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Buying a SIM card in Athens airport

Old Jun 11th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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Buying a SIM card in Athens airport

Is there anywhere is Athens airport where you can buy a SIM card to put in an unlocked phone to use while in Greece? If not, is there a place in Athens?
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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There is Cosmote shop at Athens airport, BUT, it may not help you.
It is located on the departure 1st level secure side of the terminal. Athens airport setup is unusually that first you enter a 1st level secure area where the entry is controlled by security people checking your boarding pass. Between that check point and the 2nd level secure area where you go through the carry-on check are the stores including Cosmote. It looks like you are heading to Crete or Santorini. So before that flight, you can certainly "access" the Cosmote shop. However, the last time I checked, the Cosmote "system" was down for three days and they could not sell or topup SIM cards. If available, the process takes about 20 minutes.

It looks like you travel internationally often. Why not look at T-Mobile U.S.A. Simple Choice plan where you can data roam at no additional cost and make calls at $0.20/min? http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm. Unless you are a data stream junkie or in need for a local number, you no longer have to look for SIM stores or need a passport to register SIMs in countries that don't allow anonymous SIM sales.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 02:48 PM
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Unless something has changed, the name of the store is actually Germanos, and they sell all sorts of electronics including Cosmote products. You will find Germanos stores all over Greece. They have to register and activate your SIM for you. Local stores such as mini-markets do also provide a 'top-off' service. You can add as many minutes as you want using a credit card. Wherever you are, just ask at your hotel wherever you are where to go for this.

Another widely-used SIM brand is Vodafone.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Thanks, I read the link. This is all so confusing. I am not very good with these devices but I am learning. I will check T Mobile but I do love verizon.
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Old Jun 11th, 2014, 11:22 PM
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Brotherleelove is correct, the store name is Germanos. If you buy a SIM there, have the store clerk set up the phone for you, because instructions on the SIM are in Greek. Once your phone is set up it's easy to use, pretty much like you do at home. If you don't have time to get a SIM while at Athens Airport you can buy one just about anywhere, and not just in Germanos shops.

You don't say how you will be using your phone in Greece. Local calls? International calls? Texts? Wifi? Personally when I am travelling I communicate mostly by text msg, and make my calls at wifi hot spots through Skype. There are wifi hot spots just about everywhere in Greece these days. Some hotels charge for access, but many more offer the service for free. Most cafes have wifi for their customers these days: ask if they have wifi, order a cup of coffee, sit down and go on the net.

If you use your US provider when travelling abroad, recommend turning off data roaming so your apps that automatically refresh don't eat up data without you even realising it.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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Speaking of Wifi hot spots, free Wifi is available now at the following Metro stations in Athens :

Syntagma, Panepistimio, Acropolis, Omonia, Piraeus, Neratziotissa and Doukissis Plakentias.
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Old Jun 14th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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I have an iPhone which I use to call my children in US when I am in a wifi hotel. I went to Costco which sells all the cell phone carriers. I would be paying more for T Mobil than Verizon and I love Verizon's dependability. I don't think I want to switch. I just need the phone to call within Greece to confirm a reservation etc. It gives me peace of mind if there were an emergency.
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 02:44 PM
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I just came back from Athens (Jul 2015) and yes, you can buy a sim card at the airport. It is correct, Germanos is in the departure level. But if you show your boarding pass showing that you just arrive in Greece and explain to them what you want, they will let you in.
You can also get a sim card at the post office in the arrivals level, but they are not open longer hours as Germanos. I got a Vodafone sim card for 6 euros: 1 GB for the internet, 200 min in Greece and 160 minutes to the US (they have other plans for other countries).
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Old Aug 10th, 2015, 12:32 PM
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Andreasdr, thanks for posting this very helpful information! I am guessing the 6 euros paid for the sim card only and not the phone/data plan. Can you clarify on this point, specifically, what you paid for the plan?

Many many thanks!!
j
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Old Aug 10th, 2015, 02:52 PM
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I am confused by the cell phones as well. I have a cell phone and was told by Verizon that a law passed in Jan 2015 made it so carriers couldn't block phones or lock them? And I was told my phone would work in Europe (or outside the USA) but if I did roaming it would cost an additional fee for the month (but it was reasonable as I recall), if you didn't sign up for that temporary service you could make a cell phone call but it wouldn't be terribly expensive per call?

However when we traveled to Greece in 2013 we had a different cell phone that we could not unblock here in the states. I think we ended up getting a cell phone for the two weeks we were in Greece from a Verizon store near our hotel which wasn't very expensive as I recall but we had to have our Passports and another ID.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 12:15 AM
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Nanabee, it must have been another provider, because there is no Verizon in Greece. Vodafone and Cosmote are the big providers in Greece, also WIND (which I've never used). Coverage is almost 100% throughout the country, even at sea, as long as you are close enough to an island to pick up a signal. All the Hellenic Seaways high speed ferries are painted lime green with "Cosmote" in large letters across the side. I'm sure some tourists think that's the name of the ferry company. ;-)

Anyone planning to use their US cellphone in Europe should check carefully with their provider what the cost for calls and data will be, and that your phone is indeed unlocked.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 01:58 AM
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To clarify, I plan to remove the sim card from my US Verizon, samsung galaxy 5 and insert a sim card for one of the Greek carriers Heimdall mentioned. I am living in Jordan right now and was able to swap the verizon card out for a sim card for a Jordanian pre-paid plan with no problems. Some older model iphones may be locked but i think all new phones are unlocked. Definitely all Samsung phones are unlocked. I am hoping to get a sense of the price for plans in Greece (and I am specifically interested in buying data) and hoping to confirm that i can get a pre-paid/month-to-month plan. Many thanks!
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 02:14 AM
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If you've already swapped SIMs in your phone you will have no problem in Greece. I can recommend either Cosmote or Vodafone, and their price plans are similar, so it probably wouldn't matter much which you choose. I don't know how much help it will be, but you can check this for Vodafone Greece: http://www.vodafone.gr/portal/client...uest_locale=en

I can't find an English-language Cosmote page, but you can Google their website and try copying and pasting the URL into Google Translate. Same for Vodafone if you come to a page in Greek. Maybe clausar, mariha, or another resident Greek can help you more.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 05:04 AM
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heimdall, yes it was Vodafone! jd28, I have the same Verizon Samsung Galazy 5. I was told by Verizon recently that all the newer phones don't have SIM cards and the new technology Verizon uses precludes the use of a SIM card. If you are able to get one can I would be interested.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 05:08 AM
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We wanted to do that but Verizon said you have to sign up for a plan which was actually pretty reasonable (but make sure it is just for a limited time). We chose not to do that added on plan with them and since Samsung Galaxy 5's are not locked you can use the phone still, but if you want to make a call you have to use roaming which they charge a very limited fee for each call.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 08:21 AM
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Just buy a cheap phone that comes packaged with a Cosmote SIM from the Germanos Store and add the minutes you want. I paid less than €50 for mine.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 08:27 AM
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But he already has a phone that can't be locked, doesn't need a SIM card and he can automatically have it usable overseas by upgrading his plan for possibly cheaper why wouldn't he try that first? Maybe that can't be done, but we have the same phone he does and that was available to us.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for the link, Heimdall! I think I am going to have to trust that I will work out the details on the ground. Nanabee, my galaxy 5 is about a year and a half old and definitely has a sim card. While it is possible to use the internationally enhanced verizon plan for int'l texting and maybe even sparingly for calls, the data is soooo expensive. That is why we are taking the local sim approach. I recently read an article about the move away from sim cards in the industry but don't know if that is happening yet. You should be able to check just by taking the back off your phone to see if you have a sim card. There is usually an adjacent slot where you can add more memory. As far as plans go, I am not sure about the accuracy of this site but am using it as a point of reference: http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Greece. Best wishes to all.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 10:02 AM
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I have no SIM card on my Galaxy 5. You might check with Verizon on costs just to compare if you havent. But sounds like you may already done so. Well best of luck and happy travels.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 11:02 AM
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Nanabee, if the phone doesn't have a sim card slot it can't be used with a European provider. I may be wrong on this, but I thought that Verizon 4G/LTE phones all had sim cards, while the older phones receiving CDMA signals don't. If the phone is CDMA only it won't work in Greece.

The talk about doing away with sim cards is interesting, but probably won't occur any time soon. My understanding is that it will be an imbedded sim or chip that can be programmed for individual providers. Apple has already gone part way toward this with an Apple sim in the latest iPads. As far as I know the only countries where you can use the Apple sim so far are the US and the UK.
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