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Old 05-02-2014, 10:08   #1
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Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Hi

My husband and I will be going on a trip of a life time around the Mediterranean and would really like to ensure that we have wifi on the way round.

I have heard of Mifi (3G wifi) and a company called global gig which uses all the main 3G companies in Europe and a gadget to get a hot spot which will supply non stop wifi? Sounds good maybe too good to be true? Would we need an additional antenna?

Is anyone using this and if so could you let me know the pros and cons? If we went for this option it seems quite cheap £20-£30 per month? We would obviously like to go for the cheapest and easiest options so would love to hear any feedback.

Many thanks

Tabs
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Old 05-02-2014, 16:25   #2
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Never heard of MiFi global gig but a quick check on Internet seems OK.

BUT .......

1. You need to check who they partner with in each of the countries you are visiting. Not all providers are equal

2. 20 pounds only gets you 1Gb over a month. 5Gb will cost you 90 pounds and lasts a year, although we would use that per month.

We have used local SIM cards throughout our last few years in the Med and the price varies by ISP and country, e.g. the latest cost in Turkey was 70 TL for 3Gb over a month (about 20 pounds at current exchange rate) or 140 TL for 10Gb over 3 months. Most countries around the Med are about this price.

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Old 05-02-2014, 17:56   #3
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Hi Tabs, welcome to the forum.

Mifi is a small device that uses the mobile phone towers to provide Internet access. It will work with devices like tablets and smartphones as well as laptops.(see photo below)

You need to add a SIM card. The usual way is buy a prepaid SIM card in the country you in. Usually they will have a few G's of data that expires in 30 days and then must be topped up.

The coverage in The Med is good and it is not common to be out of range even in remote anchorages, but the data speed can get very slow.

The MiFi devices are an additional cost to the prepaid SIM card and it often better to buy an unlocked version via ebay etc. In Australia there are deals which include the MIFi device at very low cost. I usually buy a few of these when home, but you need to be reasonably computer savvy to unlock the Mifi.


The alternative to getting a new prepaid SIM card in each country is to use a global company, like global gig. These use the same system, although usually they don't choose great carriers so coverage can be a bit worse. You don't need to buy a new plan in each country, but the cost is higher and the data allowance often low.

My advice would be to buy an unlocked Mifi (it will be cheaper than trying to buy one locally in the Med) and then get a local pre paid sim card for the country you are in. Ask other cruisers which local carrier has the best coverage and the lowest prices for the prepaid sim.
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Old 05-02-2014, 20:51   #4
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

A cheap unlocked smartphone off Ebay is an easy way to create a hotshot with a local sim. And you get a spare phone

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Old 05-02-2014, 20:59   #5
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Will a phone work OK with an Internet only sim, or only with a voice/data sim?

The former are usually a much better deal if you want a reasonable amount of Internet.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:12   #6
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Thank you all so much for your responses.

I think from what you have all said it would be better for us to go down the route of getting the local SIM cards.
I have recently brought a cellular iPad, if I were to get it unlocked would this work as well as a mifi or is there other benefits of a mifi that I am unaware of?

I know nick was looking at antennas for the boat to try and get free wifi however it looks to me that trying to use this can be quite difficult and the cost of buying sims would probably be similar to the cost of the antenna.

Many thanks

Tabs
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:32   #7
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Will a phone work OK with an Internet only sim, or only with a voice/data sim?

The former are usually a much better deal if you want a reasonable amount of Internet.
Cheap Samsung works fine with 3 data sim bought in the UK. But that actually does voice as well when you try calling , is there such a thing as data only?
Benefit of very low power consumption as well.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:58   #8
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Be aware that data plans for PAYG (pay as you go) subscribers are very different in different parts of Europe.

In the UK they are stupendously good -- you can buy the SIM cards from a vending machine in Heathrow arrivals and top up online by credit card, and with a rich menu of cheap plans. I use the unlimited TMobile plan for my mobile/wifi terminal -- I get 2 gigs a month at high speed, then if you go over they don't cut you off, just throttle your connection. I forget what I pay for it, but I think it's 10 pounds a month.

Guernsey is even better, with one local company giving altogether free high speed data provided you are topped up at least 5 pounds.

In France it's totally different. First of all, it is very hard to buy a SIM card. Then, the data plans are much more expensive with much less choice, and you can't top up online, you have to buy vouchers. I wasted quite a bit of time on my summer cruise last year trying to buy a local SIM card in France.

So I can actually see that if one were visiting a lot of countries, and really needed an instant connection upon arrival (as I do, since I am not retired, and have to keep up with my business), that one of those pan-European plans might actually make sense. It will save you from running around trying to figure out every local system, find where to buy the SIM card, etc., etc.. And 20 to 30 quid for a gigabyte of data doesn't seem too bad -- I don't think I paid less than that in France, and with a French-only SIM card, you lose whatever data you didn't use up when you leave the country. 1 gig a month is about enough for me; however, when I have five or six people on board all connected and playing around in the Internet, 1 gig doesn't last long. Again, depends on how you're using your data.

On the other hand, of course, if you're going to be for a long time -- say over a month -- in one country, it's nice to have a local telephone number.

It's quite possible and convenient with most smartphones to just create a micro hot spot from your phone and use data through your phone, without a Mifi terminal. Saves you from having to have separate SIM cards for voice and data.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:32   #9
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

For what it's worth, I use a smartphone with a local prepaid SIM card as a mobile hotspot, wired in to the boat's 12V system, for web surfing. It's easy enough to grab it out of the cradle if I need to make a voice call.

As backup, I use a tablet with a PAYG data SIM card from Roamline, which enables me to connect virtually everywhere in the Med. Data costs are a lot higher than a local SIM, of course, but at least it gives me an additional way to connect to the internet in an emergency.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:01   #10
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

With a prepaid data SIM card of each country in your iPad, you will have internet access for 4 other devices at about 20 € per month for 3 or 5 Go.
With your oldest mobil phone you have, you will phone either with your SIML card or with a Sim card from the country where you stay .
With an iPad, a wifi antenna is not useful, you will have free wifi connection in a lot of cafés or restaurants in each country.
It is true that France (I am french) is not very up to date as prepaid data cards are concerned ... Nevertheless it exists and you will find them (at 30 or 40 € per month)..
Enjoy your sailing trip in the Med.
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Old 06-02-2014, 16:50   #11
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plank View Post
Thank you all so much for your responses.

I think from what you have all said it would be better for us to go down the route of getting the local SIM cards.
I have recently brought a cellular iPad, if I were to get it unlocked would this work as well as a mifi or is there other benefits of a mifi that I am unaware of?

I know nick was looking at antennas for the boat to try and get free wifi however it looks to me that trying to use this can be quite difficult and the cost of buying sims would probably be similar to the cost of the antenna.

Many thanks

Tabs
I think in some ways we are putting the cart before the horse.

The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want a data connection for, e,g,

1. What will you use it for; just email or multiple uses such as Skype, weather, booking marinas, web browsing etc. This will indicate how much data you need per month.

2. How many devices do you want to connect on board, e.g. we have multiple devices, plus visitors who usually bring along at least their iPad's. This will indicate what sort of device you need.

Yes you can put a SIM card in your iPad, we do that for Google Maps when we do land based travel, but we also have an open WiFi modem on board so we can both connect, plus visitors as they arrive.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with fancy antenna's or amplifiers etc. 3G services in Europe are excellent within about 20nm of land and there are a plethora of free WiFi hot spots available from cafes and restaurants.

By the way, we didn't have any problems getting a SIM card in France, they wanted a lot of information but that didn't bother us, maybe we just lucked out with the shop we used.

Cheers
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Old 06-02-2014, 17:16   #12
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
A cheap unlocked smartphone off Ebay is an easy way to create a hotshot with a local sim. And you get a spare phone

Sent from my SGP312 using Tapatalk
This is what I was going to recommend. I bought an international unlocked Samsung Note II (GT N7100) on Ebay and I use Straight Talk in the US. I get unlimited everything, including data and I can use it as a hotspot for up to 5 devices. This plan is only $45/mo.

If/when I go to the Med. it will be a simple matter of signing up for local service and installing the new SIM card. I'm sure I'll be able to find a reasonably priced plan that has enough data for my needs, in addition to using local wifi when available.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:57   #13
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

Plank HAS yet a cellular iPad ! (and a mobil phone I suppose) I do not see the use of another smartphone to get internet...
Moreover, it is not that simple to get a prepaid data and phone Sim card around the Med. Usually it is either a data one or a phone one.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:19   #14
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

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Originally Posted by Jacques2 View Post
Plank HAS yet a cellular iPad ! (and a mobil phone I suppose) I do not see the use of another smartphone to get internet...
Moreover, it is not that simple to get a prepaid data and phone Sim card around the Med. Usually it is either a data one or a phone one.
The OP was about a creating a local hotshot, cheapo mobile is one low cost, low power way of doing this. Why do you need a data and phone sim?
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:25   #15
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Re: Mifi (global gig) and the Mediterranean

The bandwith of smartphones will indeed cooperate with your tablet. But there are other and more advanced ways to get your tablet running. Huawei E5776 4G supplies a cover for the fast bandwiths of telecomproviders, it can be even expanded with an external antenna.
Then you may run 10 users on one MiFi hotspot. Costs are here in Holland around 150 Euro's. You can buy data prepay simcharts for around 20 - 25 Euro. It varies from country to country. Then you have a one month coverage and 1GB datavolume. Which is generally more than enough.
The Med countries are more expensive: Greece: almost 40 Euro; France: 29,90 Euro

for further info: support@prepaidsimcard.org

Best to use is Vodafone. At least for me.

edit: WiFi hotspots are scarce - and often the reach is limited to a very short distance.
For me, in Holland and France whilst traveling it does not work. Going to UK ports you will find nowhere (save the ultra expensive marina's) WiFi.
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