AT&T iPad in Europe

Discussion in 'iPad' started by IJ Reilly, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #1
    We are considering a trip to Croatia and Italy next spring. I would like to bring along my 3rd generation AT&T iPad. I have never activated a data plan for it. What I already know is:

    • I will not have 4G LTE service in Europe with my U.S. iPad. I can live with that.
    • I can activate a roming data plan with AT&T, but it is quite expensive ($30.00 a month for only 120MB).
    • I can buy a SIM in Europe (or by mail from here, apparently) but this only works on an "unlocked" iPad.

    What I don't know:

    • Whether my iPad is "locked" or "unlocked." Surprisingly, even the companies that sell these SIMs don't explain how you know.
    • Purchasing a SIM seems like a game of chance. Different providers, different coverage, different costs, 3G vs. 4G, questions about whether they will even work, etc.
    • I found a couple of sites that sell SIMs online, but they seem kind of sketchy to me since they don't really explain much of what you need to know. Can any of them really be trusted?
    • I've seen recommendations for buying a SIM when you get to Europe. But how would I know where to buy, how much to expect to pay, or even whether it would work if I did buy one?

    I've read many threads on this topic but don't find a clear answers to my questions. FWIW, most nights will be spent onboard a cruise ship, where I don't expect to get cell coverage (and where wifi access is not provided). So the data plan would be mainly for use in the ports of call. Thanks!
     
  2. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #2
    Can't help you on picking European SIM, but I can tell you that all iPads sold in US is unlocked -- they aren't phones, so they were never locked in the first place.
     
  3. wrkactjob macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #3
    I don't think there's such a thing as a Euro SIM that will cover all of Europe's ever growing countries. So it may be a case of buying more than one for each country you visit.

    O2 though is very Euro friendly.

    Post an appropriate question here

    community.o2.co.uk

    Ebay is a good source of sim cards for you to buy in advance.

    Post questions on tripadvisor for the relevant countries you are visiting, chances are someone has been down the road before you.
     
  4. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #4
    That's useful information, thanks.

    I'd need a SIM for just two countries. According to AT&T, the networks available in the countries are:

    CROATIA: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900; UMTS 2100
    ITALY: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800; UMTS 2100

    I have seen some discussion about this on tripadvisor, but some important detail is always left out. A lot of discussion I found in on the UK boards, so that information doesn't help much.
     
  5. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #6
    This is one of the sites that I investigated, but again the details are sparse. For one, it says that:

    Broken English aside, I know that my iPad is a 4G device, so the lack of specificity is troubling. Another thing: they make AT&T look like a bargain. For the same 120 MB that will cost $30.00 from AT&T, they charge about $100.00.

    Incidentally, according to roamline, Croatia is not in Europe. I imagine the Croatians would be surprised to hear that. So use that 120MB of bandwidth in Croatia and you'd be nicked for about $165.00!
     
  6. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #7
    4G devices are backward compatible with 3G, so yes, your iPad is "3G enabled."

    If you want to get more specific, go to: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

    And read the info in "Wireless and Cellular."
     
  7. poloponies macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #8
    Cruise ship wireless and cellular rates are extortionate, so you're correct in having no expectations there. As far as buying a SIM for your iPad, Italy should be no problem, but Croatia could be problematic (not speaking from direct experience but the more "Western" the country the more plentiful the competition and the more widespread the store locations). Vodaphone and 3 are big players in Italy and you're likely to find pay-as-you-go SIMs pretty easily. You're also probably more likely to find free WiFi in Croatia.

    And McDonald's is generally a pretty safe bet for free WiFi (and clean toilets) - again, more likely for Italy than Croatia.
     
  8. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    I've cruised several times so I know the deal with onboard internet. It's through the nose unless you've been a regular cruiser with that company. This particular ship doesn't seem to supply wifi at any price so whatever connection I want for email, etc. will be cellular, and probably only in port. Fortunately this ship will be in port nearly every day, all day. Croatia I am told is going quite European these days, especially in the coastal areas. I understand they gave up the stone axes entirely a few years ago.

    Sadly (I suppose) it appears the only adventure-free method of obtaining roaming data in these two places is through AT&T. I would not want to leave home without a solution I knew worked, and the very last thing I want to be doing in Venice or Dubrovnik is shopping for SIM cards!

    ----------

    Yes, thanks I thought that was almost certainly the case. My concern more than anything else is with the companies that want to supply you with SIM cards not providing this basic information. They don't make it particularly easy or clear.
     
  9. Archer1440 macrumors 6502

    Archer1440

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    CRO and ITA are not a problem for 3G, I have used my iPad 1 and 3 extensively in both- throughout ITA and in Rovinj, Zagreb and Porec CRO. Both with ATT int'l roaming packages (ITA) and local VIP-NET SIM cards (CRO). Note that Pula (a popular port of call) only had Edge.

    I also used an iPhone 3G in Plitvice a few years ago on an ATT roaming package, but with very spotty service.

    What you need to be careful of when you buy a data-SIM is that it is tablet enabled. A SIM sold for a phone data package will NOT work.
     
  10. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #11
    This argues for buying the AT&T package before leaving home, does it not?
     
  11. Archer1440 macrumors 6502

    Archer1440

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    Well, I got a bit burned on this during the London Games when I sent a friend to buy me a SIM. Used AT&T roaming, 300 MB at a time. Spent well over $500.00 on data alone for the month I was there, thankfully reimbursed. No open WiFi was allowed in competition venues.
     
  12. charles4515 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #14
    If you are on a cruise which is going to have multiple ports and countries your best bet in the ports is WiFi hot spots not data SIM cards.
     
  13. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #15
    I've seen this site and can't make any sense out of it.

    That's a lot of data. For $60.00 you get 300MB. I think that should be enough to check email and do some light surfing for a couple of weeks.

    Sure, if you want to spend your holiday chasing wifi.
     
  14. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Island
    #16
    In Croatia, you can probably just go to a t-mobile store/reseller and get the SIM that you need.

    In Italy, I think 3 (tre.it) will be the most convenient.

    I haven't used either one, I went to Croatia and Italy this past summer and chose to be disconnected when I was outside of my hotel's wifi range.

    Croatia (and its women) are gorgeous. I plan on going to Zagreb sometime within the next year.

    edit: fixed 3 URL
     
  15. aka777 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    #17
    They obviously haven't seen snokie an all of the fist pumping 3rd generation Sicilian Italians in America. /sarcasm

    I found that the rest of Italy is completely different to what we consider Italian here. Almost like comparing a corrupt and sketchy Alabamian to someone from Boston, who is cultured and well educated.

    ----------

    Prepaid is huge in Europe and the rest of the world really, where people don't like to be ripped off. You will not have nay problem finding a Sim anywhere really.
     
  16. KrisEagling macrumors member

    KrisEagling

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    Try a company called MaxRoam. I am cabin crew and take my UK 3G iPad with me on occasions and this is the best, most cost effective solution I've found.
    You purchase a sim and you can top it up online when needed. It uses locak carriers depending where you are so no horrendous data charges :)
     
  17. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    This setup is a little easier to figure out than roamline, but their charges still look to be higher than AT&T. I'm surprised (shocked, really) that AT&T's pricing has't been beat.

    http://www.maxroam.com/Info/Custom/MoreInfo2.aspx?cur=USD

    200MB for $71.69 (I presume this includes the SIM).

    Oh, and no coverage in Croatia!

    ----------

    So I have heard (about the scenery, not the women!).

    This approach has three problems that I can see: (1) You are shopping for SIMs instead of seeing the sights; (2) the SIM you buy in Italy may not work in Croatia, and visa-versa; and (3) the cost is a total unknown. This assumes that everything works.
     
  18. Archer1440, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

    Archer1440 macrumors 6502

    Archer1440

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    I was the venue announcer for a sport and was pulling athlete bios and results system information for 8 hours a day while also dealing with issues back at work.

    You should see my phone bill for July/August.

    I normally get by just fine traveling on the 300mb plan, when trips don't exceed 10 days and I don't need maps too much. The upside of the new Apple maps is the vector-based map uses a fraction of what the Google tiles did.

    I hope you enjoy CRO. It's a lot like the Italian Adriatic coast in terms of cuisine and scenery, but at about half the price (probably because they haven't adopted the Euro). Try to visit Plitvice National Park if you get a chance.
     
  19. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #21
    If you're working over there it's a whole different deal. It's a holiday for us, but we still need to keep up with email as much as possible. (In consulting you can't afford to let opportunities pass you by just because you're out of the country!)

    The cruise we're considering starts in Venice and calls at Split, Korcula and Dubrovnik in Croatia, then Sicily, Sorrento, Rome. These small-ship cruises are really expensive but I guess you have to expect the tariffs if you want to see some of the places where the big ships can't go.

    Yes, the new Maps app seems way more efficient than the old one. I'd expect it to be more useful on a limited data budget. Incidentally after being advised several times to not worry about cellular access and rely on Wi-Fi, I downloaded the Wi-Fi Finder app and searched these areas. Assuming it's reasonably accurate, I find only one hotspot in Split, and none in either Korcula or Dubrovnik. Italy is probably a different story.
     
  20. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Island
    #22
    When I was traveling this past summer, I just googled store locations before I left, and it took up less than 10 minutes of my time every time I went somewhere new (except when I was in Italy, Croatia, and Czech Republic), and picked up a SIM card. But I see you're taking a cruise, I can see that'll use up a bit more of your free time than you'd like.

    The italian SIM card will work in Croatia - but you'll have to pay additional for the international usage. The Italian SIM card would cost about 20 euros (for 2GB I believe), and the Croatian SIM card will cost 75 HRK per GB (about 10 euros).
     
  21. charles4515 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #23
    Of course there are more WiFi hot spots in Croatia than whatever WiFi finder app you used found!

    However when I suggested WiFi hot spots I thought you were going on a usual mainstream type Mediterranean cruise where the ports visited are usually in more countries than two. With your itinerary dividing the ports between two countries getting sims makes sense. I believe you said the ship does not have WiFi. That is unusual. Which cruise line and ship are you considering?
     
  22. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #24
    Only a few cruise lines do these coastal tours. The one we are looking at is called Voyages to Antiquity. They have only one ship. Having used the WiFi on the larger cruise ships, not having it onboard is not much of a loss. It's expensive and pretty much useless, as a rule.
     

Share This Page