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I'm a US citizen who is speaking at several EU conferences in Vienna, Prague, and Krakow next month. I'll be using a lot of data while I travel. I am currently a US T-Mobile business customer.

To avoid the exorbitant roaming charges, I would like to pay a single fee and get either unlimited data or a very high cap (30 GiB+) for a period that lasts at least 15 days. I'll pay almost any reasonable amount (say, up to $200), as long as:

  • it's a micro SIM (so that it fits in my phone)
  • the SIM card can be shipped to a US address
  • and can be activated in the US
  • it lasts at least 15 days and offers at least 30 GiB+ of data and texting; I don't care about making phone calls

I just want zero chance of per-usage roaming charges and certainty that things will work when I'm in major EU cities. I'm aware that the EU recently passed improvements to roaming tariffs, but I'm still going to be consuming a lot of data so I want to pay for the extra reassurance that everything will go well.

Does this exist?

  • 1
    Does your business plan include T-Mobile's free international roaming, like their Simple Choice plans? – Tom Harrington Apr 11 '15 at 4:30
  • Are you expecting 4G (LTE) speeds as well? – Relaxed Apr 11 '15 at 12:46
  • Could you even find this in the USA? – RoboKaren Apr 11 '15 at 13:12
  • 1
    @RoboKaren: Yes, T-Mobile has an unlimited SIM plan, for example. – John Feminella Apr 11 '15 at 13:40
  • @Relaxed: I don't care as much about the speeds, but 3G or better would be ideal. – John Feminella Apr 11 '15 at 13:40
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I’m not sure whether what you’re looking for exists.

One of the better offers I’ve seen so far is Prepaidzero’s “Prepaid SIM for mobile data in all of Europe” (it’s currently listed at the bottom of their “European Mobile SIM Cards” page). It’s limited to 7GB for a 30-day period, as well as to 500MB per day. A card that’s valid for 15 days costs €221,25 (about 230 USD at today’s rate); the card is shipped worldwide for a €7,00 fee. They offer cards in standard, micro and nano SIM sizes.

It doesn’t quite provide the amount of data you’re looking for. But unless this happens to be an uncompetitive offer, I’m somewhat skeptical you’ll find a package that offers more than 4 times as much data for a very similar price (that is, at least 30 GB for around 200 USD as stated in your question).

  • It's not perfect, but this looks like a great option! Thanks @Rinzwind. – John Feminella Apr 11 '15 at 13:42
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My guess is that you will not find anything close to what you are looking for. 30GB is a huge amount of data to be using in 15 days, and $200 is a very low price for it. The only way you'll get close to any form of unlimited data would be to sign up for a new contract with a local telecoms provider in each country you visit. Not only would this tie you to three long-running contracts, your data speeds are likely to be throttled after the first few GB you use, possibly back to 2G, which is slow even for looking at emails. This is without even researching whether there are daily reasonable useage limits, which there probably are.

The closest solution that I can come up with that will fit your needs would be to buy an international data SIM card from Telestial.com. This is a US-based provider of international SIMs, so these SIMs will work in all your destinations and you'll be able to have your SIM (regular, micro or nano) delivered and activated before you travel. All these SIMs are pre-paid, so it is impossible for you to go over your limit and be charged ridiculous overage fees. This ticks most of your boxes.

The remaining issues are the amount of data and what it costs. They don't do 'unlimited' and it seems their maximum limit is 1GB at a time. Obviously, buying 30 x 1GB bundles is going to get expensive, so you're going to have to improvise. Hopefully, your hotels will have free WIFI, and if they do, let this do as much of the heavy lifting as you can. I'd also consider dropping into an internet cafe for transfers of large files; a short visit to a hardlined connection will be cheaper and quicker than attempting to do it over the air.

Good luck!

2

I got fed up with getting a new phone number every time I crossed a border, and so I got Google Fi. Phone calls inexplicably don't work occasionally, but usually the second try works. It also doesn't do everything advertised, but it's still worth it to me to have friends and family know my phone number. Currently, ten US dollars per month to have it, plus ten US dollars per cellular gigabyte, no charge for WiFi. These rates allegedly do not change in any country.

Phone calls no extra charge via WiFi or in USA. Otherwise, depends on location. Ten cents per minute from Spain to USA.

The worst thing about it is not the flakiness, but the fact that I had to buy a specific model of phone for it to work. But they claim that I can order a second SIM and it will work on another device. However, I already get my SMS on the iPad without their second SIM.

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