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What (if anything) I did wrong?

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
So.. this was my first venture into SIM swapping and I thought that it would be a nice test-run for when I need to do the same for Camino.
We just came home from a Mediterranean Cruise with pre-time in Barcelona and post in Genoa
Thus when we landed at El Pratt I found a Vodafone store in the airport and explained to the young man behind the counter that I will be spending some time in Spain (Barcelona & Palma de Mallorca), then go to France (Marseille) and finish off in Italy (Genoa) and obviously I need a SIM that would work in all countires.
He hooked me up with the one that "would suffice for my need" (if anything the packet said: incluida en esta tarjeta SIM, tienes llamadas y mensajes ilimitados con otros Vodafone yu, 5GB para navegar maxima velocidad, 15 minutos para hablar con quien quieras y Roaming incluido en Europa y EE.UU., todo por solo 10 E), was very helpful actually setting the SIM into the phone and entering whatever codes, passwords et all was necessary to get it to work and told me that I was all set.
It worked beautifully in Barcelona and Palma (i.e. Spain) however when we docked in Marseille I got NADA (no data no phone)…. eventually in Genoa I got phone capability but no data. OK... that brought back the 'old' way of travelling and I actually did enjoy asking locals for directions to various sites and for opinions\recommendations for any eateries.... and we did have a great fun of it.... but, hey I was suppose to get DATA (and he assured me that numerous Aps incl. Google Maps were completely unlimited)
I am not good at Spanish at all (something I will definitely need to brush up on before getting on THE WAY) so when I got 2 text messages (one in M and one in G) I asked a crew member to translate. The translation amounted to something akin to "You are now set to Roam in <insert applicable country> with no additional charge" which again makes me to conclude that it should've worked. :mad:


I found a Vodafone store in Genoa but the gentleman there told me he cannot 'control' SIMs issued in Spain. He provided a phone # for me to call, but.... the stupid robot answered and probably was directing me to choise an option …. in Spanish of course... so it went nowhere...

When I landed in JFK I saw that I had another text (and this one IN ENGLISH so at least I could understand) which advised me that my data connection was 'terminated' because I failed to set the "outside roaming" while in issuing country. Fast look at the settings confirmed indeed that data roaming was turned off and disabled (I guess it had to be turned on while in Spain and while in Spain ONLY.... which IMHO is quite messed up if that is indeed the case? :confused:)

I asked the wife, who confirmed that nothing was said by the El Pratt Vodafone clerk about adjusting roaming, else we would've done it...and obviously he didn't set it.
Should it have been set from the get go? Should;ve I somehow (?) figured it out and set it myself before leaving Spain?
What would've happened if I did set it while in Barcelona but then going to Mallorca? wouldit still work?
Within reasons - is there all to it - just make sure that data roaming is turned on before leaving "Mother Country"?

I am eager to get the answers; at the same I am very humbly and respectfully ask Esteemed Members not to post stuff like "Well..I am using the same service I have in US because it has international roaming..... etc." It obviously does not address my issue. I do not have ATT, T-Mobile or any other big providers, but it matters not. In the context of what had to happen - my (Android) phone was unlocked, I did swipe a SIM and was able to use it at least in the issuing country so all of that WORKS :)

So... what if anything I did do wrong?

(BTW - it is Frances that I am planning to walk so time spent in France is minimal; however it would be nice to let folks back home know that I am OK, arrived and all that. No my US plan does not have international anything so I wont be able to use it once on French soil)

thanks in advance

1575566973361.png


p.s. no the phone was never turned off and never ran out of juice - it was faithfully charged every night
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
I can't count how many people I have overheard in a restaurant or bar struggling with making their phone work with an overseas SIM card. In most cases I can help them in about two minutes, assuming they did not throw out the scrap of paper they should have been given with the right settings for the SIM they are using. The problem is that making it work depends on how the SIM is set up, and how your phone is configured. In your case the culprit was certainly the fact that you had data roaming disabled. Had you enabled it, it might have worked, depending on whether or not you had the right APN settings for the network you roamed on to. Your SIM may have needed a different profile for the APN, or it may not have. Having never used Vodaphone, I can't give you any specific advice, but start with enabling data roaming AFTER the SIM is working properly in the country where you bought it. If you bought it from a third party provider, it may need data roaming enabled in the home country, or it may not. The phone functions and texting will work EU wide by law, but that is not necessarily so for data. When roaming out of the home country, some SIMS will lock onto the right network when you land, some need to be connected to the right network manually. Some will work EU wide with data, some will not. Some will need a set of APN settings to be entered manually, some will not. I wish it was all simple, but its not.

BTW, I have never heard of unlimited use for apps like google maps. Data use is data use, and its on a meter like every other data function. Good luck, and Buen Camino!
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Thanks Rick - at least you confirmed my suspicions that roaming not being enabled was probably the culprit

just for the curiosity - the piece of paper yu are talking about - I do have the original pack with some small brochure and the card with PIN (and where SIM lived before we installed it)
one of these perhaps?
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
I landed in Porto this year and bought a Vodafone SIM card at the airport. Before walking out of the store I asked if the phone would work in Spain and the salesman took back my phone and showed me that he had set it for roaming. I had no problems in either country, but when making calls in Spain the phone would ask me if I wanted to make a call in the country I was in. I would answer yes and the call would go through.

Last year I bought a Vodafone SIM card in Spain and I got unlimited access to maps and facebook and other social media apps that didn't count towards my data. It was a more expensive plan. So Vodafone does sell plans like that. I don't know how they keep track of the data used by the apps.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Thanks @CdnDreamer
So... I do believe lesson learned - make sure it is set to Roaming from the get go

And, as you pointed out - it is possible to have unlimited access to maps and social media apps that didn't count towards my data as well. Chance are I did have one of those "more expensive plans" (it was about 50 euros for slightly over a week (I guess it was a 30-day thingy but I only needed it for like 10 days)

interestingly I made couple of calls in Genoa and the thing never asked me if I wanted to make a call in another country. It simply dialed and connected the call. Go figure....

thanks again both of you
 
Last edited:

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
Thanks Rick - at least you confirmed my suspicions that roaming not being enabled was probably the culprit
just for the curiosity - the piece of paper yu are talking about - I do have the original pack with some small brochure and the card with PIN (and where SIM lived before we installed it)
one of these perhaps?
Sometimes the phone can get what it needs from the SIM for the network you are attached to. This happens with newer phones mostly. Sometimes, you need to set it up manually for data to work. The SIM vendor will have a set of codes you need to add into your phone in this case. They look like mumbo jumbo, but its easy to do. There is a decent overview about this here:

https://www.androidcentral.com/what-apn-and-how-do-i-change-it

If any of the paper in your package looks like codes described in this article, you can enter them into your network settings as described, and it will work. You do this while you are in the country, and while the phone has successfully connected to the network for calls and texts. Its possible that just enabling data roaming will do the trick, and the phone will self-configure. Be patient. It can take several minutes for a roaming phone to come to life the first time in a new country roaming onto a new network. If it doesn't, try adding the APN as described in the article with the parts that Vodaphone provided.

BTW, just cuz I've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It IS possible for app specific data metering to be there, I would just be VERY surprised if that included roaming to other countries as well. Who knows, maybe it does.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
Hello, @CWBuff, I am not going to answer your specific question but I can give some information that may help you or someone else in the future. I have used Vodafone Prepago SIM cards for four years now. Each time the card had a 28 day limit and I was told that I would have to go to a Vodafone store on day 28 to renew the card, which of course is not always possible. This year I asked the sales person in the store to tell me specifically what I would have to do to renew the card if I was not able to go to a Vodafone store on day 28. She told me to go to any of the places that accept payment such as supermercados, tobaconists, correos, and pay the 20E cost of the 28 day plan. Then she gave me a phone number to call (which was not the same number as on the packaging), a recorded message in Spanish asking if I wanted to renew my plan, answer "si", then it asked what I wanted to do, answer "renovar beneficios". I had to do this earlier than planned because I had used up all of my minutes, and it happened that it was the National Holiday, October 12 and everything was closed. By good fortune, the bar just as I was walking into Cee was able to accept and credit my payment, I called the number and said the magic words. The message told me that my plan was renewed for 28 days more (from the date of the call, not the original date) which was all I needed.

Oh, the mysteries of Spain!
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Thanks @Sparrow in Texas
Something else to keep in mind as my planned trek will definitely be more than a month so at some point the renew will be necessary

I think its more like "The Mysteries of modern Travel" 😏
Like I quipped in the original post - whole of a sudden here we were: conversing with people on the street and consulting printout maps that were handed to us on the ship. Brought back some old-time memories.
None-the-less, the first instinct on discovering that the cursed gadget didn't work was a bit of panic - AMAZING how much we know simply depend on them for so many things
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
Norte,19
I just got back from the camino after 48 days roaming around while using Google-Fi. Seamless from the US to Spain. Not one glitch during all those days. Sent and received text , pictures , email, internet all the shibang! I did not find a single dead spot during the walks and I was using it to feed my gps tracker. I was annoyed at getting robo calls at odd hours but ce-la-vie. HIghly recommended as the best solution in any european/US need.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
So.. this was my first venture into SIM swapping and I thought that it would be a nice test-run for when I need to do the same for Camino.
We just came home from a Mediterranean Cruise with pre-time in Barcelona and post in Genoa
Thus when we landed at El Pratt I found a Vodafone store in the airport and explained to the young man behind the counter that I will be spending some time in Spain (Barcelona & Palma de Mallorca), then go to France (Marseille) and finish off in Italy (Genoa) and obviously I need a SIM that would work in all countires.
He hooked me up with the one that "would suffice for my need" (if anything the packet said: incluida en esta tarjeta SIM, tienes llamadas y mensajes ilimitados con otros Vodafone yu, 5GB para navegar maxima velocidad, 15 minutos para hablar con quien quieras y Roaming incluido en Europa y EE.UU., todo por solo 10 E), was very helpful actually setting the SIM into the phone and entering whatever codes, passwords et all was necessary to get it to work and told me that I was all set.
It worked beautifully in Barcelona and Palma (i.e. Spain) however when we docked in Marseille I got NADA (no data no phone)…. eventually in Genoa I got phone capability but no data. OK... that brought back the 'old' way of travelling and I actually did enjoy asking locals for directions to various sites and for opinions\recommendations for any eateries.... and we did have a great fun of it.... but, hey I was suppose to get DATA (and he assured me that numerous Aps incl. Google Maps were completely unlimited)
I am not good at Spanish at all (something I will definitely need to brush up on before getting on THE WAY) so when I got 2 text messages (one in M and one in G) I asked a crew member to translate. The translation amounted to something akin to "You are now set to Roam in <insert applicable country> with no additional charge" which again makes me to conclude that it should've worked. :mad:


I found a Vodafone store in Genoa but the gentleman there told me he cannot 'control' SIMs issued in Spain. He provided a phone # for me to call, but.... the stupid robot answered and probably was directing me to choise an option …. in Spanish of course... so it went nowhere...

When I landed in JFK I saw that I had another text (and this one IN ENGLISH so at least I could understand) which advised me that my data connection was 'terminated' because I failed to set the "outside roaming" while in issuing country. Fast look at the settings confirmed indeed that data roaming was turned off and disabled (I guess it had to be turned on while in Spain and while in Spain ONLY.... which IMHO is quite messed up if that is indeed the case? :confused:)

I asked the wife, who confirmed that nothing was said by the El Pratt Vodafone clerk about adjusting roaming, else we would've done it...and obviously he didn't set it.
Should it have been set from the get go? Should;ve I somehow (?) figured it out and set it myself before leaving Spain?
What would've happened if I did set it while in Barcelona but then going to Mallorca? wouldit still work?
Within reasons - is there all to it - just make sure that data roaming is turned on before leaving "Mother Country"?

I am eager to get the answers; at the same I am very humbly and respectfully ask Esteemed Members not to post stuff like "Well..I am using the same service I have in US because it has international roaming..... etc." It obviously does not address my issue. I do not have ATT, T-Mobile or any other big providers, but it matters not. In the context of what had to happen - my (Android) phone was unlocked, I did swipe a SIM and was able to use it at least in the issuing country so all of that WORKS :)

So... what if anything I did do wrong?

(BTW - it is Frances that I am planning to walk so time spent in France is minimal; however it would be nice to let folks back home know that I am OK, arrived and all that. No my US plan does not have international anything so I wont be able to use it once on French soil)

thanks in advance

View attachment 67491


p.s. no the phone was never turned off and never ran out of juice - it was faithfully charged every night
I avoid all of that by using t-Mobile as my service provider in the US. My "Simple" plan includes unlimited texts and full use of my US data package when in more than 140 countries outside the US. Voice calls anywhere are USD 25 cents per minute.

It truly is very simple. When I land in any European country and take my phone out of airplane mode it connects to any available service, without roaming charges. I am good to go. It is no different from landing in any distant US city after flying in, except the service provider might be Vodafone, Orange, Mobilus....etc...

One additional thing I learned here in the forum, is how to avoid paying 25 cents USD per minute for voice calls. Go someplace with good free Wi-Fi. Put your phone in Airplane Mode, but turn Wi-Fi on. All t-Mobile plans permit voice calls over Wi-Fi - it's in the cellular settings. Voila, free VOIP calls!

I use the .25 cents per minute for urgent unavoidable voice calls, usually just to answer to tell someone I will call them back at (X) time - when I can do it for free. So, over a full month, I will spend maybe 4 - 5 dollars on air time. The only other time I use the VOIP option is to call my 87-year old mom every Sunday. 45 minutes at .25 cents per, can add up when you are in Spain for a month or more.

Short answer, if you had t-Mobile, you could have avoided all this... (I have no commercial interest in this company).

Hope this helps.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
thanks @t2andreo

Actually you are the 2nd person who brought up T-Mobile to my attention. Yes it is unquestionably very convenient. One of the things to mull over is switching plans
Currently both my wife and I are using Virgine Mobil paying $40.00\pp for unlimited talk, text & data in US
Both of our phones are LGs and we got them for less than $80.00 each.
Short of Camino and sporadic ventures to Europe - we pretty much travel within US hence no communication issues. I do not know what it would take to switch. If monthly plans are more than $80.00 for both of us and or T-Mobile may require us to buy new phones (and IPhones at that which as I saw can REALLY COST!) then I rather take my chance on playing the SIM card switcheroo.
(I do however like your note on Airplane Mode\Free WiFi VOIP calls)

I am still good 1.5 years away from my Camino start date; lets see what transpires within that time. Meanwhile, as I said - lesson learned and perhaps I simply have to pay attention to the Roaming settings if next time something like this happens.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
Hello all! My intention in my reply to @CWBuff was how to work with the SIM or plan that you have rather than to reintroduce the often heard topic of "What is the best SIM card or phone plan?" Indeed, how to renew a Vodafone SIM in Spain was a question I had in the past and never got a workable answer for, so this year I made a point of getting a specific answer in the store. Since I speak reasonable castellano it was not too hard.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
Bought a Vodafone SIM for my iPhone 7 in Italy last August, about €30, good for at least 28 days (I'm thinking it was 30). It worked seamlessly in Italy, Spain (including its islands), France (including Corsica) and Portugal (including the Azores) with no problems. I was able to recharge (paying by credit card) each month for €10 or €12 (can't remember which) using the My Vodafone app, which also kept track of how much data and minutes I had available. Each recharge gave me 20 or 30 gigabytes of data (and periodically I would get a message telling they were giving me extra, for no apparent reason); I never used more than 5GB a month and my usage was, I thought pretty heavy as my wife was using the same data on her iPhone by logging into the Personal Hotspot on my iPhone. Each recharge gave me 500 minutes of in country calls and 300 minutes of foreign calls. I never figured out whether calls made from outside of Italy were in country or foreign but I never used more than a small portion of the allotted minutes. I just checked and cellular roaming is, and therefore was, on during the trip.

One caution, the plan only allowed for 1 text message (SMS). Texting is expensive in Europe; everyone seems to use WhatsApp over WiFi rather than regular SMS text messaging.

Another caution: don't lose the PIN number the SIM comes with; you need it anytime you reboot your phone, so if you run out of battery and the phone dies, after recharging you can't get into the SIM without having the number. I kept the number in Notes where it was available when I needed it; I also kept the card that came with the SIM.

Anyway, Vodafone worked great in four countries and their islands, the app allowed me to recharge without going to a store or kiosk, and the cost was very low. The SIM is good for a year after its last use, so I will reuse it when I return to Europe next year.
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
thanks @t2andreo

Actually you are the 2nd person who brought up T-Mobile to my attention. Yes it is unquestionably very convenient. One of the things to mull over is switching plans
One heads up if you switch to T-Mobile. We do use it and like it. However, for this plan and any other where you use your United States number, for someone calling you from Europe, it is an international call. If you leave a message on phone mail for a hostel or some place where you want a call back, they may not do it if it is an international call. I have witnessed this happening while in a pilgrim shelter in France on the Vezelay.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
@backpack45scb
valid observation\information and definitely good to know
see - everything has its pro and cons :)
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
One caution, the plan only allowed for 1 text message (SMS). Texting is expensive in Europe; everyone seems to use WhatsApp over WiFi rather than regular SMS text messaging.
Surely there has been some misunderstanding? Just one text message? And texting is expensive in Europe?

My plan (with EE , which was Orange) allows unlimited texts (and calls) while costing just £15-00 (euros 17.79) per month ; my wife's SIM-only plan (£9-00 per month) also has unlimited texts plus 250 mins of calls. These allowances are valid in the the UK and the EU (the latter for the time being!).
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Well... back to MY situation - I was specifically told that I could not text "as the texting as we americans understand - does not exist in Europe"
with that - I could get texts from my family in US but try as I may could not text them back (it just sat in Unsend) and yes I tried the 001 and +1 and all that jazz
I did get the texts I mentioned from Vodafone itself though; but I guess I can chalk them up as "notifications" rather than SMS texts
 

Obilix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances and Finisterre (2015), Portuguese and Finisterre (2016), Primitivo (2019)
I could get texts from my family in US but try as I may could not text them back (it just sat in Unsend) and yes I tried the 001 and +1 and all that jazz
The call/data/text package you bought almost certainly didn't include international SMS, so you'd have needed to add extra credit to your account and watch it slowly decline with each outgoing text. You're not typically charged for incoming texts, even international ones, which is why they were being delivered.

WhatsApp or any other data-based messaging service (FB Messenger, iMessage, etc) are typically a better option for staying in touch when you're traveling, since they'll work with both Wi-Fi and cell data, and cost nothing extra either way.
 

arch

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
So.. this was my first venture into SIM swapping and I thought that it would be a nice test-run for when I need to do the same for Camino.
We just came home from a Mediterranean Cruise with pre-time in Barcelona and post in Genoa
Thus when we landed at El Pratt I found a Vodafone store in the airport and explained to the young man behind the counter that I will be spending some time in Spain (Barcelona & Palma de Mallorca), then go to France (Marseille) and finish off in Italy (Genoa) and obviously I need a SIM that would work in all countires.
He hooked me up with the one that "would suffice for my need" (if anything the packet said: incluida en esta tarjeta SIM, tienes llamadas y mensajes ilimitados con otros Vodafone yu, 5GB para navegar maxima velocidad, 15 minutos para hablar con quien quieras y Roaming incluido en Europa y EE.UU., todo por solo 10 E), was very helpful actually setting the SIM into the phone and entering whatever codes, passwords et all was necessary to get it to work and told me that I was all set.
It worked beautifully in Barcelona and Palma (i.e. Spain) however when we docked in Marseille I got NADA (no data no phone)…. eventually in Genoa I got phone capability but no data. OK... that brought back the 'old' way of travelling and I actually did enjoy asking locals for directions to various sites and for opinions\recommendations for any eateries.... and we did have a great fun of it.... but, hey I was suppose to get DATA (and he assured me that numerous Aps incl. Google Maps were completely unlimited)
I am not good at Spanish at all (something I will definitely need to brush up on before getting on THE WAY) so when I got 2 text messages (one in M and one in G) I asked a crew member to translate. The translation amounted to something akin to "You are now set to Roam in <insert applicable country> with no additional charge" which again makes me to conclude that it should've worked. :mad:


I found a Vodafone store in Genoa but the gentleman there told me he cannot 'control' SIMs issued in Spain. He provided a phone # for me to call, but.... the stupid robot answered and probably was directing me to choise an option …. in Spanish of course... so it went nowhere...

When I landed in JFK I saw that I had another text (and this one IN ENGLISH so at least I could understand) which advised me that my data connection was 'terminated' because I failed to set the "outside roaming" while in issuing country. Fast look at the settings confirmed indeed that data roaming was turned off and disabled (I guess it had to be turned on while in Spain and while in Spain ONLY.... which IMHO is quite messed up if that is indeed the case? :confused:)

I asked the wife, who confirmed that nothing was said by the El Pratt Vodafone clerk about adjusting roaming, else we would've done it...and obviously he didn't set it.
Should it have been set from the get go? Should;ve I somehow (?) figured it out and set it myself before leaving Spain?
What would've happened if I did set it while in Barcelona but then going to Mallorca? wouldit still work?
Within reasons - is there all to it - just make sure that data roaming is turned on before leaving "Mother Country"?

I am eager to get the answers; at the same I am very humbly and respectfully ask Esteemed Members not to post stuff like "Well..I am using the same service I have in US because it has international roaming..... etc." It obviously does not address my issue. I do not have ATT, T-Mobile or any other big providers, but it matters not. In the context of what had to happen - my (Android) phone was unlocked, I did swipe a SIM and was able to use it at least in the issuing country so all of that WORKS :)

So... what if anything I did do wrong?

(BTW - it is Frances that I am planning to walk so time spent in France is minimal; however it would be nice to let folks back home know that I am OK, arrived and all that. No my US plan does not have international anything so I wont be able to use it once on French soil)

thanks in advance

View attachment 67491


p.s. no the phone was never turned off and never ran out of juice - it was faithfully charged every night
For a Sept-Oct trip to France and Italy I bought an orange sim from Amazon. Worked great once I got the pan right https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07NLCL9SP/ref=psdcmw_14674870011_t1_B06XBYMX58
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Well... back to MY situation - I was specifically told that I could not text "as the texting as we americans understand - does not exist in Europe"
🤣. It's amazing, the kind of 'explanations' they can come up with. And that includes Helpline staff.

I'm writing as someone who is not surprised when switching on my smartphone abroad (within Europe) and not seeing any net at all, just an eternal "searching" going on, or seeing a phone net but no data net despite having activated roaming which was apparently not the case for you. This is not an unusual event. The most basic thing to do, and I don't think anyone mentioned it yet, is to switch off the phone and switch it back on. I noticed that you never did that as you said:
When we docked in Marseille I got NADA (no data no phone)…
p.s. no, the phone was never turned off and never ran out of juice - it was faithfully charged every night
This may be useful to remember when you travel again in Europe.

Switching the phone off and on again or selecting manually a different provider than the one that got automatically selected can also help when you don't have a data connection, despite roaming being activated. Reason: You need to use a provider who is a "partner" provider of the provider who issued your simcard. Not every provider will work for data connections when in data roaming mode.
I made couple of calls in Genoa and the thing never asked me if I wanted to make a call in another country. It simply dialed and connected the call. Go figure....
This is exactly how I'd expect it to work. I have never ever been asked whether I really wanted to make an international call when abroad. I think it is quite unusual to see this question. Or are others of a different opinion?

PS: Obviously, being "abroad" means always "abroad in relation to the country where the simcard was issued" and I'm talking of the simcard provider being in one EU country and the simcard user in another EU country, ie @CWBuff's scenario when he travelled in France and Italy with his Spanish simcard. In all these years of travelling within the EU with simcards issued in one EU country, I never had to take the simcard out of the phone or fiddle around with the APN setting which are the next two steps recommended when the phone does not get any connection at all or does not get a data connection, despite correct roaming settings. Switching off and on or selecting a valid partner provider manually always solved the problem. Alas, sometimes there is no partner provider in a specific area and you can only make phone calls and have no internet access, but that is increasingly rare.
 
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czelnick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2019
I want to put in a plug for Google FI enabled phones.

When we walked Kumano Kodo in Japan last spring, my Pixel 3 on the Fi plan popped up with "Welcome to Japan" when we landed, and I didn't have to do a thing to set up for a foreign country (I live in the US). I plan to use this in Spain as well; the Google Fi site says "Spain is covered". The rates are not bad.
 

K Turner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August-October 2019 CF
I just got back from the camino after 48 days roaming around while using Google-Fi. Seamless from the US to Spain. Not one glitch during all those days. Sent and received text , pictures , email, internet all the shibang! I did not find a single dead spot during the walks and I was using it to feed my gps tracker. I was annoyed at getting robo calls at odd hours but ce-la-vie. HIghly recommended as the best solution in any european/US need.
My husband and I had the same experience with Google Fi during our Camino (August to October). We also spent time in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Germany. No special plans, no glitches, no dead spots. We've been with them a couple years and love them!
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
OK...so.... it seems the verdict is
use something akin to GoogleFi or T-Mobile (i.e. switch your provider in US) to save you a load of headache or do not forget to make sure your roaming is turned on if you wind up switching SIM
Once more - thanks everyone; lessons learned :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
OK...so.... it seems the verdict is
use something akin to GoogleFi or T-Mobile (i.e. switch your provider in US) to save you a load of headache
I think that you will also save lots of money if you permanently switch to Google Fi or T-mobile. My husband and I pay $70/month (including all taxes and fees) for two lines of unlimited talk, text and data with T-mobile's 55+ plan.
Google Fi has a different pricing structure, which I believe can be even less expensive. If you go with Google Fi you need to make sure that you have a phone that works with their system.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Google Fi may be the better option for you than T-mobile if you meet these two conditions: (1) You do not use much data. Google charges $10 per GB (but essentially $0.01 per MB; e.g., you are only charged $5 for a half gig of usage, not $10) for data up to 6 GB (and then it is free). [Edit: it charges the same overseas.] This is relatively expensive. (2) You have a Google brand phone. This is because those phones (and maybe a few others) will switch between 3 US carriers and public wifi (using a VPN) depending on what carrier has the best signal strenth. T-mobile is one of those carriers. If you don't use any data at all Google charges $20 per month for T-mobile coverage plus the other carriers. That's with unlimited talk and text. Family rate is $15 per month more per line with it and additional data being charged to the primary line. Calls to and from your phone overseas is 20 cents per minute over the cellular network. International calls made over wifi (get into airplane mode and then connect to wifi and then call as normal) are 2 cents per minute to a landline phone, 3 cents to a mobile phone.

An oddity I ran into was that sometimes when I called the US I needed to precede the area code with a +1 or a 001 and other times I didn't. The difference may be if Fi was connecting through Orange or Vodaphone or some other service.

Avoid using data over the cellular network and try to get it when connected to wifi.

Edit: You can now use Google Fi over several models of phones including iPhones but you probably will not be able to have it switch automatically between carriers. You may have to select one and stay with it. Also, Google phones are using eSIMs now and that allows you to insert a EU SIM card into the phone and you now have two lines. It's too complicated for me to explain here but on my last camino I used Orange during the day for data and at night switched to Fi and wifi for data and calls home. All without seeing SIM cards.

Edit: (yeah, another one) Peg just got an email from Fi telling her about the basic family plan and the unlimited family plan (she is not on Fi). At the URL below you can punch in the number of people you want on the family plan and they will tell you the monthly cost for each of the plans.
 
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