Data on Smartphones/Tablets and tethering in Italy

12/08/2012 - 12:39

Apologies in advance for being dim about these things! I am looking for the best way of getting a PAYG/weekly subscription package for internet access. When I go to Italy I generally find a TIM mobile phone shop and get them to add what they call a TIMSMARTPHONE data package onto my age old SIM and I put this SIM in my UK Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. This means I can access the internet on my phone for €2.50 for 250MB per week or €5 for 500MB per week. We are going out for a month shortly and will take a Samsung tablet device too - probably with a 3G sim slot (not yet bought). I have found with my phone I can use it as a 'mobile hotspot' (tethering device?) and use its data to enable internet access on a WIFI laptop or WIFI tablet. My questions are:-1. I have heard conflicting advice at to whether tethering drains your data (I know it drains the battery but this isn't a problem as i Plug the phone in). Does accessing the internet through tethering use more data?2. Looking at internet packages just for a tablet device, it seems silly to be paying for two SIMS when my phone one does offer an add-on internet package . So, If you have a 3G tablet with the capacity to take a SIm like the Galaxy Note, can i just swap my exiting SIm from my mobile phone into the tablet and use the data directly on that device?3. We don't yet have a landline and won't have for quite some time. We are reasonably rural but I can get a good enough mobile signal currently. How do others obtain PAYG internet access in Italy?



I use a vodafone pay and go sim and an offer called 'internet card' which when activated gives you 300mb for 1 euro per day. inserted in my sgs2 and used as a hot spot. we can also browse on the phone as well with this so i'm pretty certain that it could be inserted in your tablet but not sure if a tablet can be used for tethering. i noticed the product when i registered my card on the vodafone site and activated it just prior to leaving uk. hope this helps.

Check with TIM dealer the possibility of a HUAWAI wifi modem, with a SIM card. I used it for my tablet in Italy . You purchase it at a very reasonable price - from memory about €80 and you can have flexibility about contracts or pay as you go.      

Further to Gala's suggestion of a HUAWAI wifi modem, you can often buy unlocked modems/dongles on ebay for quite a bit less - but DO make sure that they are unlocked before buying. The volume of data used is the same in any given situation regardless of whether directly on a tablet or via tethering through a phone.  However, some contracts (PAYG or otherwise) explicitly exclude tethering (and/or streaming) as the networks know that you're likely to use far more data doing this than just using your phone (e.g.: it's far more tempting to watch a movie on your tablet than on your phone, websites accessed may not be optimised for low data usage, etc.).

... old SIM, read standard size, with a SG2 you are ok as I believe it is standard, but watch out others are micro SIM. Tethering is just networking, yes many providers specifically state you can't, but this has been questioned in court and they lost... Think most will ignore you using a SIM for one or the other devices or even both... With the Huawai MIFI, available from quite a few places here, that's it's very purpose! No need to get the MIFI if you have the SG2, you should be able to either simply swap the SIM from your phone if the SG2 is NOT locked to any one provider. Not looked at the SG2 spec, but if it acts as a network, you can still access the net from your phone. Data use is as previously stated the same, but as you say over wifi (even if just switched on and not used) you drain your battery a lot quicker. Also over wifi I think you will find net access not a good compared to a hard wired connection. Even a connection over USB I've found to be far better using the Huawai (might be as much to do with it then having permanent power from the PC). As you have already had access here, I'm sure you are aware how poor/intermittent internet access can be via mobile.