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Looking for prepaid International SIM card suggestions for Europe.

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Looking for prepaid International SIM card suggestions for Europe.

The spousal unit is going on a Viking River cruise with her sister and I want to get her a SIM card for Europe. They'll be in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Our current carrier, a postpaid AT&T MVNO, does not offer any international roaming, at least not officially.

Last time we went to Europe I ported four of us over to T-Mobile Simple Choice temporarily to take advantage of their included texting and 20¢/minute calling, and included low-speed data, then we changed back to a top-tier carrier when we returned (T-Mobile coverage in the western U.S. proved to be too terrible to tolerate). Now, as of January 6th, 2017, T-Mobile has dropped Simple Choice for new customers, and their new plans are far more expensive, so that's no longer an option.

The ship includes free Wi-Fi, so she could call out via Google Voice using Hangouts, and I would primarily be calling her with free or 5¢ incoming calls, though she might need to make a few outgoing calls.

So what I've found so far is:

OneSimCard "Europe and More."

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. It would be about $32 for the SIM card with $10 of airtime, which would be sufficient considering that incoming calls and texts are "free" but in reality, since they assign an Estonian mobile number, it's quite expensive to call.

Data is expensive at 25¢/MB ($250/GB), but they offer 1GB for $19 (1.9¢/MB) for Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This is a real bargain for roaming data in Europe compared to most other providers. But it is only 3G data.

They have a $10 outgoing text package, 100 SMS for 10¢ each, otherwise it's 25¢/text for normal SMS and 15¢/text using their special texting app, so it's not worth getting their texting package if you're willing to use their texting app.

They give you an Estonian mobile number which is very expensive to call. This is the "gotcha" on some of these prepaid cards because of Europe's bizarre "caller pays" system, and how the prepaid provider gets paid by the actual carrier. Google Voice rates for Estonia are: Mobile 28¢, Mobile - Top Connect 33¢, Personal Number 55¢, Special Services 56¢, and I don't know which kind of number you get.

Total, $51

Maxroam

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Maxroam has a European bundle with 200 Minutes, 200 outgoing texts, 500MB (3G) for €29 for 30 days, plus €20 for the card (which includes €10 credit), plus €3 shipping. Incoming calls over the 200 minutes are 5¢ each, outgoing are 14-32¢ each. Incoming texts are free.

They give you a UK number, which is a Vodafone or EE (BT) number; very cheap to call a Vodafone number, but no information on the cost of calling an EE number.

Total €52/$55.

Kind of leaning toward Maxroam since in the future you can add other bundles for other countries, while you can't do that with the OneSimCard "Europe and More."

Two others I looked at, Telestial and eKit were very expensive.

Any other prepaid International SIM card suggestions?
Date: Jan 11, 2017   


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