In November, I wrote an article that explained the new free unlimited Whatsapp offer from KnowRoaming for travellers.
When you consider Whatsapp is the primary communication tool for most users and that KnowRoaming has an extensive global roaming partnership network, it was a great win for their customers.
The only thing that was not free was video messaging. Video messaging was specifically excluded but this week, KnowRoaming added it to its free Whatsapp offering. So the KnowRoaming free unlimited global use offer includes all Whatsapp services:
- Text and picture messaging
- voice calling
- video calling
And it is automatically available to all KnowRoaming customers. If you have KnowRoaming credit, and you should if you travel, they will refund Whatsapp usage charges every couple of hours.
What about competitors?
I used SkyRoam many times during my global trips but stopped when I realized their account management webpage (adding credits, storing credit card information, etc) was all being transacted in a non-secure manner. Wrote about it here. Mistakes happen but the most frustrating part of the entire SkyRoam issue is that they ignored me for the longest time then promised to fix it ASAP but didn't. Obviously customer security isn't their top priority.
I am waiting for the GeeFi to ship but until then, I will stop to KnowRoaming.
The KnowRoaming issues
KnowRoaming works very well when enabled but enabling it isn't easy and reliable. You need an unlocked phone and I have had issues where the app couldn't connect to the internet in the remote location and thus wouldn't let me enable the KnowRoaming sticker.
Then once you activate the plan, you have to install the KnowRoaming profile which means you can't VPN when using KnowRoaming. This VPN limitation is a major problem when using public wifi.
The third issue is related to speed. All KnowRoaming connections are 3G even if the partner network and your smartphone support LTE. I was told this is being looked at but I haven't been given any promises or dates.
After everything is said and done, KnowRoaming is (in my mind) the best solution for global roaming on the cheap today. I am anxious to test the new crop of global roaming hotspots that will hit the market early 2017.
KnowRoaming really needs to spend the time and money to completely rework its app and to make the enable/disable process easier.