Best europe roaming SIM data deal?

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TheLinuxGuy

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Oct 18, 2011
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Hi

I'll be roaming in Sweden, France, Brussels, Greece for a period of 3 weeks and I wanted to ask some recommendations on which data SIM I should get?

I see a few Amazon SIM cards with 40GB of data from o2 UK but I am reading on this forum that data when roaming outside the UK is limited to 3G and that on o2 UK there is a 12gb roaming cap?

What's most important to me:
- 4G / LTE speeds
- a lot of data
- affordable
- ability to roam in France, Sweden, Brussels, Greece

Thanks!
 
Any European sim will roam in any other European country. I think Three or Vodafone have the best deals for short term. And the Three sim can be ordered from Amazon in the U.S.
 
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Based on posts on TripAdvisor and reviews on Amazon:

1. 3 is limited to 3G when outside the UK

2. Vodafone and EE have 4G/LTE data in Europe outside the UK. Both of these have SIM cards that can be purchased on Amazon.

3. TIM has good reviews on TripAdvisor but I haven’t seen (or maybe I just haven’t looked) it on Amazon.
 
Check the support pages for international roaming on the Three website. I think you'll find they show extensive 4G coverage while roaming in Europe. I'm getting 4G here in the U.S. using Three.

The nice thing about using a UK sim is that customer support is in English, if that's your language. And I've found that the price of data on UK plans can't be beat.
 
LinuxGuy, let us know which SIM card you bought and used. Feedback on cell signal would be great.

I'm also going on a trip to Europe but just to Italy and Greece. So far, I've looked at 3, Vodafone, EE and Orange SIM cards on Amazon.

3 - Mixed reviews. Generally says it's only 3G in European countries outside the UK. Some reviewers mention getting 4G/LTE in Athens, Austria, and Sweden, You should search the Q&A/Customer reviews using the countries you listed as keywords.

EE, Vodafone, Orange - state in the product description that connection in Europe outside the UK is 4G/LTE. Reviews confirm this.

-------

UK 3 - 5 Gb, 30 days, $18.45 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753DK9J...olid=25AB5ETHRH4D7&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it)

EE - 6 gb, 90 days, $29.73 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013EBUPD...olid=25AB5ETHRH4D7&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it)

Orange - 3 or 8 Gb, 14 days, $21.90 (https://www.amazon.com/Orange-Holid...=B07NLCL9SP&psc=1&refRID=HCNY9FB5DJQ55JETASHY)
- title and description says you get 8 Gb if you activate before 8/22/19

HOFO should have a forum for international SIM cards (the world is not just the US, Canada and Europe) so people can post their experiences with using different SIM cards for travel worldwide. There are a lot of prepaid SIM cards on eBay, most can be used in just one continent. Some can be used in several continents.
 
I used a Three UK prepaid SIM card in Europe and it works great for me. It has 12GB valid for a month on it and it was only $20 on Amazon. Like the others have been saying, some countries may be limited to 3G but I think it depends on the carrier. In my experience though, the 3G is fast enough for streaming and stuff like that (I get an average of about 8 mbps down).

I’m currently using it to roam in Hungary and I was expecting it to be 3G only, but I’m actually able to use LTE in Telenor HU. Telekom HU was 3G only but still pretty fast and I was not able to use Vodafone’s network at call. I’m traveling to France in less than a week as well so I’ll let you know what the situation is like over there.

Overall I’d say that a Three UK sim is the best option considering it’s price, but if you’re worried about not getting LTE I would look into EE prepaid. They have LTE roaming in most countries. The only thing is that I’m not sure if they have as many roaming countries and it might be a bit more expensive, but it may work better for your needs

Edit: just realized I’m replying to an old post, but hopefully this can help someone else


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I used a Three UK prepaid SIM card in Europe and it works great for me. It has 12GB valid for a month on it and it was only $20 on Amazon. Like the others have been saying, some countries may be limited to 3G but I think it depends on the carrier. In my experience though, the 3G is fast enough for streaming and stuff like that (I get an average of about 8 mbps down).

I’m currently using it to roam in Hungary and I was expecting it to be 3G only, but I’m actually able to use LTE in Telenor HU. Telekom HU was 3G only but still pretty fast and I was not able to use Vodafone’s network at call. I’m traveling to France in less than a week as well so I’ll let you know what the situation is like over there.

Overall I’d say that a Three UK sim is the best option considering it’s price, but if you’re worried about not getting LTE I would look into EE prepaid. They have LTE roaming in most countries. The only thing is that I’m not sure if they have as many roaming countries and it might be a bit more expensive, but it may work better for your needs

Edit: just realized I’m replying to an old post, but hopefully this can help someone else


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Not so old. First post was Jun 21, 2019. Keep your feedback flowing. It’s very useful information. Lots of people search for the same info.

I’m thinking of getting one Orange and one Three UK SIM cards for my August trip so I can compare.
 
Not so old. First post was Jun 21, 2019. Keep your feedback flowing. It’s very useful information. Lots of people search for the same info.

I’m thinking of getting one Orange and one Three UK SIM cards for my August trip so I can compare.

Awesome!

I thought Orange and T-Mobile merged to create EE? Are you still able to get Orange SIMs?


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Awesome!

I thought Orange and T-Mobile merged to create EE? Are you still able to get Orange SIMs?


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See post #5 above. There’s an Amazon Orange link.
 
Orange is a major network in France. That's whose sims are on Amazon.
 
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About to fly to France right now so I’ll let you guys know what the service is like over there. It seems like 3 has added LTE roaming for most of their roaming countries according the coverage maps on their website, which is very good and in my opinion long overdue.

The only issue I’ve had with LTE roaming is it often has become unusable to the point where I can’t even load a webpage. When I force my phone to go back down to 3G it works fine and the speeds are good. Could this be deprioritization since roamers would probably get much less priority compared to the carriers actual subscribers?


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I'm heading for France and Italy in a month and will be waiting to hear how the 3 sim does for LTE. I have two I got in the UK with funds left on them I hope to use.
 
I recently returned from three week a trip to NL, IT, DE, FR, and UK.

I looked at the pre-delivered options before leaving, and the one gotcha with the Orange SIM was that it's only good for two weeks without some sort of refill, and I didn't want to bother with the hassle. Also wanted to avoid the potential compromises/gotchas involved with an MVNO, since that's what I deal with here at home, and life is too short for that while on vacation.

The Three SIM seemed to be the best value, but what turned me off was the potential for 3G-only roaming, and mediocre coverage where I'd be spending the most time, Italy, where TIM and Vodafone do best. Three/Wind have merged, but I don't think their networks are fully integrated yet, and it still lags behind the other two from what my research revealed.

In the end, since I was flying into LHR, I bought a Vodafone UK "Big Value Bundle" 30-day SIM there with 20GB data, unlimited SMS, and 250 min voice for 25 GBP (~$31), with the intention of using chat and VoIP for most communication. Did end up using some voice minutes in IT, which was no problem. Additional bonuses they texted added another 8GB of data, for a total of 28GB. Used roughly half of the total, the bulk of it uploading photos to the cloud. I don't think it's a "tourist" SIM per se, just a regular prepaid option that presents a contrast to what's offered here.

(Tip #1, don't buy from the SIM Local shop, which charges an additional 5 GBP, and will also install it if needed. Get the same SIM for less next door at the WH Smith bookstore. I trust that those here know how to swap a SIM themselves.

Tip #2, the promo texts can be annoying and unsubscribed from, but if turned off, you won't receive the bonus offers for more data or minutes, which need to be replied to)

In every country in which Vodafone operates, service was on their network (NL, IT, DE, UK). In France, it was SFR.

For most of the time, there was 4G roaming, with pretty good to very good speed, especially in Amsterdam.

One so-so spot was where we stayed in Rome, close to Vatican City, where it bounced between VF, 3, and Wind networks. The other, oddly enough, was inside St. Pancras station in London, where the signal was very poor to non-existent, for whatever reason. Some of the places where we stayed had mediocre or very slow landline internet service, so I relied on my phone as a hotspot instead (except in Paris, where is was 140 down/170 up!).

One technical note -- you may have to modify the preset APN settings from the SIM from "wap.vodafone.uk" to "pp.vodafone.uk" to get data and tethering to work, since it's prepaid, but that info is also on their website. Instead of downloading their app that I'd likely use seldom, or never again, I dialed 2345 for a verbal account status of data/min remaining.

Overall, I was pleased and had no complaints. One benefit to using a UK-based carrier is that support will be in English. I had also read that top-offs weren't possible without a UK-based credit card, but one in my party was able to add voice credit with a US credit card.

But, keep in mind, with Brexit looming, the UK options may undergo some changes ahead. The EU roaming law, and the Euro have taken a lot of hassle out of travel there, but sometimes, I guess good things can't last.
 
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(Tip #1, don't buy from the SIM Local shop, which charges an additional 5 GBP, and will also install it if needed. Get the same SIM for less next door at the WH Smith bookstore. I trust that those here know how to swap a SIM themselves. ...

Thank u for your detailed very useful report!

Just to confirm, when u mentioned local shop and the WH Smith bookstore, were u referring to the stores inside the airport terminal?
 
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Thank u for your detailed very useful report!

Just to confirm, when u mentioned local shop and the WH Smith bookstore, were u referring to the stores inside the airport terminal?

Yes, in the arrival hall of Terminal 3, literally next door neighbors.

There are SIM Local and WH Smith shops scattered throughout the airport, as well as vending machines dispensing SIM cards, but I didn't really look at those.

London was mainly an entry/exit city for me, so I didn't have much time there, or enough to seek out other options from the carrier stores or other retailers. But the captive airport options worked out fine.

I had also read that only one of the carriers had undertaken the effort to provide coverage in the Underground (with others planning to follow suit), but I didn't have any issues trying to check nav directions, at least along the Picadilly and Central lines I rode.

In trying to recall the trouble spots, the only one that stood out was the lodging in Rome, and maybe a couple others where it dropped to 3G and data was slow or didn't work, but those were minor. Segments of the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam were spotty, with 2-3 network changes traversing the countryside, but Paris to London was well-covered with 4G (no surprise, given its popularity), as was most of the other areas.
 
Took a look at the 3 Big Value Bundles at Vodafone UK site & they are offering Double-Data til Sept.30th. One requirement that may not be strictly enforced in their “Terms” is that you must be a resident of the UK. Since you were able to purchase your Big Value Bundle, I would assume all they need is a UK address (ie. hotel address)?
 
Took a look at the 3 Big Value Bundles at Vodafone UK site & they are offering Double-Data til Sept.30th. One requirement that may not be strictly enforced in their “Terms” is that you must be a resident of the UK. Since you were able to purchase your Big Value Bundle, I would assume all they need is a UK address (ie. hotel address)?

(Sorry for the delay, I don't frequent this place consistently)

I just bought the SIM at Heathrow airport and popped it in an unlocked iPhone. After some minor configuration (change the APNs to PP.xxxx) it just worked, No registration. No need to download their app unless you want to.

I imagine (but doubt) they could require some proof of residency if one wished to renew the plan beyond 30-days, but I suspect a UK-based payment requirement would take care of that. And even then, as I think I noted before, one in my part was able to add credit with a U.S. credit card.

Also doubt these SIMs/Plans would be sold at places like an airport without some inkling that they might be purchased by non-UK residents.
 
I am on vacation in Spain and prepaid data here is dirt cheap. I bought a Prepaid SIM with 3 GB/month for 5 euros. Bigger options are dirt cheap, I just don’t need more. Excellent coverage everywhere.
 
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