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Mobile phone service along the Camino

teambergie

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future
Hello,
we are doing our first Camino, the Coastal Way in Portugal.
Coming from the USA, what is the best mobile phone plan to have along this Camino? We will be bringing our "unlocked" 4G Samsung Galaxy S9 and can swap out the SIM card to one from a local/EU carrier.
Since our plans are to be in the EU for our allotted 90 days and then in countries NOT in the Shengen Zone (Ireland, Croatia) what would be the best carrier to sign up with for the entire EU area?
Thanks
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Since our plans are to be in the EU for our allotted 90 days and then in countries NOT in the Shengen Zone (Ireland, Croatia) what would be the best carrier to sign up with for the entire EU area?
I think you may have misunderstood the difference between the EU and the Schengen travel zone. Ireland and Croatia are members of the EU and the rules which govern mobile phone roaming service apply in those countries too. Nothing to do with the Schengen agreement.
 

teambergie

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future
I think you may have misunderstood the difference between the EU and the Schengen travel zone. Ireland and Croatia are members of the EU and the rules which govern mobile phone roaming service apply in those countries too. Nothing to do with the Schengen agreement.
Right, understand. We will be visiting those countries along with our other travels. From what I understand US citizens (amongst others) can be in the Schengen travel zone for a maximum 90 days. We just want to visit Ireland/Croatia so we can be "over there" since it's a long flight from the west coast of the US. We're looking for some mobile plan, or plans, that we can use that will give us good coverage while we travel. Vodaphone?
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
Vodafone and Orange would be good bets. I believe they both offer pay-as-you-go capability and decent coverage.

Enjoy all the planning and Buen Camino!
 

teambergie

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future
Vodafone and Orange would be good bets. I believe they both offer pay-as-you-go capability and decent coverage.

Enjoy all the planning and Buen Camino!
Thanks, looking at plans now. Thanks for the invite to Pilgrim House; we're planning on staying in Santiago for a few days.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
I just use my ATT plan from home - works fine all over Europe. Been through most of the Western/Central European countries and as far east as Poland, Czech, Hungary.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
We will be bringing our "unlocked" 4G Samsung Galaxy S9 and can swap out the SIM card to one from a local/EU carrier.
Check to see if your phone has dual SIM capacity, some Galaxy S9 phones have this feature and others don't. This Google search will help you with this.

Samsung Galaxy S9 dual sim

I've written a number of forum posts on the advantages of a dual SIM. Here are some:


I'm sorry for the lack of curation but I've just got back from a trip and lack enough time right now.
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Thanks, looking at plans now. Thanks for the invite to Pilgrim House; we're planning on staying in Santiago for a few days.
Vodaphone pay-as-you-go could also be an option. You can top it up at ATMs in Europe as you run low on time--at least you can in Portugal and would expect this would be true otherwise.

As a North American who "believed" we were technologically at the top of the world I was amazed to find how simply this system worked in Europe. ;)
 
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A Crackpot Abroad

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Via de Plata, Norte, most of Levante
I'm lazy. From another thread below is my answer. I'm in Spain now. I have the 15 euro Vodafone 50GB internet, 800 minutes of calling to the U.S.,and unlimited calls in Spain. Weird 28 day pre-pay plan. No contract.. no commitments. When you're r done with Spain, stop renewing.. I believe you get some minutes and GB in other EU countries.

When you go to Ireland and Croatia, get another pre-pay cell plan.

Here my answer from another phone thread:

"I'm very happy with Vodafone in Spain. 15 euro for 50GB internet, 800 minutes calling time to the United States, unlimited calls in Spain. You get some internet and calls while in France (not exactly sure of the exact details).

No contract. When you are done, stop prepaying. Weird 28 day billing cycle but I deal with it. Prepaying the next billing cycle is easy. Texts are extra few cents per text (weird by U.S. standards).

I had excellent coverage on Via de Plata, Norte, and Levante (I had Yoigo before. Didn't work very well in the hinterlands. I didn't have a phone while on Camino Frances.). Vodafone does all the technical stuff for you at their local stores. Just make sure you have an unlocked GSM (non Verizon) phone. Easy peasey."
 

Maxsmart

Sierra Peregrina
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015), Camino Frances (2022)
I can’t speak to Android capability, but a Verizon IPhone will work with a local SIM card in Europe. I’ve been a Verizon subscriber for ten years and have used local SIM cards in both Germany and Spain with no problems. I just took it to the store and they swapped out the SIM card for me. All IPhones (since about version 5/6?) are unlocked. Verizon iPhones work on other networks (even in the U.S. if you change to another carrier). You just can’t use “any” phone on a Verizon network. It has to be a Verizon phone. No iPhones have dual physical SIM capability, unfortunately.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
You just can’t use “any” phone on a Verizon network. It has to be a Verizon phone.
Google's Pixel line of phones work on the Verizon network. They don't have to be bought from Verizon either.
No iPhones have dual physical SIM capability, unfortunately.
Newer iPhones through have eSIMs. That allows one number/network on the eSIM and another on a physical SIM.
 

Maxsmart

Sierra Peregrina
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015), Camino Frances (2022)
Google's Pixel line of phones work on the Verizon network. They don't have to be bought from Verizon either.

Newer iPhones through have eSIMs. That allows one number/network on the eSIM and another on a physical SIM.
I’ve been reading about eSims and I’m going to try that next month when I go to Spain.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I’ve been reading about eSims and I’m going to try that next month when I go to Spain.
I suggest putting your current number onto the eSIM now. If you're willing to spend $10 you could experiment with two numbers beforehand with this cheap prepaid plan:
I should have tried this myself. I use Google FI with expensive data, 6 GB for $60 above the text and talk. On a domestic trip last month I used 6 GB but with a T-Mobile plan as a second number I could have gotten that for $25 and still have FI benefits.
 
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