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sim cards in europe

Maitland, NSW
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sim cards in europe

My hubby and I are planning a trip to Europe next year for 8 weeks. We will be leasing a car and driving ourselves. We plan on doing as many countries as we can starting and ending in France. We have our own unlocked Nokia Navigator 6110. Do we need to buy a sim card for every country we go to ? Is there any one sim card that will cover all of Europe. Have not been to Europe before, 1st timers !

Thanks for any help !

Spain
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for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick
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1. Re: sim cards in europe

I have a WIND sim that i have used in Switzerland, Italy and UK so far. Shops are easy to spot as they have a bright orange logo.

Wichita, Kansas
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2. Re: sim cards in europe

Single country SIM cards are not very practical because you would loose any un-used credit.

Here is a listing of International SIM cards:

www.prepaidgsm.net/en/international.html

... and a comparison chart:

http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/int/compare.html

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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3. Re: sim cards in europe

The international ones have much higher rates than the single-country ones. Also, to use your navigator, you'll need data services, which are usually very expensive on any international plans I've ever seen. I live in Italy, My phone, with a prepaid TIM card, has a rate of 12 cents a minute for calls to any phone, with no connection charge. There's an alternative plan that's 8 cents a minute with a 16-cent connection charge.My prepaid data plan is 2 euros a week for 250 mb. You can use that as a basis for comparing costs of international plans.

It's true that you'll lose remaining credit on your single-country SIM card, but usually you can add credit in 5-euros chunks, so you can limit the amount of the loss to less than 5 euros. A SIM card in Italy costs 10 euros, which includes your first 5 euros of credit. So you'd also lose 5 euros on the card itself, unless you plan to return to that country.

Watch out for international data plans that look reasonable but have either very low data limits or high costs per mb. I saw one advertised in the New York Times that advertised speeds of up to 7 mb per minute. In a different part of the ad, they mentioned a cost of 50 cents per mb. Do a little arithmetic and you'll see that with that plan, you could be paying $3.50 per minute.

Edited: 17 September 2011, 16:58
4. Re: sim cards in europe

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Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: sim cards in europe

I just checked the World Sim card. The card itself costs £39.99, which is more than four times what an Italian SIM card would cost, but it includes £10 of credit, while the Italian SIM card would have only €5 of credit. I can see that if you're visiting a lot of countries, buying this card might save money over buying five different SIM cards for different countries, although if all the countries are within Europe, one national SIM card would probably be all you'd need, now that inter-Europe roaming rates have been greatly reduced.

I also looked at their rates for calls and data use. For telephone calls, they're not outrageous. From Italy it costs £0.25 per minute for calls within Italy or to the US. It's more than double what I pay for calls within Italy, and about 1/3 more what you'd pay for calls to the US with the Tim International SIM card. That's a big difference percentage wise, but if someone's visiting a lot of countries and not making a lot of calls, the rates certainly wouldn't break the bank.

However, the rates for data roaming are vastly more expensive than what you'd pay with an Italian SIM card, and I wouldn't dream of using this card for any sort of internet use beyond checking email. In Italy, for example, the cost for 250 mb, to be used within a week is €2. That's sufficent for most purposes using an iPhone or smart phone. The cost with the World SIM would e £1.72 per mb, over 100 times the cost with an Italian SIM. With my Italian SIM, I can even use international data roaming in the US for far less than the cost with the World SIM.

6. Re: sim cards in europe

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Removed on: 30 December 2011, 01:57
Maitland, NSW
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7. Re: sim cards in europe

Wow! Thanks for all the info. I will probably go with an international simcard, just for the convienience of not having to go looking for a card in each country. As to which one , I haven't decided yet. I am also looking at internet connection for my netbook that i will be taking with me to book accommodation, skype, and attractions etc. I know I can use wi-fi but that isn't always available when you need it. Any further info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Le Marche, Italy
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8. Re: sim cards in europe

In Europe, incoming calls are free, unless you're roaming internationally. That is, if you have a French SIM card that you're using in Germany, you'll pay something to transfer the call from France to Germany, usually not very much.

For calls, the World SIM card mentioned above seems to have rates that aren't outrageous, at least. I can't say the same for the data service fees, which are (as I said) about 100 times what you'd pay with an Italian SIM card. I'm in the US right now, using my Italian SIM card for data on my Android phone. I get 10 mb per day for 2 euros. The World SIM would charge me something like £4 per mb, about 45 euros for the amount I get for 2 euros.

If you buy a card in one country in Europe, the costs for calls in another country in Europe are not very high, so you don't really need to buy a new card in every country. The EU has a new law that greatly limits roaming charges between European countries. If you're planning to use data services on a smart phone, I would definitely buy a card locally. However, when you buy it, ask what the costs would be for data roaming in the other countries you're going to.

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: sim cards in europe

Have a look at Lebara.com They cover many countries in Europe and their SIMS are often free these days.

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: sim cards in europe

Lebara doesn't have international SIM cards; they have cards for individual countries. They do seem to have fairly good rates. They don't have Italy, so I couldn't check the country I'm most familiar with. However, for France, they have national calls for 15 euro cents a minute, plus a 15-cent connection charge, which at least is not outrageous. (In Italy, you can get a national SIM card with rates of 8 cents a minute plus a 12-cent connection charge. )

If you get one of their cards for a trip to more than one country, you'll be roaming once you cross the border of the country where you bought it. I couldn't see the roaming rates, because the link doesn't work.

I don't really see much advantage to getting one of their cards over getting a national SIM card, other than the fact that you may be able to get the card itself free. I don't know what they would cost in the covered countries, but in Italy they cost 10 euros, which includes an intitial 5-euro credit. That would be a savings of 5 euros if you got the card free.

Edited: 26 September 2011, 15:29