Several Swedish telecommunications providers are selling a prepaid, mobile 3G -internet connection. Such a product is just the thing to get for long conferences like IFLA 2010. These products are dead cheap, and a much better alternative than using data roaming. For the uninitiated, data roaming means that one uses the mobile phone and mobile phone network to surf the internet or read emails while abroad. The prices are absolutely ridiculous, and even EU has recently started controlling roaming charges. For example for me, it costs about 1.5€ per megabyte. That means that even looking at the conference programme on the IFLA -website costs several euros, and uploading a photo on Facebook costs 1€ per photo or so. What a waste of your employers money (we all know libraries are broke already), and in the worst case taxpayers’ money.
Anyway, these prepaid mobile internet connections available in Sweden are basically a sort of a USB-dongle, that you connect to your computer, and then surf the internet as much as you want.
Of the products i’ve seen, the Telia Veckosurf costs 99 krona (~10€) a week, and Comviq is about 90kr a week i believe. Before that you must have “starter packet”, that costs about 300kr for Telia and 200kr for Comviq. This package gets you started, and includes the dongle, some documentation and in the case of Comviq at least, one day’s Dagsurf (daysurf) that gets you online for one day. After that you must buy more online time, i’m getting the weekly package.
You don’t necessarily need to use the USB-dongle. I’ve inserted the SIM-cards into my phone, and will hopefully be able to connect my netbook to the internet via connection sharing.
Note, that you need a Macintosh or Windows -machine to activate your prepaid connection. See, the voucher “Comviq Surf Kontant” has a code, that must be entered into a specific program that you must install. This is unfortunate. Luckily a colleague of mine has a Windows-laptop with him, that is not standardized (ie: castrated) by my employer. After activation, the SIM-cards seems to work in my telephone too.
You can get these prepaid started packages and online-time from many ordinary kiosks, and from a specific telephone store of course.
For negative points, i cannot have my normal SIM-card in my phone, and must be swapping SIM-cards throughout the day to make calls or SMS:ing. Activating the connection was far from fun (i’ve no credit card, nor am i a customer of swedish Nordea or other banks) and connection sharing isn’t working at the moment for me.
But, why buy a mobile internet connection and not rely on the IFLA2010 -wifi provided at the venue, at Svenska Mässan. Well… need i really elaborate?