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The only real down side I have with the Verizon Wireless laptop card I use is that because it is CDMA based it won't work when I go to Europe. In the past I've always just rented a cheap phone and that's been good enough.
This year, I want to do better. I've gotten very very used to the idea of my laptop being able to get a decent speed connection to the internet pretty much everywhere whenever I want. I'd like to be able to do the same thing in Europe. I've found data connectivity in hotels there isn't even close to reliable -- depending on where you are -- and the cost of ad-hoc connectivity is high while the reliability is low.
Here's my criteria, in order of importance:
1. <required> Should work anywhere -- or nearly anywhere
2. <required> Should give me a data transfer rate that is reasonable (e.g. at least 384kbps download and at least 128kbps upload.) -- that's less than half what I get with EV-DO, but its a short term thing.
3. <required> Must be reliable, and not require me to spend 3 days getting it working. It should be as close to plug and play as possible.
4. Can be a PC-Card or a USB conection to a stand alone device or to a cell phone.
5. Can be the same phone I rent to make phone calls with, or not. It will depend on the cost and the data plan.
6. Fixed cost "unlimited" is great, but it depends on what that cost is.
So, readers, what should I be looking at?
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I just went through this with several players for my Dublin trip. Great
First, VZW offers rental global phones. They can ship them to you quickly and
the rates are reasonable. This option is only available via the telephone, as
their stores do not offer this service.
You can also use the GoSim card for any unlocked mobile phone you have for
great rates, then get a Pingo account...where you'll be able to call via a
mobile phone, pay phone, hotel phone back to the States for $0.04/min. -
depending on the origin point. Worked great for me in Dublin.
I can peruse my notes further, but off-the-cuff, this should get you started.
And yes, I was also dismayed that my WWAN USB card did not work internationally.