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sim card for europe recommendations


lincoln81
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1 hour ago, Mike_and_Co said:

I've been trying to read up on this a bit. We currently have service through Page Plus, an MVNO. While this saves us quite a bit monthly, it also brings limitations like not being able to use the phone as a hot spot, and no ability to roam internationally if I understand their terms correctly. 

 

Having a French phone number with Bouygues back in 2022 did introduce some issues as no one could call us at our regular phone number, and it seems like there were also some limitations on our ability to text, at least as best as I recall - ? 

 

Now, the prospect of loading an eSIM so that we can have multiple services in the phone simultaneously has changed the landscape considerably, though I can't say I fully understand how this works in practice. 

 

Comparing all of the service providers and their various plans is absolutely a matter of apples, oranges and the rest of the fruit-bowl combined, along with a healthy measure of nuts thrown in for good measure. 

 

Airalo and Google Fi look like contenders, but I'm still trying to interpret the best route to put together the jigsaw puzzle of data, text and calling services with some measure of economy. Bottom line, I don't think I've had this much fun since we signed up for Medicare...

What is Google Fi and Medicare ? 
They are not in Canada 

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26 minutes ago, Ex-Airbalancer said:

What is Google Fi and Medicare ? 
They are not in Canada 

 

16 minutes ago, d9704011 said:

I lost track at Page Plus.

😄 Oops, my bad!

Can I activate Google Fi in Canada?

Important: You must activate and use Google Fi in the United States (territories not included). After that, you can use Google Fi service internationally.
I'll kindly not even mention Medicare any further. Just enjoy your blessings. ; ) 
Edited by Mike_and_Co
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  • 4 weeks later...
23 hours ago, Lolomazz said:

which sim card woeks on Mediterranean cruises?

 

If you want an eSIM, then many on CC have had great luck - us included - with Airalo.

 

Note that Airalo is going to work IN PORT, or when the ship is close enough to a port to connect to local cell towers.  If you have no tower connection you only have ship's wifi to work with.

 

Airalo offer packages of European countries - you just have to ensure that the package you get covers all the countries you are stopping in.

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I will get Airalo for Europe. My grandson suggested leaving my regular sim card at home  and I am leaning towards this . I wonder if my phone is not in airplane mode near a port with it only pick up the tower signal for land for Airalo or will it get the ship signal ( which I don't want!)

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Airalo looks for specific carriers in each country so I don't think that you'll ever pick up the ship signal. I remember getting local 3G on Regal Princess in Belize while on the ship and we weren't that close to shore.

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6 hours ago, gold1953 said:

I will get Airalo for Europe. My grandson suggested leaving my regular sim card at home  and I am leaning towards this . I wonder if my phone is not in airplane mode near a port with it only pick up the tower signal for land for Airalo or will it get the ship signal ( which I don't want!)

If you get an esim you don't have to remove your sim card.  If you decide to remove your sim, that will certainly preclude any unexpected roaming charges.  Leaving your sim at home though is probably not a good idea; you may want to use your phone before you leave Canada and when you get back and you may wish to make phone calls while away if something important/urgent comes up.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, d9704011 said:

If you get an esim you don't have to remove your sim card.  If you decide to remove your sim, that will certainly preclude any unexpected roaming charges.  Leaving your sim at home though is probably not a good idea; you may want to use your phone before you leave Canada and when you get back and you may wish to make phone calls while away if something important/urgent comes up.

 

Agree.  Don't remove your physical SIM.

 

I have iPhone, and you have the setting ability to enable or disable each SIM - either the Home SIM or the eSIM that you are using.

 

You never know when you will want to enable your home SIM and make an emergency call...  I would always be prepared for that situation.

 

You do have to make changes to your settings so that your Home SIM is not connecting, and you should figure that out before you leave home.

Edited by CDNPolar
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14 minutes ago, CDNPolar said:

 

Agree.  Don't remove your physical SIM.

 

I have iPhone, and you have the setting ability to enable or disable each SIM - either the Home SIM or the eSIM that you are using.

 

You never know when you will want to enable your home SIM and make an emergency call...  I would always be prepared for that situation.

 

You do have to make changes to your settings so that your Home SIM is not connecting, and you should figure that out before you leave home.

thanks

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We've used a physical 3UK SIM ordered from Amazon in Canada before we leave. Change SIM card while on plane and it works on arrival. Works in UK and EU countries.  25 GB for $30/Cdn. Doesn't work while you are underway unless close to shore.

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59 minutes ago, brimarl said:

We've used a physical 3UK SIM ordered from Amazon in Canada before we leave. Change SIM card while on plane and it works on arrival. Works in UK and EU countries.  25 GB for $30/Cdn. Doesn't work while you are underway unless close to shore.

Just note that the 25GB is only in the UK. For roaming there is a "fair use policy" that allows only 12GB to be used in Europe.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We had such a hassle with e-sim in Nov 2023. Since I didn't do it before we left Canada, had difficulty managing to install. When I logged in to load it, it took that as my registration and I couldn't complete it. Emails back and forth pre-cruise (on hotel wi-fi only), with no result. Ended up challenging the charge on my credit card and got the refund, but the loss of internet on cruise was felt strongly! SO, seems doing it pre-cruise is best.

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I just moved over to Freedom Mobile, and their roaming plans look pretty good. Disappointingly they don't support the one country we will be spending the most time in (Norway) on our upcoming cruise in May.

 

Freedom mobile also has worldwide wifi calling. I will be able to use voice and text as if I was at home, using wifi or data.

 

Our Previous cruise, I had signed up for Airalo, as it was the only eSIM I could find that covered most of the Caribbean. However, that cruise was shortened and re-routed the next day, and we didn't go to any of the countries that I paid for. Airalo refunded me in credit, which is more than I expected, so I am going to reload a European eSIM for our up coming cruise. I don't think Airalo is the absolute cheapest travel eSIM, but it is the one I have heard the most positive things about.

 

I also have a few backup eSIMs with some extra data that were given away free. Not sure if any of those are still available now.

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2 hours ago, mbentley said:

We had such a hassle with e-sim in Nov 2023. Since I didn't do it before we left Canada, had difficulty managing to install. When I logged in to load it, it took that as my registration and I couldn't complete it. Emails back and forth pre-cruise (on hotel wi-fi only), with no result. Ended up challenging the charge on my credit card and got the refund, but the loss of internet on cruise was felt strongly! SO, seems doing it pre-cruise is best.

Which eSIM company did you have a problem using ? 

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49 minutes ago, Ex-Airbalancer said:

Which eSIM company did you have a problem using ? 

Orange. Probably would have been fine if I had loaded before I left. Lots of people use this company.

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3 hours ago, mbentley said:

Orange. Probably would have been fine if I had loaded before I left. Lots of people use this company.

 

You really have to load before you go.  Some settings must be done before leaving Canada, or you cannot make them once away from home.

 

I don't think that it matters what company you use - most are good.

 

There is a lot of discussion about Airalo however and we have had great luck with them.

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We've used Airola eSim in North America but I like to use a physical SIM in Europe. Just store your Canada SIM safely and use a prepaid SIM . 

On a cruise your cellphone will connect to the ship network but with a prepaid SIM it won't give service. If your Canadian SIM is still installed and active you could get some very high connection and roaming charges. 

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1 hour ago, brimarl said:

We've used Airola eSim in North America but I like to use a physical SIM in Europe. Just store your Canada SIM safely and use a prepaid SIM . 

On a cruise your cellphone will connect to the ship network but with a prepaid SIM it won't give service. If your Canadian SIM is still installed and active you could get some very high connection and roaming charges. 

Probably in year or two it will be just esims from Canadian providers,

I guess I will have learn how to toggle between providers 😉😁

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, brimarl said:

We've used Airola eSim in North America but I like to use a physical SIM in Europe. Just store your Canada SIM safely and use a prepaid SIM . 

On a cruise your cellphone will connect to the ship network but with a prepaid SIM it won't give service. If your Canadian SIM is still installed and active you could get some very high connection and roaming charges. 

 

This is all about the settings.  You can successfully have your home physical SIM and an eSIM installed and not get connection and roaming charges when away.

 

Each type of phone can be different in settings, but with Airola we install the eSIM at home before travel and turn off the eSIM.  On the iPhone, there is "SIMs" section in the Cellular heading of the Settings.  After installing the eSIM you to there and name the eSIM and turn it off.  

 

On the plane before landing wherever you are going, you turn off your home SIM and turn on the eSIM.  This allows you to connect the the European service as soon as you land and if the home SIM is off you will not connect and incur charges.

 

This way also allows you to quickly turn on the home SIM if you are ever in an emergency situation and you need to access your home number.  But, as long as it is off before landing you are good.

 

The challenge is that if you do forget to turn your home SIM off, you will connect and have charges.

Edited by CDNPolar
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4 hours ago, CDNPolar said:

The challenge is that if you do forget to turn your home SIM off, you will connect and have charges.

Yeah I did get dinged for that once because I do leave my home SIM in case I get an emergency call. Costly lesson.

 

What I learned from this - make sure that you do not have any sort of "Roam like home" packages active. With the eSIM you really don't need to have this, so turn this off and you won't get dinged the minute you connect to a non-Canadian provider. 

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