on 06-10-2014 21:02
So after my daughter and wife episode, I got to thinking about how addicted we've become to our smartphones and more specifically to 3/4G
We take a lot for granted in the UK. I travel quite a bit, mostly throughout Europe but have done my bit around the States, Brazil and South Africa too. Take getting a SIM card for example.
I was recently in Brazil, about a month after the world cup. Getting a SIM card there was a hugely difficult affair.
I'll list what it took:
First they require your Brazilian tax number. If you're a tourist they simply say it's impossible to get a SIM card. The only possible workaround is if you bring someone with you (a Brazillian) who is prepared to give them their tax number on your behalf. Unless you have family there who will be prepared to do such a thing?
I asked them about the World Cup and what happened to the thousands of tourists who came to see Brazil loose 7-1 to a German team - ok perhaps I was a little silly with the comment but nevertheless. Their answer was puzzling. "We had a special package for tourists during the World Cup and it's now over so no SIM card for you. Mmmm.
This story I heard from multiple vendors who eventually said even if they could help me they didn't actually have any stock of Nano sim cards. Three shopping centres later and desperate for a SIM card I met a sales lady at a concessionary store inside a rather large supermarket. I tried my luck with her and to my surpsise she said selling me a SIM card was no problem. Puzzled I asked her for four SIM's which she promptly gave me although she had to use a SIM cutter for two of the iPhones.
Puzzled, I paid her and switched on my phones and Voila after two days without mobile connection I suddenly had four SIM cards with "3G" Now, whether what she did was correct or not I do not know. How she got them activated for me I do not know. Who's tax number she used, I do not know. What I do know is that everyone at the other places I'd tried said "no" and she said "yes" The best part though? I got 1Mb per day package. I kid you not. 1024Kb daily limit!!
It wasn't 4G or 3G, probably around 2.5G but it certainly wasn't as bad as the gprs I get in Ely - Cambridgeshire
What if I didn't speak Portuguese? This, I think, would have been a nightmare of note. Roaming on O2 in Brazil is crazy expensive and not something you want to do. To make matters worse, in Brazil you can't just get a SIM card and use it throughout the whole of Brazil. If you will be in Rio for most of the time then you need to get a Rio SIM card and if you're going to be in Sao Paulo then you need a different SIM card. There is a third state that has similar rules. It's total madness I tell you.
However, if you're a Brazillian flying to the UK then at Heathrow you simply go to a vending machine, deposit your coins and walk out with a SIM card - a three minute process. It's almost too easy.
So the thing that puzzled me is that O2's owner, Telefonica also owns Vivo Brazil but there is absolutely no benefit to being part of Telefonica (O2) in the UK even though they the same parent company. It's ridicously hard to get a SIM card, roaming charges are horrendous making GPS, forex, social media, banking, photography app usage, taxi and weather services really difficult to use while travelling there.
Isn't it time Telefonica / O2 gave it's European customers a break like it does in Europe, outside of Europe, especially if it operates in countries where it is the majority shareholder of a large phone operator? I'm not saying that we should pay the same rates that we pay when roamning in Europe but the £6.00+ per Mb is truly obscene.
We travel, we are your customers, we need mobile broadband services, many times just to make sure we are travelling through safe locations. Being scared and hesitant to use these services because of the high cost of data is going to kill someone one day.
Suggestion - Create mobile packages that we can purchase before we go overseas, e.g. 500mb/ day or 250Mb per day with carry over if we don't fully utilise the daily allocation for fixed and fair fees. They going on holidays with O2 will be a much less stressful task.
on 06-10-2014 21:11
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
on 06-10-2014 21:14
It would be ideal for me as I spend half the year out of the UK and have to use a local simcard due to the ridiculous costs of calls, texts and even more ridiculous data charges. There is no Telefonica associated companies where I travel but a package would nonetheless be very welcome.
on 06-10-2014 21:25
And as you indicate, it is very little problem using devices in the EU.
However, Spain has very strict rules about selling and topping up mobile phones and MiFi devices.
As a visitor it requires a lot of paperwork and showing your passport every time you want to top up...
Spanish nationals have to show their NIE number when they buy mobiles....