I am on a short trip to Tunisia and have found a couple of interesting wireless roaming stories to tell. There are two GSM networks in the country, Tuntel and Tunisiana. Both support GPRS but no EDGE for the moment, at least in Djerba. But it's o.k. to browse the web on my phone and to write some blog entries. EMail works fine as well with Tunisiana. I haven't tried with Tuntel as I can't roam into this network for data. While I am using a prepaid card for my data connectivity which works just fine I was a little bit astonished that my German SIM cards from major global operators are not working as flawlessly as expected:
T-Mobile: I've tested a prepaid Xtra SIM which works fine for voice calls with USSD callback. They seem to have some issues with billing, though. I've called an Italian mobile yesterday for 15 minutes which should have cost at least 20 euros but my prepaid account has not been charged, not even by the morning of the next day. Not that I mind... Voice quality was excellent, so no cheap lines to Europe. There's no GPRS service for this SIM card though, so no MMS service in Tunisia for T-Mobile Germany prepaid customers. Very strange as Tunisia is a very popular tourist destination.
Vodafone: I've also got a Vodafone postpaid contract and voice calls work just fine with that SIM. No USSD callback necessary. To my big surprise I get no GPRS service from any network. Hello!?
Simply: And finally, I have a prepaid SIM from an MVNO which uses the T-Mobile network in Germany. Strangely enough no USSD callback is necessary and I get GPRS service. What's going on T-Mobile, I get better service with a no frills postpaid SIM card than with your own high priced prepaid offer!?
Summary: While voice calls worked just fine with all SIM cards I've tested, there were some nasty surprises with GPRS. But then, I've found a combination that works for me.