Prepaid wireless internet is quite affordable in Greece with reasonable service allover the country. Here's an impression of the 3G data services from Vodafone and WIND, the two largest mobile networks in Greece.
Network coverage in Greece
It depends where you are in Greece whether Vodafone or WIND provides better coverage. In large cities like Athens there's is less difference in network coverage compared to rural Greece. In case you have the time to decide what prepaid data card to buy, ask local Greeks about their experience on the location you're at most of the time.
|WIND network coverage (Dark Blue = 3G Fast)||Vodafone network coverage (no 3G info available)|
In case you're on the go most of the time, it's a bit of a gamble. There are differences like no service with one network, with full network coverage for the other. In case you want to play on safe, buy both data cards.
The rates are competitive, but there can be offers making the one or the other stand out.
In all Vodafone seemed to have the better 3G coverage in several rural places tested. Do note that when you're in busy places (Museums, Taverna, Hotel) the network speed can be low due to overcrowding of the cellular network service.
4G network services are still in it's infancy and only available at a few locations throughout Greece. Check the website of Vodafone or WIND for the details
Nanosim cards for iPad Mini and iPhone
Not all WIND or Vodafone stores have nanosim cards on stock. Try the shops in Athens for the best chances. A nanosim card can be cut from a normal or micro simcard - given a quality nanosim card cutter is used. The Vodafone simcard in this test was cut from a normal simcard and failed the next day. One of the contacts was bend and failed to connect properly in the iPad Mini. An extra € 5,- was needed to buy a new card and transfer the prepaid WITH balance to the new simcard.
A small but worthwhile investment are simcard adapters. This to test a nano or micro simcard in different mobile cell phone. In case there are problems with either topping up, the phone or the connection, a simcard adapter can help solve the problem. In doubt bring your own simcard cutter as well.
For WIND as well as Vodafone both prepaid simcards worked from start. The APN was shipped to the cell phone, iPad automatically.
For WIND the APN is gint.b-online.gr for Vodafone the APN is internet.vodafone.gr
Phone recharge cards and topping up
Topping up prepaid balance is very easy in Greece. Most cigarette shops have electronic terminals to print out a receipt with a recharge number. The minimum recharge is € 10, which results in a top-up of about € 8, something after VAT / TVA / BTW.
The top-up process can be easy or troublesome. Usually it's by sending a SMS Text message with the key-code to a special number. For an iPad (can't send SMS text messages) you can either try to top-up online (DATA simcard) or call a special number.(VOICE & DATA simcard).
Calling with the iPad is impossible, so in that case you need a cellphone, given it accepts the same size simcard. If not you need a simcard adapter.
NOTE: For Vodafone in 2014 there's a catch while topping up. A promotion is active by default which charges € 5,- extra when topping up with € 10,-. Although you get 200 SMS text messages and 200 airtime minutes for just € 5,- you don't need it when using the internet DATA service. You have to deactivate it BEFORE top-up in the phone menu otherwise you'll be charged € 5,- extra DIRECTLY after top-up.
Balance check and plan activation
Vodafone as well as WIND have an website service to see your balance.You need to register your cellphone number first by SMS text message. For iPad users the mobile cellphone and simcard adapter can come in handy.
For WIND you can activate a 1000 Mb internet data plan Online for € 5,-
ForVodafone you can activate a 500 Mb internet data plan for € 5,- by SMS text message.
All plans tested are valid for 1 month.
Here's more about the prepaid wireless internet services;