Affordable pre-paid data in Italy

I’m on vacation in Riva, by the Garda lake in Northern Italy. As I mentioned earlier (read my previous post about roaming prices), roaming mobile data with my Finnish TeliaSonera SIM is not really an option due to high costs. Fortunately getting a pre-paid SIM card with 3G data was quite easy.

A little shop selling mobile phones, USB modems, accessories and at least TIM and Vodafone subscriptions and pre-paid cards on Viale Dante street in Riva del Garda.

A little shop selling mobile phones, USB modems, accessories and at least TIM and Vodafone subscriptions and pre-paid cards on Viale Dante street in Riva del Garda.

I asked about operator shops in my hotel and a tourist info. I managed to find only one here in Riva. There are some other ones about 4 km from the city.

The shop I found sold pre-paid cards for Telecom Italy (TIM) and Vodafone. The sales guy didn’t speak very much English, and I’ve just started studying Italian, so our chat was limited.

I said: “Vorrei navigare sul Internet con mio computer.”
Salesperson asked: “Ha un ’net stick’?”
I said: “Si, ho bisogno solo della carta di SIM.”

With this level of discussion I only managed to find one suitable deal, 3 GB of data transfer for 20 EURs. I guess it’s enough, because I probably won’t be uploading videos anyway.

Having put the Vodafone card in my external Huawei E5 modem, it was active after about two hours. I setup the regular settings with access point name (APN) internet. I was a bit surprised I had to prove my identification with an official ID card to get a pre-paid SIM.

Vodafone has a decent outside 3G coverage here with HSPA access, although it usually drops to GPRS when using inside.

I probably won’t update this blog very much during my summer holiday in Italy and Finland, so I wish you a nice summer!

Huawei E5 and MacBook Air

Huawei E5 shares its 3G connection with up to five WLAN devices. It supports WPA2 encryption to limit access to yourself.