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-   -   Greece HSPA (prepaid and postpaid offers) (https://prepaid.mondo3.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2835)

wisniak 07-03-2011 09:29

caliston,

I won't have time to travel to Athens, so whatever is available in the airport will have to do.

On the day we arrive we're traveling to Arachova (some places in between). So I'll have to check in the evening, after we unload our stuff at the hotel, whether there's a store over there.

Most of the time we won't be in large towns, so if I don't find something soon - it's going to be a problem.

And another question - I don't want a repeat of the issues I had with Vodafone in Italy, where they didn't connect me to the right plan, so I ended paying a lot of money (had to refill every couple of days).
So what esactly do I have to do or say to the store where I end up buying the SIM card?
And is there an issue of card activation, or is it going to be active from the moment I put it into my phone?

Thanks.

Evan 08-03-2011 11:20

Quote:

Originally Posted by timmfive (Post 36063)
Thanks for the reply Evan.
Really look forward to your next updated compilation.
Crazy how quickly things change here (and hopefully improve).

But in the case of the Q-card unlimited internet, I agree: I think it has ended. :-(
Around March 1st I noticed the speeds drop from 500k to 50k.
They are still letting me access the interet, but at 50k... it takes, like a minute to load a single webpage. Not great. But might still be an option for somepeople who just want to check their Facebook and send the odd gmail from their phone. Tethering is terribly slow though.

So now I am lost again. :-(
I might go back and talk the Wind guy who helped me out the last time and see what my best option is. Probably the €15/month Wind 1 Gig deal. :-/

Yes I read reports that some users noticed a drop in speed with the Q-plan. However, most users didn't notice any drop and that leads me to assume that the problem is not general but has to do with individual congested cells.

There's no need to go for the 15€ 1GB plan for the time being. Wind has a new offer (valid until 31 March) of 500MB for 5€. The offer is also available to Q subscribers and can be activated up to 5 times per month. So for example, if you need 1GB you will pay 10 instead of 15€. To activate, send ‘500’ to 1210. To check your remaining MBs, send YP or ΥΠ to 1210. More information in English here:
Wind - ?????? ?????????? ??? ??????


Quote:

Originally Posted by wisniak (Post 36076)
caliston,

I won't have time to travel to Athens, so whatever is available in the airport will have to do.

On the day we arrive we're traveling to Arachova (some places in between). So I'll have to check in the evening, after we unload our stuff at the hotel, whether there's a store over there.

Most of the time we won't be in large towns, so if I don't find something soon - it's going to be a problem.

And another question - I don't want a repeat of the issues I had with Vodafone in Italy, where they didn't connect me to the right plan, so I ended paying a lot of money (had to refill every couple of days).
So what esactly do I have to do or say to the store where I end up buying the SIM card?
And is there an issue of card activation, or is it going to be active from the moment I put it into my phone?

Thanks.

I would suggest to follow some of the recommendations of caliston. Arachova and its surroundings lie on an extremely mountainous terrain which means that the 3G singnal and coverage could be very variable. From the information I've gathered, all three Greek providers (Cosmote, Vodafone, Wind) have a 3G signal in Arachova but I'm not sure about the villages around.

Arachova is quite popular winter destination for the Athenians, so many of the hotels and cafes/bars offer free WiFi (make a Google search or have a look at booking.com and you'll find many).

At Athens airport I'm only aware of a Germanos shop that sells Cosmote prepaid cards. Also there is the option of Athens mall suggested by caliston. However, I would advise against buying a SIM card and paying for a data plan if you don't know that you will have a 3G coverage on the places you plan to visit.

Alternatively, you could consider the workaround I follow when I visit non-urban non-touristy places in Greece and elsewhere.

1. Book a hotel that offers free WiFi. If you've already booked a hotel contact them and ask about the availability of free (or paid) WiFi.

2. Pre-locate before traveling, the available providers' stores close to the area you're visiting. In your case, at the airport and Arachova there is only Cosmote shops available. However, in Amfissa or Itea (both ~40 minutes drive from Arachova according to Google Maps) there are also Wind and Vodafone stores.

3. Once in the area, use your phone with your home SIM card still in to locate the available 3G networks (manual network selection). I usually do that with my cheap Nokia Series 40 dumbphone which not only shows the available 3G networks but also sorts them in a descending signal order.

4. Purchase a SIM card from the provider that has (a) the strongest singal/coverage (b) the best network bandwidth/quality and (c) the best prices/plans according to your needs. I will very soon make an overview post about all the above.

5. If you need to use the data plan on different WiFi-enabled devices, you can use your phone as a WiFi Hotspot (available for Android v2.2 and above, iOS v4.3 soon, or Nokia and WinMo devices with an additional app). I personally use the dedicated MiFi Huawei modem/router which has the advantage of not draining your phone's battery, larger WiFi coverage (up to 100m on AC and 30m on battery) and you can put it on a place where you have the strongest 3G singnal (balcony or near a window). The cost is 65-75 pounds, i.e., quite cheaper than the alternative solution of 18€/day they recommended to you.
Quote:

Originally Posted by wisniak (Post 36076)
And is there an issue of card activation, or is it going to be active from the moment I put it into my phone?

Before the registration became mandatory, the SIM activation was instant after making the first outgoing call. For Cosmote and Vodafone there wasn't even necessary for the other party to answer the call, only for Wind. Now with the mandatory registration I'm not sure how long it takes to activate the SIM card but I assume that the procedure hasn't changed. I've asked the question to a Greek mobile forum and will update as soon as I get the answer.

wisniak 08-03-2011 13:50

Evan,

Thank you for your detailed response.

Our trip includes Arachova/Delphi, Pelion, Meteora, Zagoria, Lefkada, Athens.

Regarding 3G coverage, I'll be using my iPhone mostly for emails, so I think this is not critical (Edge coverage is good enough for this purpose).

I like the 5 points you wrote, they're very practical.

Regarding point #5, this will be possible only if I succeed to purchase a SIM card with the correct data plan.

The device I was referring to (that can be rented, including a SIM card) is the ZTE wifi router mf30, which can be purchased in ebay unlocked for ~$160 and locally for ~$260. But I'll look tonight into the device you wrote about.

And regarding the registration issue - thank you.

Evan 08-03-2011 14:51

Most of the places you've mentioned do have 3G coverage from one or all three mobile operators but as I said the quality of the signal/bandwidth strongly depends on the exact location. EDGE coverage is not very ubiquitous in Greece, since the operators prefer to upgrade to 3G/HSPA networks.

However, all those places have GPRS coverage almost everywhere and from all three operators. For email emails, GPRS is just fine as long as you don't need to download big attachments. Also for browsing with your iPhone, I recommend using the Opera Mini browser when in GPRS, since it offers up to 90% less data consumption and therefore it is x5-7 times faster than Safari.

It's been many years since I visited the places you plan to go (except Lefkada where I was last summer) but most of them are popular tourist destinations so I suppose that you won't have any major problems. In Lefkada, I had 3G in most popular places/beaches and in the center of the town there are numerous cafes and taverns that offer free WiFi.

Regarding the WiFi modem/router of ZTE or Huawei, there's no need to purchase any of those since you've got an iPhone. The new iOS 4.3 which will be available on 11 March, will have a new Personal Hotspot feature where you can connect up to three WiFi enabled devices. Just upgrade your iPhone in a few days and test the Hotspot with your notebook, tablet or other WiFi phones.

edit: Regarding the activation time, I just got a confirmation that in most cases is still instant. In a few cases can take up to two hours, depending on when your registration will be filed on the central database of the operator. Just make sure when you register, that the agent at the store enters your data directly to its computer (which is connected to the central database) and not on a piece paper.

Regarding the available data plans and how to activate them, I'm currently browsing through the four Greek operators and I will post an overview here later today or tomorrow.

wisniak 08-03-2011 16:07

Thank you, Evan.
I really appreciate your help.

Evan 10-03-2011 11:15

COMPLETE OVERVIEW OF THE PREPAID DATA PLANS IN GREECE

Another update of my older post about the currently available prepaid data plans, add-ons and offers in Greece. The situation and the pricing is generally improved in all three major mobile operators since my last post.

The overview will be divided in three posts (one for each operator) because the forum allows only a certain limit of characters on each post.

First, some useful information and the workaround I follow when I visit places in Greece and elsewhere.

1. All three mobile operators (Cosmote, Vodafone, Wind) offer 99-100% *population* (as opposed to *geographical*) coverage.
  • GPRS is available wherever voice is available, i.e., 99-100% of the population.
  • EDGE has not been officially deployed but many cells are already EDGE enabled.
  • 3G (HSDPA/HSUPA or HSPA+) is available on all three operators in most urban areas and popular tourist destinations. Cosmote has the widest 3G geographical coverage, followed by Wind and Vodafone. However, Vodafone has the best 3G network quality (bandwidth, speed, latency) followed by Cosmote and Wind.

2. Before you travel it's useful to check the 3G coverage maps (links on the following posts) in order to have a crude estimation about the 3G coverage of the area you will be visiting. However, given the technology limitations of 3G and the mountainous terrain of Greece, I would suggest not to completely rely on the coverage maps. A much safer bet would be to check the actual 3G coverage when you arrive at your destination. Once in the area, use your phone with your home SIM card still in to locate the available 3G networks (manual network selection). I usually do that with my cheap Nokia Series 40 dumbphone which not only shows the available 3G networks but also sorts them in a descending signal order.

3. Pre-locate before traveling, the available operators' stores or points of sale that are close to the area you're visiting (links on the following posts). Once you arrive and after you've checked the availability of the 3G networks(s), purchase a SIM card from the provider that has (a) the strongest singal/coverage (b) the best network bandwidth/quality and (c) the best prices/plans according to your needs.

4. Prepaid starter packs (with SIM card included) usually cost 5€ with 5€ credit included (1€ credit each month for the first five months). However, most operators' stores usually give them out for free upon registration and activation. You can also buy SIM Starter Packs in many kiosks (periptera), but they are deactivated. If you cannot find an official operator store, some kiosks, markets or newsstands also offer registration and activation on the spot (just look for a sticker "activate your prepaid here"). In any case, it is recommended to purchase the SIM Starter pack in an official store because (a) usually you can get it for free, (b) the registration and activation is faster and (b) you can immediately top up your credit at the store without purchasing a top up voucher.

5. For the registration of the SIM card you will need your passport or an ID card (only EU citizens?). The activation is in most cases instant after the registration but in a few cases can take up to two hours, depending on when your registration will be filed on the central database of the operator. Activation is done immediately after you place the first outgoing call (more info for each operator below).

6. Top-up scratch cards or vouchers (5, 10, 15, 20 and 30€) are available everywhere and the credit is added through a call or/and an SMS. Keep in mind that since 2010 there is a 12% tax deducted, so if for example purchase a 10€ card, you will get 8.8 credit. The only exception to that is when you top up 20€ or more in any Wind store or 30€ or more in any Cosmote store (information below).

That's all I could think of about a general overview of the prepaid mobile in Greece. If you need additional information or if something is not covered please let me know and I will update this post.

On the following three posts, you will find detailed information for each of the three (four including Q-mobile) mobile operators. Most of the pages are in English so it would be rather easy to find your way through. If any page is available in Greek, I'll provide a quick translation or a Google translate link.

Evan 10-03-2011 11:17

COSMOTE

General Information
- Cosmote What's Up
- Cosmote Cosmokarta
- Credit balance check: Send YP to 1314 (or call 1314)
- Top-up: Send ΑΝΑ and the 16-digit code printed on the Top Up Card to 1314 (or call 1314)
- Customer care: call 1313

Prepaid data plans and offers


1. COSMOTE Internet On The Phone 60

Included volume: 60MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 3€
Charge after the included volume: 0.0010€/KB (or 1.0332€/MB)
Activation: Send "60" to 1333
Remaining volume: Send INFO to 1313
APN: internet (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • Special offer until 31 March 2011: Data add-on 500MB for 5€. Send "500" to 1333. The conditions are the same like the 60MB add-on.
  • The plan is mainly for data on your mobile. However, with the current offer of 500MB it could be used for data on the computer (standalone or with tethering)
  • After subscribing to the plan, you get 40MB free, valid for the first 15 days.
  • The data add-on is deactivated automatically 30 days after its activation.
  • You can purchase as many add-ons as you like even before the end of the 30 days. Each time you purchase a new add-on, the remaining volume is added to your new volume and the validity is extended for 30 more days.

2. COSMOTE Internet On The Go me karta

Included volume: 1, 3 or 5GB
Duration: 1, 10 or 30 days respectively
Price: 5, 15 or 40€ respectively
Charge after the included volume: Ν/Α
Activation: Through a web interface
Remaining volume: Through a web interface
APN: internet (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • This plan is mainly for data on the computer
  • The SIM card is does not offer voice, only data and SMS (with a special application)
  • The activation and the validity, balance/duration checks are performed only through a web interface.

Evan 10-03-2011 13:04

VODAFONE

General Information
- Vodafone Prepaid
- Vodafone CU
- Vodafone International (recommended for visitors; it offers cheaper calls to some countries and billing per second from the first second)
- Credit balance check: Send Y to 1252 (or call 1252)
- Top-up: Send Α and the top up code without spaces to 1252 (or call 1252)
- Customer care: call 13830

Prepaid data plans and offers

1. VODAFONE Surf & Email 60

Included volume: 60MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 3€
Charge after the included volume: 1€/day (see plan #3)
Activation: Send "SE60" to 19109
Deactivation: Send "SE60OFF" to 19109
Remaining volume: Send a blank SMS to 1286
APN: internet.vodafone.gr or webkarta.vodafone.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • The plan is mainly for data on your mobile.
  • After subscribing to the plan, you get the first month for free.
  • The subscription is renewed automatically every 30 days.
  • The add-on can only be purchased once every month.
  • The Vodafone addon, offers the same bundled volume and price like the similar addon of Cosmote (see data plan #1 above). However the add-on of Cosmote is more flexible, since (a) it is not renewed automatically and (b) you can purchase as many 60MB additional add-ons as you like.


2. VODAFONE Surf & Email 200

Included volume: 200MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 7€
Charge after the included volume: 1€/day (see plan #3)
Activation: Send "SE200" to 19109
Remaining volume: Send a blank SMS to 1286
APN: internet.vodafone.gr or webkarta.vodafone.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • Special offer until 31 March 2011: Data add-on 500MB for 5€. Send "500" to 1333. The conditions are the same like the 200MB add-on.
  • The plan is mainly for data on your mobile. However, with the current offer of 500MB it could be used for data on the computer (standalone or with tethering)
  • The add-on is deactivated automatically 30 days after its activation.
  • You can purchase as many add-ons as you like even before the end of the 30 days. Each time you purchase a new add-on, the remaining data volume is added to your new volume and the validity is extended for 30 more days.


3. VODAFONE Internet All-Day


Included volume: Unlimited with bandwidth throttle after 10MB (see notes)
Duration: 1 day
Price: 1€/day
Charge after the included volume: No charge, bandwidth throttle
Activation: Preactivated
APN: internet.vodafone.gr or webkarta.vodafone.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • The plan is mainly for data on the mobile. However, it could be used for data on the computer (standalone or with tethering)
  • This was a data add-on that was first offered on July 2010. Since February 2011, it's not an add-on anymore but is pre-activated on all the prepaid subscribers.
  • Subscribers who have not activated any of the two Mobile Internet add-ons presented above, will pay 1€/day day. The charge starts when they first connect to the internet and is valid until 4am the next day.
  • Subscribers who have activated any of the two Mobile Internet add-ons presented above, will pay 1€/day when their bundle volume finishes (add-ons 60 or 200MB) or if they didn't purchase an additional add-on (for the 200MB add-on).
  • The data volume is unlimited but with a Fair Usage Policy of throttling the speed to GPRS after 10MB/day. However, the 10MB are completely arbitrary. Most users report that they've consumed 50-300MB/day before any bandwidth throttling.


4. VODAFONE KartoInternet

Included volume: 0.5, 1, 1, 2 or 3GB
Duration: 2h, 8h, 1, 2 or 10 days respectively
Price: 3.5, 7, 10, 14 or 20€ respectively Charge after the included volume: Ν/Α
Activation: Through a web interface
Remaining volume: Through a web interface
APN: web.session (leave the rest blank)
Web page (in English):

Notes:
  • After 17 March, the sessions price and bundled volume will change. There will be only three available sessions, offering 30 minutes, 1 day or 15 days for 2, 5 and 20€ respectively.
  • This plan is mainly for data on the computer
  • The SIM card is does not offer voice or texts, only data.
  • The activation and the validity, balance/duration checks are performed through a web interface.

Evan 10-03-2011 13:45

WIND

General Information
- New Wind Card
- Wind F2G (Free to Go)
- Credit balance check: Send a blank SMS to 1269 (or call 1269)
- Top-up: Send the top up code without spaces to 1268 (or call 1268 )
- Customer care: call 1260

Prepaid data plans and offers


1. WIND Plus Non Stop (Google translation)

Included volume: 40MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 4.12€
Charge after the included volume: 0.007€/KB (with internet APN) or 0.0123€/ΚΒ (with wap APN)
Activation: Send PLUS to 19349
Remaining volume: Send CHECK to 19349
Deactivation: Send STOP to 19349
APN: gint.b-online.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • The add-on is mainly for data on your mobile. However is rather obsolete, since there are better and cheaper data add-ons (see below)
  • The subscription is renewed automatically every 30 days.
  • The add-on can only be purchased once every month.
  • Even if a WAP APN is available (gwap.b-online.gr), it is not recommended because the charges are much higher after the consumption of the bundled volume. Use the Internet APN instead.


2. WIND Non stop "surf"

Included volume: 100MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 5€
Charge after the included volume: 0.0009€/KB (or 0.92€/ΜΒ)
Activation: Send "100" to 1210
Remaining volume: Send YP or ΥΠ to 1210
APN: gint.b-online.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • Special offer until 31 March 2011: For each add-on you activate, you will get 500MB instead of 100MB. Just send "500" to 1210. The conditions are the same like the 100MB add-on.
  • The plan is mainly for data on your mobile. However, with the current offer of 500MB it could be used for data on the computer (standalone or with tethering)
  • The data add-on is deactivated automatically 30 days after its activation.
  • You can purchase up to 5 add-ons each month. Each time you purchase a new add-on, the remaining data volume is added to your new volume and the validity is extended for 30 more days.

3. WIND ADSM Card (Google translation)

Included volume: 1GB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 15€
Charge after the included volume: 0.02€/ΜΒ
Activation: Send "1GB" to 19595
Remaining volume: Send YP to 19595
APN: gint.b-online.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • This add-on is for computers but can be used for mobiles as well.
  • According to their English page (not available anymore), if you consume the 1GB of the included volume, you can activate the packet again even before the 30 days are over.


4. WIND ADSM Non-Stop (NS2 or NS7)

Included volume: 3GB (NS2) or 12GB (NS7)
Duration: 2 days (NS2) or 7 days (NS7)
Price: 7€ (NS2) or 14€ (NS7)
Charge after the included volume: 0.02€/ΜΒ
Activation: Send "NS2" or "NS7" to 19595 Remaining volume: Send YP to 19595
APN: gint.b-online.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • This add-on is mainly for computers and users who need a lot of data.
  • The two plans called NS2 (for 2 days) and NS7 (for 7 days) they actually give you almost 3 and 8 days respectively. For example, if you activate the NS2 on Monday morning, it expires at 12 midnight of Wednesday.


5. WIND Mobile Broadband me karta

Included volume: 1, 2 or 3GB
Duration: 1, 7 or 30 days respectively
Price: 5, 10 or 30€ respectively
Charge after the included volume: Ν/Α
Activation: Send the 16-digit e-Voucher number to 1268 through the WIND Connection Manager
Remaining volume: Send "YP" or "balance" to 1228 through the WIND Connection Manager
APN: gint.b-online.gr (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • This plan is mainly for data on the computer
  • The SIM card is does not offer voice, only data and only SMS to the two service numbers (1228 and 1268 )

Evan 10-03-2011 14:18

Q-mobile

Q-Mobile was the 4th Greek mobile operator but now it's a subsidiary of Wind. Unfortunately, all of its web pages are only available in Greek so for instructions use Google translate or read the guide posted by timmfive here.

The main advantages of Q is the cheap calls and texts in Greece and certain countries abroad. Also is the only prepaid (together with the Vodafone International Prepaid) that charges per second from the first second. All the rest of the prepaid cards charge per second but with 30-45 seconds minimum call duration.

Prepaid data plan


Non stop "surf"

Included volume: 100MB
Duration: 30 days
Price: 5€
Charge after the included volume: 0.0009€/KB (or 0.92€/ΜΒ)
Activation: Send "100" to 1210
Remaining volume: Send YP or ΥΠ to 1210
APN: myq (leave the rest blank)

Notes:
  • Special offer until 31 March 2011: For each add-on you activate, you will get 500MB instead of 100MB. Just send "500" to 1210. The conditions are the same like the 100MB add-on.
  • The plan is mainly for data on your mobile. However, with the current offer of 500MB it could be used for data on the computer (standalone or with tethering)
  • The data add-on is deactivated automatically 30 days after its activation.
  • You can purchase up to 5 add-ons each month. Each time you purchase a new add-on, the remaining data volume is added to your new volume and the validity is extended for 30 more days.

Edit: Mods, could you please delete the two empty posts (#138 and #139) above? Unfortunately it wasn't possible to edit them because the forum allows editing only up to 60 minutes after the original post.


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