Comparison of International Wi-Fi Internet Service Providers

Wireless Internet access for travelers and road warriors

Home Office Network

 RoyalFive/Getty Images

International wireless internet service providers (WISPs) offer wireless hotspot access in countries around the world using one convenient login. Wi-Fi hotspots are ubiquitous these days, particularly for travelers, with thousands of hotspots throughout the world in public locations such as airports, hotels, and cafes. Although you can find free Wi-Fi at many retail establishments, you might prefer the assurance and ease of a dedicated Wi-Fi internet service plan that lets you log into hotspots in most countries with one account. Below are several wireless internet service providers that offer global Wi-Fi internet access.

Boingo Wireless claims to be the world's largest network of Wi-Fi hotspots, with more than 1 million hotspots worldwide at thousands of Starbucks, airports, and hotels. Boingo offers several plans for global wireless internet access at these hotspots, for both laptop users (Windows and Macs) and smartphones. (Many different devices are supported.)

Plans offered, as of this writing, are:

  • Boingo Mobile: unlimited smartphone use at hotspots worldwide
  • Boingo Unlimited: unlimited use of any four devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones at more than 200,000 hotspots
  • Boingo Global: 2,000 minutes worldwide connection of up to four devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) to more than 1 million hotspots

AT&T offers free Wi-Fi hotspot service to all data plan subscribers. The hotspots are located at thousands of airports, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, McDonald's. and other places around the world. (Check out the map of AT&T Wi-Fi Locations to view coverage.)

T-Mobile HotSpot service is available at more than 45,000 locations worldwide, including airports, hotels, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble.

Current T-Mobile wireless customers can get unlimited national hotspot usage for $9.99 per month. For non-T-Mobile customers, the monthly cost is $39.99 per month. Single-session usage is also available at prices varying by location.

For certain international and US hotspot locations, an additional roaming fee (from $0.07 per minute to $6.99 per day) may apply.

Sprint PCS Wi-Fi

Sprint offers high-speed wireless access at public U.S. and international hotspots. Unfortunately, other than indicating you need Sprint PCS Connection Manager software to connect at the Wi-Fi location, Sprint's website, as of this writing, does not offer more information on coverage or pricing. To learn more, contact a Sprint sales rep.

Other Wi-Fi Connections

Bear in mind that some national and international municipalities now offer free Wi-Fi connections. Likewise, many public businesses and institutions such as libraries offer free Wi-Fi connection, as well, negating the need for provider-specific, paid access.