I've noticed that a lot of mobile operators have service in several European countries -- Vonage, Orange, Lebara, etc -- but it looks like if you get a SIM card from Orange France, you'll pay international rates in Spain, even though you're (presumably?) on the Orange Spain network. Likewise, Lebara operates in my country (Germany) and France, but if I want to cross the border it looks like I'd have to pick up a local SIM.

Do any carriers provide service with "local" costs across country lines? I've seen outfits like Keepgo and Droam that will rent you an "international" SIM, but they cost an arm and a leg. I'm traveling to France, Spain, and Portugal over the course of a month, and it would be far cheaper to buy 3 different Vodaphone (for example) SIMs than to pay for one of these "international" cards.

I'd far prefer, though, to pay €30 once, and get a monthly data package, instead of paying €10 in each country and then buying weekly service. (If it matters, I only want to make sure I can do web searches and use maps on my iPad; I don't need a huge data allowance -- 100MB/week would probably be fine.)

  • Have you checked what their roaming costs are? With recent EU rules reducing the costs of roaming calls and texts within Europe, you may even find that the per-minute rate is lower when roaming than in the SIM's home country! – Gagravarr Aug 6 '13 at 16:53
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    Even if this question is similar, the "this question already has an answer here" is more than a year old. The only "real" answer suggests TruPhone, which is not really an feasible option for the situation asked for here. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 7 '13 at 0:14
  • Roaming costs have "lowered" to 49 cents per megabyte -- my 100MB/week would be €50! I don't consider that reasonable, when I can get it from a local carrier for 1/5th the cost. As for Ankur: I do not want a "tourist trap" SIM, where you pay 10x the market cost for the convenience of keeping a phone number or avoiding multiple SIMs in your bag. I want to know if any carriers that already operate in different countries allow you to carry one of their SIMs across borders -- and if not, why not. – James B Aug 7 '13 at 18:59