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SIM card Hungary and rest of EU

In August I will arrive in Hungary at the start of a 4-week trip covering various EU countries. With the new roam-like-home EU regulations, I plan to buy a SIM card in Hungary (5 days) that I can then use on the rest of my trip. I am mainly interested in data, not phone calls. One website https://toomanyadapters.com/buying-sim-card-hungary/ recommends Telenor for Hungary, but I cannot find any comments on whether this will then also be the best in terms of coverage for my other countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Croatia). Any helpful knowledge out there?

Posted by
5687 posts

I have found this blog (a page for each country) very helpful:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Hungary

That page says Telenor fully supports the EU roaming regulations. Like other European mobile companies, they surely have roaming partners in other countries. The question is - who are their roaming partners, and what kind of coverage do they have? Not sure.

The blog page above also mentions Vodafone, which operates mobile companies (technically independent companies) in varies European countries. They say Vodafone is the smallest mobile provider in Hungary - not sure if that means they have the poorest coverage, but at least you can guess that when you roam to other countries that also have a Vodafone operating there, you'll probably be roaming on Vodafone there. I have a Dutch Vodafone SIM that has worked well in several countries with good Vodafone coverage (Italy and Portugal for example). Telenor might be cheaper or a better deal, though, for all I know.

Posted by
17872 posts

Haven't bought a SIM card in Europe in about 7 years now. But when I did in Budapest it was T-Mobile (Telekom). Now i just use my U.S. T-Mobile International Plan which has worked from Istanbul to Kiev to Iceland and everyplace in between. I guess based on that, if i wanted to fool with it I would choose T-Mobile again....

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks Andrew - yes, I have used that website to check in the EU regulations, and for their Hungary comments. Since I am only in Budapest while in Hungary, probably the coverage there should be OK for all the providers. I shall probably need to check what they have to say about each of the other countries. James, thanks, but since I am not from the US, so T-mobile etc do not work for me. I have used my “own country” roaming, and local sims at various times, and find the local sims to be better, and generally much cheaper, though a bit more of a fiddle with registering, and changing cards etc.

Posted by
5687 posts

josephine, I have been really happy with my Dutch Vodafone SIM. You can buy one on eBay for $5 USD plus shipping - $3 to the US, probably about the same shipping cost to you. I was able to activate the SIM at home in the US, add credit on the Dutch Vodafone website, and have a working phone when I landed in Europe. Just got back from Portugal and it cost me 10 euros for 2GB of data for nine days, more than I needed. (Still haven't used the SIM in the Netherlands!)

Here's my write-up from last year if you're interested. Since then, they've double the data allowance for the same cost (so 2GB for 10 euros, 6GB for 20 euros, good for a month).

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tech-tips/dutch-vodafone-sim-card-for-use-in-europe

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks Andrew - I have ordered one from eBay, and will follow your great instructions on setting it up. Thanks so much - very helpful.

Posted by
5687 posts

Great! One other change: Vodafone has changed their rules about how long a SIM remains active. It used to be a year from last activity, but now it is six months. So if you want to keep the SIM alive for future trips, make sure to generate some activity (add some funds or send a text or something) to push it out six months from the current date.

Posted by
3 posts

I purchased an Orange sim from US Amazon website - activated before departure and worked perfectly in Budapest.