Cell Phones in Europe

Discussion in 'Traveling Members' started by Doe Be Doe, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Doe Be Doe

    Doe Be Doe Viscount

    I'm considering a trip to Europe. Will my iPhone work there or should I plan on renting one. Thanks.
  2. escortrod

    escortrod Viscount

    Even the first generation iPhone was triband, and current generations use LTE amongst other connections, so the device itself will work in Europe. You should contact your carrier to ensure that your plan allows roaming, and to make sure it's not prohibitively expensive. You will also have to ensure that roaming is turned on: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201643
    Despardo likes this.
  3. Doe Be Doe

    Doe Be Doe Viscount

  4. anto

    anto Newbie

    Free wifi is widely available in many cities. Therefore you can use Skype and Whatsapp for international phone calls. As someone said is it often better to buy a SIM card and then the horror of roaming charges can be minimised.
  5. Despardo

    Despardo Count

    It really depends on you phone service provider. For example, Consumer Cellular provides zero international service. I have AT&T. They certainly provide, but they charge up the wazoo. Calls are a fortune and data roaming/usage charges are even worse. The option with AT&T is to purchase an international calling package. They run from $30 to well over $100 for a specified amount of usage--calls and data. Problem is, this is still a rip off. I made maybe 4 short calls and maybe 20 minutes of data usage, and found I had shot through a $60 package plan before the trip was half over. WiFi is generally available, so that solves much of the problem. Turn off data roaming and do all of your Internet use through the hotel WiFi. Try to do most of your communication through email. Yes, for calls, Skype and Whatsapp work well assuming both parties participate in these programs. (Whatsapp while convenient has become privacy invasive, but it is very popular in Europe.)
  6. I'd recommend calling your provider and asking for an international data package to be added for a month if you are going there for vacation. As others said you pay an absurd amount of money on data roaming otherwise. AT&T as a passport plan for $60 that includes 30 MB of data and unlimited texts and a discount on voice calls. They have a couple other plans on passport but that one works great for me. The main reason I want the cellular data is in when I am in a new place I like to use my phones navigation system to get me around the city. I'd turn off data roaming when not needing it to make sure it isn't burning data on background apps. I try to use wifi whenever possible overseas and if you are texting with other iPhone users and use Imessaging it will work fine on wifi without using the cellular data. Make sure you don't send videos to facebook or in a text until you are connected to wifi because that really burns through your data allowance.

    If you have to make a phone call it could be cheaper to use your iPhone than use the hotel land line. When I was in London I found out there was a surcharge at the hotel to call a cell phone and it was something like 3 pounds a minute.
  7. JayJonathan

    JayJonathan Master

    I always buy a local SIM card. For 20-30 Euros, you can get unlimited in-country calling, texting, and 1 to 2 GB of data. No roaming plan from home will come close. Just make sure your phone is unlocked. There are stores right in the airports where they will sell you the card and get you set up. They do this all day and so they are very efficient, and normally speak some level of English.
  8. If you put a local sim card in your iPhone doesn't that void the warranty?
  9. honcho

    honcho Count

    I bought my iPhone from apple directly without a sim card, at the Stonestown mall in SF. It had listed sprint as having a kiosk there, but that one had closed up, but another provider, Cricket (which resells ATT) did.

    I can't imagine putting the sim in a phone which didn't have one could have possibly voided a warrantee.

    If you bought your phone from the provider on a service contract, however, that well might.
  10. Zman

    Zman Viscount

    Does anyone ever have the problem of your phone not connecting to the local network. This happened to me in Mexico so I was limited to using the wifi from the hotel.
  11. JayJonathan

    JayJonathan Master

    Not for me. I have an iPhone, so the phone was unlocked by my phone service provider directly with Apple. They know that people do this to use foreign SIM cards. They charged me $50 or so to do it, but it's worth it if you travel enough.
  12. dupontversDC

    dupontversDC Knight

    Verizon now charges $10/day for an international plan that lets you use your data/calling plan as though you were in the US.

    Still more than it should be, but a big improvement, takes the pressure off the data usage when you're out and about.
  13. Thanks, my cell service just got switched to Verizon and that is a lot better deal than AT&T. I was only out of the country for a few days in December and paid $60 for my passport plan with AT&T and burned through the data fast and ended up with an additional $30 overage. $30 sure beats $90, and I didn't even make voice calls with AT&T
    Despardo likes this.
  14. mike carey

    mike carey Peer

    Vodafone in Australia has a similar deal ($5 per day) on some plans (not mine though). It only charges you on days that you actually use your phone (which would clearly be every day if you had data switched on all the time) so it would be worth checking what Verizon's T&Cs are. Unless you are on a very short trip, buying a local sim card will still be cheaper as long as you are visiting only one country. If you are using an EU sim card, roaming charges are capped at 5c per minute, 2c per text and 5c per Mb within the EU until 15 Jun 17, and after that roaming charges will not apply.
    escortrod likes this.
  15. samandtham

    samandtham Master

    I have been with Verizon for the past six years, and I always get my iPhone from them. The phones are always unlocked right off the bat, and the only thing I need to do whenever I'm in Europe is to buy the local SIM and top it up with some money. I have not used their international roaming service though.

    Two years ago I bought my own pocket WIFI device. Unlimited internet for that is pay-as-you-go, at $8/day. I found this to be more than sufficient for both calling the US and my friends there, either through Skype, Facebook's messenger, Viber, or Whatsapp.
    honcho, Zman and escortrod like this.
  16. body2body

    body2body Baron

    I take an old IPhone 4s and buy a sim at the airport when I arrive. On my newer IPhone SE I have AT&T set up an international calling and data plan. They will pro rate the fee for the actual time you are abroad (you just have to be sure to call them to cancel as soon as you return). This way I can communicate with my office and home, and with the local sim I can communicate with my friends overseas ( and the gentlemen I plan on meeting) without causing them to have to call a US number. My last two trips I began using WhatsApp which may obviate the need for a second phone on my next trip.
    escortrod likes this.