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Using T-Mobile Cell Phone in Norway and Iceland

I have a Samsung Galaxy J6 phone and use T-Mobile as my server. I will visit Norway and Iceland this summer, and I hope to use my phone to help me navigate and do translations. Based on this I have the following questions:

  1. Should I unlock my phone before I leave and get separate SIM cards in Norway and Iceland?
  2. Where should I purchase my SIM cards? Can I get a reasonable deal in the Oslo and Rejkjavik (Keflavik) airports?
  3. If I get local country SIM cards, will my current Google Translate program work in both countries?
  4. If I get local country SIM cards, will my existing Google Maps and navigation program work in both countries? If so, will they display directions in English, but using names visible on road signs?
Posted by
4697 posts

You are American and use US T-Mobile service? (Not a dumb question. T-Mobile operates subsidiaries numerous other countries.)

US T-Mobile plans include free unlimited (2G-speed) international roaming data, unless you have a very old T-Mobile plan you have kept for a few years for some reason. You don't nee to change your SIM or do anything - just turn the phone on when you get to Europe this summer and wait a few minutes until the phone picks up the local T-Mobile roaming partner's network. Texts are free, but calls are 20 cents/minute, though calls back to the US with WiFI calling are free on WiFi.

Google Translate and Google Maps work the same no matter what kind of SIM you have or use WiFi or not. The SIM has nothing to do with it. Google Maps will give you directions in your native language but display measurements in the local area (e.g. kilometers in Europe not miles).

There are still reasons to buy a SIM card - one reason being that T-Mobile 2G data can occasionally be slow. But at least you have the choice and could certainly decide after you arrive how well T-Mobile works for you and perhaps buy a local SIM later.

Posted by
15752 posts

That's the reason I switched to T-Mobile, I can use it in Europe. That and the $60 2-lines for 55+, which includes all taxes and fees, unlimited 4G data in the States, etc.

Posted by
4697 posts

Yeah, Sam, that's a pretty good deal. Too bad I can't take advantage of it. I did just switch to Sprint for a year (free year of unlimited service - well, $3.20/month in taxes + fees), and Sprint has the same international roaming plan T-Mobile has. Otherwise, I have a Dutch Vodafone SIM that is cheap/easy to use in the EU.

Posted by
7 posts

I checked with T-Mobile and they said I can't use their international roaming because I have a prepaid plan. I need to get SIM cards for Norway and Iceland.

So I still need an answer to my questions:

Where and how can I get good SIM cards for Norway and Iceland? Note that I need both data and phone minutes and I need to be able to use Google Translate and Google Maps where there is no WiFi.

Will Google Maps display directions in English in those countries?

Posted by
4697 posts

Where and how can I get good SIM cards for Norway and Iceland?

This may help:
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Norway
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Iceland

Switching to Sprint for a year like I did might still be worth doing, if your phones qualify. Their "free year" offer is still going, and it would give you free roaming in both countries. With taxes/fees, my monthly bill is under $4/month.

Note that I need both data and phone minutes and I need to be able to use Google Translate and Google Maps where there is no WiFi.

As I said above, you can use Google Maps without mobile data for driving. Google Translate, it seems, also can work without mobile data. You might consider both anyway just to conserve data, even if you buy a SIM.

But it will be hard to find a SIM that DOESN'T have both minutes and data. Some tablet-only SIMs may have data only. Unless you are planning to make local calls (for which you can always use Skype anyway), data may be all you need. Set up Google Hangouts (and Hangouts dialer) if you want/need to make free voice calls home to the US, even to landlines.

Will Google Maps display directions in English in those countries?

As I said above, it will display directions in your native language but use the local units of measurement.