Renting a pocket WiFi or WiFi hotspot is probably the most convenient internet option you can get when traveling to Manila and the rest of the Philippines. The fact that you can simultaneously connect many of your devices in it and that these pocket internet devices are very easy to set up and convenient to get and return makes it a tourist-friendly internet option. Read on to find your best value options when renting a pocket Wi-Fi in the Philippines and how the whole process works as well.
Renting a Pocket WiFi in the Philippines: How it works
Unlike getting your own prepaid travel sim where you have to set up your sim plan and constantly re-load and check your balance, the process of renting a pocket Wi-Fi is fairly simple. Book online or via phone and pay for the rental fee, pick-up your WiFi device at the airport or have it delivered to your hotel in Manila, connect to your WiFi device, and return the device via courier or designated drop-off counters.
Pocket WiFi rental devices already have a sim card in it and all the works (battery, charger, manual, pouch, return envelope etc.) and you won’t need to worry about having to top-up on your balance as most of the time, these rentals come with an unlimited plan so you can just focus on traveling and uploading your selfies or for when you need to visit MNLgo ;).
Our 2 contenders
GoLocal – The fact that the GoLocal device is from Smart, one of the Philippines’ top telco provider and the fact that it the product is designed solely for the benefit of travelers who wish to rent a pocket WiFi when traveling the Philippines makes it the closest choice you might want to get. GoLocal’s simple package plan of $5.99 for 1 day, $14.99 for 7 days, $24.99 for 15 days makes it the cheapest rentals available for as low as USD$1.67 a day – if you book it for a longer period (15 days), that is. GoLocal has booths at NAIA (MNL) airport terminals 1 and 3 and Mactan-Cebu (CEB) airport where you can claim and return your device – just the two major Philippine airports, but the good thing here is that you also have the option to have it delivered to and picked up at your hotel for a small fee. The GoLocal device comes with speeds up to 42mbps – the data is unlimited, but mobile data in excess of 800MB will be delivered at a reduced speed (daily allowance is refreshed at midnight). The device can connect up to 5 devices at the same time and the rental requires a $45 refundable deposit.
Roam Buddy – Manila-based Roam Buddy is a global partner of Skyroam which lets users use their device across many international destinations including the Philippines. Rates are as low as PHP390 per day, and you can also contact them to arrange special rates for long- term rentals. You have the option to rent a device for a single trip, but if you are a really frequent traveler you have the option to buy a device (PHP4,990) and just top-up on day passes for use only when you need them. Buying a device saves you from having to arrange rentals if you’ll be using this service frequently anyway. You can pick up the internet WiFi device at their office in Quezon City, Metro Manila and it is also possible to have it delivered and picked up from your preferred address. This service is a little bit more expensive than GoLocal, but in case you are traveling around many different countries (the whole South East Asia perhaps?), then this might be exactly what you will need.
MNLgo tip: Instead of renting a WiFi device and to save more on rental fees if you are on a longer trip, another option would be to buy your own open line pocket WiFi device. For PHP2,000 or less you can also buy pocket WiFis from Globe and Smart, two of the Philippines’ largest cellular networks – you can get them at any mall nearest to you for sure. Load it up with credits including unlimited internet access for the duration of your stay, and these two networks have constantly changing promos that allow you get internet for way less than PHP100 per day – ask the sales staff at the mall or check Globe and Smart online for the current promos.
Check if the device you’re buying is open line, because if it is (meaning you can use different local and international sim cards), you can bring the device outside the Philippines for future use. If you have a smartphone, another option is to purchase a sim card, load up, cast a WiFi signal from your smartphone, and just tether your devices to it.
Pocket WiFi Alternatives
Although just getting your own pocket WiFi with unlimited internet access seems to be the best option (and we agree), there are times when internet access is just not enough. If you need to be able to call and text during the trip, it’s hassle-free to get your own free travel SIM card (exclusive to travelers) in major Philippine airports, or get your own prepaid SIM card if you’ve already left the airport. Free WiFi is also all over Metro Manila, you just have to know where to get them so take time to read our Manila free WiFi guide.