Skyroam Review in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Get your Skyroam with 3 free day passes for $79.95 with free shipping if you use my link (otherwise it is $99.95).

MightyTravels 2016-09-29 at 7.58.46 AM

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I bought my Skyroam device earlier this year with two use cases in mind:

  • Use it in countries without T-Mobile coverage as a replacement for going through the hassle of getting a local SIM card

and

  • For faster speeds in countries that have T-Mobile coverage so I’m independent from hotel WiFi.

I have reviewed Skyroam in the US before (using AT&T as a carrier).

So how did I fare using my Skyroam device during my trip in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan?

Skyroam Review – My experience with Skyroam in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is covered by the T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan so my iPhone worked there (though when I arrived it took an hour to finally get a working data connection). My Skyroam device also needed extra time to provide working data. I expected the Skyroam device to be much faster as it has un-throttled access to the local data network; in theory, the 3.5G HSPA connection it supports can get you up to 5 Mbit.

However, in Kazakhstan I had no such luck and the speed wouldn’t go beyond 1 Mbit to servers in the US (which are the ones I mostly use). It’s hard to say if it was a backend (ISP) issue or an issue with the local connection. This speed is equivalent to a working but slow WiFi connection.

Kazakhstan also slows down certain websites that it doesn’t censor (sites that it doesn’t completely block). The internet speed varied a lot here (though I mostly saw 4+ bars on my device).

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Skyroam Review – My experience with Skyroam in Tajikistan

Upon arrival in Tajikistan, I got a text from T-Mobile to say that the country wasn’t covered by the Simple Choice Plan, so I left my phone in airplane mode the entire time. Skyroam had coverage right away (you can use a 24-hour pass in as many countries as you like). The speed resembled that in Kazakhstan, but Tajikistan blocks many social media websites outright, so to access Facebook, Twitter, etc you will need to set up a VPN (I use StrongVPN but Betternet is a free alternative).

The local GSM operator had plenty of reception, but the data speeds were usually too slow to do any proper work.

However the Skyroam download/ upload speeds were comparable to the Hyatt Regency Dushanbe) but it is still too slow for serious work.

However, it was awesome to have data on my iPhone to navigate the city with and share the connection with my travel companions (there is almost no limit of devices that you can connect to a Skyroam device).

Skyroam Review – My experience with Skyroam in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is another country that is not covered by my T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan, but has coverage with Skyroam. If you stay in a country for a long time, often your first trip would be to get a SIM card and have to go through the registration hassle (some countries are better than others). With Skyroam, you are online while you wait at airport immigration, which is worth $9.95 (the cost of a 24-hour pass) for me right there.

Uzbekistan does not have a good track record for protecting the freedom of the internet, but at least during my time there a VPN was not necessary. The internet was slow, though, and accessing US websites was painfully slow. Sending an iMessage with a picture was downright impossible. The Skyroam speed was closer to 200 kbit than the 1 Mbit I saw in other countries, but it was highly variable and there were short bursts of really fast speeds.

Skyroam Review – My experience with Skyroam – Conclusion

Skyroam is a great device when there is no T-Mobile or other mobile network coverage and it’s much easier than dealing with the multitude of restrictions that you get in a country when buying a SIM card.

However, I wish it would be faster EVERYWHERE so I would be able to work just like with hotel WiFi.

Get your Skyroam with 3 free day passes for $79.95 with free shipping if you use my link (otherwise it is $99.95).