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oinchats Apr 26th, 2012 12:51 PM

Wi Fi sim card
Has anyone used one in Europe? Specifically in Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Austria?

If so, how did it perform and what company did you use?


oinchats Apr 26th, 2012 02:51 PM

I meant to ask if anyone used the wi fi sim card with a laptop

Alec Apr 26th, 2012 03:33 PM

Wifi sim card doesn't exist. You access either free or paid wifi through a wifi card in your laptop, which all modern laptops should have. So it's just a question of finding a freespot or pay with your credit card for how much they charge to go online.

Now you can get mobile internet by using your mobile (cell) phone as modem, or 3G card incorporated into some laptops. The cheapest way is to get a payg sim card in each country with good data rate, preferably for a fixed daily price. You can in most cases use any sim from those countries and use in any other, and while you pay more, the rates are capped by EU (Switzerland is also covered by the agreement). Maximum capped data rate at around 0.70 euro per MB downloaded will come in on 1st July 2012.

Much more expensive but more convenient way is to sign up for an international data plan with your service provider.

oinchats Apr 26th, 2012 09:12 PM

Your right Alec. I think it is called pocket WiFi. I see online that Tep Wireless offers it.

oinchats Apr 26th, 2012 09:20 PM

apparently you insert a sim card (from the company selling the pocket wifi) into the device.

kybourbon Apr 26th, 2012 09:36 PM

>>>Alec on Apr 26, 12 at 6:33pm
Wifi sim card doesn't exist. You access either free or paid wifi through a wifi card in your laptop, which all modern laptops should have.<<<

Actually, you can buy this although it's not a sim card. In Italy, you can get it from any of the TIM stores. It's called a chiavetta. It should plug into your laptop like a little usb drive and then you will have internet. It's like the prepaid mobile internet you can buy in the US. As long as the device is plugged into your computer, you can use it anywhere.

There have been a couple of threads where people have bought this and reported it back about it. It might turn up in a search if you want a review.

Alec Apr 27th, 2012 12:55 AM

Yes, it's called USB dongle or stick modem. Best to buy it in your country unlocked so you can insert any local SIM card.

You can buy one from TIM or any other provider, but it may be locked and may not take SIM from any other provider. As I've said, from July, data roaming charge will be capped in much of Europe, so unless you are a heavy data user, it may not matter too much if you are to use throughout your European stay. Just check details on how to top up credit, esp if you are out of the country you've bought it in. Often you can do it online, but it may require registration and navigating in a foreign language.

hetismij2 Apr 27th, 2012 01:29 AM

I unlocked my prepaid dongle. It cost me €5 to get the code, online. Easy enough to do.

Some laptops have this already built in, but that too may be locked.

I usually try to find a free wifi zone (like McD's) but I now have the dongle for when I am out of range of such things, or if I want to Skype with video for instance, so I am not taking all the free bandwidth.

So far I only have a Dutch Sim (which came with the dongle) and a Norwegian one, but as I travel more I shall doubtless acquire more. Buying the Norwegian one was a painless experience, just needed to hand over some ID for it to be registered.

kybourbon Apr 27th, 2012 05:45 AM

Here's a picture of the TIM chiavetta.

pookymimi Apr 27th, 2012 07:45 AM

We bought a Vodafone USB stick (Internet Key in Italy) in Rapallo and used it all over Italy. The stick came with some minutes and we bought a one month package, I anticipate using it again this summer.

It worked great, once they were able to fix the little connection quirks.

Vodafone Italy has two options

pookymimi Apr 27th, 2012 07:50 AM

I forgot, if you go for any brand of Internet Key, bring your laptop with you.

We forgot bringing it the first time and just bought the Internet key, we had a hell of a time trying to link it to our laptop that we had to come back to the store again.
(We have one from Chile and we had no issues doing it ourselves there).

This was not convenient as we had to leave Rapallo at lunch time and we had to stay waiting outside their store with luggage until 4pm.

oinchats Apr 27th, 2012 11:06 AM

"Yes, it's called USB dongle or stick modem. Best to buy it in your country unlocked so you can insert any local SIM card."

Alec, are you saying I can buy a dongle in the US that I can use in Europe? I don't think that is what you are saying.

I did call Tep Wireless in the UK and they will send me the pocket wifi with 50 MB per day. That will cost about $150.00 for the month. 50 MB doesn't seem like a lot of minutes to me. I think I have spent more then that researching this dongle, pocket wifi, etc.

So when I am in Germany, Austria, etc. I should probably go to a store comparable to a store in Italy that sells TIM cards (though tobacci shops have them in Italy).

thanks to all of you for your suggestions.

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