing this information, I’ll consider trying it out.
You’re welcome! You’re right, portable Wifi is so much more convenient than buying new SIM cards in every country.
Hi. Your Teppy code does not validate.?
You entered the code and it didn’t work? That’s strange. You could start a chat with the customer service to get it resolved quickly.
I teach internationally online. I need reliable Wifi when I travel. Hotels may or may not work for me. I want a backup plan. I am thinking of purchasing a unit and having a stash of day passes. That way, even if I am home I can use the device if I lose power, etc. My question is about the connection time. You mentioned 6 to 10 minutes. At the times when it took this long, once you were connected, did you have a 4G reliable connection?
Hi Janice. Yes, once I was connected, the connection was reliable for hours. Throughout my travels, I haven’t had any issues with the connection.
Hi! I’ve read that you did study abroad in Spain. How did you go about changing your phone number when you got there? Thank you!
Hi Emily, I bought a new phone when I studied abroad so it came with a local number. With a pocket wifi device you wouldn’t need to change your phone number.