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SIM Card question (again)

Camino(s) past & future
2015
Dear Pilgrims and friends:
A William Pink posted he purchased a T-mobile no contract unlimited voice, text and data SIM before leaving on the CF. I am trying to find this on line- but not successful. Does anyone have a link or experience with this purchase? I will be in France for one week, Spain for 5 weeks and then back to France for 2 days in May and June. Maybe I should just get the Orange SIM card in France and assume it will work in Spain? My timing is such- that I will be arriving Saturday afternoon in Pamplona and know the stores will be closed on Sunday so the option of purchasing in Pamplona doesn't work. I do have an unlocked iphone.
Thanks everyone!
 

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shubertj

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles, Finisterre/Muxia 2017
Primitivo 2019
If you have T mobile service you don't need a Sim as you get free roaming in Spain. Go to their website for details their service provides free Data, Text and Voice in Spain and France. I believe sprint offers it also, who is you provider?
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I bought a pre-paid Orange sim when I was in Portugal, thinking it would easily transfer to the other European countries I was visiting (and particularly Spain). It did not, as soon as I crossed the border I was without access and no amount of talking to Spain or Portuguese Orange got me back the credit on the card or further use of the card. I’d be interested in finding a pre-card sim that is truly easy to use all over Europe, with reasonable prices for large amounts of data and a few local phone calls. One that lasts longer than a month. I cannot find one that does. I’m in Australia and happy to buy when I reach Europe, probably landing in Germany.
 

JCLima

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português (Out/2016)
I bought a pre-paid Orange sim when I was in Portugal, thinking it would easily transfer to the other European countries I was visiting (and particularly Spain). It did not, as soon as I crossed the border I was without access and no amount of talking to Spain or Portuguese Orange got me back the credit on the card or further use of the card. I’d be interested in finding a pre-card sim that is truly easy to use all over Europe, with reasonable prices for large amounts of data and a few local phone calls. One that lasts longer than a month. I cannot find one that does. I’m in Australia and happy to buy when I reach Europe, probably landing in Germany.
Any phone SIM card works in both Portugal and Spain (and other countries)
Sometimes what happens is that people buy data/internet SIM cards (not phone SIM cards) and in those cases the card only works in the country where it was bought.
Don't know if it was your case.
 

O Peracha

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
There has been Europe wide roaming for over a year now and so, I think, all SIMs should work in the European zone but perhaps it makes a difference on what type of SIM or plan your purchase. I have an Orange Holiday SIM bought in France. I know from personal experience that it works in Italy and Germany, in addition to France. It actually, worked in the US, also.

Because I go to Europe every year, I decided to keep the same SIM active. Topup is very easy and is done from this website - https://topup.orange.com. Available plans vary based on where your SIM originated, i.e country code of your phone number. You can check the plans by country from this link, also. If you do topup, just remember there is no carryover of anything - minutes, data, text msgs - from your current plan. You can keep your SIM active for 6 months by toping-up with a plan that is over 20 euros.

Finally a caveat. Based on my own experience, what I have heard from others and Kanga's comments above (although I didn't think there was an Orange operator in Portugal), I know that when it comes to cell phone service, your mileage may vary.
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
I would like to know too if the free roaming between European countries would work between France and Spain.

My experience with Portugal is the same as Kanga. The moment I crossed over to Spain on the Camino Portuguese it stopped working. I have to get another prepaid SIM in Spain. The SIM card from Spain has no problem with data when I crossed over to Portugal (to take my flight home).

I suspect the data roaming does not apply for Portuguese SIM card despite the seller telling me they do when the data cost is less than half the cost of Spain with many social media like Facebook or Youtube have unlimited data usage. When it is good to be true.... It usually is...

I hope France and Spain doesn't have the same problem.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Dear Pilgrims and friends:
A William Pink posted he purchased a T-mobile no contract unlimited voice, text and data SIM before leaving on the CF. I am trying to find this on line- but not successful. Does anyone have a link or experience with this purchase? I will be in France for one week, Spain for 5 weeks and then back to France for 2 days in May and June. Maybe I should just get the Orange SIM card in France and assume it will work in Spain? My timing is such- that I will be arriving Saturday afternoon in Pamplona and know the stores will be closed on Sunday so the option of purchasing in Pamplona doesn't work. I do have an unlocked iphone.
Thanks everyone!
Go to a T-mobile store in the US before you go to Europe.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Can't understand why a Portuguese SIM won't work in Spain - unless you're well within Spain and your phone solely pings off of Spanish phone masts you could be near the border and still connect to a Portuguese mast.

For instance if I go to the beach in eastern Kent (UK) my phone cannot pick up a signal from the UK as I'd be below the cliffs but it can (and will) pick up a signal from across the Channel in France (22 miles away).

Perhaps if the phone is set to not allow roaming it is, in effect, locked down to the country where the SIM was issued but I've used my Android on the GiffGaff SIM (3Gb data, unlimited call time and unlimited texts within Europe for the princely sum of £10 ($13, €11,50) a month) in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal within the past 12 months with no problems and no roaming charges.

I shall miss not being a European any more :(
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Can't understand why a Portuguese SIM won't work in Spain :(
It's difficult to tell whether the SIM card purchased in Portugal stopped working in Spain due to a technical issue or set up issue, either on the buyer's phone or at the operators' side, or whether it was meant to not work in Spain. It is wrong to assume that any SIM card purchased in an EU country allows free roaming or "roam like at home" as it is called. From https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm

Operators may also offer contracts without roaming services or specifically designed alternative roaming contracts with tariffs which fall outside the scope of the roam like at home rules (...).
The roam like at home legislation is primarily designed for people who are resident in one EU country and have a contract with their national provider and travel to another EU country for a limited period of time.
In any case, buyers should not assume that they can buy a SIM card in one EU country and then can easily top up the credit in shops in another EU country. Topping up online with a credit card that's accepted for this purpose is best. Also, rules are changing all the time, for example rules about identification and registration when you buy so what worked three years ago may no longer work now. Make sure that you understand what you buy.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I bought a pre-paid Orange sim when I was in Portugal, thinking it would easily transfer to the other European countries I was visiting (and particularly Spain). It did not, as soon as I crossed the border I was without access and no amount of talking to Spain or Portuguese Orange got me back the credit on the card or further use of the card. I’d be interested in finding a pre-card sim that is truly easy to use all over Europe, with reasonable prices for large amounts of data and a few local phone calls. One that lasts longer than a month. I cannot find one that does. I’m in Australia and happy to buy when I reach Europe, probably landing in Germany.
I had a similar experience walking from Sweden to Norway on the S:t Olavsleden last year. The simple explanation was that I could use the SIM in Sweden without registering the phone, but could not use it outside the country until I did that. The particular company had an online registration process linked to the Swedish banking system, which didn't help me one bit.

When I arrived in Trondheim, I was able to recharge my Telia SIM that I had purchased in Norway in 2017. I had bought it in store and registered by identifying myself with my passport. I had previously used this in Iceland and Britain, and it worked just as well again once it was recharged.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
It's difficult to tell whether the SIM card purchased in Portugal stopped working in Spain due to a technical issue or set up issue, either on the buyer's phone or at the operators' side, or whether it was meant to not work in Spain. It is wrong to assume that any SIM card purchased in an EU country allows free roaming or "roam like at home" as it is called. From https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm

Operators may also offer contracts without roaming services or specifically designed alternative roaming contracts with tariffs which fall outside the scope of the roam like at home rules (...).
The roam like at home legislation is primarily designed for people who are resident in one EU country and have a contract with their national provider and travel to another EU country for a limited period of time.
In any case, buyers should not assume that they can buy a SIM card in one EU country and then can easily top up the credit in shops in another EU country. Topping up online with a credit card that's accepted for this purpose is best. Also, rules are changing all the time, for example rules about identification and registration when you buy so what worked three years ago may no longer work now. Make sure that you understand what you buy.
Ah, I didn't mean to infer that any SIM card allows free roaming just that mine does (at present)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Ah, I didn't mean to infer that any SIM card allows free roaming just that mine does (at present)
I know :). Just a general comment as some messages seem to imply that every card should work everywhere.

PS: General feeling here at the moment is please, please, end it next month, no matter how ...
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
I have kept my orange-es sim for 6 years , just top up when I need it. It would not work in Portugal, a real bummer getting off the bus and no gps. So I got a portugal orange sim , also.
This year I will try google-fi seems reasonable with no changes to phone number and data costs the same as in the US. A dual sim phone is a good option, just in case.

link: https://fi.google.com/about/international-rates/
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I know :). Just a general comment as some messages seem to imply that every card should work everywhere.

PS: General feeling here at the moment is please, please, end it next month, no matter how ...
Fingers crossed but the stupidity/self interest of some of our politicians leaves me speechless - on the upside my German language lessons are going well - Tschüss!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
This year I will try google-fi seems reasonable with no changes to phone number and data costs the same as in the US. A dual sim phone is a good option, just in case.
The T-mobile plans in the US work pretty much the same as Google Fi. I have used my T-mobile plan on all of my Caminos and also on trips to Mexico and Guatemala. Unlimited roaming data is included, along with unlimited texting to/from US numbers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
This year I will try google-fi seems reasonable with no changes to phone number and data costs the same as in the US. A dual sim phone is a good option, just in case.

link: https://fi.google.com/about/international-rates/
Don't you just hate the way companies these days skimp on their documentation? Review sites do a much better job. Use this web page to get the Project FI overview: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/project-fi-faq,review-4530.html

I believe you still have to be a US resident to use it but they recently allowed non-Google phones to use it.

What I like about it is that effectively you pay for data by the MB, not GB. 1 cent per MB ($10 per GB). I've had months with no fee or just a few cents for data. Other months when I go way over what I've signed up for it is still the 1 cent per MB.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
With ATT you can buy 1GB of data for 1 month at $60 or a international day pass for $10 a day.
That’s very expensive compared to getting a local SIM card when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Very expensive.
 

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