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GPRS ROAMING: The Vodafone Omnitel GPRS promotion in Italy
Posted by Arne Hess - on Sunday, 09.06.02 - 20:20:00 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 9343x
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Okay - I have to admit that I'm a GPRS junkie. ;-) So when I was in Italy I thought that I should give the local cellular networks a closer look. Because my O2 - DE GPRS service doesn't works in Italy (because the missing GRX - GPRS Roaming Exchange) I bought a prepaid card from Omnitel. The clou was that Omnitel has a promotion until end of June with "all you can surf" (from the Omnitel website):

Are annoying GRATIS in Internet with GPRS" that concurs to be annoying gratis in Internet and without limits of traffic until to the 30 june, acquiring one paper services from 10,33 euro and without other costs added to you.

So I've subscribed to a prepaid card contract including 25 € voice and bought the promotion voucher for additional 10,33 € and the result was more than annoying: Omnitel just activated the SIM card and it worked for voice from minute one but GPRS!? I got the triangle symbol on my Ericsson T68 which indicated me that GPRS is available and allowed to access but I wasn't able to dial-in into GPRS. Also on the Option GlobeTrotter I got the GPRS indication but still without access. The point is that I was able to dial into GPRS in the morning and night time only but never on daytime. Even in this limited time frames I needed up to 20 - 50 tries to get the access. :-( So first I thought that the promotion is limited to off-peak only and I've called my friend Giorgio. He told me that it should works 24 h a day and he was so kind to verify my contract with the Omnitel hotline. Everything was fine - on their computer but still not on my SIM card... :-(

So I've visited an Omnitel shop in Verona and tried to get help from them- The result!? The guy didn't understood what I was talking about. After I tried to explain it in my best English, "French" and at least "Italian" he called the Omnitel customer care and verified everything again. Than he told me that the settings on my T68 are right but I need a PC to access GPRS (which isn't right - by the way. The built-in E-Mail client should works too). So I've showed him my Pocket PC and again he told me that I need a PC not a PDA... ARGH... :-( I tried to explain him again that this IS a PC but he didn't "accepted" my iPAQ as a PC...

The result of all of this? I was limited to get GPRS access and nobody at Omnitel was able to help me... Unfortunately the weather at the Gardalake wasn't the best one and we had a lot of rain. In general no problem, I've enjoyed the free-time with my girlfriend anyway but in the evenings, when we had strong rain, my girlfriend and me would like to surf a little bit on the web (thank God my girlfriend likes web browsing too ;-) but we need up to 40 tries sometimes we didn't got any access anyhow... That's very frustrating for a power user as well as for a normal user. My girlfriend isn't a techie so she asked me what's up with the bright wireless future I'm always talking about... Ups... :-(

Yes, as long it is so difficult to get a simple service, the Wireless Internet will never works. I'm a power user and I had a local friend who takes care for me - this time without success but anyway. But what's with the regular visitors who just bought a SIM card for in total 60 € and get this result? Imagine if you are a business traveler and need access to the Internet!? That's a damn bad experience and it confirms what I already believe for a long time: today's GSM operators are still swamped with its new technologies they introduce. :-( This was a real bad wireless experience...

Cheers ~ Arne

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Posted by Giorgio Cifani on 09.06.02 - 00:00:00

Arne, I understand very well your frustration especially because your "local friend" ;-) use a prepaid Vodafone Omnitel SIM everyday with at least 5 different PDAs sending and receiveng megabytes and megabytes for only 10,33 euro bi-monthly.

P.S. it seems that paying another 10,33 euro we will have unlimited GPRS traffic also in July and August :-). I strongly hope this opportunity will be reality since I will spend 2 weeks on the adriatic sea in July...



Posted by mr. kin on 10.06.02 - 00:00:00

Dear Arne,

You are lucky compared to my experience with Vodafone in Germany. I am from Turkey, GPRS is very cheap here, even it's free with some operators and it works fine. I came to Germany for Interpack exhibition in Düsseldorf. I am a GPRS/Bluetooth Guy and I often check my emails and surf the net. I bought a prepaid call ya from vodafone, but there was no gprs access. I have a local friend in Düsseldorf so I asked him to help me and he told me that I could use his Vodafone Card for GPRS. I used his Vodafone Card for a couple of days for internet access. I thanked him and told him to let me know about the bill to pay him for my GPRS usage. Last week he called me and shocked me when I heard the amount of the Vodafone invoice. UNBELIEVABLE 548.34 EUROS FOR 15MB OF GPRS USAGE. I can not believe this. How can it be so expensive, I wouldn't use it if I knew that. My friend was also shocked. He has Vodafone BestCity tariff. Is only Vodafone expensive or others also same in Germany? Vodafone is punishing wireless users eventhough they are wireless network operators. You are still lucky what happened to you in Italy.

Posted by Pascal on 11.06.02 - 00:00:00

Hi Arne,

I have also been to Italy two weeks ago near Milan and used a prepaid card from TIM. With this card there was no problem at all. The hotline explained the configuration of the PDA (I used the Sagem WA3050) in English and also mentioned their promotion "free summer". Free Summer is a GPRS flatrate at EUR 10 for 30 days, too.

So if you have chosen TIM instead of Omnitel you would be as happy as me. However I must say that the Italian mobile networks must be operated rather chaotically. Often I had noisy links or callers could not reach my while roaming. Also the CLID feature was sometimes not working. But I must say the Italian cuisine is the best of the world (besides the GPRS flatrate).


Posted by Jiri Nechleba on 29.09.04 - 03:52:15

This thread is now 2 years old.  Does anyone have more recent experience with visiting Italy and GPRS.  My wife and I will be there in early November 2004 and I would like to not take the notebook and use my PDA with my Nokia 3650 to access e-mail (buying a local SIM card from TIM, Wind...).  Does anyone offer an unlimited GPRS deal with a prepaid?

Posted by Azik on 04.11.04 - 12:40:23

I've got my panasonic G68 (?) and VF Callya in germany working with GPRS but not Ericsson T68!
the news from Vodafone - GPRS is not free when not sending the data!
it costs 6c for one hour standby and 19c for 10kB! so one hour and 1 MB will cost you 20 euro!

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