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

Old Aug 17, 2023, 8:44 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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 Aug 26, 2019, 8:27 am
  #91  
 
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Yes you do. I have a friend in Austria. When I was there I used the country code to call her.
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Old Aug 26, 2019, 12:32 pm
  #92  
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Thank you
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Old Aug 26, 2019, 2:49 pm
  #93  
 
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Originally Posted by dodo
Thank you
I'd go further and suggest to store all your contact numbers in their full intl format (i.e., +<country code><area code><local number>) regardless of whether they are domestic numbers or not. This will save you some time when you have to call home from abroad.
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Old Sep 3, 2019, 1:25 pm
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by lsquare
Is a Tesco Ireland prepaid simcard worth it? What are the rates? So anyone with an online account can reload their Tesco Ireland card and use it exclusively for roaming? I wonder at what point they'll cut someone off if they were to do that.
I have giffgaff that I've so far only used while visiting the UK. Their website says that they expect you to be a UK resident who sometimes travels to the EU and hints that they will turn off roaming if you primarily use it that way

https://www.giffgaff.com/help/articl...urmobileabroad

I wonder if this is common across carriers. If Tesco Ireland is more generous, I will try to get one of their SIM cards instead.
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Old Sep 4, 2019, 6:19 am
  #95  
 
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Originally Posted by unmesh
I have giffgaff that I've so far only used while visiting the UK. Their website says that they expect you to be a UK resident who sometimes travels to the EU and hints that they will turn off roaming if you primarily use it that way

https://www.giffgaff.com/help/articl...urmobileabroad

I wonder if this is common across carriers. If Tesco Ireland is more generous, I will try to get one of their SIM cards instead.
All carriers reserve the right to do this and are explicitly allowed to do so under the EU's roaming rules. How strictly they enforce it is anyone's question, since I've never seen a carrier who explicitly spells out how much roaming is too much. I've known people who've gotten busted after four months and a day, but I also know people who've lived outside the SIM's home country for over a year without incident.

For visitors it's unlikely to matter much anyway--for normal levels of usage they can't cut you off before you've used it more abroad than at 'home' over a period of at least 4 months, and they're required to warn you 14 days ahead of time before they cut you off or charge for roaming.

Since SIMs are free or cheap, who cares? If you get caught, get a new SIM.
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Old Sep 4, 2019, 1:39 pm
  #96  
 
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Thanks for the insight, der_saeufer.

It is of course more convenient to have data access as soon as the plane lands if one can pull that off
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Old Sep 6, 2019, 8:03 pm
  #97  
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Originally Posted by unmesh
Thanks for the insight, der_saeufer.

It is of course more convenient to have data access as soon as the plane lands if one can pull that off
Yes, I agree. It's pretty important when you go to a new city/country for the first time to have data access the minute I land. Of course if I've been there many times like NYC, then I won't care as much since I know my way around.
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Old Sep 11, 2019, 10:35 am
  #98  
 
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der_saeufer,

One day into my trip to Germany, I get a text message from giffgaff that I have 14 days before roaming charges will kick in.

Fortunately, the trip is shorter than that!
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Old Sep 17, 2019, 4:00 pm
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Just to report the following :
The PrePaid Europe (UK Three) sim Card 12GB Data+3000 Minutes+3000 Texts for 30 Days with Free Roaming worked perfectly for me in Europe during the past three weeks: First I used it to make calls to AF in Rome for a lost piece of luggage, then use it during 13 days on board of a cruise ship where it was used as a hot spot to three devices for Internet access either when in port except for Montenegro ( the sound of the Ping was so pleasant to the ears whilst approaching land ) and finally in Brussels where i used it for data and voice.
Activated in Canada couple of days before leaving and inserted in the iPhone on the flight from CDG to FCO and we were able to use it to contact AF when we realised that a piece of luggage didn't make the trip to FCO to embark on a cruise ship.
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Old Sep 18, 2019, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by dodo
Just to report the following :
The PrePaid Europe (UK Three) sim Card 12GB Data+3000 Minutes+3000 Texts for 30 Days with Free Roaming worked perfectly for me in Europe during the past three weeks: First I used it to make calls to AF in Rome for a lost piece of luggage, then use it during 13 days on board of a cruise ship where it was used as a hot spot to three devices for Internet access either when in port except for Montenegro ( the sound of the Ping was so pleasant to the ears whilst approaching land ) and finally in Brussels where i used it for data and voice.
Activated in Canada couple of days before leaving and inserted in the iPhone on the flight from CDG to FCO and we were able to use it to contact AF when we realised that a piece of luggage didn't make the trip to FCO to embark on a cruise ship.
Sounds like a good way to go. Did you have 3G or LTE when roaming in Europe?
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Old Sep 18, 2019, 10:40 am
  #101  
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Originally Posted by rkb2530
Sounds like a good way to go. Did you have 3G or LTE when roaming in Europe?
LTE except in one port - I can't remember whether it was in Sicily or Naples
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Old Sep 29, 2019, 3:11 pm
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I got the Three UK sim with 12GB of data and the like, and the instructions don't say anything about activating the sim card 24 hours prior to traveling. It just says, "Simply pop your SIM card in and get access."

So should I activate the sim here or just wait until I get to the UK/Ireland?
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Old Sep 29, 2019, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Nayef
I got the Three UK sim with 12GB of data and the like, and the instructions don't say anything about activating the sim card 24 hours prior to traveling. It just says, "Simply pop your SIM card in and get access."

So should I activate the sim here or just wait until I get to the UK/Ireland?
I had several of those this summer and activated 3 days or so before departure. I'm glad I did b/c it took 24 hours to get the email that said the SIMs were activated! You can find my experience detailed upthread. Unless you need ALL the days on the sim for travel, I'd go ahead and activate at least a day ahead. On the other hand, I suppose it is possible that your seller has already done the activation. Not sure how that works.
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Old Oct 1, 2019, 3:52 am
  #104  
 
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Originally Posted by Nayef
So should I activate the sim here or just wait until I get to the UK/Ireland?
I would say that word 'activate' is a bit of a misnomer here. You simply pop the SIM into the phone, and as soon as it registers on its partner network(s), you are good to go. It doesn't matter if you do it before the trip or right after landing, but what I would suggest to do beforehand is to create an account at three.co.uk and make sure you have enough credit to cover whatever add-on package you are going to use.
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Old Oct 1, 2019, 5:39 pm
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by Knig
I would say that word 'activate' is a bit of a misnomer here. You simply pop the SIM into the phone, and as soon as it registers on its partner network(s), you are good to go. It doesn't matter if you do it before the trip or right after landing, but what I would suggest to do beforehand is to create an account at three.co.uk and make sure you have enough credit to cover whatever add-on package you are going to use.
In my case, Three used the term activation. Heres the email I received after following the instructions for online activation that came with the Three UK SIM:

Dear customer,

Your SIM card has been registered for activation.

Personal dataFirst nameABC

SurnameABC

E-Mail addressABC

activation date
activation date05.07.2019

SIM-Code894420011862600ABC

Then I got another email the next day as follows:

Dear

we would like to use this opportunity to once more thank you for your order and thank you for trusting in us.

This email is to confirm that your SIM card is activated.

Your SIM card with the SIM-Code 894420011862AAAAAA has been activated.

Your phone number is: +44736738AAAA
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