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European Tour - Best Phone Service Recommended?


Deval
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So my wife and I are planning a guide tour of Europe, starting in London, going to Paris, Brussels, Venice, Rome, etc. and of course I want to stay connected.

 

What would be the best service option for unlocked phones? What carrier would work the best?

 

Thoughts?

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So my wife and I are planning a guide tour of Europe, starting in London, going to Paris, Brussels, Venice, Rome, etc. and of course I want to stay connected.

 

What would be the best service option for unlocked phones? What carrier would work the best?

 

Thoughts?

EE is my favorite in the UK and Bouygues has always been reliable for me in France. T-Mobile is awesome in Germany and I can't really remember how things are in Italy or Belgium. Additionally, if you happen to be headed to Spain, Vodafone and Movistar are the best - Orange and Yoigo were pretty spotty. Also, if I remember correctly, Swisscom was pretty good in Switzerland. That's about all I remember!
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Since you're going to major cities in Europe, I would figure just go with a most familiar sounding name and reasonably priced prepaid SIM. It's really unlikely that a carrier would ignore reasonable coverage in a major tourist city!

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EE is my favorite in the UK and Bouygues has always been reliable for me in France. T-Mobile is awesome in Germany and I can't really remember how things are in Italy or Belgium. Additionally, if you happen to be headed to Spain, Vodafone and Movistar are the best - Orange and Yoigo were pretty spotty. Also, if I remember correctly, Swisscom was pretty good in Switzerland. That's about all I remember!

 

Alright thanks, was trying to avoid switching SIMs since I'll be on a guide tour so I doubt there will be time to switch networks. 

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Since you're going to major cities in Europe, I would figure just go with a most familiar sounding name and reasonably priced prepaid SIM. It's really unlikely that a carrier would ignore reasonable coverage in a major tourist city!

 

Yep, was looking at Vodafone as the most "universal" one, unless there is one that is better.

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Yep, was looking at Vodafone as the most "universal" one, unless there is one that is better.

Yea Vodafone is pretty usable and present in most countries...do you have a full list of countries/cities you will be visiting because I'll be able to help a lot more with that info

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Yea Vodafone is pretty usable and present in most countries...do you have a full list of countries/cities you will be visiting because I'll be able to help a lot more with that info

 

London, Paris, Brussels, South Germany, Rome, Geneva

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EE more or less kills it in Britain if I recall correctly. Movistar wins in Spain (though Telefonica kinda sucks at some of their other markets like Mexico). 

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TIM and Vodafone (both LTE) are the major carriers in Italy, and both have shops at the Termini train station in Rome. We bought a prepaid data SIM at Vodaphone and put it into a MiFi device so both of us could use the data on our phones. It worked within an hour after leaving the shop. Signal and speed is good and fast in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and on the high speed trains/highways in between. It didn't work in Nice, France.

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London, Paris, Brussels, South Germany, Rome, Geneva

Vodafone will work in most places you go (UK, France, Germany, Italy). They do everything kind of mediocre but they are the best choice if you don't want to be switching your SIM every few days. Use Swisscom in Switzerland for best coverage and I'm sure someone else can chime in as to what the best choice is for Belgium.

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What will you be using your service for? Both Sprint and T-Mobile have pretty reasonable overseas plans and so does Google Fi. If you're going to be using data heavily, you will be better served by local SIMs.

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London, Paris, Brussels, South Germany, Rome, Geneva

 

When you get to Bavaria -- southern Germany -- you may not know the language.  But, at least, you should make an effort to speak in the local vernacular, such as, "Guten tag, my family and I are looking for sex."

 

 

AJ

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Depending on how you want to do it and if you are ok with either slow or expensive data,

1- tmobile usa sim plus roaming. the upside is its cheap and easy, the downside is 2g speeds unless you buy their higher speed packs which usually means 3g speeds for about $10 per 100mb.

2- EE \ Vodaphone sim in the first country you get to. I lived in europe for 30 years and travelled a fair amount including using cell phones. I used orange and vodafone. I hate vodafones lack of ethics but their service is reasonable. roaming outside your own country in europe used to be insane price wise and often restricted on pay as you go plans. So the best bet used to be a different sim every time you stepped off a plane \ train. In bigger cities you can usually grab one from a stall in the train station \ airport. Takign that sim into a different country, even if that carrier has a network with the same name there can be troublesome and if nothing else more expensive than just picking up another sim. Doesnt sprint have a roaming plan like tmos? most hotels have decent wifi as well so you can save any heavy lifting for that?

 

edit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_roaming_regulations

according to this, depending on the date you go, you might just get away with one sim as they are changing it so that you can use your home data allowance in any country. 

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Thank you for the suggestions! 

 

I did some research and it appears that 3 offers very reasonable service, 12GB of data for £20 which isn't bad at all, and roams in all the countries I'll be visiting with the exception of Germany.

 

As for T-Mobile USA, no point since Sprint offers the exact same plan with the exact same countries supported. 

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Thank you for the suggestions! 

 

I did some research and it appears that 3 offers very reasonable service, 12GB of data for £20 which isn't bad at all, and roams in all the countries I'll be visiting with the exception of Germany.

 

As for T-Mobile USA, no point since Sprint offers the exact same plan with the exact same countries supported. 

 

Why not Google Fi - $10 per gig regardless of which country you are in.

 

I just had a friend do a Euro tour who is a google fi subscriber, loved it - said data connectivity was if he never left the US, regardless of where he was.

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Why not Google Fi - $10 per gig regardless of which country you are in.

 

I just had a friend do a Euro tour who is a google fi subscriber, loved it - said data connectivity was if he never left the US, regardless of where he was.

 

Not worth porting over our numbers just for 2 weeks though. 

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Not worth porting over our numbers just for 2 weeks though. 

 

 

Just curious - why would you port?

 

Just sign up for 1 month, then drop Fi.  Turn on call fwding then just dump the plan/number when you are done.

 

Pop the sim card in, you pop the sim card out, then you shake it all about.

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Why not Google Fi - $10 per gig regardless of which country you are in.

 

I just had a friend do a Euro tour who is a google fi subscriber, loved it - said data connectivity was if he never left the US, regardless of where he was.

is there any benefit to fi over sprint as both plans are limited to 2/3g speeds right? Sorry, just not familiar with sprints plan. The upside is at least we have options these days!

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Just curious - why would you port?

 

Just sign up for 1 month, then drop Fi.  Turn on call fwding then just dump the plan/number when you are done.

 

Pop the sim card in, you pop the sim card out, then you shake it all about.

 

Right now my wife and I are iPhone users, so that takes Fi out of the equation immediately. 

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is there any benefit to fi over sprint as both plans are limited to 2/3g speeds right? Sorry, just not familiar with sprints plan. The upside is at least we have options these days!

 

Not really, Sprint and T-Mobile's plans are pretty much the same if I'm not mistaken.

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is there any benefit to fi over sprint as both plans are limited to 2/3g speeds right? Sorry, just not familiar with sprints plan. The upside is at least we have options these days!

 

Countries are largely the same, but roaming speeds differ as follows:

Fi = 256 kbit

TM = 128 kbit

Sprint = 64 kbit

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Countries are largely the same, but roaming speeds differ as follows:

Fi = 256 kbit

TM = 128 kbit

Sprint = 64 kbit

Great thanks! Fi might work well for me on my next trip. 256kb is a bit more usable. I wonder who they roam on in the UK?

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Generally Fi roams on whoever T-Mobile roams on; I expect it would be EE, which was formed from T-Mobile UK and another carrier.

 

Don't forget Fi data is metered overseas at $10/GB just like domestic data: their 256k roaming is not an unlimited bucket like either Sprint or T-Mobile's 2G roaming plans.

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I picked up a Nexus 6, will just get a 3 SIM when I'm there, since it's really cheap for 12GB of data. That will take care of local calling, and Sprint Global Roaming will work for my phone and my wife's phone.

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