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24 May 2009

Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

An update to "Internet for Visitors" - prepaid mobile phone Internet access

Things have changed a lot since my often read post Internet for Visitors in Greece. That post was from February 2005. In the meantime we have mobile Internet solutions from all three Greek mobile phone providers. Only two of them have solutions for prepaid customers though. Also much more available are wifi connections, both in the form of accidentally left open wireless networks (use according to your own ethical standards), and in the form of "free wifi" in cafes and hotels. Read on for some more information especially about the prepaid mobile solutions.


Free wifi is great to have. If you stay in a hotel that offers the service and presuming that it's really free, it's the best you can get. If you want or have to be more independent, it might be because you're staying in a rented house, you move from hotel to hotel, or you're staying with friends or family who are not Internet aware. In my experience using a USB modem for a 3G / UMTS or even a GPRS connection allows you to do your important stuff on the net, without having to depend on others.

For those mobile connections, there are only a few options. For one thing, subscription plans are not really an option for you as a tourist, as in Greece to sign up for a subscription mobile plan you still need to provide official papers showing that you pay taxes here. You might get a friend sign up on their name with their papers, but it would have to be a really, really good friend for you to jump through these bureaucratic hoops and take the risk.

Prepaid Mobile phone Internet access

The next option is a prepaid phone card, together with something like a Huawei USB 3G modem.

First there is this 30MB a month plan offer from Vodafone. Vodafone shows an option here that works for prepaid cards, but it's only 30MB a month, with charges of almost 1 Euro per megabyte after that.

I've used a similar setup for quite a while in the past for keeping in touch by mail, but I worked on a really reduced to the minimum setup. It's not really for everybody or a "nice choice". Keep in mind that 30 MegaByte is really, really little stuff on todays web.

... a bit bigger?

There is also this thing, which one reader mentioned: The Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G Prepaid Plans (scroll down on the linked page to find that plan). If you have a modem already (or a mobile phone that could serve as a modem), you'd probably need only the "Connection pack 3G Broadband Prepay" for 43 Euro. I didn't quite grasp what (or how much) you get with those 43 Euros, i.e. how much download bandwidth it buys you. I guess one would have a difficult time finding out what this means, as the people at the Vodafone shops are almost guaranteed to be totally clueless.

The other 2 mobile providers (CosmOTE and Wind) have probably similar programs. CosmOTE is going to be more complicated to find out, it's a government owned outfit. Excuse me if I won't bother with their website.

All you can eat... err, download

Wind seems to have those Prepaid ADSM tariff plans: It probably results to the same price range (~60 Euros per month), but at least you have an idea what you pay for. You get "unlimited" downloads (actually 7GB, but you can't download that much in that time over this type of connection anyway). You pay 15 Euros for 7 days, which sounds like a lot, but factor in the convenience of the prepaid connection and compare with prices in an Internet cafe... and it might just be the ticket if you use the net more or less regularly.

Personally I'd be something for someone like me, who want to really use the net (myself I have mobile Internet through Vodafone on the phone provided by my employer, so I'm not "endorsing" this plan really). What's mising is a plan that is somewhere in between the "all you can eat" and the "30MB a month ascetic diet", something for the casual mail checker + online news reader. Maybe the Vodafone offer (which lacks some information) is it, maybe it's just missing from the market.

The more or less state owned CosmOTE provider does not seem to have a prepaid data plan. They have something called "i-mode" access, over which presumably you can read your mails. Please excuse me if I won't bother to try to simmer that information out of their website.

Coverage, hardware: no problems really

As for the coverage: All three Greek mobile phone providers are bound to have about the same coverage area. Mobile telephony in Greece is extremely popular, with the number of mobile phone subscriptions surpassing the number of people living in Greece. You might not have 3G coverage everywhere, but slower GPRS for fallback will quite likely work. I've actually been chatting on irc from my phone on the boat back from Mykonos :-).

About the hardware: The Huawei USB 3G modems seem to be common. There is software support. Our company's thing was supplied by Vodafone and had the driver for Macs on the built in thumb drive. The Vodafone software is a bit stupid interface wise in my humble oppinion. Wind seems to supply Mac software too, but according to graffic it's easier and nicer to download the Mac driver from Huawei's site.

Posted by betabug at 16:47 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Comments
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

I recently posted a page onto my sailing blog about my experience of using Cosmote prepaid phone SIMs for internet access. It's aimed at sailors who need weather forecasts, but may be of interest to non-sailing visitors to Greece.

http://yachtvigdis.wordpress.com/greek-internet-weather/

I tried to get a Vodafone contract, but couldn't because I didn't have a fixed address.

Dave

Posted by: DaveRo at May 27,2009 12:33
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Cosmote is actually owned by Deutsche Telekom and the Greek state but the managment belongs to DT...
It is true that their website is an example of how websites can be made as incomprehensible as possible!

Posted by: GM at July 18,2009 03:32
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

I come to Zakynthos in two weeks and I'm looking for prepaid SIM card only for mobile internet (GPRS, 3G). I don't find prepaid offer on your link (http://www.vodafone.gr/portal/client/cms/viewCmsPage.action?pageId=5661)

Am I missing something?

Posted by: Cyb3r at August 04,2009 15:59
Re: Vodafone link

Cyb3r, it looks like they did some plan changes and the prepaid plans have disappeared. We will find out after some time if they reapppear somewhere else.
In your case I'd suggest going with the Wind offer anyway... since you have a blog and a fancy handle, you probably want to use the net a bit more anyway.

Posted by: betabug at August 05,2009 09:21
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

@Cyb3r,

the link you've posted *is* the prepaid offer "Vodafone Surf & Email 30" with 30MB and 3.5€/month. The page is also available in English here:

http://www.vodafone.gr/portal/client/cms/viewCmsPage.action?pageId=5661&request_locale=en

For alternatives, you can check my recent updates on Greek prepaid data plans here:

http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/europe/2835-greece-hspa-prepaid-postpaid-offers-7.html#post29090

Posted by: Evan at August 23,2009 21:24
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Hi guys,
You can also visit Starbucks, sent a sms that costs 1.19euro and have 3 hours of internet access.

More info at:
http://www.forthnet.gr/templates/hotSpotLocator.aspx?c=10012299

Banana

Posted by: banana at September 21,2009 16:07
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Sorry, I hope I don't mind you but I don't know who I could ask for some advice. I have to go working to Rhodes island this week and I should stay there for about 5 months. I'll go working in a hotel in Kolymbia with an internet point but without a wi-fi connection that I'd need to use my laptop...
What could I do? there's something new for Internet through mobile phones as in Italy or Internet Keys?
Many thanks!

Posted by: 7imes at April 26,2010 21:15
Beware of Wind

I had a Wind 12GB flat rate sim cost 16 euros. It worked ok for 7 days, although only at GPRS speeds and only occasionally at 3G speeds.

I recharged it with 17euros the next week, the price had increased, but the next day the dad was dead again. Calling customer support, if you can call it that, they told me the card had 0 euros on it, and claimed I had used 12Gb in 6 hours.

Despite a very heated argument, their only solution was for me to put more funds into the account, which I refused to do.

A bunch of thieves in my opinion.

Posted by: Victor at July 16,2010 14:03
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Victor, as some other blog has stated, the major pitfall with the Wind prepaid 7-day offer is that as soon as the 7-day offer is over you get reverted to the normal (translated: ultra-expensive) access. There's nothing to tell you when that happens.

So I can only guess that there are 2 things that could have gone wrong:
- As that other blog (don't have the URL right now) states, the 7-day offer always runs out at midnight. If you surf beyond that, the money is gone fast.
- Something went wrong with activating the 7-day offer for the 2nd time, so you surfed on the expensive "normal" tariff.

As usual with providers (and even more so with prepaid), it's hard to win an argument with them. Better luck next time!

Posted by: betabug at July 16,2010 14:24
Re: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Hi,
I'm a real internet/wireless novice in need of some help. I have a samsung notebook which I want to take with me to Mykonos where I will be working for 7 months. What do I need to buy/do to enable me to get access from my room to the internet in the evening to keep in contact with the folks back home. At this stage I'm not sure if my apartment will have a telephone although I do know it will be in Mykonos town. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you

Posted by: Denise at March 22,2011 22:13
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