Internet access while travelling with laptop - GPRS?
Thread poster: Paul Morris

Paul Morris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 5, 2006

I have been looking into the best way of accessing Internet so I can work without interruption while travelling (in Europe mainly)- is GPRS the best way to do this? How does it work? What phones can I connect to my PC to get wi-fi access (also without being too heinously expensive)and which systems/companies offer the most extensive range?

I have at present NO IDEA about any of this, so would be hugely grateful for a 'dummies guide' to using my laptop on the move without relying on Internet cafés, hotel telephones, hotspots etc., and without paying the earth. Got that travel bug again!!!


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Maria Luisa Duarte  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
3G Mobile Connect dual mode 3G/GPRS Feb 5, 2006

Hi!

I hope the information enclosed helps, I use the Vodafone 3G card in Spain and around Europe and South Africa without problems.

Regards

MLD

"The Vodafone 3G Mobile Connect dual mode 3G/GPRS datacard can be used with almost any laptop to provide high-speed internet services and email access, letting you work wherever you are. Being dualband it works throughout Europe, Africa and Asia/Pacific."

http://3g.mobiles.co.uk/vodafone-3g-mobile-connect-data-card.html


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Paul Morris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sounds good, but...... Feb 5, 2006

Thanks for that - it looks perfect.

What happens if I only want to use it a couple of months a year though - do I still have to pay the monthly fee or is there another way of charging?

Also, being as I would probably be using it in Spain and not in the UK, it would probably be cheaper for me to have a 'Spanish' card so I don't get roaming costs - is this possible? OR, is it possible to get the basic package then update it for just one month?

Sorry for all the questions - this is all new to me. Just back from La Gomera and I want to be able to STAY!!!

Saludos

Paul


[Edited at 2006-02-05 20:52]

[Edited at 2006-02-05 22:33]


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Maria Luisa Duarte  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
vodafone.es Feb 5, 2006

See the vodafone site.

MLD


http://www.vodafone.es/Vodafone/EmpresasPS/EmpresasPSNew/0,2979,14383,00.html

[Edited at 2006-02-05 21:36]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
3G Feb 5, 2006

3G/GPRS datacard is not that cheap. I tried it myself last summer. I took a 12 months contract on a Vodafone 3G datacard because it was cheaper than buying a card (the card without a contract was over 300 pounds). The fees for using the card abroad were quite high but what I did not realise was that the a certain number of megabytes would not take me half as far as the same number at home. Just by checking my mail once a day I used up a couple of megabytes and that was arelady 12 pounds. One month in Portugal cost me 600 pounds.
I know some companies do international deals but that would still mean signing up for a 12 months contract.
Buying a card abroad might be cheaper than in the UK, but you are still looking at a pretty hefty fee.
Unfortunately there are not many alternatives. You can get some kind of dial up or broadband connection but you would need a phone line to connect to Internet. The phone owner would not pay a penny but you woud have to explain this every time you move to a new place and that was what I though would be the most difficult.
Wi-Fi access spots depend on the country. Some countries have more, some have less, it depends on where you go. But then again a lot of places have Interned cafes and that along with Wi-Fi would be my best bet.

HTH,
Ines


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Paul Morris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
more questions.... Feb 5, 2006

Do most Internet 'cafés' allow you to plug in your own laptop and use their internet connection now? That DOES seem expensive, but something similar would be nice to have when not near an Internet cafe etc. Perhaps I would be best just with a GPRS phone......









Burrell wrote:

3G/GPRS datacard is not that cheap. I tried it myself last summer. I took a 12 months contract on a Vodafone 3G datacard because it was cheaper than buying a card (the card without a contract was over 300 pounds). The fees for using the card abroad were quite high but what I did not realise was that the a certain number of megabytes would not take me half as far as the same number at home. Just by checking my mail once a day I used up a couple of megabytes and that was arelady 12 pounds. One month in Portugal cost me 600 pounds.
I know some companies do international deals but that would still mean signing up for a 12 months contract.
Buying a card abroad might be cheaper than in the UK, but you are still looking at a pretty hefty fee.
Unfortunately there are not many alternatives. You can get some kind of dial up or broadband connection but you would need a phone line to connect to Internet. The phone owner would not pay a penny but you woud have to explain this every time you move to a new place and that was what I though would be the most difficult.
Wi-Fi access spots depend on the country. Some countries have more, some have less, it depends on where you go. But then again a lot of places have Interned cafes and that along with Wi-Fi would be my best bet.

HTH,
Ines



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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Internet cafes Feb 5, 2006

[quote]Paul Morris wrote:

Do most Internet 'cafés' allow you to plug in your own laptop and use their internet connection now? That DOES seem expensive, but something similar would be nice to have when not near an Internet cafe etc. Perhaps I would be best just with a GPRS phone......



If you mean using GPRS phone as a modem then it still is around 6 pounds for an mb, or at least was last summer. You can use it once or twice but after that it gets expensive.
Most of the Internet Cafes have their own wireless network so you can connect to it. The fees usually are quite low, but I still used to take the receipts for my tax return. The only problem I found - if you travel around, you have to spend quite some time to find an Internet cafe in every single place. But it would work out a lot cheaper that the rest of the solutions.


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Paul Morris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
hmmm Feb 5, 2006

Hmmm, getting late and confused now. Of course my UK broadband won't work abroad, so would I have to organise dial up (AOL or something)once I got to Spain? I am really looking into making the whole thing as simple as possible. Looking at the details above, it seems the 250 mb, plus roaming is teh cheapest.

Sigh, I know it wouldn't be easy!


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:49
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
My experience Feb 5, 2006

I am based in Spain and 2.5 years ago I used GPRS to use my mobile phone with my laptop to check my e-mails if there was no internet cafe near. I had a deal where you pay only a very low monthly fee, and above that a certain amount for every MB downloaded. Do not use it to download any attachments!! Also, bear in mind that in the packages with a fixed monthly 'traffic', roaming is not included. It was OK in Spain, but I had many problems in France - could not get it to work most of the time. Things may have improved by now though...
Now I just tell people that I am not available during x days (travelling) or to ring my mobile. I occasionally check my e-mail in internet cafés and the past few years I travelled around to end up house-sitting in Portugal or the Netherlands - with an internet connection. I carry my laptop with me and an external HD (although now a usb stick would probably do the trick) to download and upload file in internet cafes. Works ok in the bigger places, but in smaller village where they have internet access in a bar, often no usb or other connection (floppy, cd) is possible....
Still, I have been known to do work while parked on a camping in Granada (internet cafe near!) and in Cognac, and in Bergerac.....
I also have colleagues using a Blackberry to receive e-mails. But still the problem of all these solutions is: it gets too expensive when roaming, and as you are not based in the country you are travelling to, no local GPRS rates are possible. At least - that is where I gave up on GPRS.
Anyway, Gomera is not a very big island, is it? (travel-wise, I mean). Good luck!


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:49
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
3G again Feb 6, 2006

I cannot guarantee that it will work, however you can try. I bought my 3G deal from a company called Adam Phones (www.adamphones.com). They were the cheapest on the market (I pay 17 pounds a month for 70 MB). I cannot find any info on their website on 3G datacards anymore, but I am still using their services (comes handy when my AOL connection is down) plus they sent me a letter a couple of months ago saying they now offer international subscription. I might be mistaken but I think it was around 40 pounds a months for a certain amount of MBs. It is a lot easier to pay 40 pounds a month for a year than to fork out 600 for a single bill. So it might be an option for you. The only problem is I am not sure they still provide this service (any 3G datacard deal actually) to new customers. But you can try calling them.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:49
English to German
+ ...
Cheap vs. easy Feb 6, 2006

Hi Paul,
Of course my UK broadband won't work abroad, so would I have to organise dial up (AOL or something)once I got to Spain?

Have you checked with your UK broadband supplier whether they offer a wi-fi roaming deal? My account with Deutsche Telekom includes a reasonably-priced WLAN roaming option, which is pretty reasonable when used abroad. Thing is, you need to find a hotspot (not necessarily an internet café - for instance, Starbucks often have hotspots).


I am really looking into making the whole thing as simple as possible. Looking at the details above, it seems the 250 mb, plus roaming is teh cheapest.

Sigh, I know it wouldn't be easy!

It can be easy, but that isn't necessarily the cheapest option. I also use a Vodafone 3G/GPRS datacard, which works almost everwhere, but can be pretty costly when used abroad. Check their tariffs (as well as those of other providers) before signing: most of them offer a special deal where you can sign up to an international service which comes at a higher monthly base fee, with lower volume (or time) charges. Also, think ahead whether you'll be online for extended periods of time (in which case a time-based tariff might be better), or just to check e-mail (in which case it would be useful to choose a tariff based on data volumes).

HTH, Ralf


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:49
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
20 Euro a month business account Feb 6, 2006

For my laptops I used in the past a business account for GPRS which costed me about 20 Euro monthly without restriction, I could download as much as I wanted. But this Finnish phone agency had no roaming contract for Ireland.
Most cafés and fast food restaurants have free Wlan nets, also Hotels. I hear Wlan connections are even more common elsewhere, especially in the Baltic states.
I you happen to come to Finland, do not search for Internet Cafés, there are none I know of. But the public libraries offer free Internet computers on waiting or with prior reservation. Thats why private vendors cannot exist. Its perhaps not so good for tourists, because the libraries are only for residants.
What puts me off in Internet Cafes abroud are that they all seem to use national programs and keyboards. It is not so easy to work with a portuguese Word and keyboard afterall.
So I would take my laptop with me if I want to work abroad.
But better not spoil your holidays with work!

Regards
Heinrich


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