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SIM card confusion

Karihughes

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May/June 2019
I have checked the resource section and the consensus in previous posts seems to be that purchasing a SIM card through Orange is the best way to go. I am a bit tech delayed so am confused on several things. Your knowledge is much appreciated.
1. How do I know if my phone is “unlocked”? I have an iPhone6 purchased through Verizon a couple years ago.

2. Will there be someone to do the installation or will I be handed the card and expected to know what to do with it? Needless to say, I won’t know.

3. Can a Spanish card be purchased in SJPP or will I need to wait until we arrive in Pamplona?

4. Will the card allow me to use a Camino app as I walk?

5. Will I be able to receive calls on my US number after the card is installed? I don’t want calls but am wondering.

6. Will I have access to the photos, saved numbers and messages currently in my phone after the card is installed or will the phone be blank?

Help! 😳
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
  1. You will need to contact Verizon and ask. They may unlock for a fee if it is still locked.
  2. It depends, but if you purchase at a shopfront, I expect they will help install the SIM.
  3. Not sure.
  4. If you purchase a data plan you can access web based services while walking provided you have access to your provider's network. Note that apps can be pretty heavy data users.
  5. Normally no. Some providers might allow you to redirect calls to a new (overseas) number, but they might also charge for that.
  6. Unless you reset the handset, your current data will still be available.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Doug is correct on every point, especially unlocking the phone. An iPhone 6 with a Verison plan 2 years old doesn't sound like it would be unlocked unless you asked them to do it when you purchased it.
I would make sure to buy the new simcard from an authorized dealer/shop (not many of those in SJPdP) and have the phoneshop sales person install your new simcard. It is not tricky but the iPhone 6 uses the smaller chip and you need to remove it from the larger chip.
I would suggest using your US carrier until you get to Pamplona and buy your simcard there.
There is some kind of user agreement in France and Spain for Orange users but I always wait until I am in Spain.
Your iPhone is like a min-computer, everything that is stored on it stays there no matter who the carrier is but be aware you need to check the memory capacity and make sure you have space to store all those "new" photos. You can buy larger memory chips.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
My 2yo Verizon iPhone6 is unlocked; they stopped locking them years ago IF you bought the phone outright and not on a payment plan. The Verizon app will tell you if it is, or stop by a store or simply call their support #.

My Intl simcard from 2018 allowed me to keep my home phone number in addition to a new foreign number. This may vary by provider, so ask.

Per multiple people, it still appears that the closest place to SJPdP to get a simcard is in Pamplona. There are plenty of offline Camino and mapping apps that do jut require cellular access, so consider NOT getting service until then (or at all!). Lots of WiFi on the route now.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
Just to clarify a couple of uncertainties in the above posts:
  1. Unless Verizon has only recently changed their policy, all 4G/LTE smartphones purchased through Verizon are already unlocked. You can verify this easily by checking with your Verizon store. I last walked the Camino in May 2017, and the iPhone 5S that I had at that time was unlocked and accepted both Portuguese and Spanish SIM cards. I returned to Europe later that year and used the Spanish SIM card in Spain, Italy, and France.
  2. My iPhone was not purchased outright, but payed-off over the term of my Verizon contract.
  3. Installing a SIM card is a simple procedure that can be accomplished by inserting a straightened paper clip in a small hole in the side of your iPhone, which causes a small plastic tray to eject. The tray holds the SIM card, which you simply swap out with your Verizon SIM card (keep the Verizon card in a secure, watertight place until you return to the US). There are some settings in the iPhone's menu that will be required, so I suggest that you actually allow the Orange or Vodaphone store clerk to do the exchange for you and set the menu.
  4. You will NOT be able to receive calls made to your US number while using another SIM card because your home number is integral to your Verizon SIM card. If you want friends and family back home to be able to call you, just send them a text with your Spanish phone number -- be sure to include the country code for Spain, which is 34.
  5. All other data saved on your phone--contact list, photos, etc, will be available using the Spanish SIM card. EDIT: Since originally making this post, I realized that some Android phones may give the option for storing contact lists, photos, etc, on a separate micro SD memory card, which is a small plug-in chip that looks similar to SIM card. If this is the case with your phone, be sure to leave that micro SD card in your phone. Or if you purchase a new Micro SD card for increased memory space, be sure to transfer the data to the new card. Your phone store (or your teenage kid) should be able to help you with that.
  6. Finally, there are several Orange and Vodaphone stores in Pamplona that are within easy walking distance from the municipal albergue, the cathedral area, and the Plaza de Castillo.
I hope this helps, and I welcome any corrections to my comments based on more recent information.

Buen Camino!
 
Last edited:
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
In August of 2018, my international SIM card allowed me to utilize both my old US number as well as the new European number (it was an option you could select). I do not know the mechanics of it (it could have been a software port of the number or ????), but it worked.

Not sure if all carriers’ SIM cards can work that magic or not, but mine did.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Make sure your original card is protected from dust, water, bending, breakage and static electricity. Put it somewhere safe and not near things that will constantly be pulled out like money or your passport. That would be a good way to accidentally lose it.
 

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Year of past OR future Camino
CDN 2013, 2018
Primitivo - 2013, 2018
Sanabrés - 2016
Portugués Coastal - 2019
Via Francigena - 2020
Here is this tutorial that might help you:


Ultreïa!
 

Karihughes

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May/June 2019

RuediG

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Dovadola-Assisi-Rome (2019)
Just wondering (and maybe a little off topic): Do phones in the US have multiple SIM card slots, or just one? (My Samsung A6 has three slots - two for SIM cards, and one for external memory.) When I go to another country, I just add their SIM card without removing my "home" SIM card. No problem with calling me at, or calling from, either phone number...
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Just wondering (and maybe a little off topic): Do phones in the US have multiple SIM card slots, or just one? (My Samsung A6 has three slots - two for SIM cards, and one for external memory.) When I go to another country, I just add their SIM card without removing my "home" SIM card. No problem with calling me at, or calling from, either phone number...
That means you have DualSIM card phone. Not all phones are DualSIM!
 

RuediG

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Dovadola-Assisi-Rome (2019)
That means you have DualSIM card phone. Not all phones are DualSIM!
Very true. And not all DualSIM phones have three slots - some advertise themselves as DualSIM but only have two slots, which means that the memory card slot can be used as a SIM slot. Which means that you can leave your normal SIM card in, and when you travel you take out the memory card and insert the "foreign" SIM card instead. Which is not a great solution.

Fortunately, here in Asia (where I live) 3-slot phones are becoming more and more common. If someone in the US is buying a new phone anyway and knows they'll be traveling abroad, they might want to buy a 3-slot phone...
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Very true. And not all DualSIM phones have three slots - some advertise themselves as DualSIM but only have two slots, which means that the memory card slot can be used as a SIM slot. Which means that you can leave your normal SIM card in, and when you travel you take out the memory card and insert the "foreign" SIM card instead. Which is not a great solution.

Fortunately, here in Asia (where I live) 3-slot phones are becoming more and more common. If someone in the US is buying a new phone anyway and knows they'll be traveling abroad, they might want to buy a 3-slot phone...
Huh, I didn't know that you can use SIM slot as a memory card slot. And I'm still not sure you got that right. At least my Samsung J7 has completely different openings/slots for SIMs and memory card. Anyway if you have reasonably new phone and Dropbox (etc.) account and if you don't really do long video footage, your internal memory capacity (enhanced with memory card even more so) should be more than enough.
 

RuediG

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Dovadola-Assisi-Rome (2019)
Huh, I didn't know that you can use SIM slot as a memory card slot. And I'm still not sure you got that right. At least my Samsung J7 has completely different openings/slots for SIMs and memory card. Anyway if you have reasonably new phone and Dropbox (etc.) account and if you don't really do long video footage, your internal memory capacity (enhanced with memory card even more so) should be more than enough.
With the Samsung J7, you're in luck. That "dual SIM" model has three slots. But (buyer beware!) not everything that is advertised as "dual SIM" has an additional dedicated memory card slot. Some just have one "SIM" slot plus one "SIM/Memory dual function" slot. (I've owned both kinds of phone.)
 

paul thibault

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
future-june 2016
Just to clarify a couple of uncertainties in the above posts:
  1. Unless Verizon has only recently changed their policy, all 4G/LTE smartphones purchased through Verizon are already unlocked. You can verify this easily by checking with your Verizon store. I last walked the Camino in May 2017, and the iPhone 5S that I had at that time was unlocked and accepted both Portuguese and Spanish SIM cards. I returned to Europe later that year and used the Spanish SIM card in Spain, Italy, and France.
  2. My iPhone was not purchased outright, but payed-off over the term of my Verizon contract.
  3. Installing a SIM card is a simple procedure that can be accomplished by inserting a straightened paper clip in a small hole in the side of your iPhone, which causes a small plastic tray to eject. The tray holds the SIM card, which you simply swap out with your Verizon SIM card (keep the Verizon card in a secure, watertight place until you return to the US). There are some settings in the iPhone's menu that will be required, so I suggest that you actually allow the Orange or Vodaphone store clerk to do the exchange for you and set the menu.
  4. You will NOT be able to receive calls made to your US number while using another SIM card because your home number is integral to your Verizon SIM card. If you want friends and family back home to be able to call you, just send them a text with your Spanish phone number -- be sure to include the country code for Spain, which is 34.
  5. All other data saved on your phone--contact list, photos, etc, will be available using the Spanish SIM card. EDIT: Since originally making this post, I realized that some Android phones may give the option for storing contact lists, photos, etc, on a separate micro SD memory card, which is a small plug-in chip that looks similar to SIM card. If this is the case with your phone, be sure to leave that micro SD card in your phone. Or if you purchase a new Micro SD card for increased memory space, be sure to transfer the data to the new card. Your phone store (or your teenage kid) should be able to help you with that.
  6. Finally, there are several Orange and Vodaphone stores in Pamplona that are within easy walking distance from the municipal albergue, the cathedral area, and the Plaza de Castillo.
I hope this helps, and I welcome any corrections to my comments based on more recent information.

Buen Camino!
to receive calls using your US number on a new Spanish SIM card do the following:
1. Create a new free google phone number
2. Forward your US number to this Google number
In this way all your calls to your home number will ring (through data usage) wherever you are in Spain.

Texts cannot be forward however. Simply give those who you expect may text you your google number. It will go right to the phone.
 
Casa Ivar Pin
Custom hard enamel pin badge with silver coloured locking pin. Size: 30 mm.
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
to receive calls using your US number on a new Spanish SIM card do the following:
1. Create a new free google phone number
2. Forward your US number to this Google number
In this way all your calls to your home number will ring (through data usage) wherever you are in Spain.
An alternative: I was thinking of doing this (i.e., when away from home having a call to my home number also call my cell phone.) I get too many spam and robot calls that would be even more infuriating when on vacation. I set up my home phone to send email when a message is left. It tells me the time of the call, the number and the length of the message. I can then call my voicemail from my smartphone (if I know the number or if the call is greater than 5 seconds.)
 

paul thibault

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
future-june 2016
An alternative: I was thinking of doing this (i.e., when away from home having a call to my home number also call my cell phone.) I get too many spam and robot calls that would be even more infuriating when on vacation. I set up my home phone to send email when a message is left. It tells me the time of the call, the number and the length of the message. I can then call my voicemail from my smartphone (if I know the number or if the call is greater than 5 seconds.)
If you do not answer your google call it will be transposed to an email or text and will be sent just after the call ends
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you do not answer your google call it will be transposed to an email or text and will be sent just after the call ends
That's good. The thing is though that I want my phone on to get calls from friends who know I'm away and know my mobile number but I don't want to hear even one ring of the phone from a slimeball.
 

mikebet

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
For those who have the freedom to choose a new carrier and who travel frequently abroad you may want to consider T-Mobile. You don't have to change SIM cards or even notify the company when you travel. It automatically jumps to local networks and works very well everywhere we have traveled in Europe and even in much of Asia (Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, but not India). You get unlimited text and data at 3G speed (sometimes 4G) at no extra cost, but voice calls are 35 cents a minute. I have used Google maps for car navigation deep in the Carpathian mountains of Romania and it worked great even there. If you travel a lot consider T-Mobile. We are very happy with it. And no, I don't work for them. LOL
 

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