Best way to have cell/data access when overseas?

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
My current project requires me to make numerous trips to Germany/Poland (mainly Germany for now). I don't rank quite high enough to score a company phone, so I am stuck using mine (Nexus 6).

On my last trip I figured I would just rely on WiFi and use WhatsApp and Skype, but that isn't much of a solution. Free WiFi doesn't seem to be much of a thing in Germany. I am with Verizon and their International Calling Plan is basically just a gentler form of buggery than going without it ($1.79 a minute for talk, $0.30 per text sent versus $2.89 per minute and $0.50 per text if I use my domestic plan).

What is the solution here? Buy a SIM card once I am there? Are there other SIM cards / plans available to buy here before traveling? Am I reading the Verizon information wrong or is it really that crazy when it comes to price? Since I won't be reimbursed by my company for personal cell usage I would like to find the most affordable option.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,370
238
106
or rent one locally. It's a business expense.
 

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
or rent one locally. It's a business expense.

My trips are generally on the order of a week at a time. Renting sounds like a pain even if I could figure out how and where to do it.

I guess I could try to write this off on my taxes, but the expense is most likely going to be paid directly by me.
 

cpacini

Senior member
Oct 22, 2005
712
0
76
Best option is probably just to buy a SIM with a carrier over there.

Regular tmobile post paid service includes international roaming at no extra charge for data and texts, $.20/minute for calls.
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
14,591
3,421
136
Best option is probably just to buy a SIM with a carrier over there.

Regular tmobile post paid service includes international roaming at no extra charge for data and texts, $.20/minute for calls.

That's what I thought. And the built in wifi calling is free overseas, I believe.
 

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
Best option is probably just to buy a SIM with a carrier over there.

Regular tmobile post paid service includes international roaming at no extra charge for data and texts, $.20/minute for calls.

If I wasn't on the hook to Verizon right now I would actually consider switching to T-Mobile just for this reason. Unfortunately I am sort of stuck unless I want to pay off my Edge pricing all at once. If only I had waited until the N6 dropped so low in price ...
 

aaksheytalwar

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,389
0
76
With Indian operators data on international roaming costs about USD 600/GB if you take a plan in advance. Otherwise it costs 10-50x that rate.

Incoming/Outgoing is a few USD/min with a min a pulse.

Best to buy local sims if you leave your home country for a trip.

It takes 10 minutes to go to a nearby shop and buy a local prepaid sim. No hassles of postpaid. Worth it even if you're there for a few hours. Much less a whole week.
 
Last edited:

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
14,591
3,421
136
If I wasn't on the hook to Verizon right now I would actually consider switching to T-Mobile just for this reason. Unfortunately I am sort of stuck unless I want to pay off my Edge pricing all at once. If only I had waited until the N6 dropped so low in price ...

My gf has AT&T, and when we go up to Canada she basically just shuts her phone off and we use mine. Unbelievable how bad other carriers screw people.
 

paperwastage

Golden Member
May 25, 2010
1,848
2
76
Thanks! I'll look into how their international billing works.

Hmm. T-Mobile isn't much better. $1.49 a minute for talk, $0.50 per text. Maybe I'll just buy a SIM at Aldi when I am there and see what happens.
www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/travelpass-countries

Germany is part of the Verizon's TravelPass program

(Basically, pay $10/day when you use it in germany, counts against your regular domestic minutes/text/data bucket)

http://www.verizonwireless.com/news...necting-internationally-just-got-simpler.html

EDIT: some reason, anandtech's referral program is messing up the link above... try just copying aand pasting?

Code:
www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/travelpass-countries
 
Last edited:
Feb 19, 2001
20,158
20
81
Buy a local SIM IMO. It allows you to call local businesses too unless you don't care about that.

$10/day is ridiculous. As expensive as Japan is, a visitor SIM for 14 days is only $20. A 1gb plan in Taiwan is $6 USD. An unlimited 7 day SIM in Hong Kong is $11-$12.
 

paperwastage

Golden Member
May 25, 2010
1,848
2
76
Buy a local SIM IMO. It allows you to call local businesses too unless you don't care about that.

$10/day is ridiculous. As expensive as Japan is, a visitor SIM for 14 days is only $20. A 1gb plan in Taiwan is $6 USD. An unlimited 7 day SIM in Hong Kong is $11-$12.
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Japan

except that it's very hard to get voice on Japan..data-only sims are easier....

so you'll have to rely on skype/voip....

(data for germany: http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Germany
)

if your business is willing to pay for the convenience (same phone #, same data/voice/text that you use normally), the $10/day is the verizon price/surcharge/premium/...
 
Feb 19, 2001
20,158
20
81
Yes, but its also questionable how much local voice you really need. In the case of Taiwan and Hong Kong where I have friends and family, yes I'd like local voice. In Japan, China, etc, I don't need it.

But even if my company pays, its not worth it--in this case it's my company phone. We add on like $30 for 100mb or whatever Verizon gives. It's too easy to gobble up. I was in Costa Rica last month and left my email on manual refresh for 4 days and I went way over 100mb despite trying to use WiFi whenever I could. I bought a separate local SIM for personal use ($7 USD) for 2GB and did whatever the hell I wanted on my personal phone.
 

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
I don't really need local voice at all. What I need is international voice and text. I'll probably enable international support in my plan just in case and then shop locally and see what I can find.
 

paperwastage

Golden Member
May 25, 2010
1,848
2
76
I don't really need local voice at all. What I need is international voice and text. I'll probably enable international support in my plan just in case and then shop locally and see what I can find.

when you are in the foreign country and have that $10/day feature enabled, the following calls are included in the plan

calls back to USA
calls to the phones within the same foreign country you are currently in
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25708236-post10.html

(NOT INCLUDED: calls to phones in OTHER foreign countries)

you should confirm with verizon

We add on like $30 for 100mb or whatever Verizon gives. It's too easy to gobble up. I was in Costa Rica last month
too bad costa rica isn't on the travelpass list

but still... paying $10/day for your current [data] allocation in those countries is fine(your data usage would probably remain the same overseas, maybe slightly more with google maps usage to navigate around)

very good for short business trips... questionable for longer trips (>3-5 days)
 
Last edited:

BW86

Lifer
Jul 20, 2004
13,115
29
91
You have a Nexus 6. Ever think about Project Fi?

Just switch sims when you travel - when you get back and don't need Fi anymore just pause the Fi service until you travel again.

$0.20 a minute for voice calls & unlimited sms
 

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
You have a Nexus 6. Ever think about Project Fi?

Just switch sims when you travel - when you get back and don't need Fi anymore just pause the Fi service until you travel again.

$0.20 a minute for voice calls & unlimited sms

Actually I was just looking into that. I wasn't completely sure if I could pause the service or if I would always have a monthly bill. If I could use it on an as needed basis I would give it a shot.
 

magomago

Lifer
Sep 28, 2002
10,973
14
76
reimburse by the company???? Am I the only one really wondering why he would pay for this at all?

I'm assuming you'll have to take some calls and texts for work. If you do, then either the company provides you a phone, or you submit an expense report for every single international phone charge. Hint hint: the latter ain't cheap.

don't spend your personal money at all for work related issues if you don't get reimbursed.

If your phone is to be used ONLY for personal issues (which is why you can't reimburse), then make sure you phone is unlocked and buy cheap pre-paid SIM; Europe is supposed to be littered with them. A week is perfectly fine to get a prepaid each time, and usually its still valid if you return with a certain number of months.
 

ControlD

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2005
5,440
44
91
reimburse by the company???? Am I the only one really wondering why he would pay for this at all?

I'm assuming you'll have to take some calls and texts for work. If you do, then either the company provides you a phone, or you submit an expense report for every single international phone charge. Hint hint: the latter ain't cheap.

don't spend your personal money at all for work related issues if you don't get reimbursed.

If your phone is to be used ONLY for personal issues (which is why you can't reimburse), then make sure you phone is unlocked and buy cheap pre-paid SIM; Europe is supposed to be littered with them. A week is perfectly fine to get a prepaid each time, and usually its still valid if you return with a certain number of months.

I am using my phone for personal reasons (mainly keeping in touch with my family), thus I am not expecting my company to reimburse me for it.

The only thing I have seen about Germany and SIM cards is that in many cases they expect you to be a citizen or at least have a German bank account. I will still give it a shot and see what happens.