What gives with the internet?

Feb 22, 2016
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I had understood that, from June last year, I could use my Virgin chip in the EU on the same terms as in the UK. Roaming charges were abolished. I have a 3 Go anywhere chip for my mifi device so we can both use our iPads.

It works ok, but buying a local sim (data only) was supposed to avoid the 'strangling' of bandwidth of UK chips by their partners abroad. So when we arrived in Portugal in January, we bout a NOS card which was brilliant in Portugal,unlimited data for 15 days for €15. I assumed because of the end of roaming etc, that the NOS chip would work in Spain. It didn't. So, bought a Vodafone chip in Sevilla that offered 4.5gb for 15 days for €10. Worked for the 15 days and was recharged for €10 but although the mifi showed that it was connected to Vodafone, 4G with a strong signal, nothing loaded on either iPad. We restarted both the mifi and iPads several times to no avail.

€10 down, we entered France. Bought a data sim at Orange which was 5gb for €14.90 which was said to be unlimited in time and when the 15gb was used up you could simply recharge. The 15gb seems to have lasted less than a day, with 15 minutes of radio and a few emails. Now when we go to recharge, the offers are so poor, it would be a waste of time, for example 1gb for 14 days for €10. Given how little access the 15gb gave, what would be the point of 1gb. There were higher gb offers available but at hugely higher monthly prices.

What a shower! So we go back to the 3 chip which at times is as slow as old time dial up. What I don't understand is why the end of roaming charges hasn't resulted in simplification so that you could buy data in one's own country, use it abroad and result in competition giving similar (cheap) packages wherever you are.
 
Dec 16, 2017
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Re the 15gb only lasting a day. Probably worth checking the logs to see if the box downloaded a big update or something in the background.
 
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Ingwe
Feb 22, 2016
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@Burgo-how do check the log? Presumably, you need the nternet to do this?

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DBK

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It's all down to the agreements the uk provider has with its European partners. Three don't charge for roaming within their fair use policies but in my experience the connection is very slow. Vodaphone seem to be faster although I haven't tried it in Spain or Portugal yet.
 
Dec 16, 2017
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@Burgo-how do check the log? Presumably, you need the nternet to do this?
Sorry - I was thinking of Windows OS where you simply look in Event Viewer and can see any updates applied / issues etc. Bit (much) trickier if you're using Android, and if you're using Apple ipads then I wouldn't have a clue!
 
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the 'strangling' of bandwidth of UK chips by their partners abroad

That's a myth. It doesn't happen and it's never happened.

What does happen is that there is a system for allocating the available bandwidth. It's not a "foreign" thing or some sort of anti-UK conspiracy either, UK networks operate in exactly the same way.

Briefly it works something like this using UK operators as examples.

Not all networks are actually real networks. In the UK there are only 4 - Vodafone, O2, EE and Three. All the others are what are known as virtual networks. They don't maintain a physical network of their own but instead rent network space from one or more of the four main operators. There's a list of UK virtual networks and their hosts here.

Let's say the network you are connected to is operated by Vodafone and it as a finite amount of bandwidth available to customers.

Right at the front of the queue are Vodafone's direct customers. They will get the fastest and most stable connection.

Next in line are customers of Vodafone's UK client networks, Lebara for example. They will generally get nearly as good a service as direct customers apart from at the very busiest times when they might notice their connection is a bit slower than usual.

Finally at the back of the queue making do with what's left are customers of foreign networks whose roaming connection is to Vodafone. At quiet times their connection will be fine, at busy times there isn't enough bandwidth left so their connection slows down or even disappears altogether. This is where the "strangling" or "throttling" myth comes from.

It works the same way whichever country you're in - if you're roaming you're right at the back of the queue for bandwidth.
 

Pete5996

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@Burgo-how do check the log? Presumably, you need the nternet to do this?

Sorry - I was thinking of Windows OS where you simply look in Event Viewer and can see any updates applied / issues etc. Bit (much) trickier if you're using Android, and if you're using Apple ipads then I wouldn't have a clue!

I have a laptop on Win 10 and a Samsung Android phone. Both systems, by default, will download prodigious updates without so much as a by your leave.

On Win 10, you can pause automatic updating for about a month by going to 'Settings', 'Update and Security', which open the Windows Update page. Scroll down to 'Advanced Options' and then select 'Pause Updates' to 'on'.

On the Android, open Google Play Store, touch the 3 horizontal bars at top left of screen, scroll down to 'Settings'. Set 'Auto-update Apps' to 'Do not auto-update apps'.

Hope this helps...
 
Oct 13, 2010
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I had understood that, from June last year, I could use my Virgin chip in the EU on the same terms as in the UK. Roaming charges were abolished. I have a 3 Go anywhere chip for my mifi device so we can both use our iPads.

It works ok, but buying a local sim (data only) was supposed to avoid the 'strangling' of bandwidth of UK chips by their partners abroad. So when we arrived in Portugal in January, we bout a NOS card which was brilliant in Portugal,unlimited data for 15 days for €15. I assumed because of the end of roaming etc, that the NOS chip would work in Spain. It didn't. So, bought a Vodafone chip in Sevilla that offered 4.5gb for 15 days for €10. Worked for the 15 days and was recharged for €10 but although the mifi showed that it was connected to Vodafone, 4G with a strong signal, nothing loaded on either iPad. We restarted both the mifi and iPads several times to no avail.

€10 down, we entered France. Bought a data sim at Orange which was 5gb for €14.90 which was said to be unlimited in time and when the 15gb was used up you could simply recharge. The 15gb seems to have lasted less than a day, with 15 minutes of radio and a few emails. Now when we go to recharge, the offers are so poor, it would be a waste of time, for example 1gb for 14 days for €10. Given how little access the 15gb gave, what would be the point of 1gb. There were higher gb offers available but at hugely higher monthly prices.

What a shower! So we go back to the 3 chip which at times is as slow as old time dial up. What I don't understand is why the end of roaming charges hasn't resulted in simplification so that you could buy data in one's own country, use it abroad and result in competition giving similar (cheap) packages wherever you are.
I asked if the data sim from Portugal would work in Spain and was told no. Data only ones do not only phone and data !

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Jul 5, 2013
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Well not sure about strangling, but I have a Three 4G Sim and a 4G Mifi but I have never been able to get 4G when roaming abroad. I can see that there are plenty of 4G signals to choose from, but when I choose one it won't connect and just reverts to the 3G version. When in the UK I get 4G without any problems. That seems to me to be a form of strangling by Three.

We are just off on a European trip so I will see if it is still the same.
 
Oct 30, 2010
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As someone else said, it sounds like a large update was downloaded to gobble up your data.
On iPad go into 'Settings', scroll down to 'iTunes & App Store' and on the RHS turn off 'Automatic Downloads'. There are separate settings for Music, Apps, Books, and Updates. Turn them all off. You will still get notifications of outstanding updates but you can download them when convenient.

On the question of speeds with a 3 sim card. If you are using a Mi-Fi go into settings and try changing the default network. I have often found that 3 will connect to a slower network, Free network (not free to use) seems to be a favourite but changing to a different one often gives a big boost in speed.

Richard.
 
Oct 30, 2010
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Well not sure about strangling, but I have a Three 4G Sim and a 4G Mifi but I have never been able to get 4G when roaming abroad. I can see that there are plenty of 4G signals to choose from, but when I choose one it won't connect and just reverts to the 3G version. When in the UK I get 4G without any problems. That seems to me to be a form of strangling by Three.

We are just off on a European trip so I will see if it is still the same.
We had exactly the same with 3 network, never yet connected to 4G in France.
Vodafone connects every time.

Richard.

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OP
Ingwe
Feb 22, 2016
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Thanks for all your posts. Have had very slow internet today. The 3 chip receives a very weak signal here in Burgundy.
Checked settings in iTunes etc and automatic updates had been turned off. So that is not the reason the data was gobbled.
 
Dec 16, 2017
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Don't forget that the network mode can be changed on most phones. For example on (a Samsung Edge 7) go to Settings / Connections /Mobile Networks / Network Mode. Here you can choose 2g, 3g, 3g/2g auto connect 4g 3g 2g auto connect. Maybe worth a quick check if you're "stuck" on 3g to see if something has changed the settings?
 
Jul 29, 2013
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If you go to settings and then carrier and stop auto you can choose the carrier you want.(y)

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D

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If you go to settings and then carrier and stop auto you can choose the carrier you want.(y)

In theory yes but if you're roaming and you choose a carrier that your service provider doesn't have an arrangement with then you won't be able to connect. If you can connect you may also be liable for roaming charges and won't be warned.
 
Apr 27, 2008
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I also used to be with 3 and never got 4g except in the UK. Since changing to Vodaphone I have got 4g quite often in France and Spain. Currently in Southern Spain and have 4g though very much in the sticks.
 

Rollin

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To add to what @NickNic said, my Vodafone SIM worked great in Spain and Portugal - almost always connecting to 4G even when out in the Styx, and download speeds were really fast, up to 5 Mb/sec in a good signal area. I'm sure this is because Vodafone are big in Spain and Portugal and you're not treated as a 'roamer' when connecting to their EU networks.

Vodafone is not well established in France though (if at all?) and while I could often connect to 4G (usually via Orange), the connection was noticably worse.

I plan to get a second SIM that I can use when out of a "Vodafone country", however Orange and T-mobile, which are big in France and Germany respectively, merged in the UK to form EE. I don't know if EE will have that 'first class' connection to Orange and T-mobile networks now it's a separate company in the UK.

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OP
Ingwe
Feb 22, 2016
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Be interesting to see what happens Rollin. Please post when possible.
 
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