Best prepaid cellphone service for travelling around northern europe?
June 12, 2011 10:12 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who will be travelling in Europe this summer. She'll be in Iceland for a few days, then Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and finally Stockholm. She'll be travelling with an unlocked iphone 3GS. What are her best options for prepaid cellphone service? There wouldn't happen to be a single company that could cover her for most of northern europe, would there?
posted by heathkit to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The operator names will often be the same, but once you cross borders, roaming charges kick in, and while it might make sense to bear them over seeking out another PAYG SIM, it's hard to know what the best option would be without knowing how long she's planning to stay in each country.

All that said, it's conceivable that what might work best is for her to pay a chunk of change in Iceland and sign up with something like Vodafone for its Passport, which has a flat-rate roaming fee then uses domestic tariffs, and Data Traveller, which is a flat-fee per-day charge for data usage. It might even make sense to go with a UK PAYG SIM, if you she get hold of one, as mentioned in this Rick Steves forum thread.

In general, specifically-branded "Europe-wide" or "global" SIMs aren't that great of a deal.
posted by holgate at 10:46 PM on June 12, 2011

Roaming charges have been forced down by the EU. But Iceland is not a member yet. So I guess you should search the website of a large EU wide provider like Vodafone on their roaming charges across those countries.
posted by joost de vries at 2:24 AM on June 13, 2011

Best answer: She could get a Maxroam SIM on prepay. It would give her one number for all of Europe, incoming calls would be free, and outbound calls would be €0.39 a minute. There are plans that include data as well. (This is €0.10 more per minute than my billpay mobile carrier charges me for a tied line, but they utterly screw me on roaming data.)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:49 AM on June 13, 2011

Sweden has it's own operators that don't work with most of the other European services without crazily expensive roaming costs. As such, in Sweden your friend should just buy a local pay as you go simcard, Telia's pretty good and costs about 30 bucks.
posted by rudhraigh at 9:20 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I should have said, she's going to be spending a week in each city. Data would be nice, but is certainly optional.

Thanks for the great answers!
posted by heathkit at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2011

Is Vodafone the better provider in Iceland, better than Simmin? I had never heard of the flat rate Data Traveller package, but it's pretty damn close to what I want. I'll be traveling around Iceland for two weeks, would love to have unlimited data for the duration.
posted by now i'm piste at 9:58 PM on June 21, 2011

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