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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 9398x
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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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