Aug
22
2010

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MobilityPass: Global Internet & Cellular Service

by Tyler

MobilityPass claims to offer cellular phone and internet access with a single SIM card in more than 100 countries– they also advertise free incoming calls for many of them. Wanting to provide the best possible support for my clients, they were one of many solutions I brought with us to ensure we could stay connected everywhere. Though it is pretty easy to get a local SIM card in most places, I wanted a single number where we could be reached for the duration of our trip.

I have been meaning to write this review for months. Every time I sit down to author this thing, I find myself overwhelmed by the sheer number of problems I've had with MobilityPass. I could fill ten journal entries with stories about their horrible products and worthless customer service.

As I think about the amount of time I've wasted trying to work with this company, a small inferno rises up in my stomach. Each time I've attempted to finish this, I get to the part where I've never received a single refund from their complete mess of an operation, and quit, refusing to expend any more of my energy on them.

For my sanity, I'm only going to list a few of the issues I've had. Hopefully this will be a sufficient cautionary tale for anyone thinking of using MobilityPass to work from the road.


MobilityPass Doesn't Work in Italy

An error in the configuration of their SIM cards prevented us from using the service anywhere in Italy. Their support team reported that the issue was easily correctable via a text message sent by them. All we had to do was leave Italy so our phone could actually register to a network to receive it!

In the end, their solution was to send a replacement SIM with the fix applied. Coordinating the receipt of a shipment on a trip like this is almost always a massive headache. Thankfully, we managed to get it without too much trouble. Problem solved, right? Not quite.

Our phone didn't work with the replacement card either. After several days, a support rep finally told me the original issue could have been corrected instantly and easily by adjusting a setting on either SIM through the phone. Apparently the original ticket we placed was handled by someone who didn't know this?

Later, I was incensed to learn that the shipment was sent at my cost. Also, their system wasn't capable of allowing us to retain the same phone number with the new card.


MobilityPass Doesn't Work Anywhere

A server failure downed their entire system for a period of weeks. We noticed this while we were in Serbia and Macedonia. When my inquiring support ticket was answered eight days after I submitted it, they informed me that an email had gone out to all customers about the issue. I had received nothing.

When the service was finally "fixed", there were numerous steps required by the user to restore their account to a functional state. Again, they reported that an email had been sent out, and again, I'd received nothing. After following their steps, the service continued to limp along, barely functioning 50% of the time.

Later, I found myself wondering how anyone relying on them to get connected would have ever gotten these fictitious emails anyway!


When MobilityPass Works, It Doesn't Work

When it does work, it doesn't work well. Dropped calls when you have full signal are the norm. So too are ear-piercing squeals, echoes, and garbled voices. My favorite though? Modem handshake noise screaming in over the conversation like you've dialed a fax machine or haven't yet muted the speaker on your new 28000 baud modem. Suddenly, I'm in the fourth grade again.


MobilityPass Has Lots of Hidden Fees

My account is regularly billed for ridiculous un-advertised fees. Stuff like, charging me for incoming calls even when I don't answer the phone! Apparently these go to some sort of web mail? My requests to disable this "feature" and refund my account for the charges have gone unanswered.

MobilityPass offers several different SIM packages, each of them with a different list of countries where you can receive free calls. I was recently charged for an incoming call in Russia which should have been free. The company told me I was using our original SIM from Italy (which I threw away the day we got the replacement), and that incoming calls were not free with it. My requests for a refund have gone unanswered.


When MobilityPass Doesn't Work, You Can't Get Help

Their support team is slow at best, and not so much a team but a collection of people who never communicate with one another. They often reply days or even weeks after you submit a request. Their phone support is little more than a muzak line. Don't call them using your MobilityPass phone either; their endless hold times will certainly cost a fortune – calling the company with it isn't free.


MobilityPass Doesn't Get It

MobilityPass really doesn't seem to understand that the whole point of having a global service like this is to use it in remote places. I have spent more time dealing with their support staff than I have the product itself. If I didn't have other ways of getting connected, getting "support" would have been impossible in many places.


MobilityPass Doesn't Work

MobilityPass may eventually offer a sound, functioning service. However, I would say that during my time using it, it worked properly about 20% of the time. I hope reading this will prevent anyone else from making the same mistake I did: getting billed through the nose being their beta-tester, holding out hope that everything will be okay soon.


GoSim is Great

If you need a single number worldwide, and aren't willing to eat the massive roaming costs from your home provider, get a SIM with the company GoSim. Their service actually works. They were my first choice, and we used them with great success for the first two months of our trip. Unfortunately, their data rates are astronomical compared to MobilityPass, hence our ill-fated switch.

Sadly, our phone, along with our GoSim card was stolen in Estonia. I foolishly didn't get a replacement while we were in Finland, and now we're stuck with MobilityPass again until we reach a country where the postal service is reliable.


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7 comments

Sounds like most other phone companies to me....
Posted by Tony on August 31st, 2010 at 10:25 AM
We became members of mobilityPass after you wrote, that you will use it. You seemed to be quite happy in the beginning. We've paid 300 Euros in total and never got a connection so far and we too never got a mail from them with one exeption. Once we could not connect and we were still on the road as we got a mail informing us that our actual SIMcard is not valid anymore because they changed I don't know what and sent all their customers new SIMcards. Another time they changed my login datas. They always had excuses for their never working service and we won't get any money back. I'll write an article on my homepage as well to warn others. Never ever become a member of mobility pass.
Posted by Ingrid + Yves on September 1st, 2010 at 5:17 PM
Calling these people "cowboys" is offensive to cowboys! Really, Ingrid and Yves, these revelations are shocking. I really don't know how these people sleep at night - I know I couldn't if I was basically stealing people's money like that. I've tweeted this article, and I suggest we spread the word as much as possible via our blogs FaceBook etc, so that more people don't get sucker punched by this crowd.
Posted by Tony on September 2nd, 2010 at 7:32 AM
I had similar experiences with MobilityPass. When I wrote a review to TrustPilot.com
giving MobilityPass one star in my review I got a harassing phone call from "Bob" at MobilityPass in the UK asking me to delete my review. He said it was my own fault for getting ripped off, I could have just read the fine print. Afterwards "Bob" wrote a rebuttal to my review and attacked my character. Several other negative reviews about MobilityPass appeared on TrustPilot.com, but were all removed
shortly afterwards. javierperezcruz has made a new blog including all the reviews that were deleted from TrustPilot. http://javierperezcruz.dreamwidth.org/
Thank you Javier! The word is getting around about MobilityPass and with luck they will soon go belly up.
Posted by Douglas Hinton on September 2nd, 2010 at 9:55 PM
I too am a MobilityPass victim. Sporadic unreliable cellular service, hopeless customer service, overcharging, hidden fees, the list goes on…The company should be called Immobility Pass - You're going nowhere!
Posted by Guy on September 8th, 2010 at 9:10 PM
I too am a MobilityPass victim. My prepaid International Data Sim card does not work. I had one support conversation where I was told that I have not set up my MiFi correctly. I have submitted several support requests and requests for refunds but my tickets get ignored and then closed. I have raised a dispute with Paypal. This company is to be avoided at all costs.
Posted by Louise on May 19th, 2012 at 1:23 AM
MobilityPass and GlobalRoaming are the same company
Posted by Louise on May 19th, 2012 at 2:56 AM
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