Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

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newday
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Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by newday »

My family of 4 is planning a vacation to Europe (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Germany) for about 3 weeks this summer.

We currently have unlocked iPhones on a Cricket family plan. Cricket has been a good deal, and I'd like to stay with them. Unfortunately, Cricket does not have options for international roaming.

What's the best way to use our phones while abroad?

Thanks!

Addendum: We fly into London. International travel is rare for us. I’d be more concerned with having data than voice or needing to port our numbers. Thanks, all!
Last edited by newday on Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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cockersx3
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by cockersx3 »

My first thought would be to just buy prepaid SIM cards at whichever EU airport you first land in. My experience is that they are generally very inexpensive and they are required to work anywhere within the EU. The airport staff that sell you the card will usually help you activate it, as it's a common request and the activation may involve texts in the local language that you may not be able to read.

I would also install Google Voice and sign up for a Google Voice number before you go. This will give you the ability to call the US for free using the app while you're away, which is nice. It's possible to port your cell number to Google Voice as well, but if you're only going for a few weeks I wouldn't bother. Note that I have an Android phone and have used Google Voice in this manner, but not sure how that works with an iPhone. If you'd rather not use Google Voice, there are probably other free / very-low-cost VOIP providers that do the same thing.
DesertTortoise
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by DesertTortoise »

I've been using GoogleFi for a number of years, and the only reason I haven't switched to something cheaper like Cricket is because of how seamlessly it works internationally. I usually have a cell connection before I get off the plane. Tested in the UK, Iceland, and a few countries in Asia. There are no additional roaming fees. It might be easy enough to just port your whole family plan over to GoogleFi for a month or two, and then switch back to Cricket when you get home. I use the Flexible pay per GB plan. Note that the Simply Unlimited plan does not include international roaming.

See prices at https://fi.google.com/about/plans.
Topic Author
newday
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by newday »

Thanks! We’ll fly into London, so language won’t be a problem.

Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?

Would buying a EU SIM card pre-trip be possible/advisable?
Average Investor
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by Average Investor »

I just signed up with US Mobile, in part because their unlimited plans include free international data roaming using E-sim. Service has been great so far but I have not tried international yet.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/us-mobiles-e ... n?amp=true
Last edited by Average Investor on Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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abracadabra11
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by abracadabra11 »

We used 3UK for our trip (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, UK).

You can find their sims on Amazon, but there may be a better deal through their website. Here's an example of a third party vendor selling the 3UK sims:
https://www.amazon.com/Three-Prepaid-Eu ... B072ZNGK88
02nz
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by 02nz »

newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 5:59 pm We currently have unlocked iPhones ...
iPhones released 2018 and later (XR/XS generation and newer) support eSIM, in addition to the physical SIM slot. You can easily purchase a data plan this way - I recommend Truphone, another is Airalo. Check https://esimdb.com/ for more.

Note that you'll need to download the app and activate the plan where you have data (e.g., wifi).

An advantage (beside the convenience) is that you can keep your US sim card in the slot, and use it for calls/texts if your carrier supports wifi calling.
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GerryL
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by GerryL »

For several years I've been using a sim that I bought from Le French Mobile (https://www.lefrenchmobile.com/).

I keep some money in my account, and when I arrive in Europe I swap out the sim and buy a data bundle by texting a code. They offer bundles for France only and for all EU. The English-language site is easy to use, and I've had the same European number 4+ years now.

I mostly use my iPhone for data -- maps, etc -- when I travel and don't need to worry about finding a wifi hotspot. But I can also text and call -- and receive calls. The online chat and text for help used to be very responsive, but on my recent trip I did not feel much in the way of human communication. Attributing that to Covid.

Can't say that LFM is the best deal. I got it when I knew nothing about international sims. And it has been handy to have a solution I can use over the years. And having a known phone #.
Average Investor
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by Average Investor »

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AlohaJoe
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by AlohaJoe »

newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:42 pm Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?
They are all fine. It is just more expensive than buying outside the airport. So you balance saving a few dollars (when you've probably already paid thousands for the holiday) over the convenience of having it straight away and not needing to deal with it later.
bgvg
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by bgvg »

AlohaJoe wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:38 pm
newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:42 pm Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?
They are all fine. It is just more expensive than buying outside the airport. So you balance saving a few dollars (when you've probably already paid thousands for the holiday) over the convenience of having it straight away and not needing to deal with it later.
It will vary by airport. Some carriers have their own stores in the airport but might not be open when you arrive. Some airports have independent sellers in the arrivals area post-security offering SIM cards at obscene prices. Other airports have convenience stores that sell SIM cards at the same low price they would sell them for off-airport. Just remember to bring a paperclip.

If your iPhones are not eSIM compatible, you will need to purchase a physical SIM card separately for the UK since they no longer offer complimentary EU roaming due to Brexit. SIM cards purchased in an EU country should offer roaming throughout the EU.

If your iPhones are eSIM compatible and you only want data, you could use a service like Airalo or Ubigi to avoid the hassle of hunting down a store, kiosk, or vending machine that sells SIM cards. Most eSIMs are data only and do not offer voice/texting.

The Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki offers a pretty comprehensive guide for each country/region.

https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.co ... ed_Kingdom

https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.com/wiki/France
AlohaJoe
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by AlohaJoe »

bgvg wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:02 pm
AlohaJoe wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:38 pm
newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:42 pm Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?
They are all fine. It is just more expensive than buying outside the airport. So you balance saving a few dollars (when you've probably already paid thousands for the holiday) over the convenience of having it straight away and not needing to deal with it later.
It will vary by airport.
To clarify: I was only responding to the question about whether they are reliable and legitimate. Yes, they are always reliable and they are always legitimate. I dunno, maybe in some place like Afghanistan or South Sudan they aren't. But I've been in tons of developing countries and the airport SIM vendors have always been reliable and legitimate.

Whether they are actually a good deal or not is a different question. And I tend to agree with you that given how widespread eSIMs are these days, there's little reason not to use them instead.
hunoraut
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by hunoraut »

newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:42 pm Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?
They are either direct 1st-party vendors or at worst 3rd-party resellers selling commoditized services so there is no gouging or ripoff. Its like slinging a pack of gum.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by Shallowpockets »

To buy an new SIM card for the country you are in is no problem at all. Usually about $30 for one month with unlimited texts, calls, and maybe 5GB data. Sometimes the text features are 1000 texts. Overall you will not run out of anything on that phone in the 3 weeks you are there.
I used to think like OP, because I had never done it. Now, I just go and get one and that is that. In Europe there are phone stores all over. They are easy to find. Or you could do the airport ones. Just ask in the store and they will often install it for you.
You may get texts from the SIM card phone provider. They are simply other plans they offer. So if they are in another language, it is nothing important to you.
Many of these SIM cards cover greater areas than the one country too. Just in case you cross borders.
Google SIM cards for the country you are going and you can see what providers would be available.no need to buy the card here.
travelgeek007
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by travelgeek007 »

Hi newday, to save on roaming I use data plans on my eSIM. Is your smartphone Dual SIM ? If so then it's easy: you activate the eSIM (virtual SIM) for mobile data and keep your Cricket SIM in your phone so your friends and family can still join you. There are lots of eSIM data plans providers and most of them are aligned with local rates. I find it very convenient when traveling, I have several eSIM carriers installed in my iPhone and I switch between them depending on which one is the cheapest for the destination (same as switching between Wi-Fi networks). I usually go on esimdb.com to compare the prices. I tried Ubigi, Truphone and Gigsky and they are all good. I recommend installing the eSIM and purchase the data plan the day before going so you are connected as soon as you land in the UK. Hope this helps !
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Elric
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by Elric »

newday wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:42 pm Thanks! We’ll fly into London, so language won’t be a problem.

Are the SIM vendors at airports reliable/legitimate? Are there any particular companies to look for or avoid?

Would buying a EU SIM card pre-trip be possible/advisable?
I've used Orange (a French company, if I recall). They got good ratings and I was happy with them through two trips. I actually bought the SIM card in the states, via Amazon, then activated it once we arrived.
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jpelder
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by jpelder »

I'll echo the recommendation to just buy a prepaid SIM card at a kiosk upon arrival. I was able to get a "tourist plan" in Croatia this past summer with 10 GB of data and 3 weeks of unlimited calls and texts for about $20. You should be able to find a similar deal. Do some research ahead of time to see who has the best coverage where your travel plans will take you. Most cities in Europe have excellent service from all carriers, though.
delamer
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by delamer »

I find this whole subject confusing, but I tend to overthink . . .

We have 2 international trips coming up with a year’s time — one to Europe and one to Australia/New Zealand (about 30 days total for the 2 trips).

We’d like to have one phone that we can use for texting a few family/friends and for an actual phone call in an emergency.

Is it possible to buy a cheap prepaid phone that meets those requirements before we leave the US?

We’d just as soon leave our iPhones (via AT&T) at home.
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fareastwarriors
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by fareastwarriors »

delamer wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 11:34 am I find this whole subject confusing, but I tend to overthink . . .

We have 2 international trips coming up with a year’s time — one to Europe and one to Australia/New Zealand (about 30 days total for the 2 trips).

We’d like to have one phone that we can use for texting a few family/friends and for an actual phone call in an emergency.

Is it possible to buy a cheap prepaid phone that meets those requirements before we leave the US?

We’d just as soon leave our iPhones (via AT&T) at home.
I usually just buy a prepaid plan at the airport after arriving in the country and change the sim card.

Or try the eSim option mentioned by travelgeek007's post above.
michaeljc70
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by michaeljc70 »

I had a similar thread on here not long ago. For infrequent international travel, try KnowRoaming. I used it for the Caribbean a couple weeks ago. Buying a sim at an airport or wherever and getting a good deal while eating up valuable vacation time is probably not ideal for shorter stays. For long stays, I do do that. I believe in the EU roaming is free if you have a sim/plan from any EU country, so that helps. Amazon also has prepaid sims, but it can be a crap shoot if it is not from a well known vendor.
SunRainSnow
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by SunRainSnow »

fareastwarriors wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:53 pm
delamer wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 11:34 am I find this whole subject confusing, but I tend to overthink . . .

We have 2 international trips coming up with a year’s time — one to Europe and one to Australia/New Zealand (about 30 days total for the 2 trips).

We’d like to have one phone that we can use for texting a few family/friends and for an actual phone call in an emergency.

Is it possible to buy a cheap prepaid phone that meets those requirements before we leave the US?

We’d just as soon leave our iPhones (via AT&T) at home.
I usually just buy a prepaid plan at the airport after arriving in the country and change the sim card.

Or try the eSim option mentioned by travelgeek007's post above.
I’m not very tech savvy so forgive my ignorance here but when you swap SIM cards do you get a new (local) phone number? And if so what happens if someone calls or text your old number now the original SIM card is removed?
ikowik
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Re: Mobile Roaming for European Vacation. No such option with our Cricket account.

Post by ikowik »

Can someone clarify for me: If I subscribe to GoogleFi or one of those global/ regional sim cards, do I get a local number in the country I am visiting? I have used International roaming from a US carrier. It worked OK for making local calls and texts, but people were hesitant to call me back since they see an International (US) number. A SIM card bought at the airport solves the problem, but in some of the lesser developed countries, these shops may not be open all times.
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