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For those of you Europeans who don't care for how Americans do wireless services -- your system has fully pissed me off.

By Andrew Pollack on 10/31/2008 at 12:11 PM EDT

Instead of paying $125 for a week of renting a pre-setup "Orange" subscribed cell phone as I have done in the past when I left the US, I decided to try doing the local thing this time. Once arriving in Germany, it took me a few hours but I was able to find an unlocked Nokia phone (a very very cheapo one without bluetooth or anything else) for 40 Euros -- I think it may have been used as a demo, but its hard to know with the language barrier and to be honest I didn't care a bit.

Then I puchased a SIM -- badly, since the one I bought connected me to a company that of course only speaks German so I had no idea how to top it up. I swapped it for one from O2 -- their "loop" card, but the rates are insane. Travelling across Europe and UK is is still roaming in the way the US was in the early 1990's. The cost of using this is crazy and any payments you make won't hold more than 30 days.

Top that off within T-Mobile, who provide good service I guess, but who are the biggest rip-off provider of wireless ever. I purchased a Wireless "30 Day" account in Germany for a decent price thinking I'd also have it in the UK. Nope. It won't work in the UK. Same company, but I have to pay for an entirely different set of access if I want to use it here.

It isn't that they don't have the account data -- they've kept my credit card handy for me to easily charge this new fee, they just aren't interested in carrying over the credit.

T-Mobile has lost me as a potential customer even as they're trying to increase presence in the US. A shame, because I was interested in their new Android based phone.

The more I try to do business here, the more I remember reading Kafka.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: For those of you Europeans who don't care for how Americans do wireless services -- your system has fully pissed me off.By uk sympathy on 10/31/2008 at 12:38 PM EDT
Welcome to the world of Europe and UK
re: For those of you Europeans who don't care for how Americans do wireless services -- your system has fully pissed me off.By Jason on 10/31/2008 at 01:27 PM EDT
It's a consequence of America's lack of ambition. Having won the war of
independence you could have boarded ships and attempted to conquer the UK and
from there Europe. Had you then succeeded you could have imposed a single
wireless/telephony system across your Empire.

As Robin Williams said (originally about Cocaine and Columbia) "here's a little
monkey for your back".

:-)
re: For those of you Europeans who don't care for how Americans do wireless services -- your system has fully pissed me off.By Dan Sickles on 10/31/2008 at 01:34 PM EDT
but that would have messed up too many nice vacation, oops ..I mean holiday,
destinations ;-)
re: For those of you Europeans who don't care for how Americans do wireless services -- your system has fully pissed me off.By Volker Weber on 11/02/2008 at 05:55 PM EST
I think I told you that would not work ...
well, it did in fact work. It was just painful.By Andrew Pollack on 11/03/2008 at 07:36 AM EST
In the end, it turned out cheaper than it would have been for me to rent a
phone for the trip from this side as I've done in the past. Next trip, since
I've already got an unlocked gsm phone I can just make sure I have a pre-paid
SIM ready to go.

One thing I did was establish a local number there so I could call in to my
asterisk server, hang up, and it would call me back. When it called back, it
gave me a dail tone I could use to dial out from there using my regular
outbound calling rates as if I were in my office. This made almost all airtime
on the cellular phone "inbound" and did save a good bit of money.


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