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Data only esim question

I tried asking the internet but decided asking all of you would be less annoying. If the question seems dumb, feel free to ignore.

Have- iPhone with esim capability, unlocked, and ATT

Need- lots of data. This is for two weeks of both driving in less city-fied areas and to keep location services on while hiking. Nothing too crazy and shouldn’t get lost, but want to make it easier on rescuers in case I do something stupid. Plus I want to track hikes on a hiking app.

Also- hotels wanted a phone number to reach me and I may need to call them.

Question- if I get a data-only esim, does this mean hotels can call me on my existing US phone number but only using WhatsApp or similar? And I call them the same way? But if need to call someone without WhatsApp, etc., I’d have to turn on cell data and get charged the $10 per day by ATT. Is that right? Debating whether having to think about this is worth the savings.

Posted by
2267 posts

Yes, you're right—data only would force you to activate the US number and pay the $10 to AT&T for any phone calls.

On one hand, data and voice plans in Europe can be super cheap by American standards. You don't mention where your going, but right now you can get 50Gigs and 300 international minutes from Vodafone Spain for just 10 euro. (my reference, as that's who I keep a European sim with.)

On the other hand, I've spent 21 weeks in Europe since November of 2021 and have made a voice call exactly one time.

Posted by
7011 posts

Basically, yes. If you have an eSIM data plan without phone calls, then you would have to use WhatsApp or FaceTime audio or something similar to placr calls. However, in order to use WhatsApp, each of you must be using the app and be on each others WhatsApp contacts list.

If you call without using WhatsApp or FT, etc., you would need to enable your primary line and set it up as your default voice line. Then you can accept or make calls but would be subject to whatever fees your carrier charges.

Posted by
7011 posts

I agree with Scudder about making phone calls. I have made zero phone calls in the last 5 years while traveling overseas, and have never received a call either. Hotels always ask for your phone number but I have never had one call me.

Posted by
380 posts

Be sure to set all the apps you won't be using to not refresh in the background, or to only refresh via wifi when available, so they're not wasting your data package by refreshing your work email or the weather in Pittsburgh or updating your solitaire game, or whatever!