Sim card/Amsterdam

Old Apr 28th, 2017, 08:02 PM
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Sim card/Amsterdam

Hi, I am trying to understand the Sim card. I am in the US, will be in Amsterdam to Basel on river cruise, Holland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland. I have an I phone/Apple and service with Verizon. Verizon fees for Europe are pretty expensive. I think I am going with a Sim card....so again can someone explain how I do this? I understand it is a very small chip.....can I get this at Schlipol Airport somewhere? Is there one Sim that works for all 5 countries? I have a sort of bumper protector on my I phone, can I get it off to get the Sim card in the phon?, and I know to keep the one it is replacing. Thanks for any help on this. Sue
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Old Apr 28th, 2017, 09:26 PM
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How long will you be in Amsterdam? Or will you be just changing planes there? I'm not sure which SIM cards you can buy at the airport - probably some. It would be easiest if you could go to a mobile phone store in Amsterdam and have them set up everything you.

I am going to Europe next month and have bought SIM cards there a few times. This trip, I needed a SIM that works in Slovenia, Italy, and France. I could buy one in each country, but that seems like a pain, and none of them seem to have good roaming options to other countries (that may change in the summer when new EU roaming rules go into effect).

I actually bought a Dutch SIM card on eBay ($7 USD - took two weeks to receive it) from the mobile company Vodafone. I've already activated it in the US and managed to top it up with 20 Euro of credit, and when I get to Italy next month, I'll activate a "You" plan that gives me 3GB of data (and a few minutes of calling) for the month. And I won't even be visiting the Netherlands.

Keep in mind that when you replace the SIM card in a phone, you lose the old phone number until you put that old SIM card back in. You'll get a new phone number when you put the new SIM in the phone. If you buy a Dutch SIM card like I did, you'll get a Dutch phone number while the SIM is in place. That means anyone calling it from the US will have to make an international call, and for you to call them is an international call.

But I use Google Hangouts (an app) to make free calls home to the US (even to landlines) from my Android phone. It's free on WiFi but uses mobile data on my phone if I'm not on WiFi. I don't text much, but there are free texting apps, too.

You need a "nano" SIM for your iPhone. That's the smallest size. My Vodafone SIM - like many others these days - was a "3-in-1" which breaks apart into different sizes for different phones. I broke mine into the "micro SIM" size to fit my Android, but I could have broken another piece off to fit into an iPhone.

Look on YouTube to see how to remove a SIM from an iPhone - must be plenty of demos.

Also, do some googling to figure out how to tell your Verizon iPhone to roam on European GSM networks. There may be a few settings to change in the phone.
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Old Apr 28th, 2017, 09:30 PM
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Forgot to add: Vodafone Netherlands has gotten rid of EU roaming charges already, which is why I bought the card from them. I can use the SIM in other countries - no roaming charges. Plus, the Netherlands allows SIM cards to be activated without showing a photo ID to register it in person, as one must do in France and Italy. I was able to activate it in the US.

I think KPN, another Dutch mobile company, has done away with roaming charges, too, so you might get a SIM from them as well.
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Old Apr 28th, 2017, 10:55 PM
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As from June 2017 all of the countries within the EU will no longer have international roaming charges. However all companies will charge a roaming fee as if you are using a different network in the same country.
Switzerland will not be covered by the EU directive.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe...ng_regulations
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-...oaming-tariffs
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 01:06 AM
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Switzerland is included in the NL Vodafone roaming free deal, just as Norway is, as they are EEA members.

If you can get into the city before your cruise a telecom shop will be able to help you, and fit the SIM for you. It is easy enough to do yourself though. There are lots of providers in the Netherlands, but Vodafone offers foreigners the best deal at this time, so make sure to ask for it - they shop can tell you about the different packages available.
Calling the US will still be expensive though!

One thing you have to be sure of is that your phone is unlocked and so able to accept a SIM from another provider.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 11:05 AM
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Hello Andrew,

Could you please provide the web link to where you purchased your Dutch Vodafone SIM card? I am in the US and will need an iPhone SIM for Norway and The Netherlands next month.

Thanks.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 11:54 AM
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Reading, the current eBay listing for the SIM I bought for $4 USD + $3 shipping (took two weeks to arrive) is here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vodafone-YOU...-/282438519767

but these listings expire and items can get re-listed, so anyone searching for the SIM can search eBay for "Vodafone NL SIM." At this moment, another seller is selling the same thing for $5 + $2.50 shipping. Looks like exactly the same SIM.

(The title of the listing is misleading and threw me at first: "No roaming in whole Europe", but what they mean is, you don't have to pay for roaming in Europe. If they fixed that, they'd probably sell a few more SIMs!)

Note that you are not buying directly from Vodafone - they don't mail them out of the Netherlands. These sellers are obtaining them locally and just selling/mailing them. My SIM was sealed in "official" cardboard packaging and had an expiration date (deadline to activate) of 5/2019.

There are other Vodafone SIMs for sale from other European countries where Vodafone subsidiaries operate, but they are not all the same. The UK version may not work exactly the same way. The Netherlands version has no EU (or Switzerland) roaming costs, and you can activate it yourself.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 01:12 PM
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OK, just ordered. Thanks a lot.
Hope the SIM comes with instructions on how to activate it and how to add money to it.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 01:33 PM
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Ah, just saw that the seller has the registration and activation info posted on the product's web page:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vodafone-YOU...s/162086320577
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 01:38 PM
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I got no useful instructions with my SIM (and everything I could read was in Dutch, anyway.) But I have activated it (I believe) and added money to it. Here's how I did it:

I already have an unlocked Android GSM phone I've used before. I put the Vodafone SIM (after breaking it down to microSIM size - your iPhone needs it broken down to nano size) into my phone and turned it on. If your phone is not already using AT&T or T-Mobile, maybe you need to change a setting in the phone so it will roam on GSM networks.

Then I enabled data - this is required for text messaging to work, though I was on WiFi. Be sure to DISABLE data after you've added credit to if not using it in the EU! (Or be on WiFi.) Otherwise, you could burn your credit quickly with expensive roaming data.

Then the phone registered, roaming on T-Mobile.

Then Vodafone texted me a message: "Welcome to the United States" with (expensive) roaming rates listed for using the phone in the US - which I plan not to do.

Then I created a My Vodafone account online on the Vodafone NL site (have to use the one for Netherlands, not another country). Part of creating an account is entering your new Dutch phone number from the SIM, and they will text you a confirmation code to type in to finish creating the account. You can't create a My Vodafone account without having the SIM activated to receive text messages.

Once my My Vodafone account was activated, I was able to top up ("upgrade") credit on the SIM, using my US visa credit card, from the My Vodafone login. It's all in Dutch, but I used Google Chrome which translated it pretty well - and you can guess most of it in any event. The last step was a bit weird: after confirming my purchase of 20 Euros of credit, it asked me for the name on my bank account (even though I'd given them a credit card number) and the bank's number. I simply gave them the US phone number off the back of my credit card and also my new Vodafone phone number. After clicking "next," it seemed to take me back to the original page to add credit, showing 0 Euros. I figured it had failed and I would have to try again with a different credit card.

But wait! After five minutes, just before trying again, I noticed my credit had increased to 25 Euros! I got a 5 Euro (25%) top-up bonus, which I saw advertised somewhere. It was odd that I got no immediate confirmation message, not even an email from them, but the credit is there, and the charge appeared on my credit card. (Remember, if your card charges a foreign transaction fee, it will be charged for this.)

If this doesn't work for you, there are a few 3rd party sites that sell top-ups where you can use Paypal, but I didn't need to do that.

The very last step after you add credit - which I am still waiting to do - is to pay for (with the credit) one of the "You" bundles for a month. (Using the SIM on a per-minute/ per MB basis is very expensive.) I'm going to wait until just before I depart for Europe to do that, because it's good for only 30 days. I'm probably going to go with the 3GB + 30 min + unlimited SMS "You" bundle.

I assume my SIM and phone are ready to go, given that I can receive text messages on it. You can receive free text messages in the US or anywhere without any credit, apparently. If you know someone in Europe, you can ask them to text you something once you think you've activated and added credit.

Vodafone has an Android app, too, but it's not available for automatic download outside of Europe. I was able to download it manually and get it running (you have to use the one for Vodafone NL, not some other country's app). I believe you won't have that option with an iPhone - Apple is pretty strict about what they allow to be installed and how.

Don't forget to turn on data roaming on your phone once you actually get to Europe, so you can use the data in Norway!
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 01:46 PM
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Reading54: Ah, just saw that the seller has the registration and activation info posted on the product's web page:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vodafone-YOU-NL-prepaid-4G-SIM-No-roaming-costs-in-Europe-and-The-Netherlands/162086320577


Not the same seller I used but probably just as good (even if 50 cents more expensive). However, I think some of that info has changed. I did NOT get any 5 Euro credit for first registration. My SIM came with 0 Euro credit to start. I did get a 25% top-up bonus, though. And you can't get 3GB for 15 Euros anymore - now it's 20 Euro for 3GB and 30 min talk.

Note that you can't buy a 15 Euro top-up - only 10 Euro, 20 Euro, or 30 Euro. So even if you want to buy only the 15 Euro "You" bundle, you can't without overpaying.

It may be possible to get that 5 Euros credit if you register your name and address on their website - but only if you have a Dutch address. If you have a hotel there, I guess you could try using the address.

This site seems more up to date:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Euro8

I don't think "Fantastic Fridays" work unless you have a Dutch address.
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Old Apr 29th, 2017, 03:51 PM
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Andrew,

Thanks for the additional info. Between your detailed instructions and the web page at http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Euro8 I should have a very good chance of following it through.

I purchased from a different seller called "eurosims" because up thread you mentioned something about "listings expire" and "another seller is selling the same thing at $5 + $2.50 shipping", so I purchased from this other seller because he has a longer history with eBay and has sold a bigger volume of this item.

Thanks again. I should receive my SIM between May 5th to 16th.
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Old May 5th, 2017, 06:57 PM
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HI, I just remembered that I posted this question back on 4/29, and I will be in Amsterdam for only 3 days. After reading all the responses, I must admit, it is pretty overwhelming and sounds more complicated that I might be able to deal with. I am traveling with a tech savvy son, so will ask him to read this and see if he can help me with this. How do I unlock the phone for instance? I am with Verizon. If I get the Sim card from Ebay, can I be sure it will work??? I guess worth a try, considering the alternative of paying huge amount with Verizon. Sue who did the post
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Old May 5th, 2017, 06:58 PM
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However I will be in Europe, HOlland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland for 3 weeks. Sue again
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Old May 5th, 2017, 07:17 PM
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Sue, I don't think you have to unlock the phone at all. Verizon 4G phones are not locked, per agreement with the FCC, plus an iPhone probably isn't locked, anyway.

I have bought the Dutch Vodafone SIM on eBay but have not yet tried it in Europe. So I can't say for 100% certain that "Yes, it will work." I will know by this time next week! However, I have activated the SIM in the US in my phone and received text messages from Vodafone (I am roaming on T-mobile here, their partner I guess, but phone would be super expensive to try, so I haven't made a call or anything). And I have managed to top off to 20 Euro on the My Vodafone on their website.

So I can assure you THAT will probably work - because it did for me. Your son can figure it out no doubt - wasn't hard, easier than I expected. The hardest part probably is to tell your Verizon phone to roam on GSM networks not CDMA. Your son will probably know what that means.

At this point, you can risk $7 and buy the SIM on eBay (expect 2 weeks for delivery). If it doesn't work at all, you lost $7 and you'll buy one in the Netherlands (or take the SIM to a Vodafone store when you get get and get them to make it work). You can even wait until you get to the Netherlands to top it up to 20 Euros if you want - at least you won't have to go hunting for a SIM. But if you can get the text from Vodafone "Welcome to the United States" in your phone at home before you leave the country, there's an excellent chance it will work.

Or don't spend the $7 and just buy one when you arrive in Amsterdam. I'm guessing your son will have no trouble making it all work over there.

And yes, this is supposed to work for free roaming in all of those countries. Just know that calls to the US would be very expensive - unless you use something like Google Hangouts (free calls to the US). You can install Google Hangouts right now and try it, without any SIM. It works the same in the US (on say WiFi) as it will in Europe.
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Old May 6th, 2017, 04:31 AM
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"Sue, I don't think you have to unlock the phone at all. Verizon 4G phones are not locked, per agreement with the FCC, plus an iPhone probably isn't locked, anyway."

On android, and I think also Apple, if you insert a new SIM it will either work or ask you for an unlock code. But you can call Verizon first. I am pretty sure it will be unlocked, especially for overseas SIMS
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Old May 6th, 2017, 06:55 AM
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I used a Verizon (prepaid so subsidized by them) Android 4GLTE phone for a year on T-Mobile and a few other GSM carriers (never used it on CDMA - LOL!). The phone never asked me for an unlock code no matter which SIM I inserted. As I said, per agreement with the FCC, Verizon cannot lock its 4G phones - something about how they negotiated for that bandwidth. Therefore, if you asked them, they would have no unlock code to provide you.
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Old May 6th, 2017, 07:17 PM
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Hi I appreciate all of your help. I am going to order the Sim card and give it a try. Thanks. Sue
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Old May 7th, 2017, 06:59 AM
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Sue, this is probably your best deal right now on ebay ($7.50 shipped). I didn't buy it from this seller, though:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vodafone-YOU...-/162086320577

The one I got is the Dutch Vodafone SIM. They are not all the same from every country, FYI. Vodafone operates subsidiaries in different countries, and they are not quite as compatible as they night seem.

One thing I forgot: there is a PIN security code on the Vodafone SIM, but it's just 0000 . Not sure why it is there, but when you turn the phone on each time, you must type in the 0000 to unlock the SIM. You can remove this - I did. If you are the type of person who always leaves your phone on, it's not going to be a big issue.
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Old May 7th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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Andrew...they ship these sims without credit usually. I have been to the Vodafone.nl web site and unfortunately it is all in Dutch (understandable but many web sites do make provisions to switch language to English). How did you top up(do they take paypal; many of the UK sim cards will not top up with a non UK credit card, stupid but...) and just what is the plan you have.
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