Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Destination advice The mobile data / international roaming thread

The mobile data / international roaming thread

Reply
  • Mikeact

    I’m currently halfway down the US East Coast, using a local TMobile.com, purchased on arrival in Philadelphia. No problems except on voice mail I’ve picked up about 5/6 messages, not for me, threatening legal action for some non payment or other. I guess that TMobile and others recycle old sim numbers ?…I mean mine will be finished with in a couple of weeks+ time before I bin it, or I may keep hold of it for recharge when next over.

    Mikeact

    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.

    Annoyingly and surprisingly Tmobile.com only supply their eSim for the iPhone, not Android, so they gave me a regular sim for my Samsung S22, which was no big deal with a two sim option on the 22, but I would rather had it on eSim.

    DJC

    Any recommendations for roaming with data whilst in Australia for 5 weeks? Am considering moving to EE and pay the £10/month bolt on unless any better options out there but would prefer to stay with O2 to retain free Europe roaming.

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

    Message from Vodafone last night …

    “Hello. If you’re planning on travelling to the USA soon, please note that the major operators in the USA are closing their 3G services as part of their network upgrades. This means that from 1 July, you may notice an impact to your roaming experience. Head to https://www.vodafone.co.uk/3g-roaming to find out more.”

    thehornets

    Just wanted to share that I bought a couple of 3 PAYG simcards on eBay. They were under a fiver each and came pre-loaded with £10 credit, which is a bargain.

    The £10 credit can be used to purchase a 1 month 16GB data pack including unlimited UK minutes and texts.

    As it is pay as you go, 3’s Go Roam is still available for free and you can use the SIM in any of 70-odd countries, including USA. Note that you are always limited to only 12GB of roaming data.

    The SIM needs to be registered before you leave the UK and if you can’t be bothered with eBay, you can just buy a SIM in Poundland or wherever and top it up with a tenner.

    Iona

    I have read through the thread and I’m sure I should be able to work this out for myself but if I explain what I have/want could some very kind soul let me know what the best option is please?

    I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max and a SIM only contract with Sky. I also have an old iPhone (I think 8?) that I could use alongside my current one if needed.

    I’m going to the US for ~25 days in the autumn and then for a slightly shorter period in the spring.

    I want to use mobile data (not a significant amount: Google Maps, ride share apps, a bit of web browsing) and a US number that I can be called on/receive texts to.

    Ideally I’d like to be able to use the same number on both trips and I’d also like to still be able to receive calls, texts & WhatsApp messages on my UK number.

    Is this possible? If so, where do I start?

    Thank you!!!

    bhanorthy

    I have read through the thread and I’m sure I should be able to work this out for myself but if I explain what I have/want could some very kind soul let me know what the best option is please?

    I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max and a SIM only contract with Sky. I also have an old iPhone (I think 8?) that I could use alongside my current one if needed.

    I’m going to the US for ~25 days in the autumn and then for a slightly shorter period in the spring.

    I want to use mobile data (not a significant amount: Google Maps, ride share apps, a bit of web browsing) and a US number that I can be called on/receive texts to.

    Ideally I’d like to be able to use the same number on both trips and I’d also like to still be able to receive calls, texts & WhatsApp messages on my UK number.

    Is this possible? If so, where do I start?

    Thank you!!!

    If you want to avoid roaming charges I highly recommend Airalo. You can buy data packages through their app and apply the secondary data plan via settings on iOS.

    Then when abroad turn off data roaming/data on your sky plan. You can still receive phone calls etc via your U.K. number but just don’t make any outbound or you’ll trigger the daily fee!

    Any data use will go via Airalo. I used it both in USA and Canada and it was great and half the price of paying Vodafone.

    If you sign up please use my referral code we both get some credit to spend in app:

    Hey, have you tried an eSIM? Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo. Use code THOMAS6143 when you sign up or apply it at checkout. https://ref.airalo.com/efWp

    Iona

    Thanks, I don’t think Airalo will give me a US number though will it?

    bhanorthy

    Thanks, I don’t think Airalo will give me a US number though will it?

    It will, but only temporarily until the sim expires. Why do you need one? Everything is data driven now right?

    SteveJ

    Thanks, I don’t think Airalo will give me a US number though will it?

    It will, but only temporarily until the sim expires. Why do you need one? Everything is data driven now right?

    Does Airalo give a number for incoming calls? I know they don’t include any outgoing calls or allowances, I wasn’t aware they even provided a number?

    davefl

    Thanks, I don’t think Airalo will give me a US number though will it?

    It will, but only temporarily until the sim expires. Why do you needN one? Everything is data driven now right?

    No it isn’t. Things like online takeout ordering, restaurant reservations etc all want US numbers so they can txt you with updates. Most of the time they barf when you try and add international numbers.

    Also setting up account with Lyft, far more preferable to have a US number as the drivers often call or text for location and they are unlikely to dial an international one.

    Iona

    No it isn’t. Things like online takeout ordering, restaurant reservations etc all want US numbers so they can txt you with updates. Most of the time they barf when you try and add international numbers.

    Also setting up account with Lyft, far more preferable to have a US number as the drivers often call or text for location and they are unlikely to dial an international one.

    You beat me to the explanation!

    sm

    Having purchased two airalo sims for our trip to Vegas and Honolulu can confirm the e sims were easy to install and worked instantly on arrival into US. You must switch off Wi-Fi at times when you think it’s not working. I couldn’t use the Uber app after I had checked out of the hotel as phone was still searching for Wi-Fi. After switching it off it worked fine! Great also for checking my baggage had indeed landed with us!
    Maps work great too on IPhone.

    Feel free to use my referral code!
    SHARON8745

    SteveJ

    Having purchased two airalo sims for our trip to Vegas and Honolulu can confirm the e sims were easy to install and worked instantly on arrival into US. You must switch off Wi-Fi at times when you think it’s not working. I couldn’t use the Uber app after I had checked out of the hotel as phone was still searching for Wi-Fi. After switching it off it worked fine! Great also for checking my baggage had indeed landed with us!
    Maps work great too on IPhone.

    Feel free to use my referral code!
    SHARON8745

    Any experience of the Airalo esim giving you a phone number for inbound calls?

    Thrillington

    Any experience of the Airalo esim giving you a phone number for inbound calls?

    In my experience, the e-sims are data only.

    Looking at their USA sims on their website shows these are data only too. If you click ‘Buy Now’ on the US page, the pop up shows ‘Additional Information’ such as networks and the above.

    SteveJ

    Thanks, I don’t think Airalo will give me a US number though will it?

    It will, but only temporarily until the sim expires. Why do you need one? Everything is data driven now right?

    Any experience of the Airalo esim giving you a phone number for inbound calls?

    In my experience, the e-sims are data only.

    Looking at their USA sims on their website shows these are data only too. If you click ‘Buy Now’ on the US page, the pop up shows ‘Additional Information’ such as networks and the above.

    Thanks @Thrillington that has been my experience too (have only used it once though!).

    It was @bhanorthy mentioning it that had me confused. But I see directly from Airalo that NO, for the US at least, there is no phone number, data only.

    modestpointscollector

    Having purchased two airalo sims for our trip to Vegas and Honolulu can confirm the e sims were easy to install and worked instantly on arrival into US. You must switch off Wi-Fi at times when you think it’s not working. I couldn’t use the Uber app after I had checked out of the hotel as phone was still searching for Wi-Fi. After switching it off it worked fine! Great also for checking my baggage had indeed landed with us!
    Maps work great too on IPhone.

    Feel free to use my referral code!
    SHARON8745

    Thanks Sharon – Off next week to the US so glad to see it’s as easy as it looks!

    My code: SEAN3929

    Pointsamateur

    Going to take the plunge with eSim. Seems especially good value for Bahrain, where a regular prepaid sim would be 3x the cost of the Airalo offering.



    @jayjay
    thanks for the referral, which knocked $3 off. If anyone would like my signup code (also $3) it’s TOBY9970.

    Jay Jay, and other Airola experts, we are heading to Turkey very shortly, so I’ve bought their e-sim and scanned the QR code to install it. Clearly it won’t activate until we get there and enable it, when connected to the right network, but I wanted to ask about the options for setting it up; the on screen info within the Airola app is not helping me completely. Does it need the extra bits setting for APN as described ? Sorry for what is probably a stupid question.

    James

    Has anyone had experience using Three Hong Kong’s eSims?

    https://www.three.com.hk/prepaid/DIY/en/offer/travel

    The top global package $268 HKD (£28) comes with 13GB worldwide data valid for 365 days. Cheaper than buying a local PAYG sim for UAE. Lots of cheaper regional, daily / weekly / monthly packages available too plus all the convenience of a eSim.

    AndyGWP

    Thanks Sharon – Off next week to the US so glad to see it’s as easy as it looks!

    My code: SEAN3929

    Thanks Sean. Just used – here’s my code 👍🏻

    ANDREW5899

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

    Does the Three Feel At Home pay monthly contract renewed before Sep 2021 cover calls to local numbers (eg restaurants) whilst in USA? I know it includes roaming data in USA & calls back to UK without the daily £5 charge being an “old” contract.

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

    Any suggestions for getting support from Airalo? OH’s Honduras eSIM worked fine but Guatemala one was DOA and the support email she sent has gone unanswered.

    Carlos

    e-Sim vs a local Turkey sim?
    Going for 1 week so interested to know if there is a better way (on EE so its £6 something a day which is crap value)

    TimM

    I have used Airalo in Turkey, Greece and Spain almost without issue. The one issue I had was losing the APN details when I added more credit. Since then I make a note of the APN details after the installation of the eSIM (automatic via the Airalo app), just in case.

    Within the EU (and India), mobile operator Lebara offers free roaming for calls and data subject to their ‘fair usage’ policy which I believe is 30GB per calendar month, unless you use more outside the UK than within it over some period of months. The policy is rather opaque.

    If you haven’t used Airalo before you can get a US$3 discount off any package using my referral code: TIMOTH5912

    https://www.airalo.com
    https://mobile.lebara.com/gb/en/

    memesweeper

    Has anyone had experience using Three Hong Kong’s eSims?

    https://www.three.com.hk/prepaid/DIY/en/offer/travel

    The top global package $268 HKD (£28) comes with 13GB worldwide data valid for 365 days. Cheaper than buying a local PAYG sim for UAE. Lots of cheaper regional, daily / weekly / monthly packages available too plus all the convenience of a eSim.

    Yes — did exactly what was required in central America recently. Recommended if you just need data.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.