The Hertz Corporation has become the first car hire company to introduce a mobile Wi-Fi service in Australia. The company has launched pocket-sized 3G devices for rent so that customers can connect to the internet no matter where they are down under. Customers can hire one for a fraction of the cost of hotel Wi-Fi and mobile phone roaming charges. This builds on the success of the operator’s mobile Wi-Fi offerings in the UK, Canary Islands, Spain and New Zealand.
Hertz’s mobile Wi-Fi units can be hired from airport locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Perth and Darwin. The devices are rechargeable with a USB cable and offer secure, high-speed internet service for up to five hours. They also provide a daily 150MB data limit, allowing both domestic and international leisure and business travellers to stay connected throughout their journeys.
The mobile units will enable email connections and on-going office, customer or family communications for business travellers. They will also allow for the simultaneous connection of up to five devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. Leisure travellers will also be able to stay in touch with family and friends easily, as the Wi-Fi units provide the ability to upload photos and videos or to stay connected through Skype. Multiple users can also connect to the internet at the same time.
Customers will be able to rent the Wi-Fi devices for just AU$12 a day, excluding tax. This is up to 90% less than international roaming data charges, while the units reduce daily hotel internet access charges by up to half. Phone call costs can also be reduced by using Skype with the internet connection, while online news or social media can be accessed with ease without big data fees.
This mobile Wi-Fi service is being provided by Hertz in collaboration with IDataRoam International Limited. This is a technology company founded in New Zealand by three young entrepreneurs. It provides data roaming solutions across the country and other nations. Hertz’s Wi-Fi service has already proven successful in New Zealand, and customers can purchase extra data volume online through the IDataRoam website if they need to.
Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Aussies are paying top dollar for extras with their car hire. Travellers are being warned to watch out for hidden extras and fees, which can lead to them spending more than their allowed budget quickly. Some locations are said to be almost doubling their prices when extras, like insurance, are purchased with rentals. Many holidaymakers are shocked to hear that administration fees and extra surcharges can be added to rentals just for adding insurance. This follows research of rental rates and fees from Avis and Thrifty airport locations in Australia.
Consumer group Choice says that travellers should be watching out for hidden fees and ensuring they read and understand their rental’s terms and conditions. The group’s Ingrid Just says advertised prices look affordable initially, but the hidden costs really add up. Customers at airports are particularly overpaying. Last year, they did a survey that found some airports charge up to 23% for the premium location, which can cost hundreds of dollars more than renting from an off-airport location.