Prepaid sim with global roaming and cheap data?
March 31, 2015 12:36 PM   Subscribe

I'll be travelling from the US to Israel, Prague, and Germany in late May, and I'm researching my options for getting phone and data connectivity in all three places (and possibly in the Netherlands as well).

What's the current consensus for getting coverage in all three? I've got an unlocked Smart phone, so that shouldn't be a problem. A cursory look tells me that "OneSimCard" might be the cheapest game in town, but $0.10/MB scares me. It also looks like maybe they don't do LTE, which isn't the biggest deal.

This question also mentions that a T-Mobile plan may cover it. Has anybody switched to that plan just for a month?

Is there anything else out that that might work?
posted by montag2k to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since you are primarily travelling to Europe, you might want to investigate getting a local sim card in one of the European countries you are traveling to. We got a local sim card in Italy from Vodafone that allowed data roaming in Hungary for relatively cheap. I would suggest a local sim card for Israel.
posted by wcmf at 12:53 PM on March 31, 2015

TMobile's normal plans include free 3G data roaming almost world-wide. I used it just last week in Japan and South Korea and it worked great for email, Google maps, etc. But it's data-only, if you really need phone service you have to pay up.
posted by falconred at 1:19 PM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

FWIW, the AT&T and Verizon international roaming rate is roughly $0.25/MB. This Wikia page makes it sound like prepaid is roughly $0.02/MB in Germany. You can definitely just buy a SIM when you're there, the discount markets Aldi and Lidl both reliably sell SIMs, but the details of getting it done are a hassle.
posted by Nelson at 1:58 PM on March 31, 2015

I switched to the T-Mobile plan for a month (traveling in various Western European countries). It was fine. Slower than I'm used to at home (because it's only 3G) and they kept sending texts suggesting that I upgrade to 4G, but I didn't bother with that.

T-Mobile also has wifi calling, so when I did need to make a phone call I just went someplace with wifi and made it for free. Very handy!
posted by mskyle at 3:08 PM on March 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just went through this and (unless you're going with T-mo) I'll say after a lot of searching that the rates on country-specific SIMs just beat the pants off the rates on any multi-country / "international" SIMs.

Don't settle for $0.10/MB, because really having some freedom with your phone's data is incredibly useful for a number of reasons while traveling.

I spent two weeks in Sweden and for a total of c. 20 USD I really got to use my phone essentially as I do at home (with the exception of saving most voice calls for when I could use wifi). That was because and only because I got a Sweden-specific SIM.

Country-specific SIMs sound like a hassle but might really be worth it for you.
posted by kalapierson at 9:13 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

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