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Cell service/SIM for northern route

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Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
Cell coverage on the Norte is actually better than on the Frances, since the area is much more heavily populated. Cell phones in Spain, and all of Europe really, are pretty much universal now, and the system works beautifully. Any SIM plan that works for you will provide pretty much perfect coverage. When I walked the Norte, I cannot recall losing coverage anywhere. I don't think it will matter which SIM you choose, pick one up based on the price for what you plan to use it for.

Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I've always just used my T-mobile plan with unlimited data and texting while I'm abroad. I use apps like WhatsApp and Viber to make free or almost free calls using cellular data or wifi.
Google Fi offers a similar international roaming option.
 

mikebet

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
I second T-Mobile. Has worked for us without a hitch over most of the world, and certainly all over Europe. No need to change SIM cards, pay extra (except for voice calls), or even register for service -- a text msg just pops up when you cross borders telling you "welcome to (wherever)." I drove all over Romania using Google Maps on T-Mobile's service.
 
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andycohn

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (12-15); Muxia (15); Portuguese, Primitivo (17); Norte, Ingles, VF partial (18), Le Puy (19)
Have searched the forum but cannot find any posts in last 3 yrs about which cell provider is best for Northern route. Advice?
We picked up an Orange sim card in Irun. Cheap, worked fine the whole length of the Norte. The store is on the Camino as you're heading out of town. Here's the web site: https://www.orange.es/tiendas/orange/irun/paseo-de-colon-33 Use google chrome to open the link and it will translate everything into English.
 

George Vancouver

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Have searched the forum but cannot find any posts in last 3 yrs about which cell provider is best for Northern route. Advice?
Just in case you’re not aware, there are no roaming charges in the EU. (I know as a Canadian we just assumed that everyone in the world pays the same outrageous roaming charges we do.)

If you’re spending time in another EU country enroute to Spain you can buy your sim card and sign up for a cheap plan there. You can use it on any network in Spain, or any EU country, without paying extra. We’ve used a Vodafone Ireland sim for years. Works fine all around Spain with no extra costs.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Have searched the forum but cannot find any posts in last 3 yrs about which cell provider is best for Northern route. Advice?
I do not know how much the T Mobile plan costs to use it Internationally. My cell phone plan in Mexico gives me unlimited calls in Mexico, USA and Canada and 3 gigs of data (more than enough) for 200 pesos a month (about $10US) so when I walk the Camino I have to get a SIM card. I walked the Norte in 2018. The first thing I do when I arrive is go to Orange and get a SIM card and the plan I get is about 20E for 80 minutes of calls within Spain and 15 gigs of data. There are a variety of plans and this one may have changed a little bit. I only use the calling to check if an albergue is open or has room. I speak to my wife and kids on wattsapp. I try to use wifi but when it is not available I have plenty of data for wattsapp. My wife can also call me from our internet phone directly to my Spanish number for free. But I cannot call her. Vodafone also has lots of plans. Their lowest price plan gives you more minutes to call but less data. So for me Orange is better. Vodafone has the most locations but Orange is not far behind. The plan works for 30 days and then must be recharged. I usually walk between45-50 days so when I am getting close to 30 days and I see an Orange office I go in and recharge. I have recharged online but you need a decent knowledge of Spanish to do it. I get a new number but somehow my wife and kids can call me on my original number and they get through.
I never had a problem anywhere on the Norte to get or receive calls or to use my data.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
none past, planing to go on May to do the French walk( 2015) do not have sense of direction
Hi Lisaflora I was doing the same research, I found 2 plans, SFR and ORANGE ; what we have to decide is the same as here; look at each plan, and decide how much coverage you need, I'm planning to also go to Pariz so I'm checking and comparing SFR.fr and ORANGE.fr, I hope this helps you. Buen Camino
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
First camino for June 2016. 2nd planning for June 2017.
Been doing the Camino since 2016, and can attest to T-Mobile and awesome service. I spend 2 months in Europe, one month walking and one month visiting camino family. I never pay a cent above my normal bill when I return. Service is great all over the place.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
If you’re spending time in another EU country enroute to Spain you can buy your sim card and sign up for a cheap plan there. You can use it on any network in Spain, or any EU country, without paying extra. We’ve used a Vodafone Ireland sim for years. Works fine all around Spain with no extra costs.
This is correct for telephone services but was not my experience for data. I bought a Vodafone sim in Spain but could not get a data connection in France. It may be that I had not enabled roaming data on my phone and I would be pleased if someone can contradict my experience with their own 🙂
 

Richard Smith

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
Just in case you’re not aware, there are no roaming charges in the EU. (I know as a Canadian we just assumed that everyone in the world pays the same outrageous roaming charges we do.)

If you’re spending time in another EU country enroute to Spain you can buy your sim card and sign up for a cheap plan there. You can use it on any network in Spain, or any EU country, without paying extra. We’ve used a Vodafone Ireland sim for years. Works fine all around Spain with no extra costs.
True that the SIM card works across different countries but when we were there we found that Orange (France) was a seperate company to Orange (Spain) and we could not recharge the one we bought in France when we were in Spain.
OTOH it was cheaper to just buy a replacement SIM from Orange (Spain). Could be confusing to the family back home why we had a new number but we video-called all the time anyway.
 
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Little Flower

Member, Donated Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have Verizon in USA. Verizon does not do free roaming services as T-mobile does.
When I went Portuguese way, I bought sim card at Vodafone in Lisbon airport, and switched the sim card with Spain line in Tui. I also used Orange (France) that I bought sim card at Paris airport when I walked Le Puy; then, switched the line at Orange store (Spain) in Pamplona. Both Vodafone and Orange worked great with data and line. I plan to do del Norte in April 2022, and I will use one of them.
Peace!
 

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