by Will Schreiber

Chinese hotspot, made for an Indian network, unlocked in Laos, for worldwide internet

This is an Airtel 4G hotspot1. It takes cell service and turns it into WiFi.

This particular device is only compatible with the Airtel network in India. But everyone in Laos uses it to connect their phones to the internet.

We bought one from a street electronics vendor in Luang Prabang. They buy them in bulk from the manufacturer in China, and then open them up and change a firmware setting in the software to unlock them. That way, any GSM SIM card will work.

Elizabeth got two vendors into a bidding war. She got them shouting back and forth lower and lower prices. Our first quote was 440,000kip. We ended up paying 280,000kip (~$30).

After buying it, we opened the case, dug behind the battery, and put in a Unitel SIM card. 10,000kip bought us 5 GB of data for 2 days.

In Thailand, we opened it up again and put in a True Move SIM card. 600 baht for 30 days of unlimited internet at 6 gbps.

Traveling and working has been really tough, but would have been impossible without this device.