What are my options for mobile Internet in Europe?
March 8, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

What are my options for mobile Internet in Europe?

I'll be spending roughly three months in Europe very soon, and I'm hoping there's a single solution for mobile Internet that works in several different countries.

Here in the States, I have a Sprint Mobile Broadband card for my Macbook Pro that works pretty much anywhere I can get a cell signal. Is there something similar that will work in Europe?

I'll most likely be in the following countries: Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and a few other (mostly) Western countries in Europe.

Ideally this will give me 3G-like speeds or better in Metro areas, under $100USD per month, and offer unlimited bandwidth with no contract (or one that isn't impossible for visitors to use).

So, is there a single solution for me? Or should I expect to have to find a new device and plan for each country I'm in?
posted by nitsuj to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Short and simple... No. different provider in each country, one device will do the job. Each country has different providers offering a different range of post and prepaid tarriffs, with and with out data. Is Wifi an option? signing up for something like fon could be an option.
posted by defsix at 11:56 AM on March 8, 2009

You could look at Vodafone which seems to operate or have affiliates in a bunch of the countries you are visiting.
posted by zhang.chuck at 12:02 PM on March 8, 2009

Cellhire, a cellphone-rental firm, has the Vodafone 3G data adapter (and plan) for rent that will roam throughout Europe. Not for less than $100/month, though.
posted by eschatfische at 12:06 PM on March 8, 2009

Yes, I'll be relying on wifi quite a bit, but I'd like a mobile solution to use as a backup plan.
posted by nitsuj at 12:07 PM on March 8, 2009

Warning: mobile data roaming in europe is very very expensive, and tends to be a pay-per-Mb solution. Also, any unlimited, or bulk pre-paid data contract is unlikely to apply when roaming.

Eg With Vodafone Belgium (proximus), if you buy a pre-pay card, mobile internet access is Eur 16.50/MB when roaming in other European countries.
With Vodafone UK, it's UKP5 per day for up to 15MB, then UKP5/MB

You may find the most cost-effective solution is to buy a pre-pay SIM card in each country you visit, Or just rely on free or paid Wifi access in bars/cafe's/hotels.
posted by nielm at 1:11 PM on March 8, 2009

Yeah, the real problem here is that pay-as-you-go SIMs with unlimited 3G data don't exist, so you'll need a year-long contract in each country, and the telecos in each country will want the equivalent of a Social Security Number to do a credit check before they give you one. As you can imagine, none of this will work for you. Even for EU citizens it can be tricky to get unlimited data contracts without a country-specific SSN, and you don't want a long contract, and you need multiple countries, etc etc.

You could get a 3G data dongle/card and a pay-as-you-go SIM in each country and use it only for dire emergencies.
posted by squid patrol at 1:12 PM on March 8, 2009

forget unlimited. You can get roaming 3g for around 20 euros a _day_ . This would be for about half a gig if my memory serves me well.

you're probably much better off buying a new prepaid card in each country, possibly with data minutes on them already.
posted by 3mendo at 5:01 PM on March 8, 2009

This wiki might be helpful.
posted by Emilyisnow at 5:55 PM on March 8, 2009

The best thing is Three's Three Like Home mobile broadband deal.

Essentially, put £10 in your Three account, convert it into a mobile broadband voucher, and you have up to 1GB of data to use in the UK, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Sweden. (Australia and Hong Kong are also included).

The dongle will cost £50 of course.
posted by almostwitty at 5:44 AM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

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