Carrier Back packing in Europe (coming from US), options for data

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by 1rottenapple, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    So any recommendations? AT&T has that option to pay $120 for international data plan with 800 mb of data. If I'm traveling to different countries, is it possible to buy one SIM card for a phone company that will work for Italy? France, Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, and Spain? Or is the AT&T option the best without going to multiple carriers at exact country?
  2. iPhoneAntidote macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    That's the biggest data package AT&T offer, and 800MB is a lot of data, so you could probably go with the lowest package of $30 for 25mb if you just want to use it for looking up directions/checking email etc.

    If you want that amount of data, that's probably the simplest way of doing things. There is no main carrier that can be used across multiple countries in the Europe as the EU has imposed regulations on it.

    Getting a sim card in each country would work, and would most likely end up cheaper as there are some pretty good deals out there, mostly with big carriers like vodafone, but would be far more complex, time consuming and annoying depending on how long you're spending in each country.

    There are a few other options, Vodafone UK offers a pay as you go european travel option, which should cover all the countries you're going to but it's not a ton of data. Vodafone Data Traveller is £2 a day ($3.10) for up to 25MB Data and 45pence a Mb after that.

    The Tep Wireless pocket wifi is pretty cool, definitely worth considering.

    Oh, and make sure you're phone is unlocked, and if you plan to get a sim in an individual country and you have an iPhone 4 or above remember that especially with language barriers the smaller sim's can be difficult to get!

    Hope i've helped. Good luck on your travels!
  3. 1rottenapple thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    So like orange which is in multiple countries... You can't Use that carrier with on multiple countries :-( damn.

    Yeah I guess AT&T option will work.
  4. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I used the 300mb option when I was in Spain last summer with AT&T. Worked pretty flawlessly. But don't underestimate your data usage!!! I made the stupid stupid mistake of upgrading apps while I was on the road and it chewed through data very fast (I had to buy another 125mb data plan).

    Not sure if that plan is still available, but it was nice not having to bother with putting in another sim card or anything.
  5. 1rottenapple thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
  6. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    The "EU" has done no such thing. In fact, their entire ethos is the exact opposite of what you're suggesting - the creation of a single telecoms market.

    There's no legal framework in place for a pan-European mobile network. Operators must secure a license and spectrum in each individual country - there's nothing stopping a single company doing that and offering plans that include multiple countries at no cost (or multiple carriers working together).
  7. Poly macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2013
    100% true
    EU is actually lowering the fees for roaming, be it voice/sms or data, by law! They reduced the cost of 1 MB from 98cent to 48cent as far as i know.
  8. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    The last time I was in London I used one of AT&T's options. True at the time I did it:

    1. In advance I gave the start and stop dates of service...for me it was ten days. I was only charged for the ten days or about a third of the monthly rate.
    2. I was allowed to use the entire monthly allotment of data in my ten days.
  9. wenglish macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2008
    For a backpacking trip in Europe, I would say the AT&T option is a poor choice financially (although come to think of it I'd still say it was a poor choice for just a few days, but that's me).

    While I've traveled many times to just the UK, I have only twice traveled to mainland Europe during such trips (and then it was just to France). A family member has a 6 month visit planned (mostly in the UK, with a couple of weeks bouncing around western Europe). I had previously used Vodafone for the UK + France trip, but I'm looking at options on 3 ( this time around (they seem to have a good rep in the UK and prices seem good).

    However, it's likely with most carriers that once you go to another country you won't have the same convenience of being to top up when needed (even if the carrier also has stores in the other countries you are visiting, you still may not be able to top up in those other countries). If I'm remembering correctly, that was the case for Vodafone, and the stuff I'm reading on 3's website basically says (for PAYG) - make sure you top up before you travel.

    I'll be watching this thread, hopefully you'll post what you decide, and how it worked in real life.


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