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SIM for multi-country Europe trip and options for calling home

Old Aug 17, 2023, 8:44 am
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Last edit by: serpens
Here are instructions for what phone settings to use when a travel SIM has been activated. The initial wiki is for an iPhone (in particular, an iPhone SE 2020 with iOS 16.6), but perhaps others will expand the wiki to clarify the steps for other phones or other operating system versions.

* Before arriving in the travel area, turn off roaming on the home SIM (to avoid any roaming charge).
- At Settings > Cellular, under SIMs, choose the home SIM and turn off Data Roaming.
If there is a Network Selection option (which is apparently not available with Consumer Cellular), choose a network on which the phone cannot roam, for example, 313-100.

* After arriving in the travel area, use the following settings.
- At Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data, choose the travel SIM and turn off Allow Cellular Data Switching.
- At Settings > Cellular > Default Voice Line, choose the home SIM.
- At Settings > Cellular, under SIMs, ensure both home and travel are On.
- At Settings > Cellular > [home SIM], ensure Wi-Fi calling is On and Data Roaming is Off.
- At Settings > Cellular > [travel SIM], ensure Data Roaming is On and (optionally) Low Data Mode is On.

Corrections are welcome, as are elaborations of what these settings mean and do.
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SIM for multi-country Europe trip and options for calling home

Old Apr 23, 2019, 3:17 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw
LTE service is generally shown as "4G" on phones in other countries. Carriers in the US show LTE because of our previous history with naming (which AT&T seems to be trying to repeat with the 5GE thing).
Yep. Stupid T-Mobile HSPA+ "4G". Normally the phone chooses which way to display based on the SIM--an American SIM causes it to show LTE but a SIM from elsewhere will show 4G. A lot of Android phones also use the SIM country code to decide whether you can silence the camera sound.

Originally Posted by Knig
Thanks for sharing your experience with 3 in EU. Based on my own experience with EE, I can say it seems to better (even if only marginally) than 3 when roaming outside of UK.

What was really interesting is that my whole trip the phone showed R instead of 4G or LTE, but based on the download speed, it was definitely LTE (30Mbps).
Most Android phones will show both the network type and the R (for roaming); if yours doesn't, it should show in the quick settings panel when you pull it down, but 30Mbps is also a good way to know
Availability of LTE roaming on EE is a very important data point, though--assuming they don't scrap their roaming in the Brexit mess I'm going to start recommending EE over Three for visitors. Thanks!
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Old Apr 23, 2019, 12:01 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by der_saeufer
Yep. Stupid T-Mobile HSPA+ "4G". Normally the phone chooses which way to display based on the SIM--an American SIM causes it to show LTE but a SIM from elsewhere will show 4G. A lot of Android phones also use the SIM country code to decide whether you can silence the camera sound.
I do seem to remember my iPhone showing LTE when roaming in France last year.
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Old Apr 23, 2019, 12:38 pm
  #48  
 
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I always wondered what the little R was for
Now I know ! Thanks
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Old Apr 23, 2019, 4:03 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave
I do seem to remember my iPhone showing LTE when roaming in France last year.
With a US or Canadian SIM, it'll show LTE even if you're in Europe. With a European SIM, it should show 4G. Apple's logic may be more complicated (or may only take effect on restart), but my experience has been that American SIMs show LTE and European SIMs show 4G no matter where you are actually located or where the phone was originally sold.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 4:12 am
  #50  
 
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Update. I got the 12GB Three with calling ability in Europe and UK number
Amazon Amazon

they were $19. They came with instructions. You must request activation at least one day ahead. Then you get an email when its active. Ours took about 18 hours. Sim worked right away in our unlocked iPhones. I got both ATT and Tmobile data in USA. Now on Swisscom in Switzerland. The ability to call has indeed come in handy, I have to say. Lost baggage folks can now call me when they find it. Sigh.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 4:51 am
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis
Update. I got the 12GB Three with calling ability in Europe and UK number https://www.amazon.com/Three-Prepaid...dp/B072ZNGK88/

they were $19. They came with instructions. You must request activation at least one day ahead. Then you get an email when its active. Ours took about 18 hours. Sim worked right away in our unlocked iPhones. I got both ATT and Tmobile data in USA. Now on Swisscom in Switzerland. The ability to call has indeed come in handy, I have to say. Lost baggage folks can now call me when they find it. Sigh.
Terrific! Questions: Did you activate while in USA and get the Tmobile / ATT there? Then, when you arrived in EU, did it automatically work when you turned on your phones?

What IPhones do you have and who is your USA provider?

Many thanks Im traveling in a few weeks and looking for a solution.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 10:13 am
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by 747FC


Terrific! Questions: Did you activate while in USA and get the Tmobile / ATT there? Then, when you arrived in EU, did it automatically work when you turned on your phones?

What IPhones do you have and who is your USA provider?

Many thanks Im traveling in a few weeks and looking for a solution.
Yes I activated in US before leaving and put SIM in and got T-Mobile and ATT in US. I took out sim until landing in Switzerland then put back in. Worked after a few minutes. No changes or anything needed. My son had to restart his phone but otherwise worked fine. We are using on iPhone 5s, 6, and 6s. ATT is our US provider. Our phones are unlocked and Ive used other sims while traveling in the past.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 12:31 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis


Yes I activated in US before leaving and put SIM in and got T-Mobile and ATT in US. I took out sim until landing in Switzerland then put back in. Worked after a few minutes. No changes or anything needed. My son had to restart his phone but otherwise worked fine. We are using on iPhone 5s, 6, and 6s. ATT is our US provider. Our phones are unlocked and I’ve used other sims while traveling in the past.
Thanks for the information.

When you said that it "worked after a few minutes," were you just waiting for a signal, or did you have to do active measures?

Also, are you making/receiving calls and texts in Switzerland? The Amazon link says that calls are only good within the UK.

Last edited by 747FC; Jul 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm Reason: added question
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 1:01 pm
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by 747FC
Thanks for the information.

When you said that it "worked after a few minutes," were you just waiting for a signal, or did you have to do active measures?

Also, are you making/receiving calls and texts in Switzerland? The Amazon link says that calls are only good within the UK.
Yes the wait was just signal wait. No active measures. And yes I am sending and receiving calls and texts in Switzerland. Texts from European SMS and other iMessage/iPhone texts from USA iPhones. I was able to place Switzerland and UK calls with no problem from Switzerland. Have received calls from others with us with the same sim, so UK number.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 6:35 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis


Yes the wait was just signal wait. No active measures. And yes I am sending and receiving calls and texts in Switzerland. Texts from European SMS and other iMessage/iPhone texts from USA iPhones. I was able to place Switzerland and UK calls with no problem from Switzerland. Have received calls from others with us with the same sim, so UK number.
Thank you. I'm planning on purchasing one!
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 7:43 pm
  #56  
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No tethering and won't work in an iPad?
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 8:05 pm
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Originally Posted by wco81
No tethering and won't work in an iPad?
i can try tethering tomorrow. Im mad jetlagging at 3 am here now. Ugh!
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 8:05 pm
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Would any of these be worth it for a 7-day trip between the UK and Ireland (data shared between two people)?

https://www.amazon.com/Hotspot-Tethering-Minutes-Texts-Europe/dp/B07KGHNBN3/ref=sr_1_3?crid=14JY0C4ZN7N0T&keywords=uk+prepaid+sim+card&qid=1562892797&refinements=p_72%3A2491149011&rnid=2491147011&s=wireless&sprefix=UK+Prepaid+s%2Cmobile%2C117&sr=1-3 https://www.amazon.com/Hotspot-Tethering-Minutes-Texts-Europe/dp/B07KGHNBN3/ref=sr_1_3?crid=14JY0C4ZN7N0T&keywords=uk+prepaid+sim+card&qid=1562892797&refinements=p_72%3A2491149011&rnid=2491147011&s=wireless&sprefix=UK+Prepaid+s%2Cmobile%2C117&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.com/UK-Three-Unlimited-Destinations-Including/dp/B07MXMNFKX/ref=sr_1_4?crid=14JY0C4ZN7N0T&keywords=uk+prepaid+sim+card&qid=1562892797&refinements=p_72%3A2491149011&rnid=2491147011&s=wireless&sprefix=UK+Prepaid+s%2Cmobile%2C117&sr=1-4 https://www.amazon.com/UK-Three-Unlimited-Destinations-Including/dp/B07MXMNFKX/ref=sr_1_4?crid=14JY0C4ZN7N0T&keywords=uk+prepaid+sim+card&qid=1562892797&refinements=p_72%3A2491149011&rnid=2491147011&s=wireless&sprefix=UK+Prepaid+s%2Cmobile%2C117&sr=1-4

The product in the first link claims it can be used for tethering. Though apparently I won't make much use of double data because I'm traveling after August.

I'm just wary of using the one used by @stgermaineparis because some of the one-star reviews claimed they messed up by activating it in the US.

Last edited by Nayef; Jul 11, 2019 at 8:19 pm
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 8:30 pm
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by Nayef
Would any of these be worth it for a 7-day trip between the UK and Ireland (data shared between two people)?

https://www.amazon.com/Hotspot-Tethe...e%2C117&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.com/UK-Three-Unli...e%2C117&sr=1-4

The product in the first link claims it can be used for tethering. Though apparently I won't make much use of double data because I'm traveling after August.

I'm just wary of using the one used by @stgermaineparis because some of the one-star reviews claimed they messed up by activating it in the US.
Did you see some of the one-star reviews for the products you linked above? Some real problems noted.
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Old Jul 11, 2019, 8:42 pm
  #60  
 
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Seems like the one being used by @Stgermainparis is the better choice. I hope they're able to use tethering with it because that's what we might need to rely on. I have an unlocked iPhone X with ATT and my girlfriend has an iPhone 8 with Verizon (and no sim-card slot!).
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