It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.
So, how does one connect while in Romania?
Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Mobile phones are ubiquitous in Romania. There are four 2G GSM/3G WCDMA networks(Orange, Vodafone, Cosmote and Digi.Mobil). \Orange, Vodafone and Cosmote have full national coverage (98-99% of the population of the country), while Digi.Mobil is expanding quickly.
Fares are average for the European Union (1-20 Eurocent per minute, 4-5 Eurocent/SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available, but is, like in most of the EU, rather expensive. Pre-paid cards can be bought in almost every shop, either rural or urban, but you will get stuck if you try to charge by cr card or online. If you want to buy mobile cr online, you can do it with fonmoney (fonmoney.com), . or ezetop. Just be careful with giving away cr card information to Romanian pages.
Internet access is fast, widely available in urban environments and growing in rural environments. In December 2006 there were about 3.500.000 internet connections, with around 7.000.000-9.000.000 people having internet access as of 2008. Broadband internet is widely available in cities and towns, through cable, DSL and home-grown, grass-roots small or medium size ISPs offering UTP connections. Speeds are mostly like Western Europe or the US, with 1-4 Mbps downstream for non-metropolitan access being the norm – with prices being around 9-25 for 1-4 Mbps, with local access significantly faster (10-50 or even 100 Mbps). The speeds are increasing, home access for 4 Mbps being available at around 10 per month. Internet cafes are available in most towns and cities and villages – but in big cities, their numbers are dropping because of the cheap availability of home access.
In rural areas, public Internet access is currently available in 150 remote villages (in so-called “telecenters”), and it is supposed to increase to at least 500 villages by the end of 2008. In these “telecenters”, access is subsidized by the state, and therefore limited. Computers are usually not available in libraries, or in public places such as train stations. Wireless access is growing, especially in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Bistri?a, Timi?oara and Cluj with Wi-Fi widely available in University areas, airports, public squares, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Payed-for Wi-Fi is also available in many venues. If uncertain, look for squares near the Town Hall, large parks or other important buildings.
Most (if not all) McDonald’s restaurants in Romania have wi-fi access and so do most 3-star (and higher) hotels. Mobile internet is available cheaply by all the mobile phone companies (using Romanian simcards. Combined 3G/GPRS/EDGE access is priced at 40-80 RON per month (10-20 Euro)with a cap of 5-10 GB, whereas simple WAP traffic (without a 3G plan) is priced at 10-20 Eurocents/MB. Cable TV Cable TV is also very widely available, with about 85% of all households being connected. All hotels providing you with a TV set will provide you with cable TV or digital TV.
Other tips on staying connected while in Romania? Please add your comments and tips.