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Mobile wifi vs. local SIM card

Has anyone used a mobile wifi service, in particular Skyroam in-lieu of getting a local SIM card?

Last year we traveled through Amsterdam and much of Germany with SIM cards we bought from simcorner.com. They worked great in our unlocked iPhones. In a couple months we will be back in Germany as well as Italy and had planned on getting SIM cards again from the same company. However, we recently upgraded our iPhones and the new phones are locked to Verizon and I am concerned that the simcorner.com SIM cards may not work with our locked phones. So now we are thinking about renting one of the Skyroam devices for this trip instead of getting SIM cards. Or maybe someone has experience with using a locked Verizon iPhone overseas with a local SIM card.

Thanks,
Jim

Posted by
11152 posts

If your phone is locked to Verizon, a non-Verizon SIM will definitely not work in it.

So, your idea of getting a mobile Wi-Fi device makes sense. Unfortunately, I have no direct experience with this (except borrowing one from my hotel in Osaka, Japan), so I can't give any more specific advice about which companies may have good deals for Germany and Italy.

Posted by
94 posts

I’m researching similar for a trip to Switzerland and Italy. I found this : https://www.myswissalps.com/simcard

I am trying to work out the best plan for dealing with the connectivity aspect as the trip covers a EU and a non-EU country, and the roaming seems to be a concern area. However, I’ve not pinpointed a specific comparison that helps sort it out if that’s myth or reality. 😊 All of my hotels have WiFi, and I have Verizon which is $10/day. However, + husband, and it’s $20/ and that does not make sense.

In short, I have no experience but here’s a link that I found, maybe helpful for you.

Posted by
446 posts

We have used Skyrim’s for 2 trips now and love it.

No need to worry about locked phones, nothing to mess with in your phone and worry about losing your own SIM card, don’t have to spend time in country buying a SIM card, and it works on multiple devices at the same time.

Only downside is if you need to make lots of calls. We didn’t and just used WhatsApp for calls and had no problems.

Posted by
21 posts

I just bought a new iPhone 11 from Verizon and checked the issue of locked phones. Their policy is that the phones are locked for two months after purchase. After the two month period, they are automatically unlocked.

Posted by
20 posts

Sounds like Skyroam is going to be the way to go.

Verizon’s unlocking policy is a bit misleading. When I read it originally I interpreted they same, meaning the phones would be unlocked after 60 days from when the phones were activated. We made sure they we got the phones about 70 days prior to our trip. Then I was on the phone with Verizon about an activation issue and brought up the unlocking policy. The guy explained that the 60 day unlock policy only applies from the date you “purchase” the phone and phones that are on monthly payment plans (like ours are) are not considered “purchased” until they are completely paid off. Oh well, my fault for not reading the fine print in their policy.

Thanks for the info everyone!

Posted by
4501 posts

Jim,
Here are a few other option to consider:

  • If you need to make calls to the U.S. while on your trip, you may
    consider downloading “ Google Voice”, which will allow you to make
    calls for free, even to landline phones!

  • Keep your iPhones on “airplane mode” That’s exactly what we did on our most recent trip, and only used WiFi (at hotel and most restaurants)

  • You can also download the (google) maps you’ll need and can use them offline.

  • Take your (previous) unlocked iPhone and get a local SIM card when you arrive to your first European destination.

  • As already mentioned upthread, you may also want to download WhatsApp
    for making calls (domestic & international) for free. Just make sure
    the person you want to contact also has downloaded WhatsApp on their
    phone.

Hopefully AndrewH will chime in with more information.
I’m very grateful to Andrew because he recommended Google Hangouts & Google Voice, and I was able to call my elderly mom everyday for free!

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks for the info on Verizon. The message on their site is misleading. I will have to change my plan to get a local SIM card.

Posted by
21 posts

I just double-checked with Verizon via a chat. The agent checked with his supervisor. They said the 60 day count starts from the date of activation of the new phone. I hope you got the wrong information Jim. You might want to double-check with Verizon.