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Avoid Verizon in Europe at All Costs

My family of four brought three unlocked phones to Europe (this was verified with Verizon both on-line an in person at their store before we left). Nothing we could do in Europe could get sim cards to work in those phones. We spend over four hours on the phone (or on hold) with Verizon customer service on the phone during the first two days of the trip and nothing they did would fixed the matter. The last rep. spouted out four random "codes" to unlock at us before he hung up on us. (although he kindly offered to sell us a maintenance plan while we waited for one of the codes). Went to two Sim stores and neither could make it work either. Conveniently, Verizon customer service is closed most of the time those stores are open. I wound up spending close to $500 in international charges with them over the three weeks.

In summary, if your traveling in the summer of 2022, switch to a t-Mobile plan that has international calling. You'll save yourself a fortune.

Posted by
1590 posts

I’ve used Verizon’s international plan twice in the last year for Switzerland and was super happy with it. To me, the expense is worth having my phone work exactly as it does at home and not having to deal with sim cards. Sorry you had problems.

Posted by
276 posts

I am very sorry for this experience and the resulting expenses. Earlier this month I used both a SIM card (for calls, text and data) and an eSim (only text and data) in my cell phone. I quickly learned, as you’ve experienced, that it may not be simple ‘plug and play’ technology. Additionally, as I switched between the two sims there was a significant learning curve for me and I’m a little tech savvy. Eventually I was able to get it to work flawlessly. In the past I used the carrier international data plan briefly at $10 a day and decided that it was not for me. Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your next trip with minimal or no communication device issues. When they work properly it’s great.

Posted by
84 posts

AT&T's international plan is great also - $10 a day, use your own data plan.

Posted by
1481 posts

"AT&T's international plan is great also - $10 a day, use your own data plan."

So what would be the total cost using AT&T - 3 phones x 21 days =

Posted by
1357 posts

"AT&T's international plan is great also - $10 a day, use your own data plan."

Are you joking??? That is highway robbery!! I have an unlocked phone and use AT&T at home. In Europe I get a SIM card for $30 for a whole month. Now that is great.

Posted by
6823 posts

I have Verizon. Use their international plan each time I’m in London. Never call. Always text or email. For me a perfect option.

I Use WhatsApp if I need see someone and talk. Free.

Posted by
37 posts

I am sorry that you experienced poor service with Verizon. In May I went to Italy (Rome, Pompeii, Naples) and decided to splurge on Verizon's international plan, even though I have an unlocked iPhone and could have just bought a local SIM card. I am sorry to say that my phone had no cell service for more than 50% of my visit. I guess either way, Verizon will disappoint us?

Posted by
2613 posts

"AT&T's international plan is great also - $10 a day, use your own data plan."
So what

Well, if you can’t do the math my 7 year old granddaughter will be here today and we will help you!

Seriously, the $10 per day per line is worth it to many who don’t want to fuss with balky SIM issues or e-sim. For us it’s vital to be able to keep in touch with each other when we go our separate ways, call restaurants, etc. Most importantly we want our family to be able to reach us on the numbers they know. My 95 year old MIL would never understand that we have a new number. And T-Mobile is not an option. There domestic coverage does not cut it for us and that is where we are 95% of the time.

Posted by
1389 posts

To clarify, AT&T has one advantage in some circumstances, and that is: in ONE billing cycle they cap their fee for the day pass at 10. So, if your trip falls into your billing cycle, it's $100. If there's two of you on one plan, it's only $5/day for the second. So, you may get away with $150.

Our last trip was split into two billing cycles, so we paid about $225. For us, we are willing to look at that as a cost that is reasonable for us to not have to do a single thing, it works absolutely perfectly, 24/7. We look at it as an expense, like upgrading a seat or something. We usually buy airfare that is very cheap on mistake or sale, I have never paid more than $700 a ticket so it's worth it to me.

Verizon unfortunately does not cap their plan at all.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Nothing worse than spending valuable mental and physical energy on a frustrating problem whilst on vacation.

Posted by
1802 posts

I'm sorry you had problems. It can be very frustrating. I used Verizon in Italy in 2019; I think it was 10 out of 21 days. I used Google Voice on hotels' wifi to call home (to landline) with few problems. I downloaded Google Maps. During most days I didn't need or use cellular data. I kept my phone in airplane mode and could email and use the internet using wifi.
I'll use Verizon again this year. The convenience of having the same phone number is worth it to me. I added Whatapp but since my hubby likes his landline and won't answer his flip phone, it will seldom be helpful.

Posted by
4512 posts

I have noticed in the last few years that customer service hours for Verizon have dropped a fair amount and hold times have increased substantially. I'm sorry that you had this frustration on vacation.

The $10 for Verizon is 24 hours. So if I enable it at say 3pm, its good until 3 pm the next day. So I'm getting a good chunk of 2 days covered. Plus, I rarely enable data. I use available wifi or use various apps offline. I rather enjoy being a bit out of touch.

Verizon service can vary a lot by store. Service is downright awful at a store near my mom's while the one close to where I live is ok.

Posted by
3026 posts

We used our Verizon phones in France recently and they were fine. At a certain point you have to decide whether to save money with a local SIM card, or spend the money for convenience.

And without having been part of your situation, it's possible that your phones were NOT unlocked and that this wasn't Verizon's fault. At least not all of it.

Posted by
129 posts

Sorry you had problems. We never mess with new SIM cards. One of us, usually me, pays the $10/day for Verizon International. We've never had a problem, except one year during a trip to England I had fine reception rural England, but couldn't always get reception in London. I told Verizon when we arrived home and they refunded those days.

Posted by
25 posts

No, all three phone were paid off. Verizon told us that they were unlocked both via their online app and in person at a company owned store before we left. It was only after we got to Germany they suddenly were not usable. Wasted too much of our precious time at the start of our trip trying to trouble shoot this. Considering how much is tied to our phone (reservations, tickets, transit information and maps etc.), I really needed my phone, and telling our sons who are in their mid-20's they need to disconnect from their friends etc. was a non-starter.

Posted by
1481 posts

"We never mess with new SIM cards"

I've been using in-country data SIM cards in my iPhones and iPads for what seems like an eternity - always purchased and installed at a storefront store and not a single time have I ever had a problem with coverage or usage.

I'm never on a travel budget but just on pure principal I refuse to pay the extortionary-like fees that NA cellular providers charge for international service.

Posted by
13445 posts

$10 a day is a lot of money, if you ask me.
That's the reason why I switched from AT&T to T-Mobile some years ago. No extra charge for unlimited text or data overseas, and phone calls are only $0.25/min (but I don't make regular calls, as I can use WhatsApp). Now I buy the foreign SIM card only for the tablet (€9.99/month+€10 for the SIM card)

Posted by
1389 posts

I wish T Mobile had better coverage for us domestically.

Posted by
169 posts

I dropped Verizon because of their terrible international plan and poor customer service. We changed to T-Mobile recently which seems to have a much better and more affordable plan. This will be our first trip to Europe with T-Mobile. I'm hoping for the best. We use WhatsApp quite a bit for calls and other things with family, but not everyone has it so we want a plan that allow reasonably priced calls in an emergency.

Posted by
13445 posts

at the price of $10/day (150 for 2 weeks vacation), I'll buy an extra cheap unlocked smartphone to use for international travel with a foreign sim card and keep my AT&T phone with the Cellular data off (so that the phone calls and text work but don't get charged for data roaming).

Posted by
4961 posts

How frustrating for your family, Mark! And wasting valuable vacation time. : (

Yes, I love our T-Mobile! I don’t have to worry about any charges for texts or data, and I just use FaceTime at the hotel wifi to talk & see my husband back in the US for free when I’m traveling solo.

I remember attending a free RS technology class at Edmonds. At one point the speaker was going to switch topics to talk about phones. He asked the audience who had T-Mobile. I, along with some others, raised my hand. He said, “You can just ignore everything I’m going to say for the next ten minutes. You’re good to go for your phones.” I’m a big fan of simplicity!

Posted by
1233 posts

I used to have an issue with network settings when using a European carrier's SIM. It lead to me only buying SIMs from major carriers, only in their retail outlets—So that I could go back for help if needed.

I've got AT&T at home, but chalk me up on the list of people that would have T-Mobile or GoogleFi if they had coverage in my (not too) rural area.

Posted by
1803 posts

I hate Verizon with a passion and refuse to pay their outrageous international fees, regardless of the convenience.

I bought an eSIM data plan on my last trip to Germany - $15 for 5Gb data over 30 days. Worked perfectly and I was able to get messages and video calls while using wifi.

Posted by
84 posts

So what would be the total cost using AT&T - 3 phones x 21 days =

$5 for each additional line on a family plan, if everyone absolutely has to have their phone usable without wifi. Why not just have one person use it, and everyone else use wifi?

Are you joking??? That is highway robbery!! I have an unlocked phone and use AT&T at home. In Europe I get a SIM card for $30 for a whole month. Now that is great.

That's assuming everyone has an unlocked phone and no issues getting the SIM to work, unlike the OP. My time is worth more than that hassle - I'll just deal with the very easy international plan. You only pay for the days you use, so keep it in airplane mode and use wifi, unless you really need it. Seriously no biggie.

Well, if you can’t do the math my 7 year old granddaughter will be here today and we will help you!
Seriously, the $10 per day per line is worth it to many who don’t want to fuss with balky SIM issues or e-sim.

Exactly to your second comment. Time is money and to many people the hassle outweighs the savings, as noted the OP. The a-hole first comment was really unnecessary, unless you were being sarcastic.

at the price of $10/day (150 for 2 weeks vacation), I'll buy an extra cheap unlocked smartphone to use for international travel with a foreign sim card and keep my AT&T phone with the Cellular data off (so that the phone calls and text work but don't get charged for data roaming).

That's great for you if you want to carry around and have to charge 2 cellphones and deal with having to top up the sim card. You probably don't need to use the plan every single day - use wifi mostly and only use the plan when you really need it.

Seriously, people - you are spending thousands of dollars on a vacation and worrying about $10 a day if it is a hassle free to use your phone and gets you all the info you need? I was merely adding that AT&T's international plan works great - I've used it in many countries without any issues, so that is worth way more than $10 a day to me. To each their own.

Posted by
774 posts

Very sorry you had frustrating problems. I would agree Verizon customer service is not great. We've made occasional use of Verizon's $10-a-day plan, which is fine if we just need data for a day or two and it's always worked well. But for longer trips, they also have a monthly international plan at $100 per line. So for your three-week trip with three lines it would have been $300 and not waste time with SIM card issues.

Posted by
3423 posts

Add us to the list of former Verizon customers who find T-Mobile more reliable, even at home.

Posted by
3026 posts

if T Mobile works in your area for your lifestyle, it is and has been the go-to recommendation for international travel. I suppose for a long enough trip it could make sense, if you don't want to stay with them, to move to T Mobile just for your trip and then port your number back to your preferred carrier.

I've done the two separate phone thing and yes, it's a pain. But nowadays wifi can often provide a workaround.

Posted by
542 posts

Whatever works. I also use Verizon and never had an issue internationally. After several SIM card and trying to use a new local phone there poor experiences, I gladly pay the cost of not having to adjust my phone when I travel abroad.

Posted by
791 posts

The kids and I have AT&T and my husband has Verizon. We always just use the international plans fro these carriers as it is worth it to us for no hassle etc. As mentioned, the AT&T is nice with the cap and how the extra lines are only charged $5 per day, not $10. We have been doing this for as long as we have had cell phones, never bothering with switching out SIM cards. So far it has worked well for us and that is just part of the cost of travel. It may not be for everyone, but it works for us.

Posted by
2 posts

Ugh, I used to have Verizon and still have a similar situation with my current mobile provider (Xfinity). The plan I have at home is so cheap (usually less than $20 per month for two lines) that I can live with the headache and cost for the international roaming costs. That said, on my most recent trip to Portugal I stumbled across a service that rents out mobile hotspots starting at 6 euros per day and going down in price for longer rentals. They mail it to your first hotel or you pick it up at a pre-arranged spot and then you use it during your trip, put it in a prepaid envelope at the end and drop it in a local mailbox on your way out. I kept the hotspot in my purse and it connected to the local 4G service pretty much everywhere, so I could use internet without worrying about incurring any roaming charges. When I go back next time with my family, I plan to use it again as the hotspot can support multiple devices simultaneously.