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edtorious (Offline)
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Question Best plan for Europe Cruise? - 21-05-2014, 21:54

Hello all, first time on this forum. We will be traveling to Europe and Mediterranean on a cruise this coming October for 14 days and looking for best ways to communicate within Europe specifically on these countries, Italy, Greece, Israel and Turkey.

I have an unlocked iPhone 5s and on a Prepaid plan with Tmobile currently on unlimited voice/text/data but up to 5GB on 4G speed only. I would love to bring and use my iPhone 5s in Europe. I would also like to bring my Macbook Pro and iPad wifi only with me and so would love to be able to use my iPhone 5s as a tether as well for my other wifi devices.

I've been reading some on what is the best international plan to get and still cannot make a decision and would love to get some suggestions or help here.

If possible, I would love to get just one sim card for my iPhone 5s in travelling to different countries in Europe and Mediterranean and also preferrably get one in advance here in US before travelling to Europe, if not, obtaining a sim there is fine. I would like to get reasonable voice minutes for I need to make phone calls in Europe and Mediterranean to communicate with tour companies. I would also like to get at least maybe 5GB of data during my stay there. I would also love to be able to have a plan that includes reasonable pricing while on our cruise ship. I won't really need to communicate with anyone back here in US while I'm on cruise.

Our first stop is in Italy and so if we are to get a plan and sim there, people suggests TIM. I'm not sure if they'll have all the items I mentioned above for my needs. Otherwise, should I stay with Tmobile but I don't know if prepaid plan will cover it. Even if I switch to their simple choice plan, are they worth it compared to others?

And so I apologize for the long post but just wanted to get out there what my needs are. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Ed
   
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NFH (Offline)
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Default 05-06-2014, 10:19

The problem is that you're going to two EEA countries and two non-EEA countries. The European Commission roaming price caps apply only to EEA countries, and consequently the best data roaming deals usually apply only to EEA countries. It's fortunate that your first stop is in Italy because Vodafone Italy could be suitable for you to use in Italy and Greece, and their deal also covers Turkey, despite Turkey not being in the EEA. The cost is 3 per day for 25 outgoing minutes, 25 incoming minutes, 50 SMS and unlimited data. You'll need another SIM in Israel.
   
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davidtheprof (Offline)
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Default 05-06-2014, 21:53

If you can switch to simple choice plan with T-Mobile, you will be fine, 20c/min for calls, and free data (albeit slow, but you can pay for faster data).
Or Piranha-mobile sim has reasonable rates, much easier than trying for local sim in each country, you just have to deal with their call back system.
   
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sperial (Offline)
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Default 06-06-2014, 13:00

I doubt that it's worth the bother of buying a local SIM for a 2-3 days stay in Israel.
The SIM easiest to obtain is the YouPhone SIM, sold at many (but not all) post offices, as well as at the Mega supermarkets and Alon gas stations. the starter kit costs NIS 49 (USD 14) and includes 150 "units" - each unit being 1 minute national talk time (counted by seconds), one text message or 1 MB data (AFAIK in 10 kB units). The downside is that for international calling you will have to choose one of 8 carriers, and there are no top up plans intended for international calling. Of course, incoming calls are free, and you can use the data allowance for skype or any other VoIP service. The same is true for prepaid services by other carriers.
Most, but not all, cellular carriers have similar plans. Use the Israel page on this site to find the links, and use Google or Microsoft translation services to find up to date information.
   
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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default 07-06-2014, 13:24

Whatever you decide to do, you also need a backup plan. International roaming has so many moving parts, I'm often amazed when it works at all.
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Stu (Offline)
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Default 08-06-2014, 02:59

Roaming SIMs are pretty inexpensive for data in Israel. Piranha is roughly 20 US cents a meg. Calls are inexpensive as well. Whether that will be adequate depends on your data consumption. Israeli SIMs are easily purchased in advance off the internet. See, e.g.:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...raeli+sim+card

Last edited by Stu; 08-06-2014 at 03:09..
   
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NFH (Offline)
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Default 08-06-2014, 08:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu View Post
Roaming SIMs are pretty inexpensive for data in Israel. Piranha is roughly 20 US cents a meg.
I would say that $200 per gigabyte is quite expensive, especially when you consider that the going rate for data by domestic networks in most countries is typically around $10 to $15 per gigabyte.
   
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sperial (Offline)
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Default 08-06-2014, 14:36

An "unlimited" top up for Orange will give you unlimited voice+test messaging in Israel + 1GB data for NIS 139 (USD 40) . Add NIS 20 and get 4 GB.

In Israeli terms this is still very expensive - I pay NIS 30/month ($8.70) for unlimited national voice + SMS, 3GB data and unlimited voice landlines in 31 countries.

I just fount the site of a new Israeli MVNO called 019mobile offering what appears to be very good conditions - especially for visitors from the USA.

Last edited by sperial; 08-06-2014 at 14:53..
   
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