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Cell Phone Reception

Joel Balderas

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 6, 2016
How is the cell phone reception/coverage on the camino? Particularly from Sarria to Santiago? What about data is it generally available? If so is it fast or adequate?

Thanks
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I phoned every day to make or confirm albergue reservations between Sarriá-Santiago. Never had a problem.
Btw...in the Saint Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles stage, when I was approaching the frontier (in the middle, apparently, of nowhere) I received a txt message from the phone company, more or less as: "remember that when you are in Spain, you need to type the prefix xxx". It was a bit unsettling, as if big brother were watching me from the sky.:eek:
 

Joel Balderas

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 6, 2016
Thanks!

When I travel to Mexico I get messages like that as soon as I cross the border too. Big Brother is everywhere.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I phoned every day to make or confirm albergue reservations between Sarriá-Santiago. Never had a problem.
Btw...in the Saint Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles stage, when I was approaching the frontier (in the middle, apparently, of nowhere) I received a txt message from the phone company, more or less as: "remember that when you are in Spain, you need to type the prefix xxx". It was a bit unsettling, as if big brother were watching me from the sky.:eek:
lol. I get that every time when I drive from my small country into one of the neighbouring countries ( France, Holland, Germany, Luxemburg..take your pick). Big Brother is a concept we cannot deny anymore.
 
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M

Mike Trebert

Guest
How is the cell phone reception/coverage on the camino? Particularly from Sarria to Santiago? What about data is it generally available? If so is it fast or adequate?

Thanks
The only time I lost service was in a little valley west of Pamplona. Probably a blind spot out of sight of phone towers. Positioning info is different - the GPS chip in your phone will tell the phone company and others where you are all the time. Mr Google will know where you are when you use Google maps. And your phone manufacturer. It's not Big Brother, it's just a normal day full of corporations that want your money.

Have you seen "Mister Robot"? There's a new doc by Alex Gibney out soon called "Zero Days". You can walk but you can't hide.

Buen camino, - Mike
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
It is quite variable. Near most towns and where that Camino is close to major roads, there is generally both good voice and reasonable data speeds. The further away from towns and roads one gets the less reliable both become. There are some genuine black spots, but I found I walked out of them relatively quickly.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
After years of using Movistar SIM cards, I bought a Vodaphone plan this year. There is no doubt that Movistar has better coverage. I was frequently in small towns on the Primitivo where I had no service, and my Movistar friends did. Not surprising, since Movistar is the current version of the national phone service, Telefonica. It was never crucial, though, and I liked the Vodaphone plan, which let me call my walking pal for free since we both had the same plan.
 

Simon Thompson

Peregrino
Camino(s) past & future
Starting the Camino Norte, at Hendaye, Basque Country, France in mid-August 2016
You can walk but you can't hide.
Yes, you can - turn it off until you need it....take back control of your lives, guys :mad:

I'm starting at Hendaye, France in a few weeks, and I plan to have "The Thing" on for an hour or two a day, the rest of the time it'll be my wife and I, enjoying the peace and quiet (and wine, food, blisters etc.)
We'll be walking a week at a time, so it'll doubtless be a good few years until arrival in Santiago, but I intend to look forward to, and enjoy, every step of "The Way".
Regards,
Simon
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Yes, you can - turn it off until you need it....take back control of your lives, guys
So how will that work? As soon as you turn your phone back on, the mobile network needs to work out what mobile transmitter (tower) you are going to get best reception from, and then route any calls to that transmitter. This was first and foremost a technical feature required to make any cellular network function properly. And warning you that you have moved so that you appear to be in another country where you could be subject to higher call rates seems to me to be a service, nothing more. Certainly government agencies, like police and intelligence services, have learnt how useful collecting the associated meta-data can be, and want carriers to keep ever increasing amounts of that. That meta-data isn't really something the carriers need to keep for very long (if at all).

I suppose if you are that paranoid that you think government agencies are interested in you when you are doing nothing wrong, I cannot help it. I think you are in greater danger from Google or Bing knowing your location, and flooding your browser with 'helpful' location specific information based on where you are and the history they have already established about your interests and shopping habits. Big brother isn't the problem in my view, but watch out for Shopping Sister whispering in your ear!
 

Joel Balderas

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 6, 2016
Thanks for the information. I plan on using my American T-Mobile phone as they offer mostly free service nearly world wide with the plan I already pay for. Hopefully it works as well as it has in Mexico.
 

Simon Thompson

Peregrino
Camino(s) past & future
Starting the Camino Norte, at Hendaye, Basque Country, France in mid-August 2016
So how will that work? As soon as you turn your phone back on, the mobile network needs to work out what mobile transmitter (tower) you are going to get best reception from, and then route any calls to that transmitter. This was first and foremost a technical feature required to make any cellular network function properly. And warning you that you have moved so that you appear to be in another country where you could be subject to higher call rates seems to me to be a service, nothing more.
You are, of course, quite right - but my concern re. the messages is more the intrusion into an otherwise peaceful day. I'm not that bothered whether "they" know where I am, I just don't want my phone giving me any info, until I've sat myself down, with a beer, and am ready to engage with the world at large (briefly, and on my own terms). Sorry for the confusion !
(If I use the phone to call an ambulance, the fact that it lets them know where I am is a useful feature, methinks)

However, on the subject of privacy...

To quote Walter Starkie's "The Road To Santiago" published 1957 (chapter 3) :
"...In the past, when life was not so complex it was easier to retire from the fierce struggle and change the active life for the contemplative, many of the greatest thinkers retired to the cloisters where there were none to disturb their meditations; but today our duty to the State and our responsibilities forbid us to renounce the burden of life in the world, and we bring up our children in the idea that it is selfish and unpatriotic to relinquish obligations and retire from the struggle. The tyranny of State and Society will, however, soon deprive us of all the individual's greatest rights. We must live amid the noise and shouts of the world and our houses must be open for all the world to see. Soon we shall not be allowed to possess a secret room closed by a hidden key, for then the guardians of law and order will cry out that it is Blue Beard's closet. "He is the cat that walks alone" they will say, "and we are sure he is a suspicious character." And yet there was never a time when humanity needed so much its moments of silent meditation....."

Apologies for the length of the quote, but I felt it relevant ;)
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
My comment about “big brother” intended to be light, humorous. I have no qualms about my phone knowing my whereabouts –it could even be useful if I suffer an accident, for instance. I had just walked the beautiful but quite lonely Piedmont way, so this time I carried a phone, just in case. What was surprising (and true, a bit unsettling) to me was that, even in a mountain pass, as Bentartea, without apparent communications tower near, the phone company could know where I was.
Yes, next time I will probably follow Simon's admonition ;) and turn off my phone while walking in safe routes, because I do not want “real life” intruding too easily in an alternative, almost magic space and time.
On the other side, I personally have no particular privacy concerns –I am just a regular and uninteresting guy. But I do think the issues of privacy and right usage of personal data are serious and complicated – but not the matter for this forum, evidently.
 
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JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
How is the cell phone reception/coverage on the camino? Particularly from Sarria to Santiago? What about data is it generally available? If so is it fast or adequate?

Thanks
Joel, I can only speak about Santiago and from there to Muxia and Finisterre. Since I'm from the US, I have Verizon cell service, and I signed up for a month's worth of an International Plan for this trip, allowing certain # of calls, texts, and data. In Santiago, Movistar seemed to be the most common carrier, and all was fine. However, once we left Santiago, I pretty much had no cell service until we returned to Santiago. Wifi would work ok, but no calling. I also had one of my email accounts which didnt work at all; one that did. (The Comcast one worked, but not the Google one). Basically, I could have skipped the International Plan and purchased a SIM card there. Next time, that's what I will do. Madrid, of course, was fine for service. Really, with Wifi and email, I did not miss the service.
 

Gabrielleroux

New Member
walked JpdP to Finistère and Maxia. Bought Vodafone Spain at Airport Barcelona.
Took less than 5 min and was connected. 50€ 100min and 1.5gb data.
Réception in St Jean..nothing France.
Throughout Spain. Vodafone Coverage was not that good
It seems that everytime I was without coverage Moviestar was covered everywhere
 

soeur.clara

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino francais, this year 2016 jully
we walk with a canadien women in the camino francés and she most always had got reception just in the sauvages she did not had any, but she can call her family every day other wise! good luck
 

wizard629

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently walking, June 12, - July 9, 2016
How is the cell phone reception/coverage on the camino? Particularly from Sarria to Santiago? What about data is it generally available? If so is it fast or adequate?

Thanks
Hi Joel,
I just got through walking the Camino Francés last week. I purchased a EU data only sim through Amazon and had no problem getting data the whole way. It would mostly connect to the Movistar network and I got 3G coverage on my iPhone. I purchased a 1GB data plan and only ended up using 750mb. I was using it pretty sparingly at first and would switch it to Airplane mode while walking.

I hope this helps!
Buen Camino!

K.C.
 

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