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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default International travel newbie questions

    Greetings,

    My family and I will be travelling to Ireland, Wales and England in March and while my wife wants us to keep the tech at home I need to at least keep contacted for work and my son will want to keep up with friends at home.

    I've done plenty of research and it just confuses me even more. The relevent tech is my Verizon S3, my sons iPhone 5 and my wife has an iPhone 4S but she doesn't care. My son and I plan on taking WI-FI only iPads as well as possibly one other tablet.

    What are our best options for keeping in touch back home without breaking the bank. Voice & Data SIMs? Data only SIMs (with a phone card for those times we HAVE to use a phone) and who is the better vendors?

    Right now I'm leaning towards a single data SIM for my S3 running in hot-spot mode for the iPads when needed. If we just have to make a call there is SKYPE on the iPad or the S3 or even Google Voice or a cheap phone card as needed.

    Anybody have any ideas? Experiences?

    Thanks in advance.

    Ralph
  2. #2  
    neil154's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    You don't say how long you will be away for but it sounds like it in not an extended vacation so another option is to contact Verzion and ask them about internation service. I went to Costa Rica back a while ago and it did not cost me an arm and leg to have data service ( I didn't want phone service and I was judicious about data).

    I am not sure how you can find information (maybe Google it) but you can also swap your sim card with a sim card for the countries where you will be.
    Galaxy S3 16GB Unrooted Pebble Blue
    Verizon,USA
    Android V4.3
  3. #3  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Only take the gsm phones as the others will not work. Keep the phones turned off unless an emergency. See suggestion above for emergency. Use the tablets on wifi and use Skype on wifi to make calls. Do not use Google Voice. We used Google last summer and without our knowledge it switched over to cell phone useage and we got hit with a large bill when we got home. We are in Europe every summer as our daughter lives in Germany, so we know the ropes. Do research ahead of time for wifi access. Many of the Europe airports are starting to offer free wifi access. Check the airports you are flying through. We also try to book at places that have free wifi access. If they do not check ahead of time to find where the nearest access point is.
  4. #4  
    neil154's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    The Verizon S3 has GSM capability when it was upgraded to JB
    Galaxy S3 16GB Unrooted Pebble Blue
    Verizon,USA
    Android V4.3
  5. #5  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    My Verizon S3 was unlocked when updated to jelly bean. I have taken the phone overseas twice since the update. It worked with the micro SIM from the local cell phone company just fine. The only issue is that verizon kept the data connection locked. Because Wifi hot spots are so common, I didn't miss cellular data connection at all.

    I simply popped in the micro SIM and it worked flawlessly....

    Others rooted and unlocked their phone and have reported their verizon S3 worked with 3g cellular connection. If you are technically savvy enough, you can try that route.

    No need to call Verizon for a loaner unless you have to have 3g (or fasfer) data connection...

    Best,

    James

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Android Central Forums
  6. #6  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    I forgot to add that when people call my US number, I'd get a Google voice notification. I'd just call back via Skype when I have Wifi or using the local prepaid SIM directly. My rate for calling back the US from Asia was only 10 cents per minute....

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Android Central Forums
  7. #7  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    I've been researching also as I'm planning a trip with the family. So far I've found that groovip works over WiFi and over data plan using your cell service. I plan to get a third party sim card and use the grooveip app on my GS3 to make and receive calls to/from the US with my google voice number (this is voip so no extra cell charges). The third party sim should give me a local number so I can keep in touch with local family. the groove ip app is $5 in the app store. I've tested it using my google voice and it works great. The only issue I'm reading is that verizon has the data feature locked when using a third party sim so it only allows voice and text. If this is the case I will unlock my phone when I get to my destination.

    disclaimer: I haven't tested this over seas only here in the states so I can't verify it will work with no issues. This is just what I've found through my research the past two days.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    If you have an unlocked device, just buy a data only Sim card from one of the carriers, that way, you have data and for calls, you can just use Google voice. Google voice gives you a u.s number and uses your data plan when you make and receive calls. Problem solved.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Android Central Forums
  9. Thread Author  Thread Author    #9  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Does a third party SIM still allow creating a Hot Spot? I would like to use my iPad while on the long bus rides. And it allows me to only buy one and make my son only use his when I have mine turned on...I know...that's evil.
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    I called Verizon to ask about their rates and they are outrageous...when I asked for an unlock code for the SIM they just handed to me over the phone. I have unlock codes for both my S3 and my son's iPhone 5.

    Now I just need to figure out how to use them

    Right now I'm leaning towards buying an unlimited data only SIM (around $50-$60). That way I don't have to worry about it.

    Anybody have a favorite vendor that works in Ireland and the UK?


    Quote Originally Posted by swartzz View Post
    If you have an unlocked device, just buy a data only Sim card from one of the carriers, that way, you have data and for calls, you can just use Google voice. Google voice gives you a u.s number and uses your data plan when you make and receive calls. Problem solved.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Android Central Forums
  11. #11  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Don't get the data only service from a carrier in the states but rather, a prepaid data only service from one of the providers in Europe. For one thing, its cheaper and they have more flexible options. As far what carrier to use, try O2, 3 or T-Mobile. They are all pretty good.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Android Central Forums
  12. #12  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Verizon gave you actual unlock codes for the phones? When I talked to their international department they asked for my OS version along with kernel and said that I have the unlocked software. I felt like it was BS but I really feel screwed now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralphwhitfield View Post
    I called Verizon to ask about their rates and they are outrageous...when I asked for an unlock code for the SIM they just handed to me over the phone. I have unlock codes for both my S3 and my son's iPhone 5.

    Now I just need to figure out how to use them

    Right now I'm leaning towards buying an unlimited data only SIM (around $50-$60). That way I don't have to worry about it.

    Anybody have a favorite vendor that works in Ireland and the UK?
  13. #13  
    Irpack's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ralphwhitfield View Post
    I've done plenty of research and it just confuses me even more.
    Agreed! I'm in the same boat, traveling to London on a short (1 week) business trip in March and want to use my S3. There is so much conflicting data out there but seems like common themes are:

    1. Using another overseas (non-US) carrier's SIM allows voice and text/SMS, but NOT Data
    2. Inability to change APN's to allow data usage (might be the root cause?)

    Seem to be sporadic reports of successful data interface, but again, most reports seem to reflect the above. I too, like the OP are looking for any definitive guidance. Realize this may be elusive however!
  14. #14  
    Irpack's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    EDIT: Update:- this solution requires rooting. I do not intend to root my S3 at this point in time but again, perhaps of value to others here.

    This thread appears to be the closet thing to what may be needed, in my situation at least. Perhaps of help to OP as well. See post #106 in the link.



    Note: Don't know if this solution requires Root access or not, just a heads-up. I'm not rooted fyi.
    Last edited by Irpack; 02-08-2013 at 11:27 AM.
  15. Thread Author  Thread Author    #15  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by swartzz View Post
    Don't get the data only service from a carrier in the states but rather, a prepaid data only service from one of the providers in Europe. For one thing, its cheaper and they have more flexible options. As far what carrier to use, try O2, 3 or T-Mobile. They are all pretty good.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Android Central Forums
    Thanks! I plan to do the that from one of UK carriers. Is there one that will work in Ireland as well as the UK, that you know of?

    Thanks again.

    Ralph
  16. #16  
    Irpack's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Ralph,

    Sill some confusion on whether data will work with SIM in another country. This very recent article say NO pretty definitively. Wish this was not the case.

    Irp
  17. #17  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    I have also been doing some research and there is a lot of bad info and second hand reporting out there but currently, YOU CANNOT GET data overseas with a 3rd party sim card. The verizon S3 IS unlocked but data remains shutdown by verizon unless you root :


    THIS is currently the only way to use a overseas sim card and get voice, text AND data. Verizon global services cannot help you with the S3 unless you only want a voice /text package.


    Hope this clears the air
    Thanked by:
    Irpack 
  18. #18  
    Irpack's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    So looks like here is what I will use on my upcoming U.K. trip with my "global" (haha ) non-data-network-connectable Verizon S3:

    • Buy local SIM card for in-country voice calls

    • Groove IP and Google Voice (required w/ Groove IP) for inbound/outbound calls from/to U.S. over Wifi @ no cost

    • Wifi often for all data connectivity (email, social networks, etc.)


    I use a Google Voice number as my primary # for work and personal life, so this will allow incoming calls to reach me in the U.K., when I'm on Wifi only of course. When not on Wifi, incoming calls will go to my GV voicemail and I'll get my notifications/voicemail when I log into Wifi, and can then return my calls.

    I purchased Groove IP today ($4.99) and tested it from my (very fast) home Wifi connection. Worked well, other than the some choppiness in my voice on the other end. I heard calls very well. This is in line with the feedback you'll read on Google Play reviews (Caveat Emptor - the reviews are quite varied). Here is the Groove IP home page with links to Android Market.. errr Google Play:

    In theory, of course!! Hopefully my plan will work.
    shdw493 likes this.
  19. #19  
    Irpack's Avatar

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    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Post-Trip Update:

    As expected, a GSM SIM (Vodafone) for a local U.K. number provided voice and text, but no data connectivity. APN list under settings was totally blank; no editing ability to add a new APN. Again, as expected. Vodafone price was 30 U.K. Pounds ($45.30) for SIM with 100 minutes, 300 texts, and 500 Mb of data, and the ability to "top-up" as needed. They threw in a free phone as well which I did not use. This plan worked out very well for my business trip.

    GrooveIP in conjunction with my existing Google Voice number worked incredibly well. On almost all Wifi connections (hotels, Starbucks, etc.) the call clarity was better than GV over cellular in the U.S. Both incoming and outbound calls were very clear. I had to tweak a couple of settings in GrooveIP to get the best quality, but the App guides you through that well.

    Would have been nice to have used that 500 Mb of data, but still nice to have my S3 in hand all the time.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Irpack View Post
    So looks like here is what I will use on my upcoming U.K. trip with my "global" (haha ) non-data-network-connectable Verizon S3:

    • Buy local SIM card for in-country voice calls

    • Groove IP and Google Voice (required w/ Groove IP) for inbound/outbound calls from/to U.S. over Wifi @ no cost

    • Wifi often for all data connectivity (email, social networks, etc.)


    I use a Google Voice number as my primary # for work and personal life, so this will allow incoming calls to reach me in the U.K., when I'm on Wifi only of course. When not on Wifi, incoming calls will go to my GV voicemail and I'll get my notifications/voicemail when I log into Wifi, and can then return my calls.

    I purchased Groove IP today ($4.99) and tested it from my (very fast) home Wifi connection. Worked well, other than the some choppiness in my voice on the other end. I heard calls very well. This is in line with the feedback you'll read on Google Play reviews (Caveat Emptor - the reviews are quite varied). Here is the Groove IP home page with links to Android Market.. errr Google Play:

    In theory, of course!! Hopefully my plan will work.
    Thanked by:
  20. #20  

    Default Re: International travel newbie questions

    Thanks Irpack! nothing like real experience to get the story straight
    Thanked by:
    Irpack 

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