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Cell Phone Use

Camino(s) past & future
(2018)
#1
Coming from the USA to CDG airport, then to SJPdP to begin Camino. Shall be traveling with an iPhone. Have heard that replacing the SIM card is the way to go for using the phone in Europe without incurring excessive charges. Am told they can be purchased in the airport from vending-like machines. Shall appreciate and and all info shared re this topic. Are there good, better, and best versions of SIM cards or are they all the same?
 

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HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#2
You might find some useful information in these threads:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/cellphone-plan-preference.52214/
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/sim-card-in-pamplona.51829/
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/cell-phone-purchase.49073/
I prefer to go to a shop or kiosk rather than a vending machine to get a new sim because the shop assistant will usually install it for me and more importantly teach me how to get a balance but that is because my Spanish is not so good. :)
Buen camino
 

Mark Barnes

Old Engineer
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - September - November (2017)
#4
I walked Camino Frances for 43 days ending Nov 2017. I took an iPhone 6s and got a travel plan for phone and text through AT&T. Unlimited text free and calls at a reduced rate. I got the silver plan and it cost me $45.00 a month. I ended up texting my wife several times a day to keep in contact, never called. I would FaceTime when at albergue and on the albergue wifi and that did not cost anything. This worked great for me and I will use this method again. I am not saying this is best method but worked well for me.
 

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C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#6
Depending on how much time you have in Paris, and how you are travelling to SJPP, you might decide to stay on your US plan until you get to Spain a few days later. Meanwhile you can rely mainly on using wifi, and not make phone calls except in emergency. In Pamplona there are many places to get a SIM card and you'll have new friends to help you out. I would just choose one of the well known brands.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017); Finisterre (2018)
#7
I have an iPhone 7 and used Verizon’s international plan. I never had to use the phone, only some data. What’s App and FaceTime are web based and I would
“Call” from any stop along the way. Everybody has WiFi. I used the data for GPS in larger cities to find my way to the hostel since street signs are difficult to always find. No problems and no hassles with SIM cards. I’m heading back on April 1 and plan on doing the same thing. Just contact your carrier and let them know you are in Europe-
 

Ray T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May (2013)
#8
How about Google Fi? Has anyone used it along the Camino? It has worked for me in many countries and I plan to use it this year in April/May.

In 2013, I used Vodafone and picked up the sim and 30 day plan at a shop in Madrid. It worked great from Pamplona to Santiago. There were Vodafone shops in many towns and I was able to get help from one to purchase an additional plan. I was mainly interested in data.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#9
Coming from the USA to CDG airport, then to SJPdP to begin Camino. Shall be traveling with an iPhone. Have heard that replacing the SIM card is the way to go for using the phone in Europe without incurring excessive charges. Am told they can be purchased in the airport from vending-like machines. Shall appreciate and and all info shared re this topic. Are there good, better, and best versions of SIM cards or are they all the same?
Download Whatsapp. With great Wi-Fi, free, all over Spain and Portugal, it is all you need if all of those back home also download and use it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March - April 2018! (Flights booked, gear being acquired, excitement building!)
#10
How about Google Fi? Has anyone used it along the Camino? It has worked for me in many countries and I plan to use it this year in April/May.
That's what I plan to do for my March/April Camino this year. From the limited feedback I've seen, most people are happy with it. Someone reported they had patchy coverage in spots, but I imagine that's likely with any carrier. Of course, it was just in the news that there was a service outage for a day or two for overseas users last week, but it seems to have all been sorted out.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#11
With Google Fi a phone call going over a cellular network in Spain will cost you about 20 U.S. cents a minute. Fi will attempt to make it free by attaching to a public wifi network that it finds and knows instead (using methods to ensure security.) Before making a call try logging into wifi from an albergue, hotel, bar, etc. first (along the camino usually free.) I think then the call will be placed free using that connection.
 

Tiapatrol

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (May 2018)
#12
How about Google Fi? Has anyone used it along the Camino? It has worked for me in many countries and I plan to use it this year in April/May.

In 2013, I used Vodafone and picked up the sim and 30 day plan at a shop in Madrid. It worked great from Pamplona to Santiago. There were Vodafone shops in many towns and I was able to get help from one to purchase an additional plan. I was mainly interested in data.
I plan to use my Google Pixel phone, it says it is good in Spain and Portugal!
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#13
Does anyone know if dialing 112 works on all mobile phones with or without a sim card?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Portugues (2019)
#14
I walked Camino Frances for 43 days ending Nov 2017. I took an iPhone 6s and got a travel plan for phone and text through AT&T. Unlimited text free and calls at a reduced rate. I got the silver plan and it cost me $45.00 a month. I ended up texting my wife several times a day to keep in contact, never called. I would FaceTime when at albergue and on the albergue wifi and that did not cost anything. This worked great for me and I will use this method again. I am not saying this is best method but worked well for me.
I think T-Mobile May have unlimited data if you are on their us plan...:)
 

onwayhome

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
St Michaels Way (2016)
#15
It also might be useful to know that roaming across EU countries changed last June. Now a phone plan or SIM from one EU country should just transfer to another EU country at no extra cost. This makes phone use a lot easier on Caminos that cross from one country to another.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#16
It also might be useful to know that roaming across EU countries changed last June. Now a phone plan or SIM from one EU country should just transfer to another EU country at no extra cost.
Can you confirm if that applies to data as well as voice plans?
 

onwayhome

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
St Michaels Way (2016)
#17
I'm just back from Spain and my call plan from another EU country just transferred over with the same data, voice and text allowances.
 

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