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The mobile data / international roaming thread

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  • Comrade Chag

    Thanks @jayjay

    To keep the chain going if anyone needs a referral for Airalo: ALEX3837

    bruinbrown

    A brief experience report using a couple of three PAYG SIM cards whilst roaming in the US recently. I bought a couple of the 3 8GB prepaid PAYG SIM cards from Amazon for about £8 each for roaming in the US, painless to set up in the UK, drop the SIM card in and you’ve got 8GB of data valid for a month.

    Roaming in the US is easy enough, I’ve had decent network coverage but speeds haven’t been particularly amazing. You can’t use a personal hotspot whilst roaming either. But the biggest problem I’ve found is that accessing certain websites whilst roaming will just redirect you to the three website. Eg if you try and load opentable you just get redirected to the three website. The websites which seem to be affected by this change frequently, opentable is now working properly but certain tourist websites are now blocked.

    Also it seems like I semi-regularly just lose all capability of accessing the internet until I restart my phone, it sometimes seems to happen whenever you receive a security code by text message, and flicking your phone to airplane mode and back isn’t enough to get data back.

    I’m not sure if this is limited to three roaming in the US or if I’m likely to see it elsewhere but I’m unlikely to use three for roaming in the future. It’s problematic enough that it seems like I just can’t depend on it.

    AndyGWP

    But the biggest problem I’ve found is that accessing certain websites whilst roaming will just redirect you to the three website. Eg if you try and load opentable you just get redirected to the three website. The websites which seem to be affected by this change frequently, opentable is now working properly but certain tourist websites are now blocked.

    I had this issue in Miami at Christmas – I tried to access a website to pay for my parking, and it said it was blocked (adult content blocking). I eventually realised it was the AT&T network playing up as I switched to another provider (can’t remember which one) and it worked fine

    Mel TS

    Has anyone used the Airalo esim in Kenya? It uses the Zain network and if you check on the ‘coverage map’ on the Zain network it has no cover at all in Nairobi – or anywhere in Kenya, which seems odd.

    Although with a code from up thread I might just try it anyway for the small amount it costs and report back.

    sm

    Any recommendation for mobile data / sim for Hawaii please?

    bruinbrown

    Roaming in the US is easy enough, I’ve had decent network coverage but speeds haven’t been particularly amazing. You can’t use a personal hotspot whilst roaming either. But the biggest problem I’ve found is that accessing certain websites whilst roaming will just redirect you to the three website. Eg if you try and load opentable you just get redirected to the three website. The websites which seem to be affected by this change frequently, opentable is now working properly but certain tourist websites are now blocked.

    An update on this – I followed @AndyGWP’s advice and changed networks manually, AT&T and t mobile I seemed to have problems with but I’ve been using Verizon with no problems at all

    SteveJ

    Roaming in the US is easy enough, I’ve had decent network coverage but speeds haven’t been particularly amazing. You can’t use a personal hotspot whilst roaming either. But the biggest problem I’ve found is that accessing certain websites whilst roaming will just redirect you to the three website. Eg if you try and load opentable you just get redirected to the three website. The websites which seem to be affected by this change frequently, opentable is now working properly but certain tourist websites are now blocked.

    An update on this – I followed @AndyGWP’s advice and changed networks manually, AT&T and t mobile I seemed to have problems with but I’ve been using Verizon with no problems at all

    I second this, the default network selected always seems to be the slowest, I’ve used 3 before and pretty much always override the network choice.

    George K

    I just had an unexpected upgrade from O2, due to the fact that I’m a Virgin Media broadband customer. They’ve doubled my data allowance for free and added the O2 Travel Inclusive Zone bolt on (which has free roaming in 27 non-EU countries, US/Canada included).

    I didn’t even know this was happening. Well pleased as I’m off to Canada next month and was debating going down the eSim route.

    Thrillington

    Thanks @jayjay

    To keep the chain going if anyone needs a referral for Airalo: ALEX3837

    Thank you for the $3 discount.

    Paying it forward – my referral code is JACOB7923

    modestpointscollector

    I second this, the default network selected always seems to be the slowest, I’ve used 3 before and pretty much always override the network choice.

    Yes, i’ve used EE and Three across Europe and US, and while usable, they definitely seemed slower than having a native SIM, even after futzing about with the networks. Anyone got any feedback around speeds on Airalo in the US before I go and blow a grand total of $1.50 after discount on an eSIM?

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    moody

    Thanks Thrillington – my code is FAHD1245!

    Lady London

    For anyone who took refuge in a PAYG SIM card with Three after their promise-breaking roaming charges on contracts started, I have bad news.

    2 days ago Three told me that from a date in July, IIRC from 10th July, calls on 3 Pay-As-You-Go SIMs will cost 35p per minute. I think they said SMS’s would go up to 10p and data 35p per Mb (is that £350 per Gb?).

    So if anyone’s thinking of getting a prepaid SIM with Three, eg for travel abroad, don’t hang around as demand will switch to those and Three may have evil plans in store for those too.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    ianwardz

    Just returned from 3 weeks touring around California.
    I opted for the T-mobile esim via the app on an iPhone.
    The cost worked out at £33 for 30 days, 12Gb data, unlimited calls and texts.
    I wanted a USA phone number as this allowed me to make calls for reservations and also send and receive texts.
    Initially I couldn’t set it up in the UK when I tried a few weeks before we left, but when I tried in the airport just before we flew, it worked ok, so I don’t know if the app was changed to not check location.
    Once I signed up the process was straightforward and all I then had to do was change my settings to disable my Vodafone physical sim (just to make sure that I didn’t accidentally incur a £6 daily charge).
    Coverage and speeds were good except in Yosemite, but I guess all coverage is a bit flakey out there.
    As we were driving and the car had CarPlay I used Waze for SatNav and streamed music and all worked well.
    Having a USA number did prove useful especially when booking things online as confirmations sometimes came as texts.
    The only downside was I started receiving Spam calls almost immediately. I received around 6-8 over the 3 weeks.

    Mel TS

    Thanks Thrillington – my code is FAHD1245!


    @MOODY
    Thanks for the code – paying it forward, mine is MEL6507

    AndyGWP

    Please keep the feedback coming on Airolo folks. Hoping to use it for Canada in July 🙂

    DevonDiamond

    This thread is probably most relevant – I’ve been using the Navmii app for a data-free GPS (you download the offline maps beforehand) when on holiday this week as while I am in still the UK there is very little mobile data in this part of the country.

    I’ve used it in Cyprus and the US too, it works fine as a GPS. Obviously if you decide you want to go the nearest McDonalds / Starbucks / wherever then it can’t help as that would need to use mobile data, but if you’ve got a day of travelling planned you can get the post codes / coordinates in advance

    It also has a walking mode which is quite handy too

    dougzz99

    Bit of an update to Airalo. This was a top-up to an existing eSim which had an expired package attached to it, rather than a fresh eSim.
    On a trip to Seattle it suddenly stopped working, all the APNs associated with the sim disappeared. I contacted support who asked for screenshots of various things that I’d already covered in my initial contact. But I understand that support have to cover the basics as that’s the sensible approach. I sent the screenshots. I then went to Canada where I expected it not to work and it didn’t. But whilst there a number of APNs appeared for the Airalo eSim, so I had a sense it would work on return to US, and it did. So the support was OK, if a bit long winded via email. However, after this whilst it worked it was a little glitchy, it would look like it was connected, 4G showing and minimal up/down arrows, but wouldn’t provide a meaningful connection. A mix of turning the sim on/off, switching APN and enabling disabling aeroplane mode would make it work again.
    I’d use them again as not much is 100% when comes to roaming, and the roaming provided by Vodafone on my default sim is like everything Vodafone, getting worse each year and far from reliable.

    SteveJ

    This thread is probably most relevant – I’ve been using the Navmii app for a data-free GPS (you download the offline maps beforehand) when on holiday this week as while I am in still the UK there is very little mobile data in this part of the country.

    I’ve used it in Cyprus and the US too, it works fine as a GPS. Obviously if you decide you want to go the nearest McDonalds / Starbucks / wherever then it can’t help as that would need to use mobile data, but if you’ve got a day of travelling planned you can get the post codes / coordinates in advance

    It also has a walking mode which is quite handy too

    Is this much different to just downloading offline maps on Google Maps?

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
    DevonDiamond

    This thread is probably most relevant – I’ve been using the Navmii app for a data-free GPS (you download the offline maps beforehand) when on holiday this week as while I am in still the UK there is very little mobile data in this part of the country.

    I’ve used it in Cyprus and the US too, it works fine as a GPS. Obviously if you decide you want to go the nearest McDonalds / Starbucks / wherever then it can’t help as that would need to use mobile data, but if you’ve got a day of travelling planned you can get the post codes / coordinates in advance

    It also has a walking mode which is quite handy too

    Is this much different to just downloading offline maps on Google Maps?

    Yes and No. You download maps for an entire country in one go which Google isn’t as good at, you can download place of interest too.

    BJ

    GiffGaff to charge for European roaming from 26 July, 0.36p/MB.

    Lady London

    How very curious that the other network Three is also imposing a massive cost hike on customers at close enough to the same time next month – they are going up to 35p per Mb (so £350 per gig).

    Clearly the mobile telecoms industry players, few as they are, have arranged similar oligopolistic behaviour to the oilco’s on petrol pricing. The telecoms companies don’t even have the excuse of underlying core commodity price fluctuations to blame.

    Where’s OfCom, the telecoms regulator, im all of this? Are they still out to lunch with Three/EE/O2, or is it lunch with Vodafone today?

    AndyGWP

    Is it conspiracy though, or is it simply a case of “if they’re doing it, we might as well do it”? 🤔

    BJ

    Well I don’t take @LadyLondon to be much into apparitions or even coincidences so I guess she was seeing something else 🙂 I remember that in their more ‘competitive’ days every time that there was a round of energy price hikes a different firm amongst the big six always seemed to start the hike cycle first and on top of this the % increases announced by each company was remarkably similar.

    duggie1982

    Bit of an update to Airalo. This was a top-up to an existing eSim which had an expired package attached to it, rather than a fresh eSim.
    On a trip to Seattle it suddenly stopped working, all the APNs associated with the sim disappeared. I contacted support who asked for screenshots of various things that I’d already covered in my initial contact. But I understand that support have to cover the basics as that’s the sensible approach. I sent the screenshots. I then went to Canada where I expected it not to work and it didn’t. But whilst there a number of APNs appeared for the Airalo eSim, so I had a sense it would work on return to US, and it did. So the support was OK, if a bit long winded via email. However, after this whilst it worked it was a little glitchy, it would look like it was connected, 4G showing and minimal up/down arrows, but wouldn’t provide a meaningful connection. A mix of turning the sim on/off, switching APN and enabling disabling aeroplane mode would make it work again.
    I’d use them again as not much is 100% when comes to roaming, and the roaming provided by Vodafone on my default sim is like everything Vodafone, getting worse each year and far from reliable.

    I had a similar experience in Turkey and had to keep switching off an on and going between LTE and 3G – i have about 13$ promotional credit to use up but not using them again i dont think. Have a keepgo plan for Dubai in August so will see how that goes as Airalo is expensive for Dubai

    John

    How very curious that the other network Three is also imposing a massive cost hike on customers at close enough to the same time next month – they are going up to 35p per Mb (so £350 per gig).

    The new 3 prices are actually 35p/min, 15p/sms and 10p/MB

    My 3 SIMs are still charging me 3p/min, 2p/sms and 1p/MB so we’ll see what happens on 12 July… (they also still give me 200MB free per month and 150MB free for 2 days with every top up)

    200MB lasts me one short Europe trip with lots of use of maps. I have 5 of those SIMs so 1GB per month.

    I can wait for hotel wifi to do videos and video calls. I guess some people can’t wait, but I still don’t understand how people can need so much data.

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