This time last week I was preparing to travel to Australia on another work trip (number five for the year – good thing I like Australia). As part of my preparation I decided to check out the wifi prices of the hotel I was booked into. A review on TripAdvisor told me to expect to pay a lofty $30 a day for patchy wifi.
That price was high enough to make me look for an alternative to hotel wifi – a subject which appears to be making the news more and more often. I headed over to Vodafone’s website to double check the cost of their data roaming to Australia and stumbled on a pleasant surprise. They were rolling out a new service – Data Angel Overseas – which promised to abolish the hassle of paying for hotel wifi or having to hunt down a pre-paid sim for an Aussie network.
The premise is as follows – if you are on Vodafone account plan, they will txt you when you arrive in Australia. The txt contains a link to a non tariffed mobile site where you can choose a data bundle to add to your account. The plans for Australia cost $15, $30 or $50 for 100mb, 250mb or 500mb respectively. Other plans are available for other travel zones.
So, on Monday morning I had a crack at it. Once I was off the plane in Melbourne I connected to the Vodafone network. Pretty shortly I received not one, but four txts from Vodafone, two of them encouraging me to buy a data pack. I clicked on the link to choose a $30 bundle. Things got a little hairy when the mobile site crashed near the end of the sign up process however after two or three attempts to get back into it I saw a message saying I had used 0% of my data allowance. I took that as confirmation my order had gone through.
From there it was all plain sailing. All of the web accessing features on my phone worked well and using the Galaxy S3 as a wifi hotspot I was able to get plenty of work done on my laptop and my tablet.
I found it to be a simple and effective solution but I would still prefer to have more data available in the plan for a lower price. I paid $30 for 250mb pack which expires after 30 days. However I used 80% of my data pack inside of two days. According to Vodafone, 250mb of data would cost me $125 in the past. So. it’s a good start but I’d still like to see better pricing in future.
For all of the details including the terms and conditions, and how to apply the data pack to iPads and other smart devices, check out Vodafone’s site here.