Advice pls on internet options - Europe

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Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:26 pm

I am heading to Europe in a couple of months for a time and am seeking some community intel on data and internet options.

Last trip we relied on wifi access at hotels etc which was rather iffy. This time we will be needing a lot more access in volume and more than access when we arrive at our accommodation.

Does anyone have any CURRENT/RECENT advice on the options available? Data plans from Australian providers in concert wit international partners? The state of play now for hot spots? Are there any pre-paid packages that are worthwhile (bearing in mind that I hope to do more than check my email). Especially great would be to have sufficient data that I could reasonably use googlemaps on occasion.

We will be in a range of major cities and regional towns in France, in Italy and, for a week or so, Switzerland. Also moving mostly by train.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby dalai47 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:39 pm

I relied on available wifi... This info may help?

http://www.velonomad.com/overseas-prepa ... -internet/
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby elantra » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:53 pm

dalai47 wrote:I relied on available wifi... This info may help?

http://www.velonomad.com/overseas-prepa ... -internet/


Crikeys that is a good source of information.

I was getting off a plane at Heathrow 2 yr ago and went up to a SIM card vending machine while waiting around (as you do)

Looking at it blankly, a young bloke came to my rescue, he was an O2 rep and installed an O2 prepaid SIM in my (unlocked) Samsung
With 20 UK pounds credit it worked brilliantly for 2 weeks in France, Germany, Switz and Italy.
Used it for facebooking photos, making calls to australia and UK, text messages, and a few BNA posts !
Only problem was that buying more credit was impossible outside of the UK. (unless you had a credit card registered in UK)

As soon as i was back in UK went to the newsagent and put more credit on it, then it worked again in Portugal and also in Asia on the way home.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby dalai47 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:21 pm

For European trips I have bought my SIM cards over there but was only interested in using it for calls and SMS's

France I bought my SIM from a Tabac at CDG airport. Part of the process required you to sent in ID within a certain number of days after activation. Ended up emailing a copy of my passport page and then topped up later at another Tabac in Bourg d'Oisans

Malta I just walked in to a local Vodafone office.

Though not Europe, for the USA I bought my AT&T online from http://www.mobipassport.com.au/USA-SIM-p/usa-att.htm and activated it before I left. Was a simple process and could recommend them at least for the States. They do sell SIMs for Europe but haven't looked into it if they are good for your required data usage.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:01 pm

Thanks guys. This is useful. Keep it coming.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:58 pm

Making progress. There seems to be quite a few options available. Then the question becomes how good is the coverage.

My wife has handed me an Australia Post brochure on AP Prepaid TravelSIM. Has anyone had any experience with it?

http://auspost.travelsim.net.au/
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby il padrone » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:45 am

dalai47 wrote:For European trips I have bought my SIM cards over there but was only interested in using it for calls and SMS's

France I bought my SIM from a Tabac at CDG airport. Part of the process required you to sent in ID within a certain number of days after activation. Ended up emailing a copy of my passport page and then topped up later at another Tabac in Bourg d'Oisans

In France (Corsica) for just 2 weeks and we bought a prepaid card. Had all sorts of strife as the communications with the carrier were all in French. We had to activate it, did this and had access for 1 hour, then had to wait 3 days until we found another phone shop that could sort it. I received remnder emals to send ID to register within 14 days or the SIM would be cancelled, but as I was leaving by then I ignored it.

I'm probably now on some French security watch-list :o

In Italy the Wind pre-paid SIM was great. Calls were expensive but we had unlimited data so I found Facebook excellent for posting and sending private messages.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby rolandp » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:25 am

Colin, I was in Europe from late Nov-2013 until early Jan-2014, made it to 8 countries.

I couldn't locate a carrier which meet my needs, and instead, only booked accommodation with wifi. Part of the requirement was having access to SIM card in advance etc.

Two weeks of this trip was in the UK where we stayed with family. They hooked me up with GiffGaff and had a SIM card already at their house, and it was only 10quid for 1Gig data and fairly good mobile call limits. If only Australia had the same.

The only thing I missed was using my GPS on the phone. We resolved this by accessing our destination from a wifi location (so the maps were cached on the phone), and could be used when we got closer to the destination (or by locating a free wifi which there were plenty around).
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby yugyug » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:06 pm

Colin I have some information about using GPS maps and a pre-pay SIM which may be of interest:

When I was in Europe two years ago I had a pre-pay SIM on an iphone 4 and because the data allowance was low/expensive I would load maps into cache and then turn off the 3G data transmission (or do it from wifi as ^rolandp says, beforehand with the mobile data off).

I was surprised to discover that that phone would still accurately track my location as I moved around, so I could always tell where I was on the map.

I'm not sure why, but I assume that the phone keeps GPS connected for emergency/billing/tracking reasons, even without the data on, and updates your location on the map as it does so.

The maps themselves will not load with the data off (obviously) so its important that when you pre-load the maps you zoom in close in order to cache detail on the parts of the map you think you will need later.

This was true for Denmark and Germany and think also Holland. I think I was using the apple map app and I have no idea if it does this with other phones or apps.
Last edited by yugyug on Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:00 pm

yugyug wrote:Colin I have some information about using GPS maps and a pre-pay SIM which may be of interest:

When I was in Europe two years ago I had a pre-pay SIM on an iphone 4 and because the data allowance was low/expensive I would load maps into cache and then turn off the 3G data transmission (or do it from wifi as ^rolandp says, with the data completely off).

I was surprised to discover that that phone would still accurately track my location as I moved around, so I could always tell where I was on the map.

I'm not sure why, but I assume that the phone keeps in GPS connected for emergency/billing/tracking reasons, even without the data on, and updates the maps as it does so.

The maps themselves will not load with the data off (obviously) so its important that when you pre-load the maps you zoom in close to get the the parts of the map you think you will need later.

This was true for Denmark and Germany and think also Holland. I think I was using the apple map app and I have no idea if it does this with other phones or apps.

Awesome. In the past on Android cached Google Maps were only able to be used as a map incapable of being used with GPS. Just a big area of image that I could zoom in and out of. Sounds like the Apple app is far better.

Thanks for the heads up though. I may have a look to see if anything has changed in the Android world.

GPS is unrelated to internet or any other data mediums. Just a stream of info from satellites directly to your appliance. Your app obviously is happy to marry it to the cached data. I am guessing that you could not do searches etc which seems to require online data not cached.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby yugyug » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:20 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote: Your app obviously is happy to marry it to the cached data. I am guessing that you could not do searches etc which seems to require online data not cached.


thats it exactly.

I made some minor edits to my comment above to make that a bit more clear.
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Re: Advice pls on internet options - Europe

Postby Warin » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:01 am

So playing with Android maps...

Google maps (on Android) look to retain a few kms around where you last zoomed in, once you disconnect from data (G3/4 and/or Wifi etc).

OSM maps can be down loaded while you have connection to data ( 3/4G and/or Wifi etc) so they can be used with or without data connection. The OSM maps can contain searchable POI and addresses (depending on the app and the raw OSM data). I use OSMand, it is searchable for both POI and addresses. MapsWithme is another one using OSM data, not certain of the searchability. But I like the OSMAnd bicycle function.

I prefer the off line stuff ... as on line you are dependent on the connection and credit on the account.
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