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Laptop / dongle / roaming internet access
Thread poster: Charlie Bavington
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
French to English
Jul 13, 2009

I am soon planning a long-ish break away from home, spending some time in the UK and some in France. It seems likely that I need to look into the possibility of keeping some internet access during those 4 weeks (including the option of doing a couple of jobs, keeping an eye on my bank account, keeping the email volume down, etc.), but not all day, every day.

It seems to me the best option is some kind of USB mobile dongle. I am an Orange contract (not PAYG) customer (and quite happy) but I think my actual mobile phone is probably far too old to use as the connection device to my laptop (no bluetooth on the phone or anything fancy! Laptop bog standard Win XP). Hence I have been thinking about their Internet Everywhere package.

Does anyone have any experience of using this service, particularly in the UK + Europe, although any domestic + foreign comparison is useful. Any other options I could consider? I was thinking of a contract arrangement because I would hate to run out of credit at a crucial moment, but I would consider a PAYG deal if it were particularly attractive....

(FWIW, I was considering the mobile dongle option mainly because, although the laptop has wireless capability, I did not want to rely on being able to find hotspots and suchlike. It seems to me that mobile phone coverage is much greater than wifi, particularly outside big towns, so the mobile option seems more likely to work in more places.)


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 09:22
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Memory capacity of laptop Jul 13, 2009

I got caught out on this one Charlie. All cheerful as I unpacked my brand new USB thingummy, only to discover that my laptop doesn't have enough memory (quite apart from having the wrong kind of Windows, but that apparently would have been possible to get round). I complained that this proviso had not been passed onto me with the sales pitch, and they left me generally to understand that they couldn't even contemplate that anyone would have a laptop which is OVER FIVE YEARS OLD.

Now I am arguing the toss about the fact they are charging me for sth I returned immediately, while they plan to keep me locked into 18 mths of charges.

Tread with care...

Cheers

Noni
(PS I still want one!)


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:22
French to English
+ ...
Small print Jul 13, 2009

Hi Charlie,

I'd read the small print very carefully if I were you; I rather suspect that "everywhere" should be read as "everywhere in the UK" and that if you try to use the UK dongle in France you will be charged a lot of money - quite possibly several £ per MB over and above your contract cost.

I'm sure Orange runs a comparable service in France so it might be worth getting one dongle for each country. I picked up an Orange France PAYG SIM card recently, to save on roaming costs while over there.

I think when it comes to not relying on wireless availability, your instincts are good. Personally I use my mobile as a modem (Nokia E61) and it works very well except that it costs me a fortune to use abroad - I haven't found a solution to this, as I haven't needed to work extensively when abroad just yet.

Might you be due for a phone upgrade? Modem-capable phones can be got for free if you chat up the staff in the shop with sufficient skill.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
All good points Jul 13, 2009

Thanks for those responses. My laptop is just over 2 years old and I did see the memory requirements somewhere, I think I'm OK (famous last words!).
They do in fact mention the 18-month contract in the small print of a brochure I picked up from Carphone Warehouse, although the website seems to suggest a 30-day option is available - I would need to clarify that, for sure.

I did wonder about just getting some kind of PAYG deal from France, but these things usually require some software to be installed and quite honestly, I'd rather have the whole thing up and running before I leave home (e.g. where I can sort out a problem using my home broadband connection to download a Windows service pack, for instance), rather than try to sort it out on the road.
The Internet Everywhere package does actually cover roaming, altho as you say, at an additional price. I wouldn't be watching iplayer or downloading music or anything. I don't mind paying for what I need. It's paying for what I don't need (e.g. a lengthy contract) that I object to After all, I only really need this for a month.

You are probably right, I probably am due a funky new upgrade - there again, although I have been with Orange for years, my mobile bill is only about 15 quid a month, so I doubt I'm high on their list of valued customers!

Thanks for your comments so far, much appreciated.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Local internet dongle Jul 13, 2009

I had to research this subject myself a couple of months ago as I am going to Portugal for a few weeks soon. So any info I have is not specific to France but the principle will still apply. The best option was to buy a PAYG Internet dongle with a preset amount of data. In Portugal Vodafone was offering one for very decent rates (in fact, it was cheaper than in the UK). Since PAYG Internet dongles are now available in the UK, I am sure they do them in France as well. Using your mobile phone as a modem abroad is very costly. I made a mistake of doing just that last year even though Vodafone was charging only 5 pounds a day for up to 15mb. However, when it was time to pay the bill it turned out that it was only if you connected to Vodafone preferred network and guess what - it ain't Vodafone in Portugal! So this little adventure set me back by 400 pounds. So be careful with this option.

Ines


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:22
French to English
Try this Jul 13, 2009

abonnez-vous.orange.fr/residentiel/mobilite/Cle3G.aspx?rdt=o

Hi charlie
You can get pay-as-you-go internet now at any orange shop in france. The dongle costs 29 euros and you can buy time from just 20 minutes.
Other operators almost certainly run other schemes that are cheaper still. Personally for use in France I would but something in France.


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Elin Davies  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
English to Welsh
+ ...
Coverage Jul 13, 2009

Another thing to consider is network coverage. Unless you're going to be in an urban area the whole time, it may be a better option to upgrade your phone. I know many who've had no luck getting them to work in most parts of Wales, but don't know about the rest of the UK. Try looking here to check on coverage in the areas you'll be: http://www.internetdongle.com/coverage/

You can check specifically for Orange here, but take it all with a pinch of salt http://web.orange.co.uk/coverage/index.php?cid=631&sid=52&pid=0&mid=131&acid=MBBG400637


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Connection through phone ruled out, then ! Jul 13, 2009

Burrell wrote:

Using your mobile phone as a modem abroad is very costly. I made a mistake of doing just that last year even though Vodafone was charging only 5 pounds a day for up to 15mb. However, when it was time to pay the bill it turned out that it was only if you connected to Vodafone preferred network and guess what - it ain't Vodafone in Portugal! So this little adventure set me back by 400 pounds. So be careful with this option.

Ines

I suppose there is the danger that it gets charged as if it were a phone call? As you say, if you're doing that roaming and not using the right network.... yikes ! OK, I can see the hazard there, so I think I'll shove that option to one side, and plough on with plan A
Thanks!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting contrast Jul 13, 2009

NR_Stedman wrote:

abonnez-vous.orange.fr/residentiel/mobilite/Cle3G.aspx?rdt=o

Hi charlie
You can get pay-as-you-go internet now at any orange shop in france. The dongle costs 29 euros and you can buy time from just 20 minutes.
Other operators almost certainly run other schemes that are cheaper still. Personally for use in France I would but something in France.

Yes, I can see your point. The only drawback is that IF there should be some kind of installation problem, I have no obvious backup internet connection to fall back on. I daresay I could download service packs or whatever from an internet café, but this is supposed to be a holiday! Hence, I would prefer to be sorted before I leave, even though it means paying more (and if I expected heavy internet usage, I would seriously consider it).
BUT, your idea is a great idea as a back up for my purposes, and the information in that link is well worth knowing. So thanks for pointing it out.

Interesting to note that it is also called "Internet Everywhere", but seems to be priced in terms of connection time.

Whereas the same in the UK is priced in terms of data.
http://shop.orange.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband?WT.svl=208

Something else for the European Commissioners to look at ?


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Paula James  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:22
French to English
+ ...
check prices! Jul 13, 2009

I have an Internet Everywhere usb connection thing, bought in Spain, and roaming prices are extortionate. I used it in the UK, and not to download films or anything, just checking emails, sending a translation or downloading something, basic things, and got charged a fortune - something like 18 € for being online half an hour or so. I have never used it since, unsurprisingly, and if I was to spend any length of time abroad somewhere without internet access would buy a PAYG one. I think it is basically charged like a phone call of similar length.
I can't imagine there would be any installation problems, mine is plug and play. The only problem I've ever had is that it doesn't work in some rural areas, so bear that mind too.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Plug and play Jul 13, 2009

Ah, well, if it really is plug and play, and if my laptop is compatible and up-to-date enough, perhaps that puts a slightly different complexion on it.

That roaming charge sounds a lot. I guess you were roaming FROM Spain, to the UK where pricing is based on data volume, and if you sent a large translation file....
Lawks, I think my head is about to explode


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Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:22
Russian to English
+ ...
Mobile PHONE Internet is expensive, CDMA is not Jul 13, 2009

I am a heavy user of mobile Internet via CDMA modem (MTS Connect, People.net) in Ukraine.

Low rates (like $30 per month).

Relatively high speed.

The coverage is not too waste so far. But the specilal CDMA antenna (12X aerial) helps if the signal gets low.

I'm happy. Can travel


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Paula James  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:22
French to English
+ ...
Yes, modem from Spain Jul 13, 2009

Yes, mine was a modem from Spain used in the UK - it was just a warning to check costs carefully - I had seen the roaming costs, but wasn't really aware of how much a megabyte was, and had no idea it could be so much!

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:22
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Charlie... Jul 13, 2009

please let us know what you go for... I'm looking for exactly the same thing! the Orange monthly one seems the best. But is it for abroad as well? I have a contract with Vodafone, but their PAYG dongle is not for abroad. You have to buy a monthly plan for that.

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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:22
German to Spanish
Roaming? Jul 13, 2009

People still paying roaming for internet?

Hm...

If you have not, buy a USB Modem in France with a new SIM for France

http://www.simyo.fr/telephonie-mobile/index.html

and also in UK, buy only a new prepaid SIM in any discounter. I have no information but for sure there are companies like Simyo also in UK. No need to "call home" every time.

Simyo is in SP, AT and NL too (maybe more countries)


Regards


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