Three Monthly SIM

Old Aug 28th, 2017, 01:39 PM
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Three Monthly SIM

Traveling to the below countries for just over two weeks.

My dad is going through chemo so as you can imagine, I 100% want to be available to support him and my mom throughout my trip!!

I was looking at the UK company Three and their unlimited plan for 33 GBP. It should cover all the countries I am visiting, but how do you think the 3G speed will be? Do you recommend anything better?

We will be visiting:

3 days in Munich with a day trip to Salzburg and Neuschwanstein
2 days in Lucerne
4 days in Paris
7 days in London (will probably do some day trips as well)

Please let me know your thoughts. Connection is key. We generally communicate via whatsapp now as I live in the Bahamas and they live in the US, so just want to be able to call and text via that same app.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 02:20 PM
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Fodorite rs899 used a Three UK SIM a few months ago in Europe, with good results. He'll probably chime in here with details.

I used a Dutch Vodafone SIM in May in Slovenia, Italy, and France for 2.5 weeks (bought on eBay - never even visited the Netherlands). Worked great for me, and I had 4G almost everywhere. The SIM cost me $7 USD from eBay, and I put 20 Euros on it to be able to buy a 3GB "You" data package good for a month. I needed it only for mobile data, though (and making voice calls with VOIP apps, using mobile data or WiFi). I used only 2GB of my 3GB of data over that time, FYI. You may not need an "unlimited" Sim for only two weeks.

I think the 3G speed would be only outside of the UK, right? That would probably be fast enough for me. The key is to be faster than 2G "edge" speeds - very slow. You need to make sure your phone itself has the right frequencies to work faster than 2G in Europe, anyway. Because different frequencies are used in the US than are used in Europe, just because your phone is a 4G or 3G phone in the US doesn't mean it will work that fast in Europe!

You might look into the Google Hangouts app to use on WiFi or mobile data to make voice calls to the US for free, even to landlines, something you can't do with WhatsApp as I understand it. Yes, WhatsApp is great, but not as useful if you need to call an airline or a hospital switchboard or something, which you can do with Hangouts, just by dialing the phone number. Put a +1 prefix in front of US phone numbers when calling from Europe.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 03:28 PM
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Yes, Andrew is right about using Hangouts. It is great to use to call the US for free.

I did use a threeUK sim in France, UK and the Netherlands and it worked fine. I got 3G plus speeds (HSPA) except in UK where I got LTE, but I was using a European LG G3 that was perfect for that. So, you need to check that your phone has the right bands (try frequencycheck.com) for where you are going. Most likely you will want 2100 MHz band 1, 3G. to get good speed. ThreeUK should cover you where you are going just fine.

Last time I looked at the ThreeUK website, I think they limit the "unlimited" plans for roaming. In fact, even the 12gb paygo plan that I used was limited after 8 GB , but that was way more data than I used anyway. I think you probably want to look at the paygo plans and then activate the roaming feature as an "add on", to use their language.

You didn't say how you would get service. I got a sim from an eBay seller for about $2. It took about 10 days to get here. I established a "mythree" account online. I then had to fund it by a topup with mobiletopup.co.UK as three does not accept anything but UK registered credit cards (that cost an extra $1.50}. But anyway, I got great service and tons of data in three countries for about 20 GBP.

I think three has some great plans for the European traveller, but check some others as the market is constantly changing. I think O2 and giffgaff might also have useful plans, but read everything carefully, and read it again....
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 03:51 PM
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Thanks so much for the quick responses! I was going to purchase the SIM online and go the same route of creating an account and topping up. I am ok with the upcharge for not having a UK card.

I have the unlocked version of the iPhone 6s already which I bought directly from Apple. I normally have my Bahamas SIM in but frequently use my US SIM as well with no issues. Two years ago I used it with a Vectone SIM in the U.K. and it worked okay (a bit slow but I think the network was terrible?).

So far Three seems like a good choice and I will definitely look into Google Hangouts also!!
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 03:55 PM
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I'd guess an iPhone 6s will work OK in Europe, probably 3G at least, so you should be OK - at least you know it will work over there.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 04:03 PM
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You may be able to find a threeuk sim on eBay that already has the funding on it that you need and you might save the topup step

Unfortunately Bahamas isnt on the "feel at home" list so you can't check it before you go, but I didn't have any activation problems.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 06:04 PM
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Hi Allis, I was on a 5 country trip in July to Holland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. With the help from this site, and advice, I got a SIM card from Ebay for $4. plus 2 shipping. Took it to Amsterdam, had them put it in, had downloaded google hangout as an APP on my cell phone, which was easy, and was able to call every day of a 3 week trip in Europe to the US to check on my husband who stayed home with our doggy. Andrew/listed above was a great help. I had NO charge except the Sim card and I think I bought a little bit of email time, maybe $20. I did it at the Vodafone store in Amsterdam. It was Not hard to do and I am NOT at all tech savy. good luck. Save old Sim card carefully and have it put back in, which my son did and all is well. Sue
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 01:20 AM
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In the UK you can get 3G or 4G in all the major towns and cities. In the countryside sometimes you can get only 2G, which I understand is not available with 'Three' SIMs. In the village where I live I can get signals only from Vodafone and EE, so Three would be of no use to me whatsoever.
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 08:01 AM
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OK one more thing, I don't think that Apple I phones are locked, call and ask. Also there are no longer any roaming fees, but double check for where you will be, as i had none. Sue
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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The device itself should definitely work as I had a Vectone chip in it before in the UK, and use a carrier here in the Bahamas on it, as well as a carrier in the US.

Just more concerned with which network to pick. I am going to look at coverage maps for O2, Vodafone and EE. Any other suggestions?

I am not worried about service in London, Paris or Munich, but more so in Fussen, Salzburg and Lucerne.

Thanks everyone!!! This is all very helpful.
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