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Pollik (Offline)
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Default Mobile Internet in Europe - 27-01-2011, 19:51

Hi

I am new here and new to looking at the whole issue. I seem to have spent all my waking hours for the past three days looking for a solution and my head is spinning as I struggle to come to terms with a lot of new terminology.

I don't know if I am asking in the right place, but here goes:

I am planning a Europe-wide trip in my motorhome...it is a sort of goal to visit every country (except maybe Belarus).

I want to be able to access the internet on route (without relying on MacDonalds) to keep my blog up to date and some other things. I have got as far as realising that roaming charges are totally ludicrous...so the next step is thinking about a dongle for each country and that is about as far as I have got. Or perhaps just sim cards for each country, with language being an obvious barrier, too.

Is there any gentle advice that can be given to someone who is on a steep learning curve - how would you go about finding a solution(s)?


Polly
   
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rfranzq (Offline)
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Default The good news is......... - 27-01-2011, 20:24

The good news is you have come to the right place. And it would appear that you can afford a comprehensive solution. But I am not the one able to give advice as to specifics but a general observation. You need to have a 'universal' UNLOCKED wireless dongle that can do all the bands in Europe. With that you can probably find a SIM that will work in many/most places and then a few country SIMs to handle the exceptions. I suspect that there might not be viable solutions for some contries, and you just might have to do McDonalds or nothing in them.

Do you have the hardware yet? What is your estimated budget? How long will you be traveling? What is the wierdest places you will be going?

These questions might help others to focus on what can be done.

Good luck!!
   
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Pollik (Offline)
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Default 27-01-2011, 21:40

Well, I am not sure about being able to "afford" a comprehensive solution! We will be wild camping to try and keep costs down, but staying online is probably higher on our list of 'needs' than some people might agree.

I have two dongles, at the moment, one is an Olivetti (part of a deal with TIM in Italy) and the other is ZTE (part of a deal with SFR in France) - I guess they are both locked...not sure how to test this in the UK. If necessary, I am happy to source another, unlocked dongle.

Budget estimate...not really given that too much thought because it will need to be balanced with usage. If it starts getting too expensive, we will have no alternative other than to go the hotspot route. What we will be able to afford is going to be dependent on other things too - fuel and food costs, breakdowns and so on.

How long...probably three months on this trip, but one of us may stay out there after that, maybe. Whichever, we will head out again in September for another three months up to Xmas. You have probably worked out that we are retired!!

Weirdest...I have no idea!! I will guess the area around Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We are planning to avoid Russia and Belarus...too much hassle with visas, particularly when don't have a strict itinerary in mind. Perhaps next or the year after, we will think about being more adventurous and visit places where the western culture has had less influence. I do travel alone sometimes, and I do have some concerns about being a woman travelling alone.

I missed out on doing gap year things 40 years ago and I want to make up for it now!!


Polly
   
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rfranzq (Offline)
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Default 27-01-2011, 23:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollik View Post
I am not sure about being able to "afford" a comprehensive solution!
Well, we are all cheap here so I think you will be glad you found us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollik View Post
I have two dongles, at the moment, one is an Olivetti (part of a deal with TIM in Italy) and the other is ZTE (part of a deal with SFR in France) - I guess they are both locked...not sure how to test this in the UK. If necessary, I am happy to source another, unlocked dongle.
Please find out the model numbers and post here. Those who chime in will be able to tell you all sorts of good things. I suspect at least one is unlockable and probably adequate for the intended purpose.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollik View Post
How long...probably three months on this trip,.........another three months up to Xmas. You have probably worked out that we are retired!!
If there is a contract option, someone will probably be able to tell you about it. 6 months in one year might have other inexpensive options. Actually, that you were retired had not occured to me. I can be very dense at times.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollik View Post
I do travel alone sometimes, and I do have some concerns about being a woman travelling alone.
I missed out on doing gap year things 40 years ago and I want to make up for it now!!
Do you have your non-data phone needs already solved? I guess with the EU setting max rates for voice and SMS [as I understand it] makes those thing very manageable. While you still have health and more brains than 4 decades ago is probably a very good time to go.

The more you can tell the people here about hardware and itinerary [though it does seem pretty much all of Europe], the more ideas and better solutions will find their way here.
   
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Pollik (Offline)
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Default 28-01-2011, 12:11

Olivetti - Olicard 145 (S/N: 0C3010404981)

ZTE Corp - K3565-Z ABCD (S/N: 321200825968)

My non-data needs are relatively low...I don't spend much time speaking on the phone or texting, so I think I am OK with what I have. I have a contract with Vodafone which comes with 600 minutes and 1GB Mobile Internet, cost 29.79 and about 18 months to run. The phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.2. When I am abroad, I turn off the 3G. I have the unlocking code from Vodafone, though I have not done anything about it yet.

I am going away in UK for few days, but will log on if I can find hotspots or I can use the phone, but it is not as good for entering data as my qwerty is for touch typing.

Once again, thanks for your help. :)


Polly

Last edited by Pollik; 28-01-2011 at 12:14.. Reason: Trespassing smilie!
   
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tux (Offline)
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Default 28-01-2011, 21:12

TIM doesn't lock its devices
   
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Pollik (Offline)
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Default 29-01-2011, 14:27

Well, that is a good start, Tux, thanks.
   
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MobileMan (Offline)
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Default 29-01-2011, 18:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollik View Post
Olivetti - Olicard 145 (S/N: 0C3010404981)

ZTE Corp - K3565-Z ABCD (S/N: 32120082596

My non-data needs are relatively low...I don't spend much time speaking on the phone or texting, so I think I am OK with what I have. I have a contract with Vodafone which comes with 600 minutes and 1GB Mobile Internet, cost 29.79 and about 18 months to run. The phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.2. When I am abroad, I turn off the 3G. I have the unlocking code from Vodafone, though I have not done anything about it yet.

I am going away in UK for few days, but will log on if I can find hotspots or I can use the phone, but it is not as good for entering data as my qwerty is for touch typing.

Once again, thanks for your help.


Polly
Polly,
Just incase you did not realise, you will not be able to use your 1GB mobile internet and 600 minutes on your Vodafone contract when you are travelling throughout Europe, roaming charges will apply. You can actually use your minutes on certain networks in certain European countries if you are signed up to Vodafone passport but this is subject to a 75p connection charge, there is also a 75p connection charge for incoming calls on Vodafone passport. Internet access abroad and international roaming charges ? Vodafone

For data on your mobile, in certain European countries there is Vodafone Data Traveller which you can either pay 2 for each day you use it for up to 25MB/day, or sign up for the monthly Data Traveller and get Vodafone Data Traveller everyday for 10/month. "To get Vodafone Data Traveller call us on 40062 from your Vodafone mobile phone" Using the internet abroad - it's easy on Vodafone

For data on your laptop, local sim cards will normally be your best route if you can't get Wifi, try a couple PAYG sim cards in the dongle to see if it registers on different networks and is unlocked. If you are only in the country for a few days and can manage on less than 25MB/day it may be an idea to see if you can tether your Vodafone mobile to your laptop.
   
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Pollik (Offline)
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Default 02-02-2011, 19:54

Thanks Mobileman. I don't use my mobile very much anyway and it suits me to keep my known number...my parents are getting on a bit.

I tried putting a Vodafone sim card in my TIM dongle...perhaps I was doing something wrong, but I couldn't get it to connect to the Vodafone network. There is no rejection message, just a 'ping' noise.

I am wondering if I need connection set up details - TIM software suggests that I need the following info, some of which I have got from Vodafone's software:

Account:
User name: web
Number: *99#
Password: ***
APN: PPBUNDLE.INTERNET
Protocol: PAP

How do I get the rest of the information? This question is particularly relevant for use in Europe.

(I hope providers get their act together some time...this is a real pain to sort out. True mobile broadband doesn't really seem to exist outside large towns.)
   
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Pollik (Offline)
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Default 02-02-2011, 20:35

I may have answered my own question with finding this site - International APN Settings for Mobile Broadband Network Operators | Settings

Although....the APN doesn't match up with any of the vodafone on that page.

Is the number (*99#) always the same? And has anyone used one of the online unlocking sites?
   
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