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I live in London, and would like to find a SIM card that has an attractive EU wide data plan for my iPad. I know I can get individual SIM cards for each country, but that's something I'd like to avoid when going on road trips.

Any suggestions? Ideally I'd like prepaid, but I'm open to a UK contract that would offer a good plan.

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Would something at the legal EU maximum roaming charges work for you, or are you after something cheaper? –  Gagravarr Jan 2 at 11:02
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2 Answers 2

Last year new EU regulations regarding roaming came into place, making roaming à lot more affordable. Within the EU a fixed max fare is in place: 45ct/Mb from July 2013 and 20ct/Mb from july 2014 Whether you should go for a local prepaid plan or rely on roaming depends on your local fees. Last year I went to Portugal and bought a local SIM card. At first sight this Portuguese fee was cheaper then my roaming fees. 9ct per MB versus 45 ct. per MB. Finally my own provider with the expensive fare turned out to be cheaper the local SIM card provider.

This was explained by the fact that my provider from home charged me the total volume and billed me accordingly, whereas the Portuguese prepaid SIM charged the cheaper 9 ct. per MB, but each chunk of data smaller than a MB was charged 9 ct also. So receiving an email of 201 kB would cost 9ct as well since it was charged as 1 MB or less.

This turned out to be quite more expensive then simply roaming. Each time my ipad quit downloading it would take another 9 ct from my balance. Small pauses appear a lot I learned.

If your UK provider, like mine, just bills you the total volume, you might just go for the roaming option. If you don't mind a foreign provider, you could go for my (Belgian) provider: Mobile Viking. They are prepaid, but apply EU roaming fees. Since UK is part of the EU I am pretty sure a good UK provider with similar provisions exist. As said before make sure you are charged by the total volume.

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One should also note that many national operators restrict balance top-ups to debit/credit cards issued within the country when paying online. So either make sure you card is accepted before you leave or top-up the balance with a sufficient sum. –  JonathanReez Jan 3 at 13:27
    
Indeed or go for one that accepts Paypal –  andra Jan 3 at 13:48
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My O2 Pay and Go from London was reasonable for international roaming data usage when I was at France last month.

The website states that:

You'll only be charged £1.99 for the days that you use data in Europe.

  • There's a daily allowance of 15MB and if you reach this, the service will stop.
  • If you want to use more you can simply text MORETRAVEL to 21300 to reset your allowance for another £1.99 / 15MB. If you don't, your allowance will be automatically reset at midnight.
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Omg who will pay £2 for 15 Megs ? –  Dee Jan 3 at 4:40
    
The price seems fine. If you consider to be on holiday, the only data usage you would need would be for Google Translate and Google Maps. Downloading the map of the city, in Google Maps, before leaving London helped in reducing international data usage, and I never crossed the 15 MB daily limit. –  Barney Rubble Jan 3 at 10:16
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