I like these guys…
Getting online in a foreign country is rarely a straightforward experience, and although Croatia has much better WiFi access than many countries in Europe (here every bar and cafe is seemingly connected, a direct contrast to my experience in Munich this year, for example), for those who want to be online constantly, running into the nearest cafe to get online is not the most convenient option.
One can of course rack up roaming charges from your home country, whose costs will vary and possibly dictate how much you are online, but there is another way, especially if you are travelling in a group.
Meet RoamFree Ninja, a new Croatian start-up of two established companies, who have successfully launched a one-stop WiFi solution which is proving so successful that they are already expanding into Austria, just three months after the launch.
The concept is simple – quality WiFi all over the country and outstanding customer service. The Ninja team have introduced a device which creates your own personal hotspot with a generous 75GB a week at 21.5 mbps, with up to ten devices able to connect at the same time. Want to surf on the beach, post videos from your rental boat, or have the kids watching online movies as you power down the Croatian motorway? This is the device for you.
I met the guys in Zagreb for a beer or three last week to learn more, and they generously allowed me to road test the device for a couple of weeks. The concept is simple. Pre-order the service with a credit card booking, and your hotspot will be waiting at your Croatian address on arrival – hotel, yacht etc. The kit comprises a device smaller than a regular phone, power cable for charging, simple instruction manual and pre-paid envelope to return the device when you leave. This can be left in the care of your hotel reception. As they expand into other countries beyond Croatia and Austria, here is your one-stop European WiFi solution.
So how was it? To be honest, a total life-saver. Running round Zagreb trying to confirm meetings, send documents and get a little blogging in, the need to find a cafe and buy a drink to get online was over, and I caught up with my necessary business in the park. Three hours of power blogging on the overnight train from Zagreb to Split would not have been possible without my Ninja, and I mananged to Skype conference calls to America and Germany on the ferry from Split to Stari Grad.
Even for someone as technologically challenged as me, the device was idiot-proof. Simply switch it on, search for the RoamFree Ninja network, enter the code on the back of the device and surf away. Checking out the range, we could get online some 50 metres from the device, and with up to ten connections possible per device, the family has been enjoying extended surfing wherever we go.
While locals obviously have access to the local network through their phone packages, the appeal of RoamFree Ninjas, particularly for those travelling in groups or to more remote locations, is clear, and I predict this will be a smash hit service next season.
Prices are from 7.95 euro per day, including the delivery and return service. While that might appear expensive for one person, it is a bargain when spread around a group, and a price worth paying if you need to have regular access to quick and reliable Internet. As the Ninjas expand into other countries, I am sure the service will be even more attractive for tourists.
I really enjoyed meeting the guys in Zagreb, and I am not surprised that their average customer response time so far is 02:32 minutes. They are young, smart, local and very focused, a little like RoamFree Ninja itself. Why not check it out and have one more excellent service to your guests next season.