MiFi helps keep down roaming costs in Australia
I'm a great fan of the Novatel MiFi 3G router, as you know, and it is coming into its own here in Australia. It's providing a personal internet connection for both my iPhone and my laptop, powered by an Australian Vodafone 3G data card. This animal cost me A$99 (£55) and includes one gigabyte of data. Subsequent top ups cost A$29/GB (£16). The SIM card came with an obligatory modem dongle, which I will add to my ever-growing pile of useless accessories. Set up for the MiFi was straightforward except that I had to get the APN for the pay-as-you-go service. In the UK and many other counties, the data contract APN is simply "internet". Vodafone Australia were extremely cagey about disclosing the APN, which the MiFi needs to establish a connection, but eventually gave in. Sssh, don't tell anyone, but it is "vfprepaymbb".
The £16 per gigabyte compares favourably with O2's roaming charge of £6,000 per gigabyte. Scandalous, or what? Isn't it about time that the EU really clamped down on the networks and banned such extortion? If they introduced more reasonable charges people like me might even use their overseas services. For the moment, though, I'll have a SIM in every port.
In fact, my O2 SIM has been filed away until I return. I got a local Australian phone SIM for A$30, including A$30 of calls. This handles local calls, while the MiFi permits Skype to be used on the iPhone for all other calls. Joy.