I’ve mentioned before on how I think Swedes are some of the most clever and diligent people around. They’ve come up with yet another reason for me to think this. Introducing Comviq Surf (site in Swedish).
What’s Comviq Surf you ask? It’s wireless internet surfing via a USB surf stick (thumb drive-sized modem). For the start-up cost of 299SEK ($40 U.S. at today’s rate), you get both the surf stick and the SIM card for the surf stick and the account itself. Once you’ve placed the card in the stick, you simply plug the surf stick into the computer and follow the software installation instructions that should automatically pop up. Internet surfing is not, unfortunately, unlimited of course (this may be a bit of an Achilles heal, in my opinion). The prices offered are:
1 day – 29SEK (appr $4) for up to 0.5GB
1 week – 89SEK (appr $11) for up to 1GB
1 month – 249SEK (appr $32) for up to 5GB
Coverage offered for most of Sweden is up to 10Mb. Things are well covered from the most southern tip of the country on northward as far as Sundsvall where things start to thin out a bit and the focus is more on the northeast coasts where habitation is, of course, more dense. For anyone considering giving Sweden a visit — and you definitely should. It’s a beautiful country — the major cities (Stockholm, Gothenburg) are very well covered, not to mention quite beautiful.
You can refill your Comviq Surf account when the time comes, via a cash card or internet banking through banks here in Sweden. (I’m starting to get the feeling they’re not focusing on tourists using their service so much at the moment. But for someone like myself who has more than few work related visitors come to town, this is an option I’m quite interested in.)
As expected in anything but a perfect world, I do have an issue with Comviq Surf.
Say what you want, but while the prices are pretty good for the length of time offered, they’re not much for the amount of bandwidth use offered. The company doesn’t seem to be taking into consideration that business travelers tend to use apps like Skype to keep in contact with family and friends via its free video conferencing, as well as for business purposes. These prices won’t be very attractive to them.
It will be interesting to see how much business they can attract with the current plans. They’re better than nothing, but the main cities of Sweden are so saturated with other wireless options that I’m pretty sure they’re going to have re-tweek things. For example I know in Stockholm if I need a quick wireless connection I can simply head to McDonald’s. They offer wireless internet with more competitive pricing options like unlimited surfing for the day, week, month, and food and beverages (and the coffee in the McDonalds in Sweden is delicious!). McDonald’s is just one of a growing number of options for wireless internet service to choose from.
If a more refined version of such a service like this had been offered in New York when my family and I recently visited, my wife and most likely would have used it instead of hunting down a Starbucks or Barnes & Noble when we needed (although that was a great way to kill time and play tourist! 🙂 , or seeing which of my parents’ neighbors were generous enough to lend us a little time on their wireless router. I think it’s a very cool and innovative service with a lots of potential, and its success will be determined by the best pricing scheme offered. It’s pretty exciting. The Swedes are excellent at this kind of thing, and most folks in the country tend to benefit in the end. Odds are you’ll be hearing more about this once I get my hands on a surf stick. 😉