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Old Oct 29, 10, 8:41 pm   #1
 
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need a recommend for Mifi/USB rental in EU

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find a thread. This is my 1st public Post~~I'll be going to Rome for my 50th bday and Christmas~I'm staying at a pensione; there's no wifi. Can anybody recommend a company to rent mifi or usb from. I don't know when I'm going to make it back to EU so purchasing unless it's equal to cost of rental probably not the best option. Basically I only need it for browsing/email/maybe Hulu~ I'll only be using my computer in the evening as I wind down from my day. There are several rental companies online, I'd just feel better if somebody has a company they've used and is willing to recommend. Thank you.
Sher
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Old Oct 30, 10, 5:10 am   #2
 
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Welcome to Flyertalk!

Xcom Global is probably the best known. I have no experience with them as I chose to acquire a mifi and use a prepaid SIM when I was in Rome last week.

I picked up a "gently used" unlocked mifi unit on ebay for about $100, then got a TIM prepaid card. If you get the card before you leave from Telestial the cost is about $40, if you buy a SIM card in Italy the cost is about 20 Euro. In either case the card comes with 5 Euro of time. Recharge is easy - buy a recharge card for 25 Euro. There are two prepaid plans on TIM: 40 hours of internet use (charged in 15 minute increments) for 10 Euro or 100 hours of use (charged in 15 minute increments) for 20 Euro.

Cost-wise, XCom is about $18/day for the length of your trip (they've currently got a sale in the range of $15/day).

I did a 3 day trip, four days from departure to return. Xcom would have been $72 for the period (sale was not on when I did my trip) plus shipping costs.

For what I did, I'm in for about $150 but I'll reuse the mifi unit when I go to Spain later this year & just pay for a Spanish SIM card. I'd figure the break-even for buying a unit is about 10-20 days of use, depending on how much you pay for the mifi unit. I'll break even this fall.

YMMV
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Old Oct 30, 10, 8:33 am   #3
 
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Global_Hi_Flyer....Thank you for the welcome & input. Actually, Xcom is the company I'm looking at. A couple of the tech forums gave Xcom thumbs up. Thanks for pointing out the special, it wasn't posted last time I checked.
Thanks Again
ZK9
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Old Jun 3, 11, 1:38 pm   #4
 
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Global_Hi_Flyer -

If you're still paying attention to this thread: I'm about to do this also - did you get the Passport US Plus SIM Card from Telestial?

Thanks
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Old Jun 3, 11, 2:13 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephstern View Post
Global_Hi_Flyer -

If you're still paying attention to this thread: I'm about to do this also - did you get the Passport US Plus SIM Card from Telestial?

Thanks
No, I got the TIM Italy-only/country specific prepaid card for Italy (go to the country-specific section of the Telestial site - and make sure you're getting a TIM SIM). The Passport SIM cards will NOT give you the data you want - the passport cards have a low data limit w/expensive data above that.

Basically you'll need to get a country-specific SIM that has data service available. For Italy, the TIM SIM works fine. For Spain, I found Vodafone store all over the place and purchased a SIM from them (after I was in Madrid). Istanbul had a couple of cellphone vendors at the airport, including Vodafone - I did not get a SIM card in Istanbul as the hotel had fully free internet & I was scheduled for a short stay.

For VOICE in an unlocked GSM phone the Telestial Passport card is fine. But not for data.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 3:05 pm   #6
 
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That was fast!

Under the Telestial TIM for Italy:

there's this note:

http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=LSIM-IT01

Quote:
GPRS Data Rates (Wireless Internet)

GPRS is currently not available with your Italy service card.
Should I just ignore that? Or do I need to buy the TIM in Italy to make sure I get one with data? I bought a SIM last time I was in Italy it was a whole deal with paperwork and passports, etc.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 4:55 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global_Hi_Flyer View Post
No, I got the TIM Italy-only/country specific prepaid card for Italy (go to the country-specific section of the Telestial site - and make sure you're getting a TIM SIM). The Passport SIM cards will NOT give you the data you want - the passport cards have a low data limit w/expensive data above that.

Basically you'll need to get a country-specific SIM that has data service available. For Italy, the TIM SIM works fine. For Spain, I found Vodafone store all over the place and purchased a SIM from them (after I was in Madrid). Istanbul had a couple of cellphone vendors at the airport, including Vodafone - I did not get a SIM card in Istanbul as the hotel had fully free internet & I was scheduled for a short stay.

For VOICE in an unlocked GSM phone the Telestial Passport card is fine. But not for data.
To buy a prepaid Italian SIM, you need a "code fiscale" -- an Italian Tax ID. The simplest way around this problem is to find a code fiscale generator online and generate your own number. I'm not sure that it is entirely legal, but it works fine.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 5:10 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubai Stu View Post
To buy a prepaid Italian SIM, you need a "code fiscale" -- an Italian Tax ID. The simplest way around this problem is to find a code fiscale generator online and generate your own number. I'm not sure that it is entirely legal, but it works fine.
Yup - crossed that bridge.

But I'd really like to get the SIM before I leave the US . . .
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Old Jun 3, 11, 5:18 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZephyrK9 View Post
Basically I only need it for browsing/email/maybe Hulu~ I'll only be using my computer in the evening as I wind down from my day.
You won't be able to access Hulu or any other US based TV from Europe unless you subscribe to a VPN and log in through a US network. It's not expensive and there is info on this site about VPNs.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 5:20 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephstern View Post
That was fast!

Under the Telestial TIM for Italy:

there's this note:

http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=LSIM-IT01



Should I just ignore that? Or do I need to buy the TIM in Italy to make sure I get one with data? I bought a SIM last time I was in Italy it was a whole deal with paperwork and passports, etc.
Ignore the note. After researching it, I ignored the note & successfully activated the SIM for data. (BTW, once the SIM is active you can access the account on the TIM website - it's all in Italian, but a little google-fu can make it passable. That was the only way I was able to turn *off* data service.)

Unless something has changed in the last 6 months (and I don't believe it has) data can be added to any TIM prepaid card by entering an SMS code. (You can look for the latest updates on the prepaidgsm website.) I used an unlocked phone to enter the SMS code then moved the SIM to the MiFi, but I think there's a way to do SMS from the mifi itself.

Telestial will require passport info & have you fill out and fax a form a few days in advance.

One other thing. If you plan to periodically add funds to keep the account active, make sure you pick up a couple of recharge (ricari) cards over there. TIM will NOT accept US credit cards on the site, and getting a current recharge card via an online vendor is hit-or-miss. Check the expiration dates of the recharge cards before you buy them.

EDIT: Here's the link to the TIM section of prepaidgsm.net forum. Note this language:
Quote:
(they are not data plans; all options can be added to any TIM prepaid plan)

Last edited by Global_Hi_Flyer; Jun 3, 11 at 5:27 pm.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 5:30 pm   #11
 
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OK - great. So I'll get a card, I have an international phone I can use to make activation easy, and I'll pop it in the Mifi.

This sounds like a great option to using data over there. I'm sick of paying through the nose for data on my iPhone.
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Old Jun 4, 11, 3:27 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephstern View Post
OK - great. So I'll get a card, I have an international phone I can use to make activation easy, and I'll pop it in the Mifi.

This sounds like a great option to using data over there. I'm sick of paying through the nose for data on my iPhone.
One other thing. When I went to activate mine, it seems that I added a space where I shouldn't have in the SMS (I think it was where I was supposed to type PRO INTERNET100 and I typed PRO INTERNET 100). I did get it to work, but it took a couple of tries. If all else fails, a local TIM shop that speaks english ought to be able to help.

It's a FAR better option than paying roaming charges or even paying hotel internet charges. I ran Skype and an OpenVPN connection through mine. It didn't like IPSec VPN.
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Old Jun 4, 11, 4:06 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global_Hi_Flyer View Post
One other thing. When I went to activate mine, it seems that I added a space where I shouldn't have in the SMS (I think it was where I was supposed to type PRO INTERNET100 and I typed PRO INTERNET 100). I did get it to work, but it took a couple of tries. If all else fails, a local TIM shop that speaks english ought to be able to help.

It's a FAR better option than paying roaming charges or even paying hotel internet charges. I ran Skype and an OpenVPN connection through mine. It didn't like IPSec VPN.
So I had put in a question to Telestial, and they said:

Quote:
Unfortunately data is not available with the Italy TIM SIM card.
They said I can only use the Passport line for data. Think I should just do it?

How do you do an SMS on the Mifi? It can handle that somehow?
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Old Jun 5, 11, 10:08 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephstern View Post
So I had put in a question to Telestial, and they said:



They said I can only use the Passport line for data. Think I should just do it?

How do you do an SMS on the Mifi? It can handle that somehow?
I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do.

All I can tell you is that *I* made the choice to buy the TIM prepaid SIM based on the comments on the prepaidgsm.net site and I was able to successfully activate the INTERNET100 feature & use my mifi.

This was my exchange with Telestial prior to purchasing the SIM:

Quote:
Dear Global_Hi_Flyer,

Thank you for contacting Customer Service.

According to the documentation supplied to us by Italy TIM, GPRS Data is currently not available with the Italy service card.

If this SIM card is purchased, you can activate the service prior to your departure date.

If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Kind regards,

Andy
Customer Service Representative


Global_Hi_Flyer wrote:
> Is the TIM prepaid SIM for Italy the same card that can be obtained at
> a store in Italy?
>
> Is it compatible with TIM's prepaid add-on services, such as 3G data
> options (INTERNET 40 or INTERNET 100)? (in other words, if I am in
> Italy with the SIM and I SMS to 40916 PRO INTERNET40, will it activate
> the data option?) And more specifically, can that data option be
> pre-activated before I leave the States?
>
> Thanks.
>
For me, it turned out that the prepaidGSM site's comments about being able to activate data with any TIM prepaid voice SIM was correct.

My tolerance for risk may be different than yours, however, so you may want to take that into account. For me, the risk was the $100 or so in cost to Telestial for the SIM and the slim possibility that it wouldn't work the way I wanted it to. My fallback plan was to walk into a TIM store there and buy the SIM locally & set that up on data (it would have saved money, but at the cost of additional time that I didn't want to spend on logistics).

It's possible that things have changed since I went 6 months ago. It's also possible that Telestial doesn't have all the facts or doesn't want to take any risk on their end.

FWIW, the following is currently on the TIM website (translate with Google):
Quote:
Who can turn on Internet 100? Chi puņ attivare Internet 100?

Internet 100 is available to all Prepaid customers and consumer subscribers in any tariff plan with the exception of the TIM card company, users of virtual operators certificates on the TIM network (COOP), Xtension, secondary users of the service 2in1, MTV, multi-business.

Last edited by Global_Hi_Flyer; Jun 5, 11 at 10:17 am.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 11:47 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Global_Hi_Flyer View Post
I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do.

All I can tell you is that *I* made the choice to buy the TIM prepaid SIM based on the comments on the prepaidgsm.net site and I was able to successfully activate the INTERNET100 feature & use my mifi.

This was my exchange with Telestial prior to purchasing the SIM:



For me, it turned out that the prepaidGSM site's comments about being able to activate data with any TIM prepaid voice SIM was correct.

My tolerance for risk may be different than yours, however, so you may want to take that into account. For me, the risk was the $100 or so in cost to Telestial for the SIM and the slim possibility that it wouldn't work the way I wanted it to. My fallback plan was to walk into a TIM store there and buy the SIM locally & set that up on data (it would have saved money, but at the cost of additional time that I didn't want to spend on logistics).

It's possible that things have changed since I went 6 months ago. It's also possible that Telestial doesn't have all the facts or doesn't want to take any risk on their end.

FWIW, the following is currently on the TIM website (translate with Google):

OK - Thanks. I think I'm just going to do it with Telestial. I agree that I don't want to waste time in Italy figuring this out, and with a million i-devices in my crowd, this could be great.

I'll probably get a Huawei E585 on eBay.

Next question: any ideas for France? It's not as important this trip, but prepaid data there would be nice also. If I can get a different SIM for this same Mifi, that would be ideal. But I gather Orange doesn't like Mifi.
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