Latest Update August 2013
Have you ever come back from a vacation or business trip from abroad and were surprised by the cost of your telephone bill for using your private iphone or smartphone?
You could always buy a local prepaid sim card and change it with your existing sim card in your phone. But this is not what I what I need. I want my current telephone number to stay active so that family members or others can still reach me. Also I do not want to have my existing sim card with a two year contract floating around my luggage. On top I enjoy using my iphone and my ipad more than any other tablet or smart phone.
There are several options available that will satisfy my above objectives. There are a number of mobile wlan umts hotspot devices such as the Trekstor or Huawei E series for example the NEW UNLOCKED HUAWEI E5830 WIFI Wireless Router E5 Modem available. They can serve up to five devices and connect them to the internet. All what you need is a prepaid sim card for these mobile hotspots. But one thing you cannot do with the router this to make local phone calls.
I have found even another and cheaper solution and plus I have a local phone. Since 2011 there is a Huawei U8160 Vodafone VF858 Android Unlocked smart on the market. It is the cheapest smartphone currently available. It is an android phone. Even a sim lock free vodafone 858 is still cheaper than the mobile umts hotspots. And the android vodafone 858 can serve several devices at the same time and connect them to the internet.
Update August 2013: Lately the Huawei U8610 Vodafone VF858 is not available. But there are alternatives now on the market:
LG Optimus LG E400 Unlocked ,
Samsung GT-S5360L Galaxy Y Unlocked,
Sony Xperia Tipo ST21A Unlocked
As I travel during the year to different countries the sim lock free version is best suited for my needs.
Once in the country I just need to buy a prepaid sim card for this android mobile phone. Now I can make calls and have access to the internet.
The beauty of this comes into play when I set this vodafone 858 to be a wlan hotspot (mobile wifi hotspot). Now through tethering I connect my iphone or ipad or kindle to this android smart phone. Et voila I avoid data roaming costs while surfing or reading my emails or ebooks on my ipad or kindle on the beach. In a test I was able to use the hotspot with 2 iphones and an ipad in parallel without problems.
Below a quick help card on how to setup internet access on your smartphone.
I bought my prepaid sim card at the swisscom shop. It requires an identity card. The sim card was activated within 10 minutes after purchase. Yet first even with the help of the shop assistant I could not get access to the internet.
The shop assistant recommended me to call the Swisscom help desk. They advised me to access the manual on their website. This was neither helpful nor successful.
It was through the Question and Answer section in Linkedin that I finally got it to work. See Use Vodafone 858 smart as a mobile umts hotspot. Eric Krakowski provided me with the right settings. See Eric Krakowski’s Profile on Linkedin: http://fr.linkedin.com/in/erickrakowski . Based on his advice I build the above quick visual guide.
If you travel to different countries the global list below will be very helpful to setup your router or smartphone with a local prepaid simcard to have access to the internet. It includes all the GPRS APN Settings from different countries and telecom providers.
Tags: android, APN Settings, dataroaming, Eric Krakowski, GPRS Settings, Huawei U8160, huawei umts, mobile umts hotspot, mobile wlan hotspot, prepaid, roaming, sim card, sim lock free, tethering, trekstor, vodafone 858 smart, wlan