Mobile internet broadband in Latvia
When I travel abroad I need to stay connected to the Internet, not just for fun but I have to be connected for my work. Relying only on Wifi is not a solution as I recently discovered the hard way on a trip to France. The Hotel advertised "WiFi internet" but this however, turned out to be a connection limited to only web and mail (all traffic forced through a proxy). I needed VPN to work.
The most convenient and cost effective solution is to purchase a prepaid mobile broadband from a local provider. That way I will have 3G Internet connection during my stay.
To not be forced to buy a USB modem with every prepaid mobile Internet, I purchased a Huawei E585 3G/WiFi pocket router which is not SIM locked (works with any provider). This little thing has a battery that last for a couple of hours and I only need to buy prepaid SIM-cards in the countries I visit.
I went on a trip to Latvia and my choice fell on Okarte Internet via computer. They are covering 92% of Latvia for the moment.
There are two choises – a SIM card bundled with a USB modem for Ls 9 or just the SIM card for Ls 4. It includes one week of surf (up to 50 GB) and can then be refilled. According to Okarte’s website it could be purchased on many sales points, for example Narvesen or Plus Punkt kiosks.
The first store I stopped by could only sell refills. The second store didn’t have the SIM card only so I actually bought the package with a USB modem for Ls 9, figuring Ls 5 was a cheap price for not having to run around more stores. The modem was never used, instead I put the SIM card in my pocket router.
Even though Okarte’s website is in Latvian, Russian and English nothing in the package speaks any English, only Latvian and Russian which is of little help for me.
The major problem I encountered was that there was no technical information in the package, especially regarding APN which is crucial. I looked at my network manager in Ubuntu which actually has preconfigured choises for Okarte and found out that the APN is open.lmt.lv.
With this APN set I could surf away from my resort location in Jurmala enjoying download speed at around 4-7 Mbps and upload 0,45-1 Mbps.