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European Cell service

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    European Cell service

    Hi all, I've got a question for you Lot of well traveled and worldly folks!
    I'm preparing for a tour through Germany, Austria, and Italy. I've been tasked with making some photography on the way, I think it'd be really cool to be able to post to some social media for the tour while we go. I've got an unlocked iPhone I plan to use. Can anyone recommend where to go to get Prepaid SIM(s) for these places? I've heard there are at least a couple of websites where I might be able to order them ahead of time. Anyone use any of these?
    Thanks everyone!

    #2
    I didn't order ahead of time, but I got an Italian SIM when I got to Italy. I used TIM, and found stores all over. It worked all over Europe, too, as I got a text when I landed in Schipol welcoming me to the Netherlands. I also used an unlocked iPhone. ebay sells SIM cards, but it's confusing to me.
    Here's the reference I used before my trip last year:
    3G data and voice plans for smartphone use in Italy | Donald Strachan

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      #3
      I used TIM in Italy too, replacing my US SIM before I touched down at LHR (just google "buy TIM online"). This was a few years ago but it worked flawlessly. I'm not sure who has the best deals so you might want to look around to see if a German SIM might be better. Unless you're spending significant time in each location I doubt it's worth buying one for each country but ymmv.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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        #4
        One of the cheapest prepaid Sim in Germany is afaik Aldi Talk, but the website doesn't even have an english translation. https://www.alditalk.de/nord/
        This might not be perfect, I leave this here as an idea anyway. Maybe there is a translated website, that I just didn't find.
        It would also depend on where you arrive in Germany, if you are in south of Germany then it would be https://www.alditalk.de/sued/

        This is because the Aldi brothers decided to divide the country between them, so we have an Aldi North (nord) and Aldi South (sued).

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          #5
          I took the easy way out. Arriving in Hamburg airport, i went to the in airport Handy store. They sold me a "Sim Voice" card (but it also has a data plan) which runs on the Eplus network. The seller, who spoke English, put the sim card in my phone, showed me how to find out how much $ left on phone, how to add money etc. I was in love.

          But I can't guarantee you will find, nice, helpful English speaking shop assistant in your arrival airport!
          What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

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            #6
            Originally posted by wolpertinger View Post

            This is because the Aldi brothers decided to divide the country between them, so we have an Aldi North (nord) and Aldi South (sued).
            In the U.S., Aldi North owns Trader Joe's and Aldi South owns Aldi markets.

            Back to the question:

            There is another option.....wifi. Unless you are staying at only 1 star hotels, chances are your hotel will have wifi. You could always wait to upload when you're back at your hotel rather than instantaneously. It would save on the cost of data. Additionally, many cafes and public areas have free wifi access.

            If you do go the sim card route, and buy one before making the trip, make sure you get the right size card. Check to see what size your phone takes.

            And if uploading photos is your main activity over, say, making phone calls, look for the card with the best data plan.

            At what airport do you first arrive? Chances are, if it's one of the big international airports, whoever works in the local "handy" store speaks English. At least enough to get you a sim card and set it up for you. English is the most commonly spoken second language.
            Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

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              #7
              I was sufficiently confused by all the SIM card options (for a trip to France and Spain) that I just called my cell provider and they set me up with a very reasonable plan for a month that provided unlimited calls and a data allowance. I used my phone freely and did not come anywhere near the data limits. Are the SIM cards cheaper?

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                #8
                Originally posted by Orangeboys View Post
                I was sufficiently confused by all the SIM card options (for a trip to France and Spain) that I just called my cell provider and they set me up with a very reasonable plan for a month that provided unlimited calls and a data allowance. I used my phone freely and did not come anywhere near the data limits. Are the SIM cards cheaper?
                Generally yes. The US has quite high cell rates and most US carriers charge a hefty premium for international plans.

                Me? I'd use hotspots in Europe (basically everywhere) to upload pictures. That'll save loads of data costs.
                When in trouble, obfuscate.

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                  #9
                  Since you're planning to travel in three different countries, there are a few options you could consider. For example.....

                  (1.) You can buy a pre-paid SIM at the first country you visit. The costs and especially the amount of data provided with the plan will vary. You can continue to use that SIM in the other countries you visit, however your costs will increase slightly since you will then be "roaming".

                  (2.) You can buy a pre-paid SIM in each country you visit. Keep in mind though that each time you change SIM's, the number will change and also the terms of the plan & costs.

                  (3.) You can buy a SIM from one of the travel phone firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Telestial, Mobal or EuroBuzz (there are others). Many of these use numbers based in the U.K. but will operate with somewhat consistent rates in all the countries you'll be visiting. They typically structure various countries into "zones" and the rates will be the same for all countries in a particular zone. Eastern European countries are generally in a higher "zone". Many of these firms have post-paid billing (usage charged to a credit card), so no need to top-up. One point to mention is that data costs are typically higher with these firms. One advantage is that you can obtain the SIM card and set up the plan before you leave home, so you'll have a working phone as soon as you step off the plane.

                  One other area of concern is which model iPhone you're using? If the phone was originally attached to one of the North American networks and was then unlocked, it may or may not work in Europe. For example, Verizon iPhone 4 models will not work in Europe, since they have only CDMA technology and therefore aren't capable of use on GSM networks.

                  Photos tend to be quite "data intensive" so you might consider just uploading those via Wi-Fi when you have it available. Cellular data speeds will differ in various parts of each country, depending on the cell network infrastructure in each area. Therefore upload speeds may not be consistent in all areas. If you decide that you really need to have cellular data, that will be the highest component of your mobile phone costs.

                  Also have a look at http://www.lodgephoto.com/blog/going...ell-phones/12/
                  Last edited by Duster; 12-23-2014, 01:01 AM.

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                    #10
                    Thanks everyone! This is great! I was privileged to get the opportunity to buy a factory unlocked iPhone 6 plus so I don't think I will have any compatibility issues. And now armed with your suggestions and advice I think I will have a great experience


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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