Notebook? Dongle? iPhone? Internet abroad

  Paulrw58 11:53 04 Nov 2009

Both my wife and i are shortly to retire. When we do we are planning to spend at least two periods of 3-8 weeks at a time abroad (Europe, mostly Spain). When we do we still want to have good access to our emails and to the internet so we can search for information, post photos, use Skype etc. What will be the best, and cheapest, way of doing this? Firstly there is the hardware issue-Notebook, Laptop and/or iPhone/Blackberry etc. Then the question of data access-what might be the best deal in terms of speed and cost so we don't run up huge bills. Some thoughts on this would be much appreciated


  Forum Editor 23:37 04 Nov 2009

and when I'm in Europe I tend to use a laptop or Netbook with a mobile broadband dongle. The dongle seems to have no problems finding one of my UK mobile company's partner networks in France and Spain.

My provider bills me at £1:50 per Mb in most EU countries, but the price soars to £7:50 if I connect in say, Singapore. To give you an idea, you could deal with your email for a week inside 1Mb, but upload ten images to Facebook and you'll use up another Mb quite easily.

Browse ten web pages and there goes another Mb

Download a music track from iTunes and you can say goodbye to 5Mb - that makes Cheryl's latest hit an expensive £8:20 if you include the iTunes cost.

Speed isn't really an issue - I find the dongle clips along at a reasonable rate, and of course you're billed for the data you transfer, not for the time you're online.A one-week business trip to Spain usually results in a bill for around £15 to £20 in my case.

If you use a Blackberry you'll need to remember that you'll be charged extra for email abroad - it's not included in your plan costs. Everything that a Blackberry does, other than making and receiving phone calls and text messages, is done via the internet, so costs can mount quite easily. You'll be charged at the same data-transfer rate as the dongle.

Whichever way you slice it, using a mobile broadband connection abroad isn't cheap, although it's a lot cheaper in Europe than anywhere else. Beware of ads for temporary mobile broadband services via USB dongles - in Spain such a service will typically cost you around £49 per day, although that does include a fairly generous data transfer allowance of about 750Mb a week.

  Paulrw58 12:04 07 Nov 2009

Ed-Thanks for the response. I guess it is as i expected-whatever way you look at it it is costly. Emails Ok but web pages and photos could really send costs rocketing. Maybe I just carry on with a normal mobile phone and then seek out a local internet cafe to visit every couple of days.


  Forum Editor 17:58 07 Nov 2009

is that good ones will not allow you to send files via their machines, for obvious reasons, so you're limited to webmail and browsing the internet.

  bluenote 21:10 09 Nov 2009

there is now a broadband payg in is called buy the dongle for about 50euros and this allows you to connect for 3 euros per day.quite expensive ,but used carefully will allow you at least to get online in spain.

  Paulrw58 13:57 10 Nov 2009

Thanks, bluenote, definitely worth looking into. Also note the restrictions with internet cafes, but that might not be too much of a problem

Sorry for slow responses but, although i ticked the 'notify me when a response has been posted' box I am not being notified.

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