Overseas Data Card and m1 Data Passport review

Being a self-declared data/wifi addict, I have decided to list all my overseas data/wifi experiences together with other reviews that I have found online. A huge portion of this entry will be dedicated to M1 Data Passport – a really awesome package which I only discovered this year. I hope I will have time to update this list frequently. Feel free to share your comments, reviews below and I will update accordingly as long as it is useful.

Disclaimer: All my experiences and comments (otherwise indicated) are my own. I will not hold any responsibility for any wrong information and it is the reader’s responsibility to do more research prior to any purchase.

At the time of writing (screenshot from m1 website on 15 April 2016), the following information stands.

m1 data passport

For myself, I am currently subscribed to mData Lite+ Plan which gives me 5Gb of 4Gdata  per month at only $24.30+ ($26 after GST). I signed a 24-month contract back in Dec 2014, during one of the IT fairs at Expo and I was given a Huawei E5573 for free. (Click to see current m1 data plans). Extra Gb will be chargeable at $10.70/gb.

TIP: If you are using a Huawei device, don’t forget to download the HuaweiHiLink app. From the app, you will be able to select the different Telcos, check the connection and restart the connection when necessary.

** Do note that M1 Data Passport of $10/month is based on the dates of your billing cycle. If the usage dates crossover 2 billing cycles, you will end up paying $10 x 2. You can call up M1 Customer Service Counter for them to adjust the billing cycle. I did that one month prior to my trip to play safe. 

Countries will be arranged by alphabetical order.

Australia

Important Links (Check them for the latest promo price):

My experience (March 2016 – Perth, Margaret River, Mandurah)
As expected, Vodafone (M1 Data Passport Partner) has the worse coverage compared to Opus and Telstra network. However, it was pretty alright considering that I paid $12 to use 3gb out of my 5gb mobile data overseas. On the other hand, my brother got the $20 Opus card (min. buy is $20) and used it for $2/500mb per day for 9 days. My dad used the Singtel (Opus) promotion of $10/1gb for 30 days for its dataroam saver. Original price is $19.90 but do note that excess charge would be at $0.10/mb.

Do note that if you visit the outskirts like farms and vineyards, it is highly likely that there will be no network at all! I vaguely remember that I had no reception at Eagles Co. Brewery on Vodafone. Network Coverage: Telstra (best) > Opus > Vodafone
TIP: Perth Airport only has Opus and Vodafone shop, no Telstra.

Conclusion:

Low Usage – just whatsapp, google map directions etc. – the $10/1 gb from Singtel is the best deal.
Medium to High Usage – M1 Data Passport if you have sufficient data on your existing plan and that your travel dates fall within the bill cycle
(Note: you pay $10/bill cycle. If your bill cycle is from 1st to 30th of every month but your trip is from 28th to the 5th of the following month, you will have to pay $20 for the data passport usage. Prior to your trip, you can call the customer service and get them to change the bill cycle for you.).
If your bill requires 2 bill cycle ($22), it might be better off buying the $20 Opus card unless your trip exceeds 11 days ($2/day).

Hong Kong

Consider buying a Hong Kong Tourist Sim 5 days unlimited data at – HKD88 or 8 days at HKD118 or PRE-ORDER it from Klook’s website!

In my recent trip to Hong Kong (Sep 2016), I purchased a Hong Kong 5-Day Data Sim card for only SGD10 from Klook‘s website!
It contained 1.5gb worth of data which was decent for my 4D3N adventure (used only about 900mb). You can save approximately 30 HKD if you do an booking vs paying 88 HKD at the airport.
Link for 5-Day Hong Kong 4G Data Sim

Indonesia – Bali

Note: Data card is selling at 350,000 Rp at Bali airport and there is only one shop. This price is ridiculously expensive!

My experience (March 2017) with Starhub Happy Roam

I paid for $5 for 3 days of 1Gb data usage and then another $5 for the next 3 days of 1Gb, thinking that I can survive without data on my 4th day or that I would have exceeded using 1gb within the first 3 days. It was a dumb decision as I should have just bought the $7 for 7 days of 1Gb usage. For my 4 days trip, I ended up using only 1.1gb of data.

As Starhub Happy Roam only allows you to connect to “3” and “XL”, the connection is not as extensive as compared to Telkomsel. Overall, it was still quite manageable as there was still connection atthe very unaccessible Nusa Penida and Lembongon (island off Bali). I would highly recommend to get the Starhub Happy Roam as it is the most value for money among all the other options! The only thing is that you need to remember to turn off data roaming before you activate the data plan. Otherwise, your card balance will be reduced as you will be paying for expensive roaming charges!! I lost $5 of credit because of that!

***

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user Jajajc 18-03-2016, 12:25 AM

used it in Bali near Kuta area. It is terrible, connection is very slow and often can’t get through. Waste of money.

Europe

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user Majestic12 13-04-2016, 06:03 PM

Using it at this very moment at Paris Orly airport. Works very well in London, Rome and Paris. No issues at all if you travel to developed nations.

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user Level42 02-03-2016, 05:30 PM

I used the M1 Data Passport in Germany and Austria last Dec. My connection through T-Mobile was good and stable. I could even setup a hotspot for 2 other devices.

Japan

My experience (March 2015 – Osaka, Tokyo with Docomo 7 Day Sim)

Bought a 7-day Docomo card off Taobao for 69Y ($16-18 SGD not inclusive of shipping to SG) back in Feb 2015. It has unlimited usage for 7 days, max 200mb of 4G speed per day.
To use: scan the QR code provided by them and install a profile into your phone. You must remember to uninstall the profile when you reach singapore, otherwise your own data is unable to work.
Card is suitable on iPhone 5s, but might not be suitable on xiaomi and other brands.

Even though I kind of rate myself as a heavy user, I only used 1.2gb in those 7 days .

Original Seller which I bought from (Price is revised to 78Y at time of writing).
Many other sellers here, just read the reviews.

My experience (June 2015 – Tokyo, Hokkaido)

Got sponsored by Ninja Wifi for my trip. It cost 900Y/day + tax – not the cheapest option; but definitely a reliable one.
Read my detailed experience here. If you use my referral link, you will receive a 10% OFF your entire order!

My experience (May 2016 – Tokyo, Hakone, Kuchigawako)

Should be using M1 Data Passport + Docomo Card as backup. No issues with connection. It served me well but please note on the price increase from $10 to $25/month for Japan.

My experience (March 2017 – Kumamoto, Himeji, Osaka)

Got sponsored by Ninja Wifi again and the connection was good throughout. They upgraded their devices so the battery life was better than my previous time back in 2015.

*****

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user Gixxerfied  22-03-2016, 11:26 AM

My wife use it last Nov during our trip..
No issue, connection is stable and good..No issue when we went Kawaguchiko and Gotemba as well..

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user nomoney25  22-03-2016, 11:22 AM

Using it last month on osaka/kyoto. Yes it was quite good. I went to Kinosaki onsen too. Then it switched to Ntt docomo occasionally once awhile. Activated with network lock. So no worries.

Update 1st May 2016

Saw this information when activating Data Passport for my trip in Mid May. I activated my Data Passport on 1st May 2016, hopefully it will be valid for since I activated it before 3 May. Will update when I receive an update.

Data Passport – Japan, Softbank
  • Effective 3 May 2016 :
    1. Preferred network will be changed from Softbank to NTT DoCoMo.
    2. $10 Japan Data Passport will not be available for new activations (activated $10 Japan Data Passport will be removed on 31 May 2016).
  • By activating the $10 Japan Data Passport, you have agreed to activate voice, SMS and data roaming services. You have also agreed to the removal of $10 Japan Data Passport on 31 May 2016.
  • Monthly subscription of $10 is based on bill cycle date and will not be pro-rated.
  • An additional monthly charge of $5 will apply for Multi-SIM users (if applicable).
  • One-time activation fee of $2 applies for each Data Passport activation.

Malaysia

  • Used Singtel’s data roam saver add on of 1GB data for $10/month. More information here.

My experience (June 2014 – Kota Kinabalu)

Data sim cards (all sizes are available including nano) by Digi are available at Kota Kinabalu Terminal 2.
I bought mine for 20.80RM which includes 5 day usage of 700MB at 3G speed. After 700MB, the speed would be slower.

My experience (March 2015 – Mersing, Johor)

If you’re going to Malaysia, you can consider a $15 Starhub Happy Roam that allows you to surf worry-free at Singapore data rates in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan & Thailand. In the case of Malaysia (applicable to all operators), it cost only $5 for 3 days of data usage of up to 1GB. Read more information about Happy Roam here. I’m not 100% sure that the same rates apply for the other countries and if it does, it is super reasonable at $7 – 7 days 1GB and $15 – 30 days 2.4GB (other data plans)

Tip: This card is extremely hard to find.. We visited authorized resellers but it was all out of stock. We only managed to find it at the 3rd Seven Eleven and there was only 1 left.

For myself, I activated the M1 Data Passport for Malaysia since it was paying $12 vs $15 for a Starhub Happy Roam card (You still have to buy the card at $15 even if you’re just using $5 of credit). Both card and M1 Data Passport had good coverage, even though I was at Pulau Besar (private island). Even when we went out for snorkeling, there was reception on the boat too – perfect for snapchat =p

Taiwan

South Korea

M1 Data Passport Review – From Hardwarezone user dEv_  12-04-2016, 10:24AM

For the interested, 4G/3G connection via sk telecom is good here.

Mobile Data Rental and Data Sim can be bought from Mobile U – http://www.mobileu.com.sg

Price for Wifi Egg starts from $4/day and Data Sim starts from $32 (5-day unlimited LTE).

Will review about their service after I return from my trip in Apr/May 2017.

Thailand – Bangkok

My experience (Sep 2015 – Suvarnabhumi Airport BKK + Hua Hin)

We bought an AIS sim card – 299B for unlimited 7 days of data. Reception was perfect – no complains.

Alternatively, you can purchase it at Changi Recommends at Changi Airport before you fly.

Thailand – Krabi

My experience (May 2014 – Krabi Airport, Krabi island tours)

We bought a TrueMove data sim card at a small booth right at the arrival hall. It was 200B for 3 days unlimited data. (Price has since been revised) Surprisingly, I could still use the data card as per normal on our 4th day – not sure if the calculation is done in 24 hours block instead of a midnight to midnight thing.

Reception was perfect – even when we were stuck out at sea during the island hopping tour.

*****

List will be updated with contributions from online resources.

Last Update: 24 March 2017.

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  • Hi!

    I’ll be flying to Japan this December and I’m planning to use M1 data passport. How was your experience for May 2016?

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Jo

  • Hi, my experience with M1 Data passport in England was fine, from London to North of England.
    On the other hand, it was not so good in Malaysia. Going around Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang Valley, the signal was not reliable. It’s almost like when going from one transmitter to the next, the handover is not smooth. Sometimes have to go in and out of flight mode for the connection to be reset. It can’t be due to my phone, which worked fine in England (and Singapore). It can’t be Celcom, which has good reputation in Malaysia. So I can only conclude it is the M1 passport having difficulty being recognised in Malaysia.

    • Thank you for leaving such a long and useful feedback!

      I’ve previously used M1 Data Passport in Malaysia during my trip in March to Pulau Besar and my experience was fine.

      However, I’ve seen discovered a better alternative for Malaysia – -Singtel’s $10 for 1GB Roaming for 30 days. Have used it twice already for different trips and the roaming was decent!

  • Hi, it’s smooth riding for my 1st M1 Data Passport in Nov 2016.
    But I’m being charged for M1 Data Roaming during my recent Taiwan trip, despite I Deactivated Data & Roaming on my Mobile Phone and rented Wifi router via Klook.
    Just because I ACTIVATED M1 Data Passport service for my Nov trip.
    ACTIVATE M1 Data Passport also AUTOMATICALLY ACTIVATED M1 Data Roaming.
    But DEACTIVATE M1 Data Passport DOES NOT = Deactivate Data Roaming!??? Which I clearly unaware of, so the Roaming service is Activated the whole time, while I’m in Singapore. That also won’t incur charges.
    According to M1, I must specifically request to DEACTIVATE ROAMING when I deactivate Data Passport service. Because there are customers requested to leave Data ROAMING ACTIVATED. That’s why even I Deactivated my Data & Roaming on my Mobile during my recent trip and rented Wifi Router, I still incurred Roaming charges.

    • Hi there, thanks for sharing your experience. Does it mean that you accidentally turned on data roaming on your phone setting when you are in Taiwan and resulted to data roaming charges being incurred?

      I am not sure about M1 procedures as I stopped my plan already but usually when I go overseas, I will make sure that the data roaming button is turned off in my phone.

      But anyway, I guess you can try appealing to m1 with regards to the charges. If it is reasonable, they may do a waiver.

  • My upsized data usage crossover 2 billing cycles, m1 ended up charging for 2 months. Called up the customer service, even quoted your case as reference but they still can’t change anything. is there a difference going to their service counter to resolve this and via calling the hotline??

    I still have to pay for 2 months even though i only used it for a month only. SIGH!!!

    • Hi there, sorry to hear about your experience with m1. I did my change in billing cycle last year and I did it before my trip (not sure if it was the same for you). If I’m not wrong, I think I read somewhere on hardwarezone forum saying that m1 stopped allowing people to do the change the billing cycle anymore but I can’t confirm where I read that information from. Have you tried contacting them via their facebook page? To be honest, I don’t think going to service counter can resolve anything. Maybe you try facebook and calling the hotline again.