Mobile Vikings: We’ve got Internet!

As most of you know, I’m online most of the time one way or another.

Before I left for London, I used to use my laptop or WiFi on my E61. That resulted in me getting my laptop out in Airports, Cafés and nearly any other place. Some would call it an addiction :)

Having left for London more than a year ago, I finally had the possibility of getting more or less unlimited internet on my phone, without having to sell my soul. That was a huge game changer. I could now check my E-mails, track support tickets – do anything really!, anywhere without having to get out my laptop. Great!

Then there were those weeks I had to head back to Belgium for family festivities etc.. I quickly realized that my 3 UK contract gave me way better rates for data in Belgium than my Belgian Proximus Pay&Go card. It wasn’t really cheap, it was just the lesser of two evils.

But now there’s a solution!

Mobile Vikings, a Belgian “next gen” MVNO finally saw what’s missing in Belgium. In the age of Twitter and hyper-connectivity, people want to be connected at all times. Either with their E71, BlackCherry or iPod Touch with phone capabilities. Pushed E-mails, Twitter streams and of course XMPP are just a few of the things people will start to use more. Just look at any other country where there’s contracts for mobile internet that are affordable.

Anyways, I immediately ordered my free SIM and ported my number. The SIM arrived 3 days after having ordered it, in a very nicely designed envelope (kudos to Mobile Vikings for that!). The accompanying letter told me to send a text from my old SIM in order to initiate the number porting process. That took about 2 hours, and I was ready to go! Topped up €15 and got my 1000 texts and 1GB of data. Worked like a charm.

Seeing as I was driving round the country quite a bit the next few days, I decided to put the Network to a test. Unlike the UK, Belgium has a mobile network that’s worth a fuck, so I was pretty optimistic. From experience, I never had any low coverage with Proximus. Never. Always good signal, and 99% even 3G (Three could learn something from them)!

Mobile Vikings use the BASE Network. First disappointment was that BASE has no 3G, but only EDGE. Having done a bit of research, it looks like BASE wants to enable the 3G network in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for that. Having said that, I was quite surprised how fast the EDGE network is. I could play Spotify tracks with only short buffering times (2-3 seconds) without any major issues. That’s really the beauty of Belgium. No one uses the data network, because it’s so damn expensive, hence it’s extremely fast! So I can’t wait until BASE fires up their 3G Network. That should be amazing.

Having spent 5 days with Mobile Vikings, I have to say, the network isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I had issues getting signal in the Cinema (Proximus worked fine), and in some parts of Mol. But for the rest, it’s all good.

The only thing I still don’t get: How is the traffic accounted? On the site it says:

€2,50 per MB consumed,
starting from the first byte of each megabyte started.

That translates for me into: I use 1 byte, I pay 2,50€ for it, and my signal drops then, so I just paid 2,50€ for a byte. Right?! One thing I would urge every operator: charge per byte. Yes, indicate the price per MB, but the charging should occur per byte.

It’s nice to see that a group of people are getting Belgium prepped for the 21st century! So definitely get your Mobile Vikings SIM card today and join us! Just head over to: mobilevikings.com

PS: It is a great name for a Mobile Network!

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