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Best Cell Phone Carrier - Traveling in Spain, Malta, Sicily, Italy and France

We have unlocked iPhones from Apple and had great success with Optus in Australia for seven months. Now it is on to Southern Europe. There are several carriers which provide SIM's. We are only looking for calls within these countries and data. We found Vonage to be free from foreign locations to the US. Having a local number is best when using Uber.

Which carriers have you found to be dependable with great services at a reasonable cost?

Thank you for your valuable information.

Posted by
21317 posts

David, if you're American/Canadian, are you aware of the 90-day limit (within any 180-day period) for travel within the Schengen Zone? Since you took such a long trip to Australia, I figure you may have similar plans for Europe.

Posted by
4957 posts

I'd buy a SIM in the first country you get to from one of the major carriers. If your first stop is Spain, then maybe get an Orange or Vodafone SIM. Here's some info on the Spanish mobile companies:

Because roaming fees have mostly been eliminated in the EU, you can use the phone for data in all other countries. The trick is being able to top up each month to keep it going after you've left the country, so read the info about each carrier carefully.

I have a Dutch Vodafone SIM I bought on eBay (without going to to the Netherlands to activate it) that I used in Slovenia, Italy, and France last year, and I was able to add credit to it online with a US credit card. However, making calls to other EU numbers may not be included in the plan. Incoming texts are free, though, as are incoming calls I believe (on pretty much all EU SIMs).

You could of course just buy a new SIM after each month in whatever country you happen to be in instead of worrying about topping off the old SIM for another month.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Andrew,

This was most helpful and confirmed what we were seeing from our research.

It seems the best options is the Vodafone and pick the best plan that meets our needs. There is a Vodafone owned store 260m from our hotel.

Thank you for the quick response.