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Old 9 Jun 2010
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iPhone as Mobile Broadband connection for laptop on the road - South America

iPhone as Mobile Broadband connection for laptop on the road - South America:

Hello everyone! First post here. Been researching a 4 month trip to Buenos Aries and other places in South America and looking for people who have first hand experience with how reliable the reception of using their iPhone as a phone in South America and building upon that answer -

- the second part of my question is if you have first hand experience using the iPhone or Mobile Broadband equipped (not WiFi) laptop on the road in South America.

It will probably help to know where I'm going and what I hope to do.

I'll be in Buenos Aires for about a month (I know WiFi/Broadband wont be a problem there) BUT then its off to Chile, Peru and Brazil, during which time I plan on camping half of the time and hostels the other for the next 3 months. I'll be bring my own laptop and need to be able to have internet access in those settings for anywhere from 1 to 4 hours a day and expect to be in each location anywhere from 1 to 10 days. Also I would occasionally need to download files as large as 200Mb.

I understand WiFi is faster but considering the camping I will be doing I'm wondering if using a laptop with built in Mobile Broadband or perhaps tethering a iPhone to the laptop will be a realistic/convenient solution to getting internet on the road in these regions.

If not, what other alternatives do you suggest I look into? The more technical or specific info for a solution the better.

Anyway nice to meet everyone and thanks guys!

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Old 9 Jun 2010
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sorry, but I think the roaming fees will be crushing.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Old 10 Jun 2010
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I agree. A standard US bought iPhone would have ridiculous roaming charges but when I research this for other countries I found some people were buying SIM cards that had prepaid data plan with that given countries local number and swapping it out in a unlocked iPhone. Haven't personally tried that though.

The other idea I would want to look into is getting some type of data plan from a local Buenos Aires cell phone company and just use a Mobile Broadband equipped laptop.

I haven't look into the details yet because the first question in my mind is if its all said and done - will reception availability and reliability and download/upload speeds make it even useful while camping in Chile, Peru and Brazil.

Looking for a solution here - if there is one. If not I'll have to change the nature of my trip and keep camping to a bare minimum, stay away from tiny towns and do hostels, etc.
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Old 10 Jun 2010
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I have an Asus EeePC 901 which has a sim slot in the back of it. Running Windows XP it is configured to take any sim card, and in my limited experience has worked perfectly on two different UK bands.

No idea what frequencies there are in South America, or how good the signal coverage is. Many developing countries have skipped a generation and bypassed landline phones to go straight to mobile, since the infrastructure is easier to install.

I'm sure there must be a coverage map provided by the telecoms companies covering the areas you want to visit?

Might be worth you tracking down an EeePC - I bought mine from Ebay for £100. It's a netbook with solid state hard drive, so much more able to cope with the rigours of off roading...
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Old 11 Jun 2010
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Thanks everyone. Looks like I wont know for sure until I go and then adjust accordingly. I expect I will be trying to pick days that I will likely be camping in the boonies for times when I don't absolutely need or expect a internet connect for my laptop.
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Old 12 Jun 2010
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What's the desperate need for internet, so you can continue to work while on the road?
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