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Old 02-13-2016, 09:33 AM   #41
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Considering the trouble of getting another SIM when you go into the next country, I wonder if one carrier covers more than one country if it would work. For instance, "Orange" covers both Spain and France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...tors_of_Europe
I bought an Orange SIM in Spain and it didn't work when I got to France. It could be I didn't get the right plan (lost in translation, etc.) but just because the carrier works in multiple regions it doesn't necessarily mean your plan will.

Oh, and the folks in France said I had to buy a whole new SIM card even though they were both Orange. It's possible I got had, but I think it cost me 10 extra euros to get a new card so I hope they don't spend it all in one place.
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:55 AM   #42
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This one seems to have better rates if their calculator can be trusted:

https://www.worldsim.com/international-roaming-tariffs

Europe seems mostly 15c/min to make a call but free to receive.

I was initially looking at this for Canada as the last time I was there I couldn't actually buy a local sim (7/11 speakout was sold out). Who runs out of sim cards? Worldsim charges 25c/min to make a call, but that's actually the rate the local one charges too.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:06 AM   #43
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You can get a Moto E Global GSM for $66 on Amazon then buy a chip when you get there for maybe $20 that will have enough data, voice and SMS for a week (if you're not too liberal with data...I think that's about 1GB). Allocate the cost of the phone over a few trips and you're getting pretty cheap...probably way cheaper than US international roaming. And you might want to check your phone's frequencies...you might only get 2G which would be painful looking something up on the web without wifi.
We just keep old iPhones and use those for international trips with local SIM instead of selling/trading in when we upgrade. Verizon has their iPhones unlocked by default. AT&T will unlock for free once you've finished your contract/installment plan.

Starting with the 4s, I believe the iPhone has almost all 3G bands (bar T-Mobile's AWS 1700). With the 5c/5s, supported LTE frequencies are very extensive. The iPhone 6 has practically universal LTE. Unlike other manufacturers who have different models for different regions, Apple has been simplifying their line-up to have fewer SKUs. Of course, iPhones are a lot more expensive than the Moto E. It works for my family since we already have them on hand.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:20 AM   #44
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We just keep old iPhones and use those for international trips with local SIM instead of selling/trading in when we upgrade. Verizon has their iPhones unlocked by default. AT&T will unlock for free once you've finished your contract/installment plan.

Starting with the 4s, I believe the iPhone has almost all 3G bands (bar T-Mobile's AWS 1700). With the 5c/5s, supported LTE frequencies are very extensive. The iPhone 6 has practically universal LTE. Unlike other manufacturers who have different models for different regions, Apple has been simplifying their line-up to have fewer SKUs. Of course, iPhones are a lot more expensive than the Moto E. It works for my family since we already have them on hand.
Using the former iPhone is a perfect move for the iPhone person. Or even buying on older iPhone. A quick check showed 4s and 5s have UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz, with the 900 and 2100 being important to get faster data in Europe.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:29 AM   #45
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We just keep old iPhones and use those for international trips with local SIM instead of selling/trading in when we upgrade.
That's my plan. Now all I have to do is convince myself that spending $500+ on a new iPhone is what I really want to do with that much money.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:09 AM   #46
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That's my plan. Now all I have to do is convince myself that spending $500+ on a new iPhone is what I really want to do with that much money.
Was a bit easier back in the days of 2-year contracts since you were paying the $450 subsidy regardless if you upgrade or not, or get a cheap smartphone instead of iPhone. I used to sell my iPhone which more than recouped the "subsidized" $200 initial outlay. Now, iPhones are just too ubiquitous so resale values have fallen. With carriers decoupling plan and device costs (thank you, T-Mobile), it's also harder for me to justify the $650+ asking price so I'm keeping my iPhones for much longer now.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:28 AM   #47
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I might switch to T-Mobil as our primary phone just for the free international roaming. I'm not sure how well it will work for us because T-Mobil specifically says their included international coverage is only intended for occasional use . . . which isn't our situation. But I might test them on that.

It hasn't been a huge priority because we've found that having constant data and cell coverage while traveling isn't really necessary anymore. We don't even buy SIM cards everywhere we go because we just don't need them with our Android phone.

Google maps has a pretty awesome "offline" feature now which is almost as good as when connected to the interwebs. Same thing with Google translate. Translate actually works faster when not using data. I'm constantly switching to Airplane mode so I can use it offline it's that much better.

And with a Skype account we have phone service anywhere in the world we have wifi. I think we pay something like $50 per year for unlimited calls to the U.S. (from anywhere) and a dedicated U.S. number with voicemail. Local calls and/or international calls are super cheap too. I put $10 credit on my account two years ago and I still have like $8 left.

No messaging with Skype, though, but there are plenty of other apps for that.

Tripadvisor also has a great offline download before you go feature - you can even use the map and GPS to find any hotel or restaurant - no data plan needed - also used the free Vonage app to make phone calls over wifi - kept meaning to get a SIM card when traveling - but didn't want to wait in line.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:16 PM   #48
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Is T mobile the only one that sells SIM card in USA for travel in Europe? I have Verizon as my carrier.


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If your Verizon phone is an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 you can still use a T-mobile SIM for Europe as your phone is unlocked for GSM bands and you can switch SIMs temporarily. You'll just need to sign up for their Simple Choice plan and cancel it upon return.

If it is not an iPhone - you need to find out if it is unlocked and if it supports GSM bands. If it does, you may still be able to use it with a T-mobile SIM.

Not really other options you can buy in the US unless you add on international coverage or just take the $ hit for using overseas.

I don't count those weird SIMs like WorldSIM sold by the Lithuanian or Isle of Mann companies - or wherever they are - too many gotchas/hassles..
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:22 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
Considering the trouble of getting another SIM when you go into the next country, I wonder if one carrier covers more than one country if it would work. For instance, "Orange" covers both Spain and France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...tors_of_Europe
Not usually. Occasionally you can find a plan that will work in more than one country, but usually not. I got a particular Orange SIM plan in France so that it would still work in Holland, but renewing was a hassle - I was sold the wrong renewal at first in one city, and then had to take a print out to a shop in another city to get them to sell me the right thing after they were convinced what I was asking for didn't exist.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:24 PM   #50
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I might switch to T-Mobil as our primary phone just for the free international roaming. I'm not sure how well it will work for us because T-Mobil specifically says their included international coverage is only intended for occasional use . . . which isn't our situation. But I might test them on that.
Occasional use? I have never seen anything stating that it is only for occasional use.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:30 PM   #51
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Anybody use the global sim cards?

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhone...avel-sim-cards

Probably more expensive than a local sim, but you don't have the hassle of having to change for each different country.
I researched these types heavily in 2014 and came to the conclusion that they use numbers from countries that are expensive to call to in Europe, and that you jump through ring-back hoops to make things work, and there are often technical issues. I concluded they weren't worth the hassle and haven't looked back.

We decided to take the other approach that avoids having to change for each different country. (T-Mobile)

Did it with one of the phones for the past two years, now will do with both because I am really done with valuable time lost researching and then hunting up local SIMs.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #52
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Occasional use? I have never seen anything stating that it is only for occasional use.
We'll, "only for occasional use" overstates the restriction. But as with most things in life, unlimited doesn't really mean unlimited.

From T-Mobil's Q&A:

Quote:
If the plan includes unlimited data and text, is there any limit?

As long as the majority of your usage is on T-Mobile’s U.S. network, you will experience unlimited data and text. Service may be terminated for excessive roaming, misuse, or abnormal use.
That's why I went the local SIM Card + Skype dedicated number route instead of signing up with T Mobil. Also, it's cheaper my way, but probably more of a hassle.
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:11 PM   #53
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Smartphone Rental in Europe

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Verizon does have international roaming. Not sure you'd want to pay their expensive roaming charges, though.

I was going to stop the roaming, I'm not sure how it works yet, I need to do more research. But we had guest over from the UK and he told me to buy SIM card. That's why my ears and eyes perk up when I read SIM card.


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Old 02-13-2016, 03:16 PM   #54
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If your Verizon phone is an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 you can still use a T-mobile SIM for Europe as your phone is unlocked and you can switch SIMs temporarily. You'll just need to sign up for their Simple Choice plan and cancel it upon return.

If it is not an iPhone - you need to find out if it is unlocked and if it supports GSM bands. If it does, you may still be able to use it with a T-mobile SIM.

Not really other options you can buy in the US unless you add on international coverage or just take the $ hit for using overseas.

I don't count those weird SIMs like WorldSIM sold by the Lithuanian or Isle of Mann companies - or wherever they are - too many gotchas/hassles..

Thank you, I have an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s. I will look into it.


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Old 02-13-2016, 03:28 PM   #55
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Thank you, I have an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s. I will look into it.


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We have a Verizon iPhone 5 and one year we signed up for the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan which charges monthly (it's not a contract plan), bought the SIM, and swapped the out the SIM, carefully storing the Verizon SIM at home.

We tried to do this just a few days ahead of our trip - enough time to make sure it was all working.

When we got back, we called to stop/cancel the plan. I think we did go a little over a month, but they simply pro-rated the partial month and refunded us the remainder of the month charge.

A local pre-pay SIM will be cheaper if you are visiting just one country, and the time there is limited. Provided you can figure out what to buy and where to buy it! But we liked the no-hassle feature of the T-mobile solution, knowing the phone number before we left the US, and the seamless transfer as we crossed country boundaries.
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:27 AM   #56
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I researched these types heavily in 2014 and came to the conclusion that they use numbers from countries that are expensive to call to in Europe, and that you jump through ring-back hoops to make things work, and there are often technical issues. I concluded they weren't worth the hassle and haven't looked back.
That's good to know. I've just been so annoyed that the MVNOs in Canada are terrible and thought the global sims could solve that and other international travel.

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We decided to take the other approach that avoids having to change for each different country. (T-Mobile)
I think ting also allows global roaming at reasonable rates and I'm looking at google FI too.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:49 PM   #57
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Not sure if this is offtopic for this thread but hoping it might be handy.

For a Mediterranean trip and cruise a couple of years ago, we unlocked our Samsung Galaxy phones and bought a prepaid sim card from Europasim. We think it's a small operation (ie some guy out of his basement?) that is a reseller of Vodafone sim cards. The initial sim card cost 10E which came with 5E of credit. For 3E/day, it gave us 500MB of data, 50 SMS messages, and 50 voice minutes per day. We used it in Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Spain but it's apparently valid in 47 EU countries.

The challenges were:
I forget exactly but it either didn't work tethering to our laptop/tablets or it cost us a few dollars more.
Adding dollars to the sim was a bit of an adventure (but doable) since the recharge website is in Italian.
There's a PIN associated with the sim card so every time you rebooted your phone, you had to remember what the pin was and enter it.
There are some special rules (good and bad) around the usage in Italy and when you cross into or out of Italy.
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:47 PM   #58
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I'm curious to see if Wi-Fi calling, which ATT offers on the iPhone 6 and above, works when I'm in europe.

It works great here in the US. I'm been able to call regular phone numbers when I'm on WiFi and have no ATT cell signal. Hopefully this'll work over there too.
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:54 PM   #59
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I see no reason why it shouldn't work the same over there.

One caveat: some hotels have crappy wifi speeds.
You can check that in advance to some extent at this site:
Hotel WiFi Test: Find Hotels with Fast WiFi
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:55 PM   #60
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I'm curious to see if Wi-Fi calling, which ATT offers on the iPhone 6 and above, works when I'm in europe.
D'oh!

Had the linked page open in another window and my eye wandered over there and I actually read the small print:
Note: At this time, you can only use Wi-Fi Calling to call or text from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Oh well... At least FaceTime Audio will still work.
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