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  >  Life hack   >  Mobile communication while traveling: profitable roaming and SIM cards for Europe, Turkey, Japan.

What connection to use in Europe? Which operator in roaming is more profitable? How much will the calls cost, and how much is the mobile Internet? Should I go abroad with my SIM card or buy a SIM card for Europe? Buy locally or in advance? If you have at least one of these questions, then you need to read this article.

 

Article content:
Why is it worth buying a SIM card BEFORE the trip
Operators comparison: MTS, Beeline, Megafon | Tele2, Tinkoff | Orange | Globalsim, Drimsim , Japan Wireless
Conclusions and Recommendations

I used to go on trips without mobile Internet, and kept in touch with my relatives via SMS. Sometimes I connected to a hotel Wi-Fi, and downloaded and printed maps in advance on the Internet. Then came maps.me (free offline navigator), it became even easier.

Now my travels have become much more active and I travel much more often, therefore, I do not always have time to carefully prepare for the trip, download (and print!) Maps, put tags in map.me. Plus, you need to be in touch not only with family, but also with you, dear readers (I try to answer your questions as quickly as possible in the comments).

For a long time I compared the conditions of different mobile operators, ordered different SIM cards for a trip to Europe, tested them, therefore, the writing of this article was delayed. Now I am ready to tell you about 8 mobile operators , most of which I checked personally.

Since the blog I mainly write about Europe , and there are also articles about Turkey and Japan , there will be a comparison in these countries. I have compiled a large summary table on mobile operators (for Europe, Turkey, Japan), you can download it in pdf format for personal use from the link . Prices and available options in the table and article are relevant for September 2019.

The action of 1GB of free internet from Tinkoff mobile is temporarily suspended!

Below I will write in more detail and share my thoughts and impressions.

Why you should not count on the purchase of SIM cards on the spot

In no case will I discourage you from buying a SIM card of a local operator upon arrival in the country. And if we look at Japan , I even recommend doing it right away at the airport, because the local operators have the most adequate tariffs for unlimited Internet. Nevertheless, here are the nuances of buying a SIM card on the spot:

  1. Without preliminary preparation, you will have to visit several communication salons to find the most suitable tariff
  2. In Europe, all offices work until 18-19 hours with a lunch break (siesta in southern countries 2-3 hours), Saturday is a shortened day (until 15: 00-16: 00), and Sunday is a day off. If you get to the city by 4 pm Saturday, then until Monday you will remain without communication.
  3. Paid sim card + fees and inexpensive at a glance tariffs (5-10 euros) will turn into 20-25.
  4. The language barrier: finding an English-speaking employee in Italy , Spain or Germany is a great success.
  5. It takes 2-3 hours to activate a SIM card. And if it does not activate, then again you need to go to the office or call the hotline (where there are hardly any English-speaking consultants).

Big Three (MTS, Beeline, Megaphone)

These are the mobile operators whose communication most of us use regularly. Recently, there has been fierce competition between them, therefore, tariffs are constantly improving, local communication and the Internet are becoming cheaper, there are many attractive offers.

But there are not many profitable options for roaming.

MTS roaming

At the price of almost all services, MTS loses to many operators. Calls to Russia 70-115 rubles per minute, SMS – 21 p., Internet – from 450 to 1600 rubles (20 €) per day.

Services that will reduce the cost of communication:

  1. “Zero without borders” (145 rubles per day) for calls to the Russian Federation .

Mobile communications in Europe and Turkey: included 45 minutes of incoming and outgoing calls per day (outgoing – from 3 rubles per minute);

In Japan: 1st min. and from the 6th – 115 rubles / min; from the second to the fifth – 39.00 rubles / min, incoming – the first 10 minutes 0 rubles, then – 39.00 rubles / min

  1. “Zabugorishte” (350-390 rubles per day) for calls and the Internet at a home rate.

The option is included only on the day of using mobile communication (when making a call, or accessing the Internet).

In Europe and Turkey: when the service is activated, minutes (up to 100 minutes per day) and megabytes (500 MB at high speed) are deducted from the home package or at the home rate.

In Japan: 1st min. and from the 6th – 115 rubles / min; from the second to the fifth – 39.00 rubles / min, incoming – the first 10 minutes 0 rubles, then – 39.00 rubles / min. Internet up to 100 mb at high speed.

  1. “BIT abroad” for the Internet while traveling

In Europe, Turkey, Japan:

  • 450 rubles per day (only mail and social networks);
  • 700 rubles per day (except video and volume files)
  • 1600 rub./day (full Internet)

My conclusion : the only adequate proposal for Europe and Turkey, I see the option “Zero without borders.” Suitable for those who have limited access to wi-fi during the trip, and need to make a lot of calls. I do not recommend connecting the Internet at such a price, and even with a speed limit. For Japan, MTS has nothing profitable.

Roaming Beeline

At Beeline tariffs due to travel are common to most countries, including countries of Europe, Turkey, Japan.

  • Calls: 30 rubles per minute
  • A package of calls 200 rubles for 20 minutes a day . This is 10 rubles / min, incl. in Japan (if the Beeline site is not cheating, then on calls from Japan this is the best offer !)
  • SMS: 30 rubles
  • Internet: 5 120 rubles for 1 GB, with a package: 350 rubles per day of use (high-speed traffic only 10 MB) + 99 rubles (additional 1 GB of high-speed Internet). Total 450 rubles for 1GB of Internet per day, incl. in Japan.

My conclusion : in Europe and Turkey, I do not see the point of using Beeline, because there are more advantageous offers, but for Japan, tariffs for calls are the most profitable of the operators considered.

Roaming Megaphone

When using mobile communications while traveling (making a call or accessing the network), Megafon enables the option “Roaming, goodbye” (an analogue of “Zabugorishte” from MTS). With this option enabled, outgoing (up to 60 minutes per day), incoming and Internet (up to 1GB) at home tariff.

In Europe (359 rubles per day) and Turkey (349 rubles per day): outgoing calls 99 rubles per minute, other countries – 149 rubles per minute; Internet at home rate. Or packages of 1 GB for 999 rubles, 3 GB for 1999 rubles.

In Japan (419 rubles a day): outgoing calls 199 rubles / min; other countries – 199 rubles / min; Internet at home rate. Or a 500mb package for 999 rubles.

My conclusion : Megafon has a quite advantageous option “Roaming, goodbye!” For Japan, and for Europe and Turkey take a look at Internet packages abroad – for a trip of 1 or 3 GB for 999r and 1999r, respectively (among Russian operators this is one of the best prices .)

Other Russian operators (Tele2 and Tinkoff mobile)

Roaming Tele2

After 10 years of using MTS, in 2019 I switched to Tele2 (and later to Tinkoff mobile), Tele2 has better communication tariffs compared to MTS, there are no “random” service connections, there are no roaming in Russia and even Without connecting any additional services, Tele2 SIM can be used as a SIM card for travel (calls and SMS).

In Europe and Turkey: 15 rubles per minute of incoming and outgoing (except for the countries of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia) and 6 rubles per SMS without connecting additional options. 1GB – 25 600 rubles.

In Japan: 35 rubles per minute of incoming and outgoing (except for the countries of North and South America) and 12 rubles per SMS without connecting additional options. 1GB – 51,200 rubles.

Services that will reduce the cost of communication:

  1. Talk Without Borders for cheap incoming calls

Incoming 5 rubles / min for 5 rubles per day for all countries, incl. Japan. Great offer if you accept a lot of calls.

  1. “Unlimited Internet” to access the Internet

350 rubles per day of use, incl. in Japan (at a high speed of 200 mb, then – a decrease in speed to 128 kbps)

In Montenegro – unlimited Internet without speed limit (promotion until 12/15/2019).

My conclusion : it’s beneficial to use Tele2 SIM card without connecting additional options if you may need to make several short calls during the trip (for example, call the landlord, guide or transfer company to Russia): only 15 rubles per minute (in Europe, in Japan – 35 rubles) for any call. Cheap sms. Cheap inbox when the option “Conversations without borders” is enabled (suitable for Japan!). Normal Internet price for Japan with the option “Unlimited Internet”.

Roaming Tinkoff Mobile

After months of using Tele2, I still switched to Tinkoff mobile . In terms of the quality of communication, both the one and the other are approximately the same, in terms of prices for service packages and roaming, too. But with Tinkoff mobile, you can independently “collect” your package or even disable all services, at Tele2 the choice of packages is small and there are no tariffs without a monthly fee. Plus, while the “1GB Internet in Europe for free” promotion is in progress (the promotion is temporarily suspended), I managed to test the Internet in Europe. By the way, I wrote in detail about it here .

In Europe and Turkey: calls 11.90 rubles / min, SMS 5.9 rubles without connecting additional options. 100 MB per day -149 rubles.

In Japan: calls 39.90 rubles / min, SMS 9.9 rubles without connecting additional options. 50 mb per day – 399 rubles.

Services that will reduce the cost of communication:

  1. Package “30 minutes inbound” (59 rubles per day)
  2. Unlimited messengers (49 rubles per day in Europe and Turkey; 149 rubles in Japan)
  3. Google Navigation (79 rubles in Europe and Turkey; 249 rubles in Japan)
  4. 1 GB for a trip to Europe and Turkey – 999 rubles, for shares – for free .
  5. 200 MB for a trip to Japan – 1499 rubles.

I measured the speed of the Internet in roaming:

mobile communication in europe for tourists

If these numbers do not tell you anything, look at how fast the site opens.

For 4 days (without navigation and video) I spent 650 mb.

The Internet works fine in Italy, Finland, Germany, the Czech Republic (personally checked).

My conclusion : Tinkoff mobile is beneficial to use as the main operator, it has good prices for packages of calls and SMS at home + you can independently collect your tariff. You can use it as a sim card for traveling around Europe: a good price for calls and SMS while roaming without connecting additional options (similar to Tele2 tariffs, if you plan only a few calls per trip, it makes no sense to connect some additional packages). The Internet in Japan from this operator is quite expensive, but in Europe you can use the 1GB package, or connect only messengers / google navigation (no operator has such an offer). [ try tinkoff mobile 1 week for free ]

 

Read also “6 bank cards for free flights.”

 

Foreign operators, travel sim cards, wi-fi router (Orange, Globalsim, Drimsim, Japan wireless)

Roaming Orange

Orange is the SIM card for Europe of the Spanish operator, which offers cheap Internet in the EU. A huge plus is that you can now buy a SIM card Orange for Europe in Russia through authorized agents. Both Orange and Globalsim I bought through euroroaming.ru and picked up independently from the point of issue.

The Mundo tariff is the most profitable, valid only in Europe (the territory of the European Union) , therefore, I do not consider Turkey and Japan in this section.

  • The cost of a SIM card is 19 € (1430 rubles), a 10% discount on my 2btraveler promotional code.
  • Outgoing to European numbers 0.08 € / min + 0.30 € (6 rubles + 22.50 rubles) for the connection.
  • Outgoing calls to numbers of Russian operators – 3.15 € / min (237 rubles)
  • Inbox is free.
  • SMS to EU numbers – 0.73 € (55 rubles)
  • SMS to Russian numbers – 1.21 € (91 rubles)
  • Internet without packages: € 0.60 for 10 mb (€ 61.44 for 1 gb)

Services that will reduce the cost of communication:

  • Internet package 3 GB for 7 €;
  • Internet package 7 GB for 10 €;
  • Internet package 10 GB for 15 €.

Important:

Under the terms of the tariff, these packages are valid in the EU only for the first 2 months . After that, you can use such tariffs only in Spain, and in other countries use megabyte tariffing of 0.0053 € per 10 mb ( 5.42 € per 1 gb ). It is really cheaper than all other operators.

In order to not be charged for the package, you need to replenish the account for an amount less than your package, or switch to other tariff plans.

But what about the fact?

And in fact, I got an interesting story. I activated sim card on May 25 and, logically, after July 25 I had to use the Internet at a price of € 0.0053 for 10 mb. But, when connected in September (!) To the network, money began to be withdrawn from the balance at the base tariff of 0.60 € per 10 mb.

For two days I corresponded with the support service, as a result of which I received an answer:

“If you had restrictions, you would now be charged 0.0053 per mb. You have another charge [0.60 € per 10 mb], which we talked about above. So you have not yet entered into force. ”

I had to replenish the account again, so that the package fee was debited. When these conditions about 2 months come into force – I can only guess. Therefore, keep in mind that this is possible.

UPD: a week before the expiration of the 7GB package (about 3.5 GB was spent), the operator seemed to remember that it was time to change the conditions and began to withdraw money for using the Internet (and at a price of 0.60 euros for 10 mb). In general, this moment is still in question for me.

Communication in Europe is good, here is the Internet speed in Italy:

internet and communication in europe

In the Czech Republic and Germany did not measure, but everything was well loaded.

Site loading speed:

For 4 days of active use of the SIM card (I didn’t connect to Wi-Fi at all) I spent 1.64 GB.

How to recharge Orange balance

It is possible through a personal account or through euroroaming (if bought through them). I haven’t tried through the office yet, but I replenished Euro roaming through the site. During the day, payments were credited even on weekends.

  1. We go to the site, select the STORE -> REFILL BALANCE -> ORANGE

SIM card for the Internet in Europe to buy

  1. Choose the amount of replenishment (from 5 €)

Where to buy a SIM card for Europe

  1. Fill in your details and phone number + choose a payment method

cellular communication in europe for tourists

  1. We pay. Order is accepted.

connection for a trip to europe

A letter will be sent to the mail about the completion of the order (replenishment of the balance).

At the second and third replenishment, orange credits a bonus of 3 euros to the account, which can be used this month. Here’s how they are displayed in your account

what connection to choose in europe

The tariff “Mundo” does not work in Switzerland, in Monaco, in Turkey and in the north of Cyprus (territory of Turkey), on ships and on aircraft.

Simka Orange for Europe is valid for 11 months after replenishment of the tariff!

How to register a personal account on orange.es

Euro roaming has a detailed instruction, located at https://euroroaming.ru/instruction-orange-mundo/. According to this instruction, register your personal account, and after registration you will be able to access various information about your tariff and the remaining minutes. My account, of course, in Spanish, but most of the information is intuitive.

I made screenshots for you with notes.

Main page:

Simka Orange in Russia for Europe

Mi Saldo Tab:

what sim card to buy for internet in europe

Tab Mi linea (Mundo):

sim card for internet in europe is the best

Tariff change (Cambiar de tarifa):

Simka Orange change tariff

Recarga tab (balance replenishment)

sim card for travel with internet

My conclusion : if you need a SIM card for the Internet in Europe and you plan to spend a lot of Internet, Orange is the most ideal option. Even taking into account a paid SIM card, it turns out much cheaper than using the cards of Russian operators. The card is valid for 11 months from the date of the last replenishment, therefore, even if you travel to Europe once a year, the card can be reused. Calls and SMS to Russia on this card are disadvantageous. [ buy SIM card Orange + 10% discount on the code 2btraveler ]

 

Read also  Travel Insurance: How to Buy It Yourself Online in 5 Minutes.

 

Roaming Globalsim

I bought SIM card Globalsim for a trip to Istanbul: for 5 days I did not need a lot of Internet, but I didn’t want to stay without communication. The most profitable option for me was a 1GB package for $ 10.

In Europe and Turkey: $ 0.49 (32 rubles) per minute, $ 0.1 (6.5 rubles) for SMS, 1GB – $ 256 without a package.

In Japan: $ 0.55 (36 rubles) per minute, $ 0.2 (13 rubles) for SMS, 1GB – $ 256 without a package.

Services that will reduce the cost of communication:

  • Packages for 30 days in Europe and Turkey:
    1 GB = 19 $
    2 GB = $ 35
    5 GB = $ 45
  • Packages for 30 days in Turkey:
    1 GB = 10 $ (14 days)
    2 GB = $ 20;
    5 GB = $ 29
  • Internet option “Europe Data” 1 MB for $ 0.01 (1GB – 10.24 €) during the year + 10 $ for activation.
  • SIM card is about 100 rubles.

For 5 days in Istanbul, I had 500 MB of Internet (navigation, search, instagram).

My conclusion : for Europe, the tariffs are expensive, for the sake of SMS there is no sense in buying a SIM card, but the tariffs for Turkey are quite good. SIM card for traveling to Turkey is almost free, therefore, you can even buy it for a one-time trip. [ buy a sim card globalsim with a 5% discount on the 2btraveler promo code ]

Roaming Drimsim

I am not familiar with the drimsim SIM card yet, but I read a lot of positive reviews. This is a universal sim card for travel, works in most countries of the world, is controlled from a mobile application.

In Europe: 0.3 € (22 rubles) per minute of outgoing to the Russian Federation, 0.45 € (34 rubles) – for the country, free of charge, 0.04 € (3 rubles) for SMS, 1GB – 10.24 € ( megabyte tariffication).

In Turkey: 0.7 € (52 rubles) per minute of outgoing to the Russian Federation, 0.65 € (49 rubles) – within the country, free of charge, 0.1 € (7.50 rubles) for SMS, 1GB – 10.24 € (per MB tariffication).

In Japan: 0.7 € (52 rubles) per minute of outgoing to the Russian Federation, 0.60 € (45 rubles) – for the country, free of charge, 0.31 € (23 rubles) for SMS, 1 gigabyte – 30.72 € ( megabyte tariffication).

The cost of a SIM card is 10 euros

Delivery is paid (to Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk Boxberry or Post – 4 euros. Moscow – courier within the Moscow Ring Road 6 euros, Boxberry or Post – 4 euros.)

My conclusion : if you need a SIM card for traveling around the world, but you are not very active in using the mobile Internet and you do not need 3-7 GB packages, you can order a SIM card for an international travel SIM card drimsim and pay only upon the use of services. 10.24 euros for 1 GB in Europe or Turkey – a good price on the Internet without a package.

Router Japan Wireless

Service japan-wireless.com offers for rent Wi fi router. The price depends on the number of rental days. For 14 days, the rental will cost 8.290 yen: unlimited Internet and up to 10 connected devices. The conditions seem good to me, and the company recommends Lonely Planet. You can get a 10% discount (up to 02/29/2020 – 15%) with the JW2B promotional code In addition to routers, they also have SIM cards, but with a limitation of 500 mb per day. 3780 yen in 2 weeks + delivery (you can arrange delivery to the hotel) 500 yen.

Summary

To summarize. Of all the services provided by 8 operators, I recommend:

For Europe:

For Turkey:

  • Simka Globalsim with a package of 1 GB of Internet for $ 10

For Europe and Turkey:

For Japan:

  • Local SIM (buy at Narita Airport , $ 65 for unlimited for 2 weeks)
  • Router from japan-wireless.com (1000 yen discount on JW2B code )
  • 20 minutes outgoing for 200 rubles from Beeline
  • Basic tariffs for Tele2 and Tinkoff mobile for calls and SMS
  • Beeline high-speed Internet package for 450 rubles per day of use
  • Unlimited Internet from Tele2 for 350 rubles per day

Now you know what kind of mobile communication is available for tourists in Europe and which is better, which Russian operator has the most profitable roaming in Europe and which SIM card is better for Europe (as well as Turkey and Japan) and how to do it.

If you have questions or additions, you want to share your experience using SIM cards for travel, leave comments!

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Cheap roaming charges!

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