Mobile Internet

Internet at almost Broadband speed.

This text may be useful for those who only have a land telephone line and a modem (or not even that). For the landliners the cheapest solution is the Telefonica service which allows you to go on the Internet for hours at the rate of a local call (908200025). But the usual datarate is about 47kbps (kiloBITS) per second and that is most frustrating.

Our Guru Fred Wengelin at the Javea Computer Club pointed me to a different solution which I have found to be very satisfactory: a high speed mobile telephoneservice. It works "everywhere" and provides a satisfactury datarate. Such a service usually means an expensive subscription and ditto usage charges and that is for most people unacceptable.

The solution which I have found is not cheap either but only requires a modest initial investment. There is no subscription contract with “permanencia” clauses, penalties for low usage and such and in my opinion the cost of usage is very reasonable. In particular if you are here for a limited time only.

In short: you buy a special “prepaid” mobile phone which also is a modem. It costs only 49 Euros, including a prepaid balance of 5 Euro. You can use it as a normal GSM telephone. It has it’s own Spanish phone number (or you can have your existing Spanish one installed). The set has the usual functions including SMS, phonebook, connection history, built in Radio and MP3 player, USB memorystick, optional additional memorycard upto 8 Gb, etc. But not a photocamera and other frills. AND it is a modem which you can connect to your PC via USB.

The telephone can be used worldwide thanks to it’s 3-band system and works with most high speed transmission systems: 3G, UMTS2100, GPRS and HSDPA.

The set is a Mobit U11 which is only available in the shops of provider Yoigo. Yoigo also has “dongles” (without modem) for prepaid use (they call it “Internet para llevar”) . They cost 20 Euro less and are available at the same usage rates as the modem. Some other phoneshops may have Mobits in their list but the usage-rates are less favourable. Yoigo presently only works in all of Spain but for use in other countries the Mobit accepts SIM cards of other providers abroad.

In principle the modem software installs itself on the PC when you connect the cable. The required software is stored inside the phone. You eventually (patience!) will see a window which allows you to connect to the internet and provides signal

Yoigomainscreen1.jpg

and usage information. Since – at present – the printed or online manual is in Spanish only (the phone can be set to English) it is useful to have everything installed and the starting procedure demonstrated in the shop. Unfortunately I found the Yoigo shop in Javéa less than helpful but the shop in Calpe was excellent.

The network of Yoigo can run at 3 Mbps but Yoigo itself says that a dataspeed of between 0,8 and 1,5Mbps is more realistic. I only had 2 days to test my setup and then I saw speeds of about 760 Kbps. Both in my house in Solpark and in the basement of the JCC in Javéa. The software window also shows the signal strength and that was usually no more than 30% but everything worked. Datarates can vary significantly depending on networkload and the URL you are working with. But for landline-me it was a big relief to be able to play with internet as if I had ADSL. Google and Picassa screens came in smoothly.

yoigostats1.jpg

How much does it cost?

After the purchase of the phone/modem there are variable costs only. No subscription charge. You work with a prepaid phonecard and are charged as you go. Per DAY that you actually connect with Internet the charge is 3 Euro plus IVA. Days when you don’t access the Internet are not charged. For the telephone calls, SMS, etc. are separate rates which are charged accordingly. The minimum charge for a Month (internet and phone use together) is almost 7 Euros including IVA.

Per DAY you can connect to internet as often and long as you like at maximum available speed till you have reached 100 Megabytes of data traffic. Therafter the speed goes down to 64Kbps which I found quite workable for normal surfing. After midnight the speed goes back to maximum. There are no penalties for low usage or cancellation. Your Spanish telephone number will be revoked when it has not been used for 6 months. ONE phonecall by your phone “just in time” will start another 6-month period.

Yoigo has shops in a.o. Javéa, Calpe, Ondara and Altea. See YOIGO.COM where you can find almost anything you would like to know allbeit in Spanish, The shop in Calpe is in the Plaza Central shoppingcenter, Local 36, one floor above Mas y Mas and next to other phoneshops. Call, if interested, 965 831 881 to ask wether the modem is in stock. In the shop they will give you a choice of 8 telephone numbers, will load and install the card and will also install the software if you bring your laptop. In that case, ask that they demonstrate making the first internet connection. Their English is limited but they are used to foreign customers.

Take your passport for identification. A (temporary) adress in Spain and a valid internet address are also necessary. The balance on your prepaid card can be augmented in any Yoigo shop and at Mas y Mas cashier‘s stations (and probably others). Or you can upgrade online with Yoigo.com using a credit - or Spanish bankcard. In that case – and if your creditcard is not a Spanish one - be aware that the creditcard procedure can only handle a postal code having 5 numerals and no characters. And for the Dutch: they don’t know Holanda or Netherlands but Paises Bajos! After you have done an upgrade you will quite promptly receive a confirmation SMS.

What else should you know?:

You cannot use Skype
You may not use P2P and download films. You would not do that anyway; 100Mb does not get you very far with films.

I hope the above will be of use to you. It certainly helped me to be a happier internetter!

Jan Schoonenberg. March 2010.

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