Data on an iPhone 4s in Europe

Mar 5th, 2013, 05:50 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Data on an iPhone 4s in Europe

Hi all!
So I will be studying abroad in a couple of weeks and will be spending six weeks in London and six weeks in Paris. I have been researching my cell phone options and have quite a few questions. First of all, I have a iPhone 4s from Verizon, which according to Verizon, is unlocked for Europe. I only want to get data (as you can call and text through data and thus kill two birds with one stone), but after taking a look at some of the sim card plans offered by Vodafone/Orange in the UK, I realized this is unavoidable as you have to get text messaging too with the available plans. This is perfectly fine. However, I will be doing side trips and visiting various countries (Germany, Italy, Scotland, Spain, just to name a few...) on the weekends and I'm wondering if there is a sim card that allows you to get data in all of those countries (or in the EU in general).
I am also wondering if it'd be more cost efficient to maybe forgo this sim card idea and pay 25 bucks for each 100 mb of data through Verizon's global service, which isn't a lot, but I will just be using a texting app anyways that doesn't require a lot of data. If this trip was shorter and only a month, I'd definitely take this route as I can use this in any country I go to. But one thing is that I won't be able to save my monthly US bill as I can suspend my phone service in the US while I'm abroad so that it saves money if I use the sim card route.
Sorry if this was long, just trying to present my case haha...let me know what you think
raychelren is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 01:33 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I am not going to recommend a specific plan but tell you that there is essentially no plan that will allow you to text friends at home the way most US students are used to doing at home. "Whassup?" "Chillin'" "Me too" is three messages and before you know it, you have spent $2000. Really.

You are going to have to depend a lot more on email thru wifi than you are used to doing now, and if you have wifi, you and your family and friends can all use S
Skype to do voice.

If you just want to text among friends in your program locally, a cheap local phone and sim card are a good way to go. Once the data starts crossing the Atlantic, it starts costing for real.

Downloading or streaming music and sending pictures to friends or uploading to Facebook will eat up a lot of data quickly. On wifi, it is free. Again, a behavior change is really important.

Can you find out from Verizon how much data you are now using? Multiply that by $25 per 100megs to see what doing what you are used to doing will cost.
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 01:50 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,056
There is no EU wide sim card - but each EU sim card will generally work in each country but it costs more.

Buy one sim card (pay and go) for the UK and one for France and then just be careful in the other countries and try to use WIFI.

You will need a phone for voice calls locally at some stage and then you would be roaming even if ringing the local pizzeria.

In the UK look at tesco mobile for example - its not that expensive
http://bit.ly/WuhYfm
Lawchick is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 06:36 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 30
I just came back from Europe, and I needed a SIM card with data as I was going to use it extensively for Google maps (which I did, haha!) After finding out that there is no EU-wide SIM card as Lawchick says, I bought one pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SIM card from an Orange store in Paris, then another PAYG SIM card from an Orange store in the UK (the companies are separate entities so you have to buy two separate cards).

Here's what I paid:

PARIS
Go to an Orange store (I went to the one at Forum Les Halles) and tell the staff that you specifically want data. They will then sell you a SIM card, then ask you how much credit you want on it. Then they will activate the data function. Bring along your iPhone and passport, and make sure the staff do the set-up for you because it was mind-boggling for me and I was very grateful for the staff's help.

Altogether, I paid about 29 euros for everything. I didn't really use the text function, and used all my credit for data. It lasted me quite a while! If you need to top up, just go to the Orange (France) website and top it up. I didn't need to, but then you're going to be there for quite a while.

UK
The SIM card was free, and I could add any amount of credit I liked in increments of 5 pounds. However, the Orange UK staff said I would need to add at least 10 pounds of credit if I wanted to use data. Same thing - I brought my passport and iPhone, and the staff did everything for me. I could use the 3G on the spot. Adding credit was even easier - just call '453' and you can top up over the phone using your debit or credit card. I spent ten pounds at the shop, then topped up another five pounds a few days later.

Hope this helps!
maccabee is offline  
Mar 6th, 2013, 07:40 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,648
If you don't need your phone to make calls or texts, suggest you shut off data roaming and use it for wifi only. Not only Skype, but FaceTime works well if the person you are calling has a recent version iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can text through iMessage as long as you are at a wifi hot spot.

There has recently been an EU cap on roaming charges, but it doesn't apply for calls to numbers outside the EU.
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