Getting connected to the Internet in Poland using 3G cellular mobile internet is relatively easy compared with other countries in Euro zone. Biggest hurdle by far is breaking the language barrier, buying a prepaid PAYG 3G internet simcard. Here’s how.
3G internet in Poland
Poland has several big mobile network operators, all with nation wide coverage. The difference is 3G (fast internet) coverage, price and network stability. The best choice depends on the location in Poland – for now.
The main players in Poland are Plus, T-mobile, Orange and Play.
|T-mobile PAYG prepaid internet in Poland - the BlueConnect internet card
Here’s an impression of T-mobile in Poland – a network formerly known as ERA – a well known mobile network brand in Poland before June 2011.
Buying a 3G internet simcard in Poland
Poland has many virtual network operators using the mobile network of the bigger cellular network operators. Its hard to choose – without prior knowledge on the details of the offerings. Doing homework before going to Poland helps a lot – foremost because there’s little other language to speak in Poland other than Polish.
|GaduAir prepaid 3G internet in Poland - a virtual network operator on the Plus network
A website print-out of the polish prepaid internet offering works wonders – and gets one connected much more quicker than trying to get it doing with hand and footwork. Google Translate is a great tool to translate the offering into English.
At first GaduAir was the virtual operator to choose – however in Legnica at the Teletorium booth in the Auchan supermarket it was sold out. Second choice was T-mobile with a brand new shop in the same supermarket.
T-mobile 3G internet in Poland
Buying a T-mobile BlueConnect prepaid internet simcard was simple – a printout of the offering worked instantly. Most amazing – no need to register any personal details. Won’t be long for sure – European rules will eventually be implemented to eradicate anonymous internet usage.
|T-mobile PAYG prepaid internet package in Poland - The BlueConnect card
It takes a bit to figure out how prepaid internet tariffs work in Poland. At first sight it all looked rather expensive with small bandwidth packages – which will burn quickly at 3G speeds. The details sits in the extra top-up bonus – it gets you extra bandwidth on top of the bandwidth purchased.
The 25 Zlotty (€ 6.05 ) blue connect card recharged with 50 Zlotty will result in 250 Mb (0.03 Zl / 100 Kb) + 2Gb extra bandwidth. That’s a decent amount of bandwidth for just € 18.15.
Other mobile network operators also work with a bonus system. Without the bandwidth bonuses Poland would have rather expensive prepaid internet.
Using T-mobile internet in Poland
The cellular internet connection worked instantly. T-mobile (ERA) APN, Username and password profiles were already there in a Nokia N95 8Gb. Later the Option 3G router was used with external antenna.
At the moment of testing the 3G signal in Legnica was rather instable. Constant switching between 3.5+ and 3G slowing the connection down to nothing.
Forcing the connection to GSM / GPRS / EDGE worked – at least for a stable connection. The option 3G router allows forced GPRS/EDGE connections. For that location it seemed like an incident – a few Km further the 3G signal was good and stable with moderately speedy internet.
Without a bit of experience the above would have been a difficult situation – explain that in Polish at the T-mobile counter.
Prepaid balance and bandwidth can be checked with through iTakTak - BlueConnect website. It uses a mysterious "BOA Kod" to gain access - it's send by SMS upon request. It seems like some sort of pincode to see the website below.
|T-mobile PAYG prepaid internet balance and bandwidth status using the iTakTak website
In rural Poland the connection dropped to GSM / EDGE which is still reasonable for reading e-mail and light internet surfing. Also a great bandwidth saver – since 3G / 3.5G+ will tick away bandwidth very fast.
In some area’s it seemed the T-mobile – former ERA- mobile network was overbooked. In GSM/EDGE mode the connection dropped many times round evening time in several rural area’s. In other it didn’t work at all. In the bigger cities 3G / UMTS / HSDPA is available. Internet speeds were moderately fast – but very much use-able.
Mobile internet in rural Poland
In the country side T-mobile had coverage in most cases – though the signal was weak on the handset. It helps a great deal to have an external antenna or better a GSM/UMTS amplifier. Read about 3G internet signal boosters.
Polish T-mobile network details:
| - APN: erainternet
- UN: erainternet
- PW : left blank
|3G prepaid internet in Poland