The funnest community in Belgium, that would be an accurate description for the VMNO Mobile Vikings. Since 2008 the project, a remnant from i-City, has been roaming the seas of the Belgian telecom, disrupting the market with free data, and driving down prices. When they launched, you had to get an invite code to join Mobile Vikings, something that didn’t just made it cool, people did the weirdest things to get the code. Their offers evolved and kept the Belgian telecom on their toes. In fact, whenever a marketeer called to asked about what operator I was at, a reply with Mobile Vikings always was replied with ‘oh … , sorry for the disturbance and have a nice day’.
For years I’ve been a happy client, but fed up with the BASE network VikingCo (the mother company) leases, I left for the best network in Belgium, Proximus. With that did come guilt, and I apologised to them, a sentiment that apparently is echoed with a lot of clients that for some reason change networks.
The Proximus Generation Connect web-offer of twenty euro for two gigabyte of data was only five euro more than the offer back then, and the network was vastly superior. But for the past year, the Generation Connect program has been shuttered, and every client has been grandfathered in, but that’s it. With the ever growing demands of data, two gigabytes does just not cut it anymore
So, what where my options? I saw a beacon of increased data limits and an improved network that was Mobile Vikings. So I decided for the sake of a good article and my personal sanity that I would hoist the colours and join this bunch of telecom-misfits once more, and see what has changed since then.
Well, a lot.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm of the Mobile Vikings team or any Viking for that matter. Switching was painless, where once I had to wait days for everything to happen, I just went by their offices, clicked some buttons from my still active account (I still had an expired data sim for my old iPad), and was handed an enveloppe. An hour later my connection dropped, and I was a Viking once more. Easy as pie.
One thing that gave me a bit of hassle was the simple fact that while I had a sim-card, but did not top-up, a step normally done online. Once that happened on a WiFi hotspot, I still had no data. Turns out that sometimes the wrong APN settings are copied to your device, giving you no data access. Once that was fixed, everything fell into place.
It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to mobile data, a fact that has been reflected in my travels as well. That’s why with the Summer Deals, VikingCo offered to double all data limits for roaming packages, something that me and fellow editor Thomas jumped at during our recent trip in London.
How do you keep up to date with your data use? A great mobile app, that also offers a shiny Apple Watch app, does what few telecom apps do. Straight on the homescreen you can see up to date graphs on what you have used, with easy ways of topping up or buying roaming packages. You can see which of your contacts is a Viking as well, so you can send them free text and calls. Of course, great Data insights and Usage is also listed. And of course, a Today widget in notification center.
So, how does the network hold up? There has been massive updates thanks to BASE, improving their 4G coverage in almost every major city, with even more planned upgrades happening. Though it is still a far cry from the full coverage from Proximus, it is a decent network. But once you are in a rural area, speeds slack down to EDGE level, making it impossible to load anything (how did we ever manage!), or even worse, the dreaded No Signal, making train rides generally even more cut of from the outside world.
But Mobile Vikings is still dead set on disrupting the current market, trying new things and not afraid to change their entire business model on that. In fact, with Viking Deals, users can score free Viking Points and special discounts with purchases from Viking Partners such as Uber, Deezer, CoolBlue and Zalando. These Viking Points can be exchanged for top-ups! But the fun does not stop there, plenty of local merchants are scrambling to offer Viking Deals to their customers as well. So buy things, and let them pay your phone bill.
Freshly announced, VikingCo also announced the possibility to pay a slightly higher calling rate, but in turn get an amazing amount of data, with the highest tier of 50 euro get you a whopping 10GB a month!
But the Vikings don’t just party online. For the past few years, the Viking Area at Pukkelpop has been an exclusive chill area with a pool, free beer and a lot of happy vikings chilling. And who can forget the viking helmets seen at all the summer festivals!
It’s obvious to see that Mobile Vikings isn’t just growing and expanding, they keep grinding their axes to prepare for war, to bring the market the best deals out there. Just check out a commercial they aired last year on national TV.
Also, coming weekend of the 25th october they will give every Viking an additional 5GB pack and encourage all Mobile Vikings to open up the hotspot on their phones to anyone in the vicinity. If everybody joins in with #Freesurf, there will be 235,000 additional hotspots of free mobile Internet. Again another creative action to get the message across, and that alone proves that being a Viking is so much more than being a client with a telecom agency.
So, if you like a lot of mobile data, great support and an even cooler community, check out Mobile Vikings. And tell them I sent you.