While waiting several days for a package delivery, it was suggested that we stay in the teeny, tiny village of Cariquima, Chile, just 30 kilometers from the Bolivian border. Why? Because there was Internet. And it was the only place for hundreds of kilometers where it could be found.
There was Internet, but like many places we’ve found throughout the world, it wasn’t reliable Internet. It didn’t work all the time. It didn’t reach our room. And it could be sloooow.
Fortunately, we had our Tep Wireless, which during this particular stretch of time proved invaluable to us. After arriving to at the hotel, we checked our mail after several days without WiFi, but like so many times before, we were met with the spinning ball of eternity that signifies lost hope for connectivity.
So, we booted up our Tep, which offered 4G speed, and allowed us to open an email from home informing us that the cancer we thought had been eliminated in our cat Nima had spread and that it was a matter of days before he would die. We video Skyped with our co-cat parent and saw Nima one more time before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
As much as we enjoy not having WiFi at our fingertips like we do at home, we had never been more grateful for our device.
How it Works
Tep uses local cell towers to transmit data and has an eight-hour battery use life / 20 hours on standby. It comes preloaded with its own network ID and password and is also available in most countries around the world and fits into your pocket. See the TEP Wireless coverage map to find out if Tep is available in your location.
We have used our device over the past six months in five different countries – Turkey, Greece, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. It seems the speed and connectivity improve as the months go by.
Often, when we book accommodations, especially in the off-season, the owner request that we call upon arrival. Prior to having our Tep, this meant seeking out WiFi at a café, library, or much to our chagrin, a McDonalds, and then estimating how long it would take us to arrive by bicycle. Now, we arrive, boot up our Tep and bring up Skype to make the call. In the beginning, it would often take several tries to make the connection, but in recent months, we’ve had no problem connecting on the first try.
While finding WiFi in Patagonia proved a challenge, when we could use the Tep, our speed was almost always significantly faster than that offered at our campground or hostel. This was incredibly helpful in keeping up with our email, blog, and social media.
Does the TEP Wireless handle multiple users?
Tep Wireless is just like any other WiFi hotspot, you can have up to five users accessing the hotspot at any time. We once had to rely on our Tep while staying in the cabin of a friend, which offered no WiFi. One of our cycle touring mates had recently suffered a bike accident and his buddy joined us to help him recover. We were in the country, so finding connectivity meant an hour-long walk into town. For nearly two weeks straight, we relied on our Tep nearly all day long among four people. While the speed slowed over the course of the day, it only meant that we had to stop streaming our music, or we would all jump off to allow our friend to Skype home to Germany and inform his parents of the accident. Otherwise, our trusty device brought us streaming yoga and music, international phone calls, plenty of blog posts, and just about any activity we could want or need.
Essential for Bloggers
As bloggers with an active social media presence, traveling with our Tep Wireless has saved us a great deal of time and money seeking out WiFi in cafes, restaurants, libraries, etc. We can look for and book accommodation ahead of time, which is essential for those of us who travel with a pet in non-pet-friendly countries, we don’t have to spend hours sitting at a café updating our blog and social media, as we can often do it from the comfort of our own tent.
While we enjoy the freedom from cell phone contracts and constant need to feel up-to-date on Facebook or other social media, our Tep Wireless has come in handy more times than we can count. When we rely on Internet to map our route, check the weather, connect with home, or maintain our blog and social media, we have the access. And when we don’t want it, we simply turn it off and remain present in the moment.
Tep Wireless generously provided a device to accompany us on our travels – and we are incredibly grateful. As always, opinions are our own and we wouldn’t refer you to a product if we didn’t believe in it.