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-   -   Global Prepaid Overview (http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/showthread.php?t=711)

Effendi 11-11-2005 08:26

Global Prepaid Overview
 
From the idea of AdmiralAK on HowardForums, we try to do something very similar here too on PrePaidGMS.net.

The goal of this thread is to make a global overview of all the prepaid offers we have tried throughout the World.
Since our forum is divided geographically, we'll open a similar discussion in all the different rooms of the forum in order to have a smaller thread easier to read.

Here below I personally will add a list, with shortcuts, to all the reviews we are going to write.

Thanks to AdmiralAK I attach a template rtf document to use for the reviews, so we have a similar look for all of them which is easy to read. So I kindly ask you to download the template before writing any review, compile it and just copy/paste here on the Forum; it's very easy, so I think there's no need for further instructions.

Please write here only the reviews, for discussions about prepaid offers we can always open new threads, but I'd like to keep this one "clean" and with reviews only.

Thank you in advance and good reviewing! :beer:

<span style='color:#FF0000'><span style='font-size:13pt;line-height:100%'>PrePaid Offers</span></span>

ESTONIA
- Elisa

FRANCE
- SFR
- Bouygues Telecom

GERMANY
- e-plus

GREECE
- TIM
- Vodafone
- Cosmote
- Q Telecom

ITALY
- Wind
- 3 ITA
- Vodafone

LATVIA
- Amigo

LITHUANIA
- Tele2

POLAND
- Heyah

Effendi 11-11-2005 08:57

<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Italy
Network Name: Wind
Prepaid Card Name: Prepagata Wind
Frequency and Technology: GSM 900/1800, W-CDMA 2100
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): ? 10.00, including ? 5.00 of credit
Documents Needed: ID card/Passport and Italian Fiscal Code
Prepaid Package Validity: 11 months, plus 1 month to recharge
CSD access: Yes
GPRS/EDGE access: Yes, GPRS only, EDGE in testing
UMTS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes, you can configure your 64k simcard from Internet, and add/remove applications from it
Manual included: Yes, in Italian only
Refill amounts: ? 4/3, ? 10/8, ? 25/20, ? 45/40, ? 60/60 (cost/credit)
Availability: Wind shops, big department stores
Competitors: TIM, Vodafone, 3 ITA

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>

The Good:
It's quite easy to find a Wind shop (just look at the sign with the blue/orange wave logo), but it's better to go to a MondoWind (official) shop, which are usually better. The prepaid kit is cheap and the card is usually active in a couple of hours (but sometimes you can wait also up to 48 hours).

The Bad:
The usual big problems with Italian Fiscal Code, you need one otherwise you cannot buy any Italian prepaid card. Sometimes, expecially on weekends or in August (=holidays), you have to wait quite a lot for the card to be activated.

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
Wind is usually the cheaper solution for GSM in Italy. The preactivated plan is called Wind10 which is very good for messaging and not so short calls (per minute biling). You can switch to another plan for free (only the first time). SempreLight is the best plan for short calls (no set-up fee. per second billing).
Wind's coverage is usually good in bigger towns while can have some problems in the countryside. In some places you can roam on Vodafone net for free. In the bigger towns Wind mainly uses GSM 1800 frequency plus some EGSM 900 channels. In rural areas they use mainly GSM 900.
There is 3G W-CDMA coverage too in all bigger towns throughout Italy (mainly in the north); prepaid customers can access to the 3G network without any special configuration; videocall service is active by default.
Packet data connections (GPRS or UMTS) are available for all prepaid customers as well as Voicemail service and other services like "who called you" (when phone is turned off or out of coverage).
Wind is the only Italian operator with international SMS at the same price as national ones.
You can set English as your preferred speaking language for IVR and messages.
There are some "mini-forfaits" for voice and SMS which can be very useful and cheap for longer journey in Italy with other Wind customers.
International roaming is available and active by default.
With the "Dialoga International" cards (you hav to buy them at newsstans, tobacco shops...) you have the cheapest international rates from an Italian mobile.
Complete cost control through *123# on the phone and through internet (with much more information) at www.155.it.

The Bad:
Wind has the worst GSM coverage in Italy compared to TIM and Vodafone, but still quite ok and growing. National roaming with Vodafone is nowadays very limited.
UMTS network has big problems these days, so I suggest to use the GSM network only which is very reliable.
Customer Service (155) is free but in Italian only, you will get lost if you try to use it. The online service 155.it is good but in Italian only.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
Usually in Summer and during main holidays you can find special promotions for new prepaid sim-only kits; if you plan to stay in Italy for a long time consider to activate some offers you see listed on Wind page here on PrepaidGSM.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
Wind is the best solution in Italy... unless you plan to go to some place with weak coverage. I'm a Wind customer since 2000 and I never had big problems. It's a reliable operator and the cheapest by far. It's expecially suggested for travellers and foreign people due to the cheaper international calls (with Dialoga International) and SMS (also SMSbug works well).

Effendi 11-11-2005 09:21

<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Italy
Network Name: 3 ITA
Prepaid Card Name: Tua
Frequency and Technology: WCDMA 2100 (plus national GSM roaming)
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): ? 30.00, including ? 20.00 of credit
Documents needed: ID card/Passport and Italian Fiscal Code
Prepaid Package Validity: 12 months, plus 1 month to recharge/receive only
CSD access: No
GPRS/EDGE access: Yes, GPRS on national roaming (at extra charge)
UMTS access: Yes
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes, very small manual in Italia, plus some brochures about 3G services, in Italian
Refill amounts: ? 10/7, ? 15/5, ? 30/24, ? 60/54 (cost/credit); the recharge cost can be used on the Mobile Portal 3.
Availability: only at 3 shops
Competitors: TIM, Vodafone, Wind

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>

The Good:
You can find a prepaid kit by 3 quite easily at any 3 shop, we suggest once again to go to official shops (very nice ones) in bigger cities. You can choose your preferred rate plan, for free, when you buy the new kit (if you say nothing you keep the preactive one, TuaSemplice). The card is usually active in a couple of hours.
If you don't have a 3G phone you can buy one, sim-locked, ad quite cheap price.

The Bad:
Some shops could have no sim-only kits, 3 usually sells much more phone-kits since not many people have UMTS phones. During main festivities and holidays the activation could be slower. Usually you have to wait 1/2 days before using MMS and some advanced services.
As usual you need an Italian Fiscal code.

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
3 has the best W-CDMA coverage throughout Italy, and national roaming with TIM is available everywhere in the country, including 3G covered areas. The audio quality of calls is very good, while video calls are not so good and quite expensive.
UMTS data connections is great for speed, but tariffs are too high; there's a mini-flat for ? 9/month to get 5MB of UMTS data every day which could be useful for some mail and messaging.
Voice calls are rather cheap with the SuperTua plan (very similar to Wind10), unless you hate per minute billing with set-up fee (not the ideal for short calls).
International rates to many EU countries and the USA are the cheapest ones (25 cent/min) also to mobile phones.
Customer Service directly on the Mobile Portal is well done, you can find information on the credit and also send e-mails to the service. All is in Italian only.
When you receive calls you get a lot of extra credit, but only in the next month.

The Bad:
International SMS are expensive (30 cent), there's a setup fee of ? 0.60 for all data connections (unless you download less than 6KB) which makes small surfings really expensive (SMSbug will work for 1/2 messages without paing the 60 cents).
Customer Service is in Italian and you have to pay 60 cents per call to speak with a human being. The online service is shitty too and in Italian only.
If you are at a "borderline" place between 3G and GSM coverage you will go crazy.
You cannot use 3 u-sims on GSM phones, and you need a 3 ITA branded phone to use the Mobile Portal and MMS without delays (8 hours usually).
All 3 phone-kits are operator-locked (you can use 3 u-sims only) and most of them are sim-locked too (you can use the sim sold with the phone only). Some new phones have "mini-sim" too, which are just normal simcards cutted at every side.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
If you have another friend on 3 you can activate the VideoNoi option for free and videocall at 5 cent/min to your friend for 6 months.
Use SMSbug for messages but only max 2/3 at a time or you'll pay extra 60 cent for the connection.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
If you are a 3G fan and have a 3G phone you can try 3 services and their best coverage in Italy, otherwise I think it's better to choose Wind for a cheap product or the other 2 for best coverage.

Effendi 11-11-2005 09:58

<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Lithuania
Network Name: Tele2
Prepaid Card Name: Pildyk
Frequency and Technology: GSM 900/1800
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): LTL 9.49/7.00 - ? 2.75/2.02
Documents needed: none
Prepaid Package Validity: 100 days for credit, 300 for the card
CSD access: no
GPRS/EDGE access: no
UMTS access: no
SIM applications: no
Manual included: Yes, in Lithuanian with some few info in English and Russian too
Refill amounts: LT 10, 20, 35, 50
Availability: almost everywere: kiosks, drug stores, petrol stations (Statoil, Lukoil)...
Competitors: Omnitel, Bite

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>

The Good:
Pildyk is really easy to find, everywhere you see a Tele2 sticker they have the prepaid kit and refills too. And it's very cheap to buy. No documents are needed, it's really a joke to have it! :)
Pildyk is the cheapest prepaid starting kit in Lithuania by far.

The Bad:
Nothing bad, maybe you have to speak some Lithuanian sometime! :)

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
Pildyk is great, a bit cheaper than the 2 competitors, coverage was good everywhere I went (mainly Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda), I really cannot complain. I refilled it a couple of times very easily. Great "free" roaming in Latvia and Estonia, you do not pay incoming calls and "Baltic Calls" are cheap.
Longer validity period compared to the competitors.

The Bad:
There seems to be no data connection available.
The billing is per 30 seconds after the first minute, international SMS are more expensive than national ones.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
No tips, just use it! :)

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
I think Pildyk is the cheapest option for travellers to Lithuania, but if you need more services, such as data calls, I think Bite could be better. The validity with Tele2 is very long, so it could be a good choice also for this reason.

Effendi 11-11-2005 10:19

<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Latvia
Network Name: Amigo
Prepaid Card Name: Amigo
Frequency and Technology: MVNO on GSM 900/1800
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): LVL 2.99/3.00 - ? 4.30/4.31 or LVL 3.99/4.00 - ? 5.74/5.75 or LVL 5.99/7.00 - ? 8.61/10.07
Documents needed: none
Prepaid Package Validity: 30 or 60 days depending on the kit you choose
CSD access: No
GPRS/EDGE access: yes
UMTS access: No
SIM applications: don't remember
Manual included: Yes, in Latvian and Russian
Refill amounts: LVL 1.99/2.00, LVL 2.99/3.50, LVL 4.99/6.00, LVL 9.99/13.00 (cost/credit)
Availability: very easy to buy at any kiosk or LMT shop
Competitors: LMT, Tele2. Bite

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>

The Good:
Very easy and very cheap to buy, you can find it in many kiosks; I bought it at Riga's central station at a LMT shop (they sell both LMT and Amigo prepaids there).

The Bad:
Really nothing bad, if you speak Latvian or Russian it helps! :)

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
Amigo is a Virtual Operator using LMT's network which is the best, by far, in Latvia. Using Tele2 LT in "free roaming" on Tele2 LV I found several no-network places, expecially in rural zones, while with Amigo it was always fine.
All rates are billed per second which is good, SMS interconnection with Italy worked fine (while I had big problems with Tele2 and italian simcards in roaming).
GPRS is available now (not when I was there) and that is surely a plus.
"Free roaming" in Lithuania and Estonia is available on Omnitel and EMT networks.

The Bad:
Not the cheapest solution... with Amigo you pay usually less than with LMT O'Karte, but Tele2 and the new operator Bite are surely cheaper, but coverage is weaker.
You pay incoming MMS too.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
If you just stay in Riga ora bigger towns it's probably better to buy Tele2 Zelta Zivtina

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
I didn't want to buy any Latvian card since I thought to use my Lithuanian one in "free roaming", but international calls were too expensive with it and I bough an Amigo card just for some calls to Italy, and to test it. It's surely the most reliable offer, LMT network works fine and you have GPRS, MMS and SMS services all running well. By the way rates are quite expensive for an Eastern country.

Effendi 11-11-2005 11:13

<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Estonia
Network Name: Elisa (former Radiolinja)
Prepaid Card Name: Zen
Frequency and Technology: GSM 900/1800
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): EEK 50 (? 3.20) with EEK 50 of credit included
Documents needed: none
Prepaid Package Validity: 6 months plus 1 for receiving/refilling
CSD access: probably yes
GPRS/EDGE access: Yes, GPRS can be activated for EEK 50
UMTS access: No
SIM applications: not that I remember
Manual included: Yes, in Estonian and Russian
Refill amounts: EEK 50, 100 and 250
Availability: at any Elisa shop, gas stations, kiosks...
Competitors: EMT, Tele2, Zorro

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>

The Good:
Very cheap and very easy to buy throughout Estonia. I bought my Zen card at a gas station in Valga. Many Estonians speak English too, so there are really no problems. Card is valid for 6+1 months, no documents are needed.

The Bad:
No bad things at all.

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
Rates are very similar to the competitors', but Elisa's coverage is perfect (much better than Tele2) and you have "free roaming" in Finland, which is a plus that other prepaid cards don't offer. In any case national calling and messaging is cheap, GPRS is available for data connections. Billing is at 10 seconds increments for national calls. International calls are rather cheap.

The Bad:
International messaging is too expensive, and GPRS is not so cheap too and you have to pay to activate it. International roaming is not active by default and again you have to pay to activate it.

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
Go for Zen if you want great coverage, cheap rates and if you plan to visit Finland as well

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
I think Zen is the best option for Estonia. Rates are a bit more expensive than Tele2, but quality is much better, and you have Finnish free incoming roaming. The only bad thing is the high price for International SMS (when I used it they had the same rate as national ones).

AdmiralAK 11-11-2005 17:28

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: France
Network Name: SFR
Website: http://www.sfr.fr
Product Name: La Carte
Owned by/Major partner: Vodafone
Operational Frequency: 900 and 1800 GSM
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 35 Euro (5 Euro SMS credit, 5 Euro talk credit)
CSD access: Yes
GPRS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes
Manual included: Yes
Refill amounts: 15, 25, 35, 60 euro cards
Availability: SFR shops, "Tabac" shops and Telecom shops, they are easy to find!
Competitors: Orange, Boygues

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
Buying the prepaid package is really straight forward. You can go to any Tabac, or SFR company store (major cities have at least one), or you can go to an independent dealer and buy a package. Recharging is straight forward. You can buy recharge cards in the same places you can buy a prepaid package, and every post office has the ability to sell you recharge cards. Personally I would buy a 35 or 60 euro card since they give you 20% and 30% (respectively) more airtime than you pay for when you buy those recharge amounts.
The Bad:
Sorry, no american credit cards (unless you've got one with the smartchip on it). The french don't seem to grasp that you can key in the credit card number if the swiping motion does no work. Also because of French regulations you need to declare your name and address when buying the prepaid package. I think this is pointless since I do not live in France (gave the hotel's address) and I was never asked for an ID - so I could have lied. As of today (7/15/04) if you want to buy in advance and have it activated while still in your country of origin, this is impossible :) YOu have to activate your account in France.

Usage:
The Good:
CSD and GPRS are available on prepaid accounts! You can surf the net on your mobile. Signal was pretty good almost everywhere I went. The SIM has SIM applications on it that allow you to connect to SFR's TEXTO services (get movie, weather, banking, ringtone and other services). Getting on GPRS is easy, and their service is called "Vodaphone Live!", it has some interesting things on it. As I mentioned earlier it is very easy to get refills, and they give you free time as well. They have various promotions going on. While I was there I got 90 minutes free of night-time minutes as well as 2 months free of caller waiting.
The SIM app tookit called "Services SFR" contains the following categories:
(1) Recharger (recharge)
(2) Messages (access to voicemail, texto, the email account they give you, and access to other messages)
(3) Services (various services)
(4) My favorites
Finally, the SIM has numbers preprogrammed on it that can let you access customer service, emergency services such as police and ambulances, and the numbers for their various services.

The Bad:
I was vacationing in the area of Languedoc-Roussillon (in an village called Gruissan, near Narbonne). The signal was pretty good, unfortunately in the house (in the bedroom and bathroom) I only had 1 bar of signal (out of five) - I was still able to GPRS though. Another bad thing is the fact that TEXTO seems to have an SMS counterpart as well but it did not seem to work when I tried to use it. Thirdly, in theory I am supposed to be able to roam while I am here in the states, but I am getting only "Emergency call only" on my mobile. Finally, the most retarded thing is GPRS related. I could use *only* the built-in "internet" browser on my P800 to access the GPRS connection. I could not use Opera, Worldmate and I could not use the mail client of my P800!!! I am not sure if I goofed on the settings but I could not get my mail to work! This was annoying.
On a smaller scale, the SIM apps are all telephone based, so you need to call in order to get things done, doing things by SMS is not really an option as it seems for the built in apps.

TIPS:
1) Read the Manual, it's interesting - the package comes with manuals and reminder cards
2) Buy yourself a 35 or 60 euro recharge card if you are going to be in France for 2 or more weeks (based on your perceived usage)
3) Do yourself a favor and go to sonyericsson.com (if you own a sonyericsson phone) and get the configurations for you phone BEFORE going on vacation. I looked around at many websites for settings and nothing worked until I went to SE's website
4) CSD is active instantly once your SIM is active, even though it says you need to call customer service to activate it. GPRS takes 3 days to come online once you activate your account. Get both CDS and GPRS settings for your phone!
5) Be careful of pickpockets.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
Since it is the only package that I have used in France and given that I did not have to call customer service at all, and that I had GPRS access makes me want to recommend this to anyone visiting France and that needs prepaid! I give it 4/5 stars.


Screenshot of Vodafone Live! WAP site
http://www.sfr.fr/FR/vodafone/servic...img_icones.gif

AdmiralAK 11-11-2005 17:29

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: Greece
Network Name: TIM (formerly Telestet)
Website: http://www.tim.com.gr
Owned by/Major partner: TIM
Operational Frequency: 900 GSM and 2100 UMTS
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 19 Euro
CSD access: Yes
GPRS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes
Manual included: Yes
Refill amounts: 9, 15,30 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
Availability: TIM stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
Program Name: Free2Go, For All
Competitors: Cosmote, Vodafone, Q-Telecom

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
I bought a "B-Free" package ("For All"s predecessor) online from an amazon.com like store in Greece. It was fairly cheap, back then I paid only 13 euro if memory serves me correctly. Getting prepaid packages from TIM is pretty easy, there are TIM company stores in major cities and there are a lot of "Germanos" stores around which sell prepaid packages (they specialize in hi-tech gismos). The package costs 20 euro (19.90 actually) and you get 8 euro talk credit.

The Bad:
When I bought the package online I paid 50 dollars for shipping! Ouch! I would suggest that you either get the prepaid packages in Greece, or have a friend or relative send you a package via Snail mail, it is cheaper!

Usage:
The Good:
I had travelled to a lot of places in Greece, Athens, Ioannina, Patra, Zakinthos, Olympia and many other places (got relatives everywhere!) and I never had a signal problem, even up in the mountains and out in the boondocks. The SIM applications were a bit useful, I was able to get horoscope info, lotto scores (played the lotto while in Greece), soccer match scores and so on. TIM now also offers information via MMS as well as by SMS (examples: MMS video news, MMS radio dedications, MMS weather, MMS comics and more), and they offer WAP connectivity. GPRS connectivity is included as well I believe! I did not have any need to contact customer service to activate my SIM once I bought it, just put it in the phone and used it. Finally, roaming. No hassle, no extra steps roaming. You can roam abroad without any problems. You can send and receive SMS messages and you can receive calls. In order to make calls I believe you need to contact customer service to authorize it.

The Bad:
When I was a prepaid subscriber (between 2000 and 2002) GPRS access was not allowed for prepaid users. I believe now GPRS is not instantly on once you activate your connection, you might have to call customer service to activate it. My dealings with customer service were good, I did not have any problems with them, even when they did not activate my GPRS connection. TIM offers UMTS coverage in Greece in selected cities - Athens, Patra, Heraclion, Thessaloniki (as of 06/2004), however UMTS coverage is only for post-paid customers. Also reception in the Athenian Metro system was not that good.

TIPS:
1) Determine which package is for you, Free2Go and For All offer different 2 different pricing schemes, determine which one fits you best (Free2Go is better for SMS users while For All has better deals on voice calls). Their website is bilingual, check it out for more package and tariff info.
2) In the airport get yourself a package and a recharge card higher than 18 euro, it is the best place to get one. I know that there is a Germanos store in the Greek Airport in Athens.
3) If you need GPRS contact customer service to let them know that you want it and that they should activate it for you.
4) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a TIM store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
I liked TIM (telestet when I was using it). It had great coverage in all the places I went, I found the free caller ID useful, and I liked that I wasn't hassled with giving out my local info (landline, address, etc). I am a bit apprehensive to suggest them though as a prepaid service because I still do not know if they let prepaid users use GPRS or not. If GPRS does not matter to you - go for it! CSD is offered, and where there is CSD, GPRS is not far behind - give them a try! Oh by the way, the manual and all the SIM applications are in Greek

AdmiralAK 11-11-2005 17:29

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: Greece
Network Name: Vodafone (formerly Panafon)
Website: http://www.vodafone.gr
Owned by/Major partner: Vodafone
Operational Frequency: 900 GSM and 2100 UMTS
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 20 Euro
CSD access: No (according to se.com)
GPRS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes
Manual included: Yes
Refill amounts: 9, 18 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
Availability: Vodafone Stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
Program Name: CU, a la carte
Competitors: Cosmote, TIM, Q-Telecom

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
I bought a CU connection package in 2002. The package is 20 euro (19,90 euro to be precise) and it comes with 8 euro of airtime. The process of buying was smooth and I did not have to give my local info (address, landline number, etc) in order to get my account activated.

The Bad:
Nothing bad!

Usage:
The Good:
Overall I liked my CU account. Everywhere I went I had good reception, even underground in the metro system! I was pretty impressed. The SIM applications are on par with TIM's applications. They give you info such as news, horoscope, weather, movie info and more over SMS. Vodafone now has an online WAP portal called Vodafone Live! and you can access this by getting online with their GPRS connection (I think you can do this with the CSD connection as well). I personally bought a CU package because half my friends use vodafone CU and calls to them would be cheaper (calls to other carriers were a bit more expensive) and also SMS messages were cheaper. When it comes to roaming, there are no hassles and no extra steps. You can roam abroad without any problems. You can send and receive SMS messages and you can receive calls. In order to make calls I believe you need to contact customer service to authorize it.

The Bad:
I had to call customer service to activate GPRS - on the good side, I was able to use it within 2 days of when I called Customer service to activate it and customer service was polite and knowledgeful. UMTS is not available yet on prepaid.

TIPS:
1) Don't order online! a 20 euro package is not worth paying 70 dollars for!
2) As always get your GPRS settings before you leave home, conveying info to customer service about getting the settings can be tricky, especially if you do not speak Greek.
3) I believe that the Germanos store at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens has prepaid packages. Also take this opportunity to see if they sell higher euro amounts of prepaid packages, it is worth it.
4) Research which program you want before you leave, a la carte and CU are geared toward different needs. Their website is bilingual, check it out for more package and tariff info.
5) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a Vodafone store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I was more content with service from Vodafone than I was with Telestet (now TIM). They did not hassle me for accessing GPRS and getting connected was easy, and cheap. I liked them and I would recommend them without hesitation.


---- Updates ----
7/14/04 - it seems that CSD is no longer available, post edited accordingly
-------------------

AdmiralAK 11-11-2005 17:30

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: Greece
Network Name: Cosmote
Website: http://www.cosmote.gr
Owned by/Major partner: NTT DoCoMo
Operational Frequency: 1800 GSM and 2100 UMTS
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 20 Euro
CSD access: Yes
GPRS access: Yes
SIM applications: Yes
Manual included: Yes
Refill amounts: 9, 18 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
Availability: Cosmote Stores, OTE stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
Program Name: Cosmokarta, What's up?
Competitors: Vodafone, TIM, Q-Telecom

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
I do not own a Cosmote prepaid account but a lot of my friends do in Greece and I have looked into getting one next time I go to Greece. You can get a cosmote prepaid package at any Cosmote store, at Germanos or other Technology stores and at OTE (state run landline telecom) stores which exist in every city! I do not believe that you have to give out any information like address, landline number and so on which expedites the process. There are two packages, Cosmokarta and What's Up? What's Up? is described as "the youth tool" which I would assume gives you more services geared toward trendy, young, hip people. Price is 19.90 Euro and you get 8 euros worth of airtime.

The Bad:
You cannot yet buy UMTS prepaid in greece.

Usage:
The Good:
From what my friends have described, signal is good and they have had no problems with communication. I think that the Athenian metro system (underground) has some reception problems but so do other carriers I believe (with the exception of vodafone I think). Their GPRS is called i-Mode and it is usage on prepaid which makes these two prepaid packages good for the internet users. They also have a SIM application set called "My Cosmos", which are services which include Voice services, SMS based services, and a WAP portal called "My Cosmos" with info such as Airport and Port itenerary information (is my flight delayed? is it on time? what about my ship?). I also believe that they have lotto, horoscope, news and more info provided by other providers like TIM and Vodafone. Roaming is a no-hassle deal. You can roam to other networks abroad without problems. For making phone calls I think you might have to call customer service. With i-mode you've got access to over 130 services on your cellphone (newspapers, banks, entertainment etc.)

The Bad:
Need to call customer service to activate GPRS (I think). I believe that the My Cosmos services are in Greek only, I hope they are in English too by now. I do believe that i-Mode is in Greek, so if you do not speak Greek you might be left out in the cold.

TIPS:
1) Decide which package is for you, What's Up? and Cosmokarta are not identical. Check the website out, it is in Greek and English, look at the tariffs and decide.
2) Get your CSD and GPRS settings before you leave.
3) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a Cosmote store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.




FINAL THOUGHTS:
I would give cosmote a try - I know so many people that use them without problems. They weren't the first in the UMTS business in Greece but they are quite innovative. The Airport and Port info is a nice service for travelers (after all, you are going to Greece for traveling, right?).


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