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Cellphone plan preference?

gjw

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ( 2018 )
Hi - We are starting from SJ mid April 2018 for our first camino, And as much as we want to leave our technology behind while walking or maybe rely on wifi we have to keep in contact with our kids etc and they plan to follow us on snapchat. Is there a preferred cell phone plan that everyone uses that has reasonable data charges? . I am struggling to find the options.

Thanks in advance

Gaylene
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
Welcome to the forum.

There are a lot of variables, too many for one clear answer. My wife and I are traveling through Paris, and we decided to use https://www.lefrenchmobile.com/ this time around, because their EU data plan expires in 90 days instead of the usual 30 days. Others pick up an Orange or Movistar SIM when they get to Pamplona, which might be a shade cheaper if you are not planning any other travels before heading home.

Buen Camino!
 

gjw

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ( 2018 )
Welcome to the forum.

There are a lot of variables, too many for one clear answer. My wife and I are traveling through Paris, and we decided to use https://www.lefrenchmobile.com/ this time around, because their EU data plan expires in 90 days instead of the usual 30 days. Others pick up an Orange or Movistar SIM when they get to Pamplona, which might be a shade cheaper if you are not planning any other travels before heading home.

Buen Camino!

Thanks for replying. - We are starting out in Paris and then after the camino heading to the UK for a few weeks before heading home. So ideally a reasonable priced plan that covers all three countries would do the trick.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Hi @gjw
My preferrred is to pick up a sim once I’m in Spain.
I’ve tried Vodafone and orange a few times. Approx euro 20 or 30 depending what you want it to do. (Ie calls and data / or etc ).
Handy to have something to make local calls with as you may want to call ahead . That is; to book accommodation., or arrange a pickup or taxi or connect to some service.

Apart from that., I would mainly use wifi., very unusual not to be able to find free wifi service at most albergues, hotels, restaurants, bars etc. sometimes you just have to ask for the password.
If you have wifi you can call home via ‘Facebook messenger’ ., or ‘whatsapp’. I’m not sure what you need for ‘Snapchat ‘

Also., if you enquire with Vodafone . They now have a deal whereby if you use them to make a call it is maximum $5 day., but only charged on days used. This applies to any country btw. I have Vodafone as my provider on my mobile and while recently in USA., made a call (one day)... I was only charged the set fee. It could get costly if used everyday. I was staying with family and didn’t bother with a SIM card. Just used their wifi most of the time.
Possibly you could use a mix these ?

I hope you find the information you need so that you can put your mind at rest re costs before you go.

Buen Camino
Annie
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I use Orange and other company in Spain, France, Portugal, etc == Seville.

For those coming from the states T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+ plan rocks! For those over 55 you can't beat this one.

Nothing to do. No turning on/off international plan, no changing cards. Nothing to do. Get off the plane and use your phone. Welcome to Spain, Germany etc etc

Only "extra" is phone calls are 20 cents / minute.

Unlimited data, voice, etc etc.

Also wifi calling is great as well.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi - We are starting from SJ mid April 2018 for our first camino, And as much as we want to leave our technology behind while walking or maybe rely on wifi we have to keep in contact with our kids etc and they plan to follow us on snapchat. Is there a preferred cell phone plan that everyone uses that has reasonable data charges? . I am struggling to find the options.

Thanks in advance

Gaylene
I don't know where you are from, but I'm in the US, and I use T-Mobile here and abroad because they give me unlimited data worldwide, and unlimited texting to and from the US. I use apps like WhatsApp and Viber to make free or very low cost calls.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
I'am from Holland and use also T-Mobile .

It works the same for me in other country's aswell.

Wish you well , Peter .
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Hi, I thought expensive international roaming charges are now a thing of the past? I use WhatsAp with the freely available wifi while travelling. But, if I have to make a cellphone call while overseas, my international roaming charges are now so minimal, it’s not worth buying anything else.
Jill
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Hi, I thought expensive international roaming charges are now a thing of the past? I use WhatsAp with the freely available wifi while travelling. But, if I have to make a cellphone call while overseas, my international roaming charges are now so minimal, it’s not worth buying anything else.
Jill

It depends very much on your home country and mobile network and the foreign country you happen to be in. My wife has just returned to the UK from a 10-month long overland return journey to east Asia. In some countries there were no roaming charges at all - our home network has special deals there. In others such as Japan and Russia call charges could be £2+ per minute with similar rates per Mb of data :mad::oops::( In those cases one quickly learns to turn roaming off and use wifi or a local SIM. On the positive side it is now much simpler and cheaper for those of us who are from EU countries (for a year or so at least :() and travel within the EU where roaming charges not longer apply except for some fairly generous caps on mobile data allowances. Visitors from outside the EU also benefit to some extent because a prepaid SIM deal from one country can now be used in all other EU countries at the same rates - so no need to swap SIMs as you cross borders within the EU.
 

gjw

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ( 2018 )
I don't know where you are from, but I'm in the US, and I use T-Mobile here and abroad because they give me unlimited data worldwide, and unlimited texting to and from the US. I use apps like WhatsApp and Viber to make free or very low cost calls.

New Zealand. - My current provider is charging huge amounts for roaming data. $55 for 1GB valid for 7 days. So that is way too steep for my budget.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I am from the States and can second the praise for t-Mobile above. I have used it across Europe and in SE Asia for several years. They give me full access to my monthly data plan, data and voice GLOBALLY.

When the plane touches down in Madrid or Paris and I turn my phone on again, it automatically signs me into the best network available. Easy peasy!

The signal is so good that I frequently open my phone up as a wi-fi hotspot for nearby pilgrims where no wi-fi is available. My typical signal strength is better in Europe than in the States.

Hope this helps.
 

Momonne

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
I vote for which ever plan is being sold at a booth at the airport as long as the pirce seems reasonable and it offers what you need. In my case I want to call the hospy when I get to the albergue for him lr her to come and open the door, texting to find out where my walking buddies are waiting for me at the next town, and being able to make or receive calls to and from home in case of an emergency (used it to call travel health insurance company and to rebook flight after an injury). Last time it happened to be Lebara.

Walking around town looking for the beat deal is just not what I want to spend my time doing. But just in case there is no booth at the airport, I google the large providers before leaving to see which one might habe a store or booth in a mall so I can pop in and buy a SIM card.

And then there is the easiest way, though perhaps twice the price depending on your provider, get an international plan from it and call it a day.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
I am from the States and can second the praise for t-Mobile above. I have used it across Europe and in SE Asia for several years. They give me full access to my monthly data plan, data and voice GLOBALLY.

When the plane touches down in Madrid or Paris and I turn my phone on again, it automatically signs me into the best network available. Easy peasy!

The signal is so good that I frequently open my phone up as a wi-fi hotspot for nearby pilgrims where no wi-fi is available. My typical signal strength is better in Europe than in the States.

Hope this helps.
Tom, you guys from the east coast have it easy. Those of us out here in fly-over country have to contend with vast areas of no cell coverage whatever, and while T-Mobile has undoubtedly the best plan for those who travel abroad frequently, it is the worst of the lot out here once you get away from the lights of the big city. Overall, Verizon has the best coverage west of the Mississippi, but even it has dead spots in many places. For instance, when we visit family in west Texas, the only carrier that reaches the ranch is AT&T (I carry an old flip-phone with a PAYG AT&T sim card when we're out there). But for overseas travel, I buy a sim card when I land in whatever country and get whatever voice/text/data plan looks reasonable. Fortunately, the recent easing of roaming charges in the EU makes that much less of a hassle than it used to be.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I am from the States and can second the praise for t-Mobile above. I have used it across Europe and in SE Asia for several years. They give me full access to my monthly data plan, data and voice GLOBALLY.

My plan provides me data and texting between US numbers, but phone calls are 20¢ a minute. I use the Viber app to make calls to landlines for only 2¢ a minute, or free to other Viber users. I also use WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Facebook messenger, depending on who I'm contacting and their preferences.

I agree that T-mobile coverage can be spotty in some smaller towns in the US, but its advantages outweigh that for me.
My sin uses Google's Project Fi, which works off of both the T-mobile and Sprint networks in the US and US very happy with them. Data costs $10 per gigabyte both at home and abroad.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I agree that T-mobile coverage can be spotty in some smaller towns in the US, but its advantages outweigh that for me.
My sin uses Google's Project Fi, which works off of both the T-mobile and Sprint networks in the US and US very happy with them. Data costs $10 per gigabyte both at home and abroad.
I use Google Fi also and I'm happy with them. There are a few problems though.
  1. You can only sign up for it in the United States (though coverage is world-wide.)
  2. You need a Google branded phone.
  3. While they use Sprint and T-mobile (and another minor provider also these days) these carriers are not the best for rural areas. Peg's flip phone with AT&T can cover us there if we need it.
I like the cost. $20 a month for phone and text at home. Overseas texts are free and costs vary by country but is usually about 10 20 cents a minute. As @trecile says $10 per GB of data over cellular networks (but it tries to use free wifi first.) However, the data plan is better described as one cent per MB as you get rebates on unused data and overage will be billed to you at that rate.
 
Last edited:
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AFB_CF_2018

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Newbie. Walking CN June/July 2018. ❤️
Hi there,

I live in the US and have Sprint. I called and spoke to them and will be taking my IPhone with me. Here are my notes from them:

International Plan Sprint—You just need to add Global roaming pack on your line, which is free. It provides:

Free basic data (speeds up to 2G)

◦Free text messaging

◦Voice at $.20/min (or use WiFi to call via FaceTime or WhatsApp)

To add Global Roaming service, call 888-226-7212, visit sprint.com/swwsupport or go to a Sprint store before you travel.

GPS and driving can be slower and an issue.

Settings need to be changed.

Once you get to Spain - you get a welcome text in Spain.
2nd text message will receive to link and activate high speed service, should I want or need it
Activate for 1 day = $5/day or 7 days $25/week.

Global Roaming is activated on both phones already.

Do these quick settings before we leave the STATES, receive
  1. Settings
  2. Cellular
  3. Cellar data options
  4. Roaming
  5. In Roaming , there are three options to ensure:
    1. Voice Roaming = on
    2. Data Roaming = on
    3. International CDMA = OFF
  6. Turn phone off and on -
====================
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Just FYI and for comparative use, with my t-Mobile Simple Choice Plan, each month I get...

US:
- unlimited voice calling
- unlimited text
- 5 Gb Data at up to LTE 4G speeds

In 140 foreign countries including all of Europe and SE Asia (so far):

- voice calls at USD .20 per minute
- unlimited text
- unlimited data up to my ACCRUED data stash balance, and up to LTE 4 speeds

NOTES:

1. Data speeds are host-dependent. If the local carrier can only do 2G, that is what I get. But, across Spain, in any large town or city, including Santiago, I usually get full LTE 4 speeds. Still, with my Apple saddleback battery case, I am able to maintain constant GPS coverage while walking a camino.

2. t-Mobile "snowballs" or rolls forward any unused data not used the previous month. It accrues over the year. Typically, by the time I go for camino or to work as a a volunteer for a month in Santiago, I have between 15 - 20 gb banked in my accrued data stash. This is a HUGE benefit and allows me to stream data / video / music, etc, as well as open my iPhone as a mobile hotspot.

3. I found I can also turn off my cellular phone service antenna, and use locally available wi-fi for voice calls over Face Time. That bypasses the .20 per minute charge.

I have had this plan for nearly 3 years and am happy with it. However, given the dialog above, I need to revisit it to ensure I am getting the best value possible.

Hope this helps.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
Before we had free roaming in Europe I used to buy a SIM from Three UK with 12GB of pre-loaded data which you can use right across Europe. Cost should be about $40 and the allowance lasts 12 months. Try searching ebay for "three 12gb sim uk".
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Hi - We are starting from SJ mid April 2018 for our first camino, And as much as we want to leave our technology behind while walking or maybe rely on wifi we have to keep in contact with our kids etc and they plan to follow us on snapchat. Is there a preferred cell phone plan that everyone uses that has reasonable data charges? . I am struggling to find the options.

Thanks in advance

Gaylene

Provided your device is unlocked, wait till you get to Spain and stop by a Vodafone store and pick up their "Tourist SIM" for €15, includes 6GB of data and 50 min of calls to NZ and renews every 4 weeks, just make sure you top off the account with at least €15 plus another €5-10 for SMS. https://www.vodafone.es/c/particulares/es/tienda/movil/tourist-in-spain-vf/
 
Year of past OR future Camino
March - April 2018! (Flights booked, gear being acquired, excitement building!)
I use Google Fi also and I'm happy with them. There are a few problems though.
  1. You can only sign up for it in the United States (though coverage is world-wide.)
  2. You need a Google branded phone.
  3. While they use Sprint and T-mobile (and another minor provider also these days) these carriers are not the best for rural areas. Peg's flip phone with AT&T can cover us there if we need it.
I like the cost. $20 a month for phone and text at home. Overseas texts are free and costs vary by country but is usually about 10 20 cents a minute. As @trecile says $10 per GB of data over cellular networks (but it tries to use free wifi first.) However, the data plan is better described as one cent per MB as you get rebates on unused data and overage will be billed to you at that rate.
Rick,

Glad to hear you like Project Fi. I got one of the new Google phones (With its great camera!) and signed up for Google service partly in anticipation of my Camino. Good to hear others are happy with the service.
 
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HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
I also used the15€ prepaid Spanish vodaphone. 6 gig of data is heaps and means that you will not need to reply on free wifi. No texts but can use the internet for texts. There are lots of apps eg, Whatsapp. The 50 minutes of free calls is for local as well as international calls. I used the internet for making international calls as well as texts. I kept the 50 minutes for any local calls. The sim can be recharged at any reasonable sized supermarket or tabac. Easy peazy and far cheaper than any Australian option that I could find. There are of course, other providers.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
I notice that everyone is touting how their US carrier has international roaming, the OP is from New Zealand and their carriers don't seem to have any good international roaming options.
 

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