I will start with mobile internet in Croatia. I am writing this post on the beach in Punat, island Krk, on my Palm Treo 680, using Vipnet prepaid data only SIM card. I am staying here for 14 days plus I will return to Croatian coast for a couple of weekends or several days in September.
Before going here, I did some research on the web (as I always do before any endeavor). I was looking for a solution that cowers two months and includes several hundred MB of data transfer. Since I am not financially free or affluent yet, I was looking for cheapest option :).
Since Croatia is not in EU (yet), GPRS roaming here is even more expensive: EUR 0.75-0.95 per 100kB, or $10,000 to $13,300 per GB! Unbelievable! This is robbery at broad daylight! My provider does have a deal with Croatian T-Mobile and the 60% off tariff is only $4,800 per GB! Needless to say roaming was out of the question.
There are three cellular network providers in Croatia: T-Mobile, VIP (Vodafone) and Tele 2. All of them offer prepaid solutions for internet access. I eliminated Tele 2 first since their only option is HSDPA/UMTS/GPRS USB stick that costs 395 HRK ($79). You get HRK 394 on your account, but over a period of 6 months and upfront cost was too much plus I was concerned about their coverage on the Croatian Islands. The other two had similar offers – HRK 200 ($40) for USB stick, 1 HRK ($0.20) per MB of data, which comes to $200 per GB.
T-Mobile offers two options:
SIM card only for HRK 100 ($20) with 100MB included or
USB GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA modem for HRK 198 ($40) with 100MB included
Data costs HRK 1 per MB – $200 per GB. You can activate a daily option for HRK 20 and you get 100MB of data, but must spend it in 24h.
Vipnet (Vodafone) also offers two options:
SIM card only for HRK 20 ($4) with 20MB included or
USB GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA modem for HRK 179 ($36) with 20MB included + another 80MB if you charge your account for at least HRK 35 ($7). Plus you get additional free 200MB of data for activating an account before Aug 31 2009.
They also have options, but they last 30 days: 75MB for HRK 50, 200MB for HRK 100 ($100 per GB), 500MB for HRK 200 ($80 per GB).
The USB modem can be bought in the web shop for HRK 151 ($30), but you can only register with Croatian address, so this option was out
I decided to go with Vipnet. Then I found a Croatian computer magazine Bug mentioned on a forum. Their 200th issue (Yul-Aug 2009) offers coupons for Vipnet:
– free data SIM (preloaded with HRK 20) with 3x200MB free data over three months
– HRK 50 off the price for USB modem
I bought the only copy of the magazine they had for EUR 5 in a magazine stand close to my office. When I got to Croatia, I obtained the free SIM first. Spent about 150MB in 10 days using my phone (Palm Treo 680) & laptop with Bluetooth dial-up. Then I got the USB stick too for $26. It works great, but speed of course depends on location and network load (Its the height of the season, so lots of tourists are overloading the network).
I did not really need the USB stick, but it is more convenient then BT dial-up. It is of course locked to Vipnet SIMs, but unlocking codes can be found on eBay. Perhaps my next project
I was easily able to unlock the USB stick using the DC-Unlocker software found on their site…