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Thread: Global GSM Prepaid Overview - Great for travelers!

  1. #1
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    Global Prepaid Overview - Great for travelers!

    Having just come back from vacation I realized that I did not have all the facts prior to leaving about what prepaid to get while abroad.

    I have set up a format, if you post, please post in the indicated format :-)


    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE:
    Please go to this post here , and download the templete, fill it in, and copy and paste the contents into a reply box - simple

    Please post GSM providers only. If you would like to review a TDMA, CDMA, or iDEN provider please go here: http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...92#post3455292


    On Page 2 of this thread you can find some good info on how to post currency signs in unicode so that you do not see any odd little square boxes instead of the signs

    Also when posting here please do not post your signature

    96 Operators to date!

    ALREADY REVIEWED
    Argentina: Unifon

    Australia: Optus
    Australia: Telstra
    Australia: Vodafone
    Australia: Virgin Mobile
    Australia: iSIM

    Bahamas:BbaTelCell

    Belgium: Proximus

    Belize: Digicel

    Brazil: Oi
    Brazil: TIM
    Brazil: Claro
    Brazil: Brazil Telecom

    Canada: Fido (5 related posts)
    China: China Mobile
    Colombia: Movistar

    Dominican Republic: Orange

    Dutch St Maarten: UTC

    El Salvador: Digicel

    Ecuador: Porta GSM

    France: SFR
    France: Orange

    Germany: E-Plus (4 related posts)
    Germany: Tchibo

    Greece: TIM
    Greece: Vodafone
    Greece: Cosmote
    Greece: Q-Telecom

    Hong Kong: People's (mobile?)

    Indonesia: Telkomcell

    Ireland: Meteor

    Israel: Orange
    Israel: Cellcom

    Italy: Wind
    Italy: Vodafone
    Italy: TIM

    Japan: Softbank (formerly Vodafone)

    Mexico: TelCel

    Pakistan: Mobilink
    Pakistan: ufone

    Peru: TIM

    Phillipines: Globe Telecom
    Phillipines: SMART


    Poland: IDEA

    Romania: Connex

    Russia: Sonic Duo
    Russia: Beeline

    Singapore: SingTel
    Singapore: M1

    Spain: Vodafone

    Switzerland: Swiss GSM

    Thailand: Advanced Info Service
    Thailand: DTAC

    Turkey: Avea
    Turkey: TurkCell

    UK: 3
    UK: Virgin Mobile
    UK: Vodafone (2 related posts)
    UK: O2 (3 related posts)
    UK: Fresh
    UK: T-Mobile (2 posts)
    UK: Orange
    UK: Tesco Mobile

    Ukraine: UMC
    Ukraine: Kyivstar (3 related post)

    USA: AT&T [No longer exists but GoPhone is used by Cingular]
    USA: T-Mobile (2 related posts)
    USA: Virgin Mobile CDMA (2 related posts)
    USA: Cingular (4 related posts)
    USA: Tracfone (4 related posts)
    USA: 20 regional GSM providers , Click here
    USA: 7-eleven
    USA: Regional: CellOne
    USA: Oxygen Prepaid (MVNO)

    Vietnam: MobiFone
    Vietnam: VinaPhone

    International: United-Mobile (3 related posts)
    International: Hop Mobile
    International: Mobal
    International: Riiing (5 related posts)


    If you would like to find out more specifics about costs associated with each provider please check out http://www.prepaidgsm.net, they've got some pretty extensive information.

    GSM World has up-to-date coverage maps from most if not all carriers.

    GPRS Settings related pages:
    Do it yourself settings
    SonyEricsson Configurator for SonyEricsson Phones




    A Special Thanks to everyone who is contributing to this thread!

    Admiral
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 04-08-2008 at 05:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    FRANCE

    Quick Facts
    Country: France
    Network Name: SFR
    Website: http://www.sfr.fr
    Product Name: La Carte
    Owned by/Major partner: Vodafone
    Operational Frequency: 900 and 1800 GSM
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 35 Euro (5 Euro SMS credit, 5 Euro talk credit)
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: Yes
    Manual included: Yes
    Refill amounts: 15, 25, 35, 60 euro cards
    Availability: SFR shops, "Tabac" shops and Telecom shops, they are easy to find!
    Competitors: Orange, Boygues

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    Buying the prepaid package is really straight forward. You can go to any Tabac, or SFR company store (major cities have at least one), or you can go to an independent dealer and buy a package. Recharging is straight forward. You can buy recharge cards in the same places you can buy a prepaid package, and every post office has the ability to sell you recharge cards. Personally I would buy a 35 or 60 euro card since they give you 20% and 30% (respectively) more airtime than you pay for when you buy those recharge amounts.
    The Bad:
    Sorry, no american credit cards (unless you've got one with the smartchip on it). The french don't seem to grasp that you can key in the credit card number if the swiping motion does no work. Also because of French regulations you need to declare your name and address when buying the prepaid package. I think this is pointless since I do not live in France (gave the hotel's address) and I was never asked for an ID - so I could have lied. As of today (7/15/04) if you want to buy in advance and have it activated while still in your country of origin, this is impossible YOu have to activate your account in France.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    CSD and GPRS are available on prepaid accounts! You can surf the net on your mobile. Signal was pretty good almost everywhere I went. The SIM has SIM applications on it that allow you to connect to SFR's TEXTO services (get movie, weather, banking, ringtone and other services). Getting on GPRS is easy, and their service is called "Vodaphone Live!", it has some interesting things on it. As I mentioned earlier it is very easy to get refills, and they give you free time as well. They have various promotions going on. While I was there I got 90 minutes free of night-time minutes as well as 2 months free of caller waiting.
    The SIM app tookit called "Services SFR" contains the following categories:
    (1) Recharger (recharge)
    (2) Messages (access to voicemail, texto, the email account they give you, and access to other messages)
    (3) Services (various services)
    (4) My favorites
    Finally, the SIM has numbers preprogrammed on it that can let you access customer service, emergency services such as police and ambulances, and the numbers for their various services.

    The Bad:
    I was vacationing in the area of Languedoc-Roussillon (in an village called Gruissan, near Narbonne). The signal was pretty good, unfortunately in the house (in the bedroom and bathroom) I only had 1 bar of signal (out of five) - I was still able to GPRS though. Another bad thing is the fact that TEXTO seems to have an SMS counterpart as well but it did not seem to work when I tried to use it. Thirdly, in theory I am supposed to be able to roam while I am here in the states, but I am getting only "Emergency call only" on my mobile. Finally, the most retarded thing is GPRS related. I could use *only* the built-in "internet" browser on my P800 to access the GPRS connection. I could not use Opera, Worldmate and I could not use the mail client of my P800!!! I am not sure if I goofed on the settings but I could not get my mail to work! This was annoying.
    On a smaller scale, the SIM apps are all telephone based, so you need to call in order to get things done, doing things by SMS is not really an option as it seems for the built in apps.

    TIPS:
    1) Read the Manual, it's interesting - the package comes with manuals and reminder cards
    2) Buy yourself a 35 or 60 euro recharge card if you are going to be in France for 2 or more weeks (based on your perceived usage)
    3) Do yourself a favor and go to sonyericsson.com (if you own a sonyericsson phone) and get the configurations for you phone BEFORE going on vacation. I looked around at many websites for settings and nothing worked until I went to SE's website
    4) CSD is active instantly once your SIM is active, even though it says you need to call customer service to activate it. GPRS takes 3 days to come online once you activate your account. Get both CDS and GPRS settings for your phone!
    5) Be careful of pickpockets.


    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    Since it is the only package that I have used in France and given that I did not have to call customer service at all, and that I had GPRS access makes me want to recommend this to anyone visiting France and that needs prepaid! I give it 4/5 stars.


    Screenshot of Vodafone Live! WAP site
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 07-17-2004 at 04:18 PM.

  3. #3
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    Great review!
    Well done!
    When I read your first post about your intention to do something like this, I thought I'd pitch in and pass along some of what my experience has been, but your's is too dang good. I could never equal it.

    Thanks for your effort.

    (the vacation sounds great ....... except for it being in France. I'll NEVER go back there, beautiful though it is)


    *** Note by AdmiralAK **
    Sorry to reply in your post but I am trying to keep non review posts to a minimum so that people looking for info don't have to shuffle through many non-review posts - If you have any SFR related info please PM me and I will add it If you have any Virgin mobile or T-Mobile info and you want to contribute please let me know - or just post

    *** end of note ***
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 06-18-2004 at 02:48 PM.

  4. #4
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    Italy

    Quick Facts
    Country: Italy
    Network Name: Wind
    Website: http://www.wind.it
    Owned by/Major partner: ENEL (Italian electric company)
    Operational Frequency: 900 (rural areas) and 1800 (cities) GSM
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 10 Euro with 5 euro of credit (there are often offers at 5 euros)
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: Yes (after activation)
    SIM applications: Yes (64k sim card)
    Manual included: just a quick guide in Italian
    Refill amounts: 4(3), 10(8), 25(20), 45(40), 60(60) euro cards (credit included)
    Availability: MondoWind and TuttoWind shops, multibrand phone dealers
    Competitors: TIM, Vodafone, 3 (UMTS)

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    Very easy to buy a Wind prepaid card, and very cheap too. You can easily find a Wind shop in big towns, a bit harder in smaller villages. It's even much easier to top-up, mostly any "tabacchi" and "lotto" shop can recharge your Wind account, as well as any newsstand and Wind shop, of course. If you are staying in Italy for a longer period it is suggested to use the 60 euros top-up, since you will get 60 euro of credit, unlike smaller scratch cards.
    The Bad:
    You first need to have an Italian "Codice Fiscale", otherwise you cannot buy any prepaid card in Italy. You can get one here:
    http://www.comuni.it/servizi/codfisc/
    Print it and bring it with you.
    You cannot buy or top-up on the online shop (www.mondowind.it) with no Italian credit cards. No chance to top-up a Wind card outside of Italy, unless you first buy a scratch card in Italy. In the future it should be possible due to an "alliance" with O2 and other European carriers.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    The simcards are preactivated, you just dial 4242 and choose your language (Italian or English), then you are ready to go. CSD is preactivated, while you need to activate GPRS and MMS if you want to use them. International roaming is preactivated, and it works with USSD commands or also CAMEL direct roaming with some operators.
    Old Wind tariffs were the cheapest, the new ones (June 2004) are not that good, very similar to Vodafone ones.
    SMS work well, while the services on the sim-card seem to be quite unuseful (as it always happens, IMHO). You can surf on Wind wap portal (Libero) to get some information, but it's quite expensive. No problem surfing the net via GPRS and any browser (on the phone or on a PC). There is a flat rate GPRS-web tariff for 19 euro/months with unlimited navigation.
    Useful serive "MyWind" tells you when you miss calls while your phone is turned off or without net.
    Wind is also the only Italian operator which offers i-mode

    The Bad:
    The most concerns about Wind are usually related to its coverage, mostly 1800 in towns, and dual, or just 900 in rural areas. And the biggest problems are with 1800 inside of buildings (like 1900 in the US). Anyway, unless you go to some "strange" location, you should have Wind signal, and in some places you can roam on Vodafone net too.
    Customer Care service is not that good, and in Italian only... I wish you never need it! ;-)

    TIPS:
    1)Find which is your "Codice Fiscale", otherwise you cannot buy any simcard in Italy.
    2)Before buying a Wind sim ask to some Italian friend how is their net coverage in the place you are going to stay (usually no big problems in big towns and touristic places).
    3)Check the tariff you have (the initial one should be BeWind, good for SMS but not for calls to other mobiles, Autoricarica should be better)
    4)Ask the dealer to activate GPRS (if you need it) for you, otherwise you'll need to call the 155 (customer care) and pray God to find an English speaking operator! You can also activate it via web, at www.155.it, but you need to know Italian, as usual.
    5)If you have other problems ask me!


    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    Wind prepaid card usually works well, the only problem could be the net coverage, but they are improving their net quite a lot. The starting kit is the cheapest in Italy and the tariffs are now quite similar to the competitors' ones. If you are going to travel throughout Italy I think it's still better to buy a TIM or Vodafone card, even if they are a bit more expensive.

    AdmiralAK -tried to add screenshot (did not succeed)
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 06-18-2004 at 01:05 PM.
    Greetings from Charlie "Effendi"
    Genova, Italy

  5. #5
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    USA

    Quick Facts
    Country: USA
    Network Name: AT&T
    Website: http://www.attwireless.com/
    Product Name: GoPhone
    Owned by/Major partner: NTT DoCoMo (partner)
    Operational Frequency: 850and 1900 GSM
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 50 US Dollars (18 or 25 dollar start credit)
    CSD access: No
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: No
    Manual included: No
    Refill amounts: No refills (see bellow)
    Availability: AT&T wireless stores
    Competitors: T-Mobile, Cingular, Tracfone

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    Well, activation was quick and painless... There are two accounts. The "Basic" costing $18 per month, and the "Advanced" that also allows you access to GPRS, this costs $25 per month.

    The Bad:
    I had to go to three AT&T stores and finagle my way into getting a SIM only GoPhone account. They have pre-packaged phones and GoPhone SIMs but for some reason they don't just sell a SIM! I had to tell them that I called the 1-800 telephone number, spoke with telephone support and they said it was OK, had to speak to the store manager and then and only then I got the SIM. Also I had to fill out my information, my name, home address (had to be a local address), telephone number and the whole nine yard (totally unnecessary if you ask me).
    Also, there is a lack of "refill" cards. You either link a credit card with your account (dont do it!!!) or you have to refill manually each time paying by credit, or going to an AT&T store and paying there. If you account total goes bellow $5, you get a warning SMS to let you know and the account gets refilled automatically (if you have a credit card linked to it) at that time. Finally, you need to call customer service and cancel your account if you no longer want it (annoying and pointless for a prepaid account).

    Usage:
    The Good:
    Usage-wise I did not have any major problems. AT&T operates in the 850 and 1900 GSM range. I would suggest that you either get a dualband 850/1900 (or triband 850/1900/1800, or quadband phone) just to be on the safe side. There were some areas that T-Mobile had a better signal when I did a comparison (Autumn 2003) but AT&T has built out their GSM network and it has better signal now. Also a merger with Cingular is currently on the way (summer 2004) and that will increase their coverage. Another good thing is that you can make international phone calls. No activation fee._No termination fee._ Free weekends (no nights) on plans of $40 and up._ Minutes *MAY* roll over IF you manually recharge before 30 days. No expensive overage charges (but your 30 day window restarts when your account drops below $5).

    The Bad:
    GPRS is expensive! Last time I checked I could not send SMS messages abroad. You cannot bring back your AT&T SIM card and have it roam in your home country. You pay taxes and fees on GoPhone, just like a regular account. You must be on a "plan" and that fee is charged every month. Your credit card is pre-charged each month._ Your credit card will automatically get charged at the end of 30 days or when your account drops to $5, depending on the plan you sign up with._


    TIPS:
    1) Get a phone that supports the 850 and 1900 GSM bands, it will be invaluable
    2) Unless AT&T offers a GoPhone SIM-only package, if you really want to get it, lie! Tell them you called customer service and they told you that the store you just walked into could provide it for you :-)
    3) Don't link your credit card to your account no matter what they say



    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    By the time you read this, AT&T wireless and the GoPhone program might not exist anymore given that Cingular has bought AT&T wireless. I would suggest that travelers interested in getting a USA SIM card go with a carrier other than AT&T simply because it is a hassle to get the service to begin with. I would give the service 2/5 stars overall.

    Some info was taken from: : http://markson.net/cell_nh_att_pp_gsm.htm

    Screenshot of mMode WAP site
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up UNITED KINGDOM

    Quick Facts
    Country: United Kingdom (Great Brittain)
    Network Name: Virgin Mobile
    Website: http://www.virginmobile.co.uk/
    Plan name: Pay as you go
    Owned by/Major partner: Operates using T-Mobile UK's network
    Operational frequency: 1800 GSM
    Prepaid package cost (just SIM): £10 (£5 credit)
    Airtime cost (UK): 15p/min for first 5 minutes in a day, then 5p/min (incoming calls are free)
    Airtime cost (to US): 20p/min
    Text messages: 3p to Virgin phones, 10p to other UK carriers, 20p international, free incoming
    CSD access: No
    GPRS access: No
    SIM applications: No
    Manual: Yes
    Refill amounts: £5, £10, £20 vouchers, or £5-100 via swipe card at most groceries and tobacconists
    Availability: Virgin Megastores and most cell phone dealers
    Competitors: Orange, O2, T-Mobile, 3, Vodaphone

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    Very easy to get started. There are Virgin stores in the major airports, so you can buy right when you get off the plane. There's no hassle about buying just a joining pack (SIM only). They are phasing out the refill vouchers, but new joining packs come with swipe cards that can be used at most grocery stores to add airtime. You can use whatever form of payment (cash, credit) that the store accepts.

    The Bad:
    You can only add airtime online or over the phone with registered credit cards, and they will only register cards with UK addresses.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    I had no trouble placing calls in London or Edinburgh. The airtime rates are good, particularly to the United States compared to other cell phone companies.

    The Bad:
    It doesn't work in the Tube in London. No data services. Roaming outside the UK is limited. It's unavailable in the US.

    TIPS:
    1. If you're bringing your own phone, you'll need an unlocked phone that supports GSM1800.
    2. Those calling you from the US will need to drop the leading zero before dialing your number -- 011 44 79 xxx xxxx.


    FINAL THOUGHTS
    I don't have any complaints at all. It was easy to get started, and easy to use.
    Last edited by alanh; 06-18-2004 at 06:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    GREECE

    Quick Facts
    Country: Greece
    Network Name: TIM (formerly Telestet)
    Website: http://www.tim.com.gr
    Owned by/Major partner: TIM
    Operational Frequency: 900 GSM and 2100 UMTS
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 19 Euro
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: Yes
    Manual included: Yes
    Refill amounts: 9, 15,30 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
    Availability: TIM stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
    Program Name: Free2Go, For All
    Competitors: Cosmote, Vodafone, Q-Telecom

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    I bought a "B-Free" package ("For All"s predecessor) online from an amazon.com like store in Greece. It was fairly cheap, back then I paid only 13 euro if memory serves me correctly. Getting prepaid packages from TIM is pretty easy, there are TIM company stores in major cities and there are a lot of "Germanos" stores around which sell prepaid packages (they specialize in hi-tech gismos). The package costs 20 euro (19.90 actually) and you get 8 euro talk credit.

    The Bad:
    When I bought the package online I paid 50 dollars for shipping! Ouch! I would suggest that you either get the prepaid packages in Greece, or have a friend or relative send you a package via Snail mail, it is cheaper!

    Usage:
    The Good:
    I had travelled to a lot of places in Greece, Athens, Ioannina, Patra, Zakinthos, Olympia and many other places (got relatives everywhere!) and I never had a signal problem, even up in the mountains and out in the boondocks. The SIM applications were a bit useful, I was able to get horoscope info, lotto scores (played the lotto while in Greece), soccer match scores and so on. TIM now also offers information via MMS as well as by SMS (examples: MMS video news, MMS radio dedications, MMS weather, MMS comics and more), and they offer WAP connectivity. GPRS connectivity is included as well I believe! I did not have any need to contact customer service to activate my SIM once I bought it, just put it in the phone and used it. Finally, roaming. No hassle, no extra steps roaming. You can roam abroad without any problems. You can send and receive SMS messages and you can receive calls. In order to make calls I believe you need to contact customer service to authorize it.

    The Bad:
    When I was a prepaid subscriber (between 2000 and 2002) GPRS access was not allowed for prepaid users. I believe now GPRS is not instantly on once you activate your connection, you might have to call customer service to activate it. My dealings with customer service were good, I did not have any problems with them, even when they did not activate my GPRS connection. TIM offers UMTS coverage in Greece in selected cities - Athens, Patra, Heraclion, Thessaloniki (as of 06/2004), however UMTS coverage is only for post-paid customers. Also reception in the Athenian Metro system was not that good.

    TIPS:
    1) Determine which package is for you, Free2Go and For All offer different 2 different pricing schemes, determine which one fits you best (Free2Go is better for SMS users while For All has better deals on voice calls). Their website is bilingual, check it out for more package and tariff info.
    2) In the airport get yourself a package and a recharge card higher than 18 euro, it is the best place to get one. I know that there is a Germanos store in the Greek Airport in Athens.
    3) If you need GPRS contact customer service to let them know that you want it and that they should activate it for you.
    4) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a TIM store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.


    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    I liked TIM (telestet when I was using it). It had great coverage in all the places I went, I found the free caller ID useful, and I liked that I wasn't hassled with giving out my local info (landline, address, etc). I am a bit apprehensive to suggest them though as a prepaid service because I still do not know if they let prepaid users use GPRS or not. If GPRS does not matter to you - go for it! CSD is offered, and where there is CSD, GPRS is not far behind - give them a try! Oh by the way, the manual and all the SIM applications are in Greek
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 07-25-2004 at 12:45 PM.
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  8. #8
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    GREECE

    Quick Facts
    Country: Greece
    Network Name: Vodafone (formerly Panafon)
    Website: http://www.vodafone.gr
    Owned by/Major partner: Vodafone
    Operational Frequency: 900 GSM and 2100 UMTS
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 20 Euro
    CSD access: No (according to se.com)
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: Yes
    Manual included: Yes
    Refill amounts: 9, 18 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
    Availability: Vodafone Stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
    Program Name: CU, a la carte
    Competitors: Cosmote, TIM, Q-Telecom

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    I bought a CU connection package in 2002. The package is 20 euro (19,90 euro to be precise) and it comes with 8 euro of airtime. The process of buying was smooth and I did not have to give my local info (address, landline number, etc) in order to get my account activated.

    The Bad:
    Nothing bad!

    Usage:
    The Good:
    Overall I liked my CU account. Everywhere I went I had good reception, even underground in the metro system! I was pretty impressed. The SIM applications are on par with TIM's applications. They give you info such as news, horoscope, weather, movie info and more over SMS. Vodafone now has an online WAP portal called Vodafone Live! and you can access this by getting online with their GPRS connection (I think you can do this with the CSD connection as well). I personally bought a CU package because half my friends use vodafone CU and calls to them would be cheaper (calls to other carriers were a bit more expensive) and also SMS messages were cheaper. When it comes to roaming, there are no hassles and no extra steps. You can roam abroad without any problems. You can send and receive SMS messages and you can receive calls. In order to make calls I believe you need to contact customer service to authorize it.

    The Bad:
    I had to call customer service to activate GPRS - on the good side, I was able to use it within 2 days of when I called Customer service to activate it and customer service was polite and knowledgeful. UMTS is not available yet on prepaid.

    TIPS:
    1) Don't order online! a 20 euro package is not worth paying 70 dollars for!
    2) As always get your GPRS settings before you leave home, conveying info to customer service about getting the settings can be tricky, especially if you do not speak Greek.
    3) I believe that the Germanos store at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens has prepaid packages. Also take this opportunity to see if they sell higher euro amounts of prepaid packages, it is worth it.
    4) Research which program you want before you leave, a la carte and CU are geared toward different needs. Their website is bilingual, check it out for more package and tariff info.
    5) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a Vodafone store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    I was more content with service from Vodafone than I was with Telestet (now TIM). They did not hassle me for accessing GPRS and getting connected was easy, and cheap. I liked them and I would recommend them without hesitation.


    ---- Updates ----
    7/14/04 - it seems that CSD is no longer available, post edited accordingly
    -------------------
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 07-25-2004 at 12:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    11,907
    Device(s)
    iPhone IIIgs
    Carrier(s)
    Main: Cingular(US)
    Feedback Score
    0

    GREECE

    Quick Facts
    Country: Greece
    Network Name: Cosmote
    Website: http://www.cosmote.gr
    Owned by/Major partner: NTT DoCoMo
    Operational Frequency: 1800 GSM and 2100 UMTS
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 20 Euro
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: Yes
    Manual included: Yes
    Refill amounts: 9, 18 Euro (Higher available in Airports)
    Availability: Cosmote Stores, OTE stores, Independent Dealers, Kiosks, "Psilikatzidika"
    Program Name: Cosmokarta, What's up?
    Competitors: Vodafone, TIM, Q-Telecom

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    I do not own a Cosmote prepaid account but a lot of my friends do in Greece and I have looked into getting one next time I go to Greece. You can get a cosmote prepaid package at any Cosmote store, at Germanos or other Technology stores and at OTE (state run landline telecom) stores which exist in every city! I do not believe that you have to give out any information like address, landline number and so on which expedites the process. There are two packages, Cosmokarta and What's Up? What's Up? is described as "the youth tool" which I would assume gives you more services geared toward trendy, young, hip people. Price is 19.90 Euro and you get 8 euros worth of airtime.

    The Bad:
    You cannot yet buy UMTS prepaid in greece.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    From what my friends have described, signal is good and they have had no problems with communication. I think that the Athenian metro system (underground) has some reception problems but so do other carriers I believe (with the exception of vodafone I think). Their GPRS is called i-Mode and it is usage on prepaid which makes these two prepaid packages good for the internet users. They also have a SIM application set called "My Cosmos", which are services which include Voice services, SMS based services, and a WAP portal called "My Cosmos" with info such as Airport and Port itenerary information (is my flight delayed? is it on time? what about my ship?). I also believe that they have lotto, horoscope, news and more info provided by other providers like TIM and Vodafone. Roaming is a no-hassle deal. You can roam to other networks abroad without problems. For making phone calls I think you might have to call customer service. With i-mode you've got access to over 130 services on your cellphone (newspapers, banks, entertainment etc.)

    The Bad:
    Need to call customer service to activate GPRS (I think). I believe that the My Cosmos services are in Greek only, I hope they are in English too by now. I do believe that i-Mode is in Greek, so if you do not speak Greek you might be left out in the cold.

    TIPS:
    1) Decide which package is for you, What's Up? and Cosmokarta are not identical. Check the website out, it is in Greek and English, look at the tariffs and decide.
    2) Get your CSD and GPRS settings before you leave.
    3) if you want GPRS, go buy the package at a Cosmote store, have them activate it for you and have the store clerks activate GPRS for you, chances are that they speak English.




    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    I would give cosmote a try - I know so many people that use them without problems. They weren't the first in the UMTS business in Greece but they are quite innovative. The Airport and Port info is a nice service for travelers (after all, you are going to Greece for traveling, right?).
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 07-27-2004 at 04:11 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Posts
    15,517
    Device(s)
    Nokia 5310 w/Jabra BT250V handsfree, Nokia 6010, Nokia 6030
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile US, Fido, T-Mobile NL, Orange IL
    Feedback Score
    0

    Global prepaid site

    I hope you don't mind me tacking this onto this thread, but a good source for prepaid information is www.prepaidgsm.net with information for Europe, Asia and North America.

    *** Admiral's Note ***
    Cool resource!
    ******************
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 06-23-2004 at 08:49 AM.
    Moderator yahoogroups forum T-Mobile-US http://groups.yahoo.com/group/T-Mobile-US

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    133
    Device(s)
    Nokia 6310i
    Carrier(s)
    Vodafone (IT),
    Feedback Score
    0

    ITALY

    Quick Facts
    Country: Italy
    Network Name: Vodafone IT
    Website: http://www.190.it
    Owned by/Major partner: Vodafone Group Plc (100%)
    Operational Frequency: 900 and 1800 (urban areas) GSM, 2200 MHz WCDMA (UMTS)
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 20 Euro with 10 Euro of credit (there are often offers at 10 Euros)
    Prepaid Package Validity: 11 month from activation or last recharge + 1 month only for receiving
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: Yes
    SIM applications: Yes (64k sim card)
    Manual included: just a quick guide in Italian
    Refill amounts: 3(2), 10(8), 25(20), 50(45) Euro cards (credit included), 80(75), 100(95), 150(145) via website or bank
    Availability: Vodafone shops, multibrand phone dealers, tobacconists (for top-up scratch cards)
    Competitors: TIM, Wind, 3 (UMTS)

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    Very easy to buy a prepaid card, but it's often cost-effective to buy it together with a new phone (by Italian law, GSM phones must be sold unlocked).
    Vodafone shops can be found in most towns, even smaller ones. It's very easy to top-up, nearly any "tabacchi" and "lotto" shop can recharge your account, as well as any newsstand.
    You can top-up via the website even from abroad (by credit card).

    The Bad:
    You first need to have an Italian "Codice Fiscale", otherwise you cannot buy any prepaid card in Italy. You can get one here:
    http://www.comuni.it/servizi/codfisc/
    Print it and bring it with you (credit to Effendi for this suggestion).
    You can top-up from abroad using scratch-cards from other European Vodafone or Partner network; nevertheless this is often more difficult and expensive than topping-up via web-site.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    GSM coverage is usually good everywhere.
    SIM cards are preactivated, once you go out of the shop you are ready to go. GPRS is enabled, while you need to enable MMS if you want to use them.
    UMTS was just launched, so don't consider it for the moment unless you need data connection (there's a wonderful UMTS/GPRS pc connect card available).
    SMS work well, while to access all the sections of the WAP-portal you need to have a Vodafone Live! compatible phone.
    There is a flat rate UMTS/GPRS-web tariff for 20euro/months with 500MB navigation.
    Useful SMS tells you which calls you missed while your phone was turned off or off-network, and when a turned-off phone you tried to call is again available ("Recall").
    International roaming is preactivated, and it works by dialing *123*phonenumber# .
    Direct roaming is available with some operators.

    The Bad:
    GPRS is sometimes slow. UMTS coverage is still very limited.
    Information and additional services accessed via Vodafone Live! are quite expensive.
    Roaming tariffs for prepay are quite high (but if you use the SIM only while in Italy, that's no problem).
    GSM coverage is available nearly everywhere, but not in the underground nor in railway tunnels (while TIM has some coverage). UMTS coverage is spotty and limited to major cities.

    TIPS:
    1)Find which is your "Codice Fiscale", otherwise you cannot buy any simcard in Italy (credit to Effendi for this suggestion).
    2)Choose the tariff carefully (there are different options, the best one depending on what your calling habits are: the shop or the website can help you in choosing). All calls made are charged per second, but a fixed connection rate may apply (depending from the plan).
    3)If you are staying in Italy for a longer period, you can now activate a "Summer Card", by which all the traffic towards italian phone numbers made on July or August will be re-accredited on your SIM at the end of the month.
    4)Ckeck if there are also promotions for international traffic ("My Country" cards), which are issued occasionally.
    4)To know the available credit and the last charge, call 404 (free of charge) to have a info SMS sent back to you (also free of charge). This does not work while roaming.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    Vodafone and TIM are the two best italian operators and are quite similar in terms of price for value (I personally suggest Vodafone, which I have been using since 1999).
    Wind was reviewed in detail by Effendi (great contribution, I agree and I have nothing to comment on what he wrote).
    Last edited by Andytel; 06-29-2004 at 11:02 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    133
    Device(s)
    Nokia 6310i
    Carrier(s)
    Vodafone (IT),
    Feedback Score
    0

    ROMANIA

    Quick Facts
    Country: Romania
    Network Name: Connex GSM
    Website: http://www.connex.ro
    Product Name: Connex Go!
    Owned by/Major partners: MobiFon S.A. (Telesystem International Wireless Inc., Vodafone Group plc.)
    Operational Frequency: 900 MHz GSM
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 5 US$+VAT (about 250.000 lei depending from the lei/US$ exchange rate) with 5 US$ initial credit
    Prepaid Package Validity: 180 days from activation +180 days only for receiving
    CSD access: Yes (optional)
    GPRS access: Yes (optional)
    SIM applications: new SIM cards only ("Entertainment", "SMS Group" and "Financial")
    Manual included: in Romanian
    Refill amounts: 6, 10, 15, 21 US$
    Availability: Connex corporate stores, Connex dealers, postal offices and gas stations (for top-up cards)
    Competitors: Orange RO, Cosmorom

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:
    It's quite easy to buy a prepaid card.
    Connex dealers can be found in most towns. It's very easy to top-up, postal offices gas stations and some other shops can provide refill cards.

    The Bad:
    You must recharge for at least 12 US$ to extend the validity period.

    Usage:
    The Good:
    Connex is the best provider for GSM coverage in Romania. Tariffs are quite cheap, SMS work well, international calls and int'l SMS are available too.
    The available credit is directly shown on the phone (Nokia models, for others via phone menu).

    The Bad:
    Neither WAP access (CSD/GPRS) nor Roaming are pre-activated. To activate each of them, you must call Customer Care (*222).
    Roaming partners are only a few european ones.
    Domestic and international calls are charged as follows: the first minute is charged for by adding up to a full minute, only after the first minute, you are being charged by the second.

    TIPS:
    1)Remember the fee timetable: Monday-Friday 07:00-19:00 = normal, Monday-Friday 19:00-07:00 = discount, Saturday,Sunday and legal holidays 00:00-24:00 = discount.
    2)Call to Connex networks are cheaper than calls to other domestic networks.
    3)Listening to your vocal message box, by calling 333 or 334, is free of charge.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    As far as I used it, Connex offers the best value for money. Coverage is spotty only in mountain areas.
    Orange has quite good coverage too, but it's less easy to find.
    Being it so cheap, and being roaming rates so high, tourists are highly recommended to purchase a local SIM card (if you don't strictly need to be reached at your homeland mobile phone nr.), which can be popped in every unlocked GSM900 phone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Posts
    15,517
    Device(s)
    Nokia 5310 w/Jabra BT250V handsfree, Nokia 6010, Nokia 6030
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile US, Fido, T-Mobile NL, Orange IL
    Feedback Score
    0

    Review of foreign prepaid service how to?

    I've been interested to see the review for foreign prepaid services and I could give a review myself, but wondered if there's a "template" to make my submission/review. If there is how do I go about using it to tell of a prepaid service and give it a review?

    Thanks!!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    133
    Device(s)
    Nokia 6310i
    Carrier(s)
    Vodafone (IT),
    Feedback Score
    0
    To post a new review, edit an existing one by using the "quote" button to obtain the editable html format, cancel the heading and overwrite the new info in all the fields, check everything is fine by hitting "preview reply", then "submit reply" when done.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Posts
    15,517
    Device(s)
    Nokia 5310 w/Jabra BT250V handsfree, Nokia 6010, Nokia 6030
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile US, Fido, T-Mobile NL, Orange IL
    Feedback Score
    0

    Israel - Orange

    Quick Facts
    Country: Israel
    Network Name: Orange - Partner Communications Website: http://www.orange.co.il
    Owned by/Major partner: Orange
    Operational Frequency: 900/1800 GSM
    Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 199 New Israeli Shekel
    CSD access: Yes
    GPRS access: No
    SIM applications: Yes
    Manual included: Yes
    Refill amounts: 75, 100, 150 NIS
    Availability: Orange stores, supermarkets such as Hypermart, Superpharm and independent dealers.
    Program Name: Big Talk
    Competitors: [No prepaid competitor]

    More In-Depth Information

    Buying:
    The Good:

    Buy SIM starter packs at Orange outlets. Original package is 199 New Israeli Shekels. No special identification is needed to initiate an account.
    The Bad:
    Nothing bad to report!

    Usage:
    The Good:
    The Orange service at 900 Mhz works well in most areas even remote in Israel. Service can be configured for Hebrew, English or Arabic for voicemail and other customer service menus.

    The Bad:
    Calls to Big Talk customer service sometimes failed.


    TIPS:
    Find where the nearest Orange centre is in your area.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:
    Even though I had the Orange Big Talk account which uses a 900 Mhz network I also had access to Cellcom's 1800 Mhz network and found that in some situations the Cellcom network had better coverage in some areas than the 900 Mhz network of Orange. [/B]


    Note by admiral: just fixed the formatting
    Last edited by AdmiralAK; 08-06-2005 at 09:30 AM.

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