International Data

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by TravelBear, Sep 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    So I have perused threads about unlocking phones and getting SIM cards on arrival to wherever you are as well as a few other options for keeping connected when out of your normal service area. They all involve multiple steps that I just don't want to have to deal with if possible. So here's the lowdown. Czech Rep, Germany and Switzerland (possibly Austria) over two weeks. I really want just data to be able to email when not able to find wifi. I won't be making phone calls and only occasionally texting. I am okay paying as I go for talk and text as it will truly be only as needed. I have a an iphone 4s and my service is with AT&T.

    My question is has anyone ever just added data temporarily for international with AT&T and how was it? It doesn't look much more expensive than me having to change SIM cards for each place I am going (unless I am looking at this all wrong, which has been known to happen)

    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
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  2. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    There are several threads on this subject. I now have and use more than either sim cards for different countries so I think I know something about this issue. :rolleyes: Maybe I really do not, there are many moving parts.
    First, take a detailed look at AT&T options:
    http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international.html#fbid=myY-15dcBzo

    Second, when you are spending only a few days in each country it is a hassle to spend a few hours opening a new account, activating it and using it. IME, you ned to assume it will be 3-4 hours of wasted time buying and setting up each account. Generally I roam internationally if I'll be in a country for less than a week. Even if expensive it is such a hassle to plan prepaid usage, so almost always you'll waste mony by leaving balances you won't use, even if the AT&T nominal rate will be much higher.

    Third, if you want these individually remember you'll be buying four individual prepaid sims. Within the EU cross border roaming is becoming less onerous, but it is still a hassle to optimize, worse yet if you end out with multiple national accounts form an issuer with the same name (e.g. I have four (4) Vodaphone sims so I must write the country on each one.

    Lastly, if you're really tight on budget and/or expect to be using lots of mapping using only cellular triangulation it could still be worth it. However, many phones let you set to use only GPS signals and/or wifi, while blocking cellular. If you can do that you'll save a big bundle of data usage. That, of course, depends on your device options and capabilities. in this case YMDV (skip the 'May', it's 'Does'!)
     
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  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I keep a pre-paid phone for when I am in Europe (mostly England), and I "top it up" when I go back into the country. I purchased this once before when overseas, and it's nice to land and immediately be able to make calls. It also offers texting, and some other packages offer data as well. I'd imagine you could also request/buy a SIM to put into your phone when in the local country, although it might depend on where you go. In England there are plenty of providers to choose from, but I admit I'm not sure what is available in the countries you mentioned. Plus there is also the issue of unused credit to consider as mentioned by jbcarioca.
     
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  4. RnTTravel

    RnTTravel Silver Member

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    I've been to Europe several times and I also have AT&T with an iPhone 5. I buy their international add on data package. You now have to buy it for a minimum of 30 days - where u used to be able to just buy it for the length of time you really needed. But I've never had any issues. When you set it up you program the data package to turn on/off when you need it. I believe they have 3 levels (data amount). Take a look at you past 3 or 4 months of data useage and that will give you a starting point as to the amount of data you need to buy. I've never had any problems. And their is nothing you have to do to your phone. Just turn it on when you arrive Europe and it will auto detect the carrier and work right off the bat.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  5. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    That's what I wanted to hear! I plan on only using the data to supplement non-free wifi so will likely go with the 120MB for $30. That is about 1/4 what I usually use in a month and we are only going for 12 days.
     
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  6. RnTTravel

    RnTTravel Silver Member

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    Great. Like I said they will make you pay for a whole months data which means you'll have 120MB to use in the 1 week you'll be in Europe. Also I don't know what type of phone you have but you should turn off the phone part while your in Europe unless of course you want to make and receive phone calls. Otherwise if you don't, whenever your phone rings, even if you don't answer it, you'll be charged for an international call. AT&T can instruct you on how to do this based on what type of phone you have.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  7. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    I did this last year for a Peru, Argentina and chile trip. Historically, I'd do the internationl SIM or regional/country sim dance. Not a problem, just logistically it takes more effort. In two weeks traveling, trying to use wifi in hotels, at cafes, etc., using skype to make calls, using a textfree or google voice app for texting over data (and not the cellular side) I made about 1.5 hours of skype calls over cellular, and had email setup to not download images, and only downloaded MANUALLY, I only used about 80MB of the initial 120MB package.. I also bought the 50 SMS bundle for another 10$, and incoming texts to your regular number are FREE, it's just the outbound that costs .50$ a text (if you don't have a plan).. I'd forward my primary number to my google voice number and then I'd get a little google voice sms with voicemail notification and could call back vis skype if necessary.
     
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  8. Muerl
    Original Member

    Muerl Gold Member

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    Thats about how I worked things out. I spent 2.5 months bouncing around SE Asia and the Pacific a year and a bit ago, and did the next tier up. For the cost, it was totally worth it. The hassle of dealing with changing stuff was simply not worth it. The only time I was frustrated was in .VN where for some reason there is no AT&T roaming partner. It was the same in Laos, but Vietnam is all industrial and modern unlike Laos.
     
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  9. Seat6A

    Seat6A Silver Member

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    Tivoboy. Godo info. I'm on Verizon so slightly different and created a seperate post.
     

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