We opted for the $40 one-month 100 minutes+100 mgb data that Verizon told us would work in Greece, Italy and France. We started out trip in Greece and it didn't work for 11 days. We had used a land line to call them. They turned it on immediately. At the end of our trip we called them to terminate the service (if you go one second over the 30 days you paid for, they charge for for an additional 30 days). I asked when the 30 days would be up since it wasn't activated until 11 days in. They said that the $40 paid for the ABILITY to access service in Europe. They said it is no guarantee that you will get service and many do not, you are paying for the chance to get service! They actually said that to me. Of course they never mentioned that when they were selling me the plan before the trip. I complained and finally said that in the future I would get a European SIM card. He said that those don't work! I'll take my chances.
I dumped Verizon Wireless long ago due to terrible customer service - more than once incident.
On my last two trips to Europe, I had T-Mobile and used their Simple Choice plan. But on the last trip, T-Mobile's plan didn't cover roaming in Montenegro or Bosnia, so I bought local SIM cards there. (My phone was unlocked.) I've since dumped T-Mobile for a cheaper prepaid service - only because for me, T-Mobile's Simple Choice plan isn't worth paying extra for just to be able to roam in Europe. But it IS nice to be able to get off the plane in Europe, turn on your phone, and almost immediately have data roaming + your original phone number, without needing to buy a SIM card, and you get that with T-Mobile in the countries where it works.
In the future, I'll use Google Hangouts for free calls to/from the US while in Europe and just use WiFi and local SIM cards as I travel. But if T-Mobile is an option for you in the states, you might consider switching to them. My coverage where I live has been excellent, but in some rural areas people have reported coverage issues.
A friend of mine bought a Verizon plan(calls and text) for his trip to Ireland in May. He bought a new phone along with the plan, was assured it would work. It didn't work at all for the entire trip.
I use ATT and have not had a problem making or receiving calls or texts anywhere I've been including Ukraine, yet....
We used Verizon Global for our recent trip to Europe. We traveled through Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Iceland and never had a single problem. When we called to set it up, we told them we only wanted it for 1 billing cycle, and we did not have to call a second time to cancel.
I just added the Verizon International plan for next month and was told that I would have to call to cancel the plan upon my return otherwise it would continue month after month.
That's exactly what we were told three times.
Thanks so much, Charles, for posting this information. We have to make a decision this week on how to handle phones and reading your post was very helpful. I, too, have learned the hard way there is what someone promises here in the U.S. when they are selling you a plan, and what actually happens when you are on the road, with no time to deal with problems!
I have used the Verizon plan on many trips and have had good results -- even in a very remote valley in the Marche region of Italy.
The secret to reliable service, in my experience, is ensuring that their international service people do all setup and provide the instructions. The first-line customer service folks seem to be under pressure to do it themselves, and they don't understand how. Twice they sent me to Europe w a dead phone, and I had to call from a landline phone to correct the setup so my mobile would work. You may have to push VERY hard to be transferred to international, but the int'l folks have always done it right.
Can I ask those of you that had a problem with your Verizon plan, who set it up for you? Did you go through the Verizon Global people or your regular Verizon office? I only ask because my experience went fine and I want to make sure that happens again and it wasn't just a fluke. I went in to the local Verizon office, but I realized the salesperson wasn't familiar with their global options. Fortunately, he was willing to accept that he wasn't familiar with the plans, so he called the Global # for me. I couldn't believe that it turned on the date I requested and off on the day I returned.
We talked to the people in the Global office over the phone. The key to this posting as that we were told at the end of our trip, not the beginning, that they in no way are selling international service, they are selling the chance to get international service. The same person then said that Euro SIM cards don't work at all and that at least with the Verizon plan we might be able to use our phone. Reality differs, SIM cards will work while the Verizon plan might but they'll charge you anyway. Plus, I don't like giving money to people who are purposely misleading me.
We encountered problems with Verizon's international service a couple of times in our early days using an international phone. The first time local office personnel "helped" us set it up, but they seemed to know less about it that we did. The second problem arose when their domestic call center personnel helped us set up new phones. Both times the international call desk solved the problem, which they traced to incorrect setup by store personnel. Since we switched to iPhones, there have been no problems, other than the time I forgot to turn off roaming along the German-Austrian border and incurred roaming charges as a result. But that was simply an oversight on my part.
Back when I used Verizon's international service I had to switch off the "International CDMA" option in my phone settings or it wouldn't connect outside the U.S. With T-Mobile I've had some connection issues as well, but turning the phone off and on again fixed it each time.
Right after I talked with Verizon about using the pay as you go with data roaming turned off, they mentioned needing to set the phone up for Europe. Which they did while I was on the phone with them. Now the international dialing option is turned on and it's easy to verify because all the numbers in my phone now have the US country code automatically added (+1). According to Verizon, while in Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France this trip) if I want to call home the directory in the phone will automatically dial the +1. To call anyone/anything in Europe we have to add the appropriate country code (I believe its +33, +34, +35 for the countries I mentioned).
Since we don't plan to call anyone or use cellular data, the pay as you go will work for us if there's an emergency.
We have Verizon. I turn the global plan on and off online. I've had no problems getting service in the UK, France, Spain, Iceland or Egypt.
When I went to Switzerland and France last year, I called Verizon beforehand, talked at least twice with a very nice guy in the international dept who sent me a new SIM card for my Android phone and assured me all would be well. My wife did the same with a different person for her iPhone.
Because I tend to be a belt and suspender kind of guy, I also brought along 2 Eurobuzz phones. You can guess what happened - my wife's phone worked fine, the Eurobuzzes worked fine, mine was a brick I lugged around for 2 weeks. Ah well, the adventure of travel.
BTW, for accuracy the country codes for Netherlands, Belgium, and France are +31, +32, and +33 respectively. I had mis-remembered the numbers in my previous post.
Thanks, Charles, for the further info. I guess I was just lucky that mine worked out.
On a recent trip to Italy, France and the UK we did a combination of Verizon service and local SIMs (for my kids iPhones). I ordered the SIM cards from eBay for the UK carrier Three. The Verizon and Three services worked, and in several places, both services connected to the same carrier. The nice thing about Three is that they cover roaming in something like 15 countries under their regular pay as you go top ups. The one SIM covered my kids use in all the countries without having to change it. It was also vastly cheaper than the Verizon service would have been.