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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vodafone Portugal, prepay data SIMs & WiFi...

I'm in southern Portugal for the NetEvents conference. I had a few minutes to kill waiting for my transfer from Faro airport when I arrived, so I decided to see if I could get a prepay data SIM to run in an unlocked phone.

The good news: Just €5 bought me a SIM with a €7.50 credit. No registration, nothing. And for €7.44 the nice lady in the shop set me up with a month's worth of HSDPA (I think with 100MB cap)

The great news: That sure beats £3 or £2 per MB or whatever the ridiculous data roaming charge is on my 3 or T-Mobile or O2 SIMs I have with me.

The bad news: This gives me a separate access point (a Voda Live! one) which doesn't allow me either to send outbound POP3 email, or use SSL to connect to sites like Yahoo, Gmail or British Airways

The slightly better news: There's another APN called Internet Vodafone which allows me full web access. Plus Nokia Maps seems to work, but Google Maps doesn't.

The ridiculous news: I check into my hotel & decide to see what's up with WiFi to connect my laptop. The hotspot is run by, guess who... Vodafone Portugal. Prices for Voda customers are €5 for one hour, €20 for a day, and €30 for three days.

In other words, a day's WiFi costs 4x a month's HSDPA. From the same operator.

So despite my usual dislike of downloading apps to smartphones, I decide to join the tethering fraternity, and install JoikuSpot on my E71, which turns it into a little 3G-backhauled hotspot.


I have both phone & WiFi access online for a low price, having navigated through several orders' of magnitude of attempted rip-off. I haven't signed any piece of paper with terms & conditions, I paid cash, I'm totally anonymous (until writing this....), I can send email via my PC/Web interface.

Not only that, but tethering my PC to HSDPA shows how fast it really is - and how much of its speed & latency is wasted by the browser's sluggishness on the Nokia.


Falk said...

Great to hear that! Tethering is really a god send and I have quit my internet connection 3 months ago because I can just use my E-Mobile device as a modem. 38 Euro per month buy me about 2800 / 320 kbit/s speed with unlimited traffic. And unlimited means unlimited here ;) Latency to the base station is about 100 - 150 ms - not too bad for mobile access and even Skype and VoIP are very well possible! I hope the rest of the world follows... someday.

BBusyB said...

Tethering can be pretty hand, and a life saver at times when you need access fast and there is no wifi or broadband option.

In that WM 6 with its Internet Sharing wizard is the best and easiest to use option I've seen and used to date for hooking to a Laptop.

2 clicks and your off.