Know Roaming Review – Should I Use KnowRoaming Mobile
In one word, NO.
But let me explain why we think the reviews we have read online don’t live up to our experience.
Firstly, as someone who professionally travels the entire globe and who is a techno geek, data is one of the most important travel tools these days. To look up and book all sorts of things form AirBnB to Uber,, Google Maps and just staying in contact with loved ones.
Getting Data is really still a huge hassle after all these years. Blackberry had the right idea to provide unlimited global packages for their devices world wide, and I personally cannot wait for Elon Must to get his 4,425 satellites up and running giving global coverage of low orbit satellite based data services. I am surprised that Apple or Google etc have not jumped in and lined up the telcos who are still busy ripping people for global data. They will end up wishing they had global alliances once something else comes online. Anyway I digress.
KnowRoaming has a good idea. They tap into the alliance of roughly 50-60 normal countries that appear to be able to operate in the real world and have some reasonable deals. The countries are sort of the ones you would expect. Basically if the telcos operate in a fair and less regulated environment (read western civilised countries) then they are likely on the list. If the countries government or royal highness owns the telcos or chops the hands of thieves off, then they are probably not on the list. (Read 1/2 the world that operates in dictator chaos).
Among the plans is the All You can Eat $7.99 per day for unlimited data. This was particularly appealing to me as I am often in countries for a short period of time.
Mobile Sticker for Roaming
The device I took was the sticker that you put easily on your sim card that gives your extra function while away form your normal carrier. No problems with the sticker and applying it.
The KnowRoaming App and Service
The issues I have are with the KnowRoaming App. The app controls the management of data access while in other countries. The idea is that you power it up while in the roaming countries and select the plan you wish to use. The failures of the app are this.
1. Unintuitive not user Friendly. – The app needs to install profiles on the iPhone to set up local data access. This part I can handle. Installing profiles are like installing certificates on a phone. A little odd at first, but once you get the idea of it, then not to bad. But the really unfriendly part is that you activate data on the home screen, but the app then needs to download the local roaming profiles to get the plans available locally. At times the connection download rate to get this data is so bad that the app does not find the data you need. Then you are left with an activated connecting that is using your data at a huge rate, and charing you normal crappy connection rates because you have not activated the daily plan. On more than one occasion I used all my credit before I could get a daily rate activated.
Other times I activated the daily plan, only to instantly loose the connection for a period of time. Then to find out that the activation did not take and I was again using all my credit when connection returned.
2. Reliability – Very poor at best. Because of this switching of profiles and presumably the providers of choice in the countries being forced for connection on once activated. I often found I was in a location like an airport with great reception. As soon as I activated the mobile data in the KnowRoaming app, and turned the Roaming Data on in the phone settings, I lost my connection all together to the telcos. No signal. Frustrating as hell when you need to get something done.
3. Data Priority – As you would expect with data roaming services, the telcos in the country you are traveling will give you low priority on their networks for data. This is understandable and even though the services are 3G only and you are most likely connecting to 4 G capable networks, I did find that at peak times (like the time of day you would book an Uber, Taxi, Hotel or AirBnB.) The series is so slow that you can’t get anything done at all. Ping tests 100 times slower than normal connection. Can’t even get to a google home page. Totally useless.
4. Average support – While contacting support gets you reasonably quick responses via email. You do need to have data to get email. What’s APP is free data, which leads the question. Why not enable free data for their APP and offer in app communications. As it stands you need the App to work to get support on getting the App to work. Crazy right!
On the two occasions that I contact support advising that my entire balance had been eaten up in a manner of minutes. I was once refunded the money when I advised that I was a new customer and just did not get the interface for the app to activate the daily plans. And in this I will restate that the App really is not user friendly at all. They really need to force choice options on you as you activate to say… hey use all your credit in minutes or using one of the normal persons options to roam all day.
The other time I experienced the “There Goes All yYour Credit” in a few minutes issue. Was as a result of the loss of connection then subsequent re-connection unbeknown to me a short time later. So my phone sat doing what my phone does, downloading email etc. All the time I believed I had no connection and was waiting to get WiFI access to sort out why I had no carrier signal after activating data.
I contact support with this second credit suck, and they pretty much said.. “Yep there goes your money, here is how to top up again”. As if I would put another cent into a services that just sucked down every penny I just fed it and gave me nothing in return.
So in summary… Reasonable Process, Quick Response to Support, Very Average App, Very Unreliable, at times Unusably Slow, Average Support Response. Stay Away from KnowrRaming.
Note that these are just my experiences and subsequently my opinion of the service. I probably may have had better experiences had I received better support the second time I had major credit suck. I do have work colleagues that use the services and sewer by it, but once bitten twice shy. They had the opportunity to turn me into a happy customer, and it was as simple as a “sorry, here is your credit back”.