I am traveling in Europe with my unlocked phone. I bought a prepaid SIM with 1GB of data in Belgium. I didn't use more than a third of that, and I don't expect to be back in that country for at least two years.

Now I am in the Czech Republic. My phone alerts me that (as the SIM salesperson told me) data will work but at high data roaming costs.

Since the card is prepaid, is there any reason to not keep using it until it cuts off? (And when will that be? There's €10 of voice credit with the account.)

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    Wouldn't the roaming charges depend on the SIM card provider? – Karlson Feb 3 '14 at 14:32
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    @karlson Maybe? I don't have very much information — I got the card with cash from a kiosk and it works and that's pretty much all I know. :) – mattdm Feb 3 '14 at 14:41
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    Within the EU prices are regulated but other than that roaming works as it does anywhere else. I don't think the 1GB data pack is relevant, only the credit is. If you don't expect to come back in Belgium, there is no reason not to use it in the Czech Republic, either on calls, SMS or data roaming. Typically, the card will be inactivated when the credit becomes negative and probably disconnected for good after a few months, perhaps a year, without paying for new credit. – Relaxed Feb 3 '14 at 14:48
  • @Karlson The EU does regulate all this but this has indeed nothing to do with Schengen (and the set of countries covered is slightly different). – Relaxed Feb 3 '14 at 14:57

Since the card is prepaid, is there any reason to not keep using it until it cuts off?

You might want to keep it for voice use only (where roaming charges are not as high) as a backup or when you enter a new country and don't have a local SIM card yet. Theoretically, you can also cash out unused credit under some circumstances, but it's probably not worth the hassle.

(And when we that be? There's €10 of voice credit with the account.)

It depends on the details of your Belgian provider's terms of service, but typically the roaming data usage will eat into that credit, and once it's used up (probably after a few MB) it will stop working. There are some prepaid plans that will automatically top up the credit from your bank account or credit card every time it runs out, but this is usually a feature you have to activate separately (and should, of course, avoid).

  • Okay, thanks. I think the plan to keep it as backup makes most sense, if it is likely to be only a few MBs. – mattdm Feb 3 '14 at 15:36
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    @mattdm: well, I exaggerated a bit there, due to EU regulation €10 will last for about 20MB , but still less useful than 40 minutes of voice calls, I'd say: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Michael Borgwardt Feb 3 '14 at 15:41

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