Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

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Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby jemo27 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:49 pm

I am people experience with using a mobile phone while touring in Western Europe, ie. UK, France, Germany etc.

Did you take your mobile from Australia and just buy a SIM card?

Or get a phone over there?

Or did you go without a mobile while touring?


Thanks
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by BNA » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:08 pm

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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby dalai47 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:08 pm

I wasn't touring, but details on SIM cards used may help?

France 2011 - I bought an SFR SIM from a Tabac at CDG Airport 2E on landing. I didn’t have a smart phone, so was using it for SMS’s and calls only and this was sufficient. As I wasn't using it for browsing cannot provide details on their data usage plans… Note they have a strange requirement to provide ID within 15 days of activating the card. Luckily I had a jpg image scan of my passport as a backup and was able to email this.

Italy 2012 - I was mostly spending time in Malta so bought a Vodafone SIM in Malta and used roaming when in Italy. Once again only using the phone for calls and SMS's.

If you are after something for browsing on a smartphone, check the articles on velonomad.com.

I didn't have to pack light as I was basing myself at various locations, so just used a netbook and the free WiFi at my accommodation for emails and skype.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby elantra » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:07 pm

Almost a year ago i arrived at Heathrow. I had a vague idea to purchase a SIMcard when i got there.

They have SIM vending machines there but a pleasant young pommie bloke was standing there handing out O2 brand SIMs - for free.

He installed it into my Samsung. The cost for this was nil.
He then directed me to the newsagent shop and i purchased Ten GPB of credit.
In other words, top up at any such shop in the UK.

All this worked brilliantly until i ran out of credit 2 weeks later in Paris.
I knew that i could top up the credit on internet or by phone BUT you need a UK-registered credit card to do that.
My aussie credit card was not accepted.
So no phone or SMS or internet until i got back to UK 2 days later.

Apart from that hiccup, very happy with the way it worked.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby elStado » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:29 pm

jemo27 wrote:I am people experience with using a mobile phone while touring in Western Europe, ie. UK, France, Germany etc.

Did you take your mobile from Australia and just buy a SIM card?

Or get a phone over there?

Or did you go without a mobile while touring?


Thanks


Took my own phone, disabled the network connection (only turned it on to send a SMS in special occasions, cost me roaming price of $0.50ea), leached the free wifi that is found at almost everywhere (cafes, bars, hotels, campgrounds etc).

There is no Euro-wide mobile phone network. This means that if you have a French branded SIM and you travel 20km across the border to Germany you will be charged at international roaming rates.. your credit will disappear faster than you will believe. You will have to buy a SIM in each country and that is very difficult to do. It's a joke.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby GregLR » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:01 pm

My partner Toni bought local sim cards on arrival (& I went phoneless) when we did cycling tours lasting 6-8 weeks in Italy (2006), France (2007) and Britain (2011); for the British trip we also bought a dongle to get internet access on our netbook computer.

Each time it was a Vodafone sim card (& dongle for the last trip). (Toni was until last year on Vodafone for a long time here, but is now on Telstra because she became sick of the poor network.) Using a local sim card was vastly cheaper than using global roaming. Also, we advised friends & family of the phone number being used while we were overseas. But we were in only one country during each of these trips.

Also, the Vodafone UK card used with Toni's i-phone 3 on the British trip came with 2 hours of free international calls, which was rather useful in calling her daughters back home. Prior to going I'd heard of other UK phone companies offering free international call time - presumably because they figure British locals would largely be calling domestically. We were readily able to top up credit at newsagents & shops during our 8-week stay (3 weeks of which was spent doing 'end to end'), not that we needed to top up that much. It was pretty useful to be able to call ahead at local rates to, for example, arrange B&B accommodation or train bookings.

By the way, friends of ours went to Finland & Norway in late January/February this year (to see the northern lights) and called us using Viber, which apparently is similar to Skype (including low cost) but is not visual.

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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby baghwan » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:43 am

I am in Europe right now using one of the many global roaming sims out there http://www.globalsimcard.co.uk , will be in Europe for 6 months and didn't want to bother with changing sims and numbers all the time, then updating everyone back home.

It also does internet but I never bothered to set it up, cheaper to just use hotels or free hotspots, believe the number you get is based in Isle of Man for some reason.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby scirocco » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:16 pm

http://www.prepaidgsm.net

Rule 1: don't roam on your Australian SIM if you have a smartphone unless you like large bills;
Rule 2: if you can do without data for Google Maps etc. then the global SIMs call rates are not too bad and you have the convenience of one phone number, but data rates are ridiculous;
Rule 3: if you have a smartphone and get annoyed with having to leave data permanently off, then either:

(a) buy a local SIM and get best rates for everything with the inconvenience of different SIMs and phone numbers in different countries, or;
(b) buy an Irish SIM in advance from Vodafone or 3 on Ebay and get data roaming through much of Europe for about 3 euros a day plus moderate call charges, a bit more pricey than a local SIM.

It all comes down to whether your needs are more for calls or data.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby Nate » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:26 pm

Im in Euro now...

www.roamingsim.com.au is what I got.
It appears to be a vodaphone UK SIM - UK calls & data is awesomely cheap
Rest of Euro = roaming & expensive for data (ish)
There's currently a big uproar in euro about the roaming rates & its being changed next year I think, so roaming through the euro will be very cheap.

UK - 300Mb = $10 or something
Euro - 200Mb = $75 + lots of calls & SMS'
They also give you a LOCAL aussie number that diverts to your OS mobile - people in AU call a Local number & reach you whereever for the cost of a local call!!! its free for 1 month & then $8 per month or somethin after.

If you can get a SIM in each country its best for data - but as above, it might be tricky with regs (like in Aus you need identity for purchase etc).
There's WiFi everywhere, so im happy with using a little data roaming & mostly calls/SMS (SMS = 17c to Aus!)
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby elStado » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:49 pm

Nate wrote:There's currently a big uproar in euro about the roaming rates & its being changed next year I think, so roaming through the euro will be very cheap.


About time..
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby scirocco » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:34 pm

The was a rate cap of 40c/MB put on for data on the 1st of July this year. But that's only for roaming from a SIM of one EU country to another. Telstra and Optus may charge you ever so slightly more for using their SIM cards over there. :)
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby Nate » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:19 am

scirocco wrote:The was a rate cap of 40c/MB put on for data on the 1st of July this year. But that's only for roaming from a SIM of one EU country to another. Telstra and Optus may charge you ever so slightly more for using their SIM cards over there. :)


Yep - heard about it after I posted.
The "roaming sim" I have is actually (very much appears) as a Voda SIM from the UK.
But I didnt see any announcements on their website after the EU announcement.

If its western - i'd compare the "roaming" ones to a native UK one from the airport (as above).

Think its expensive?
I'm in Russia... 878kb... $12 gone
Almost hurt as much as Ventoux :(
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby elStado » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:35 pm

Any here used GO-SIM ?? Looking at the reviews it seems like a good bet for phone access while travelling around, including Western Europe et al.

http://www.productreview.com.au/p/go-sim.html

With the GO-SIM International SIM card, you can save up to 90% when calling from overseas in 195 countries with roaming rates starting as low as 15c per minute. That's up to six times more chat than using your usual service while you travel around the world. You also get FREE incoming calls in over 80 countries, and as your global SIM card is a pay as you go, there's no monthly bill and great call rates are guaranteed.

Unlike other alternative suppliers of international SIM cards, with GO-SIM there are no "hidden costs", no daily service fees, no contracts, no monthly or annual service charges. Standard, Micro and Nano SIMs available.


Sounds pretty good.
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Re: Touring Western Europe, mobile phone questions?

Postby Nate » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:44 pm

Back from hols...

Had all sorts of issues in Ukraine & then coming home (UK & then Honkers) with texting & making calls - data was fine.
The RoamingSim seems to be a bit "fiddly" & not 100% bulletproof across everywhere.

My recommendation is to get a RoamingSim (or equiv) as a "backup", and then get a local SIM in each country. I was skipping countries every 2 days or so, so wasnt really worth it for me.
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