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wco81 (Offline)
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Join Date: 17 Jun 2007

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Default 29-08-2015, 16:03

Just a data point for Belgium.

First I started with US T-mobile roaming for 3 days in Brugge. It got Proximus with LTE in many locations. Some times worked better than others as it shifted to 3G and even Edge at times.

Similar experience in the center of Brussels, just good enough for slow Google Maps loads, light email and browsing.

I did check with Mobistar in both cities. First they said the Internet on Mobile offer was online only, which I took to mean ordering the SIM online to a Belgian address. They told me I could buy the starter kit for 15 and add another 10 or 25 total and I would have 4 GB of data.

Then at a second Mobistar store, they said 15 would get me 250 MB of data. The store was empty while the Base store right next door had 5-10 people being served by one employee.

I'd passed by some Proximus stores in Brugge and Ghent and they didn't seem busy either.

So I got in queue at the Base store next door (both are NW of Grand Place square). While waiting, I saw the Jim Mobile brochure which promised up to 2 GB of data for 15. The way it broke down was 300 MB and unlimited text for the starter kit with all sim formats and with the 15 credit, you could activate a 1 GB pack for 10 of your 15 credit and 500 MB pack with the remaining 5.

Brochure said nothing about tethering or how long activation would take. The woman didn't speak English well so I asked if activation was immediate and she said I would have to do it on phone to send the SMS. They were not going to activate the data packs for me (to be fair there were a few clients who were waiting behind me in line) and I'd have to use my phone.

She also confirmed it had tethering included. She didn't understand "tethering" but understood "hotspot."

So she put it in my unlocked iPhone and then I sent the texts to activate the data packs and each time I got 3 texts acknowledging and confirming the activation of data, total amount, expiration in a month.

Did a quick speed test and got 3.5/3.5. Was kinda disappointed with that speed in central Brussels and it was only 3G.

So I took out the sim and put it in my iPad mini 2, still only seeing 3G only and no sign of tethering controls either. So I tried rebooting my iPad, toggling the Enable LTE option. There was a disclaimer that LTE was not tested with my device so it may not work well, drain my battery. I enabled but still only showing 3G.

What's worse, mail and Safari weren't working, the error being the cellular network was not activated or no cellular plan. All this while showing 4 or 5 dots of 3G BASE on the signal display.

Then I noticed there was an APN subpanel in the Cellular Settings section of the iOS System Settings app. Usually, just popping in the sim and the APN was auto configured but it was blank here. There were also sections for LTE and Hotspot APN and user and password entries, which were all black.

So with no Internet, I went back to my hotel, looked up the Belgium page on Prepaid with data Wikia site.

I entered the APN and login/password listed there and it worked. I got about 7.8/2.86. Then enabled LTE and that worked too, not as strong a signal but got 17.2/6.9. Not the fastest LTE but certainly better than 3G.

Then I searched the base.be site and sound the hotspot values were the same so entered those as well and hotspot was working.

Seemed odd having to set all this up manually but something to be prepared for.

You also have to remember the sim pin, to unlock it every time you insert it into a device.
   
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