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Use cell phone in Europe: How to do it?

If you want to use your cell phone in Europe, you need to know everything related to which services you can use and how to get them!

Julio Osuna

May 30, 2023

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Throughout the article, we will share the different options available for tourists. You will learn about the best way to use a cell phone in Europe without many inconveniences! This information is crucial because you could spend a lot of money on your European trip using an inefficient alternative to communicate with your iPhone, Android, or other mobile phone.

Europe is a vast continent to which people will love to travel at least once in their lifetime. There are many countries to visit, many historic places to get to know, and many different cultures to learn about! If you want to use a cell phone in Europe and even learn how to call abroad, we will tell you how to do it!

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Will my cell phone work in Europe?

The answer to this question is simple: it is a solid yes. Every cellphone can be used outside of home countries. However, Many tourists wonder what to do to use cell phones in Europe. It is clear that to use most of the functions of our cell phones, we need an internet connection, and relying only on free WiFi networks is a problem when you are abroad.

First, you should know that most smartphones can use the network infrastructure in Europe. This allows you to use your local data plan internationally through roaming. Although this is expensive, you should always check with your operator what conditions apply. Beyond the roaming cost, you do not have to make any configuration. Activate the service and once you arrive in Europe, your phone will work as at home.

Using your local carrier’s service in Europe is practical, but other more efficient alternatives to use your cell phone in Europe have emerged. The international data plans you find in prepaid SIM cards or eSIM or even renting a pocket WiFi make it possible to stay connected in Europe without any problems. This way, you can get the most out of your smartphone even abroad.

Do I need an international plan to use my cell phone in Europe?

As mentioned above, international plans are the alternative to roaming with your local operator or relying on accessible WiFi networks to use your cell phone in Europe. These alternatives, such as eSIMs, prepaid SIM cards from local operators, or pocket WiFi, offer more convenience and some benefits that roaming does not have.

People don’t need to worry too much about this, though. Although it may not be many travelers’ first choice, it may be the best way to use cell phones in Europe and stay in touch with everyone!

use cell phone Europe
Tourist in Europe. Source: Freepik.

What are the International plans options for use cell phones in Europe?

We have already discussed a variety of services that those who are considering coming to Europe can access when traveling. People have plenty of options to choose from, and that may be very beneficial for everyone out there.

But, we haven’t elaborated on the details travelers need regarding these services. Stay with us to find out what I need to do to use a cell phone in Europe. We’ll cover it here, especially if you travel the world often.

Unlimited data eSIM for Europe

If you are unfamiliar with or don’t know how does esim works, this service is comparable to the SIM cards we have used. Since they are entirely digital, the eSIM won’t require any storage space on the cellular device to work rather than just being activated.

However, there are a few factors that everyone should be aware of. For eSIMs to function, they must also be installed on a device that supports their use, which means last-gen devices. Although it could be a drawback for some, this service offers more benefits than setbacks!

For instance, it provides unlimited cellular data, and the activation process only requires a QR code! It also doesn’t require any physical space on the cell phone! Now, talking about prices, we can say that the Holafly eSIM card for Europe offers one of the lowest prices, with rates ranging from $6 for unlimited data to as much as $139 for 90 days.

Best of all, you can use a portion of your unlimited plan to maintain internet on other devices through hotspots. This feature can be used with up to 500 MB and renewed every 24 hours.

Don’t worry if you travel to a single destination, if you prefer Holafly also has packages for a single country. An example of this is that you can buy eSIM to stay connected only in Spain.

International SIM Card for Europe

It’s time to mention something that many of us are familiar with. We can’t forget that SIM cards may now be used while traveling, not just as a domestic plan in our hometown or country. This innovation is something that benefits everyone! Travelers and residents alike!

On the other hand, as far as local options are concerned, it depends a lot on the country you are visiting, but in the continent, three big phone companies cover almost all the territory. Vodafone, Orange, and Three have SIM cards for tourist offers and even European roaming services. If you travel to the USA, you may be interested in the cost of Orange roaming in that destination.

You can find SIM cards for Europe with some of these three companies from 10$ to 50$. This will depend on the length of the plan, the data included, and whether you want to add roaming. There are plans from 10GB and up to 150GB of browsing usage that you can buy.

Pocket WiFi for Europe

For those who are unfamiliar with Pocket WiFi devices, we can provide you with a wealth of information. When eSIM and SIM cards weren’t as well known, Pocket WiFi devices were quite famous back then.

A device can be purchased or rented. However, renting is advised to avoid problems. The only drawback is that you have to carry one around wherever you go, which might be annoying. One Pocket WiFi can cost up to $400, which is not this service’s most attractive feature.

The fact that these devices can be used in most of the world’s nations is an advantage, but it’s no longer very noteworthy. Cello Mobile, located in the USA, is one of those service providers we can trust, yet a week’s worth of service only costs $349.99, and that doesn’t include delivery, insurance, and other fees.

Free WiFi in Europe

Speaking of Europe, we can see many free WiFi hotspots available there. We can find free hotspots in places such as town squares, malls, restaurants, and the list goes on and on.

Free WiFi has the drawback of not always being accessible and using it on a cellular device might even be risky because it could be hacked, and your data may be stolen. Although it may sound absurd, anyone could go through this situation. We also advise against using any personal information or providing any financial information while being connected to a free WiFi hotspot. It’s best to keep this option only for emergencies and only for a short time.

An alternative to protect a little more personal information is to use VPN applications in these free wifi zones, but this is only a temporary alternative, and using VPN slows down the connection. We always recommend using other options to stay connected, such as eSIMs for Europe.

Will my local Internet work in Europe?

The quickest response is that it will depend on your cellular provider. You can use the service if your domestic operator permits users to access their offerings in a region like Europe!

Use cell phone in Europe
Person using cell phone abroad. Source: Unsplash.

However, be aware that roaming services are generally higher than people could expect. For example, using a cell phone from Europe with T-Mobile USA can cost you up to 10$ per day. It can end up being quite expensive compared to other alternatives.

Use your cell phone in Europe with AT&T.

This American operator has many customers in the country and offers roaming services through its AT&T international day pass.

As the name implies, the plan allows you to use data, call, and text in more than 210 countries for a rate of $10 per day. Remember that the connection speed may be reduced by usage policies or by the destination country.

To activate the international day pass, you must contact the operator’s customer service. They will tell you that after activation, you only need to turn on the roaming function on your phone once you arrive at your destination. If you have family plans, the activation cost increases 5$/day for each additional line.

Use your cell phone in Europe with Verizon.

A second US carrier also recommended to use your phone in Europe is Verizon. Verizon also has a daily rate for roaming called Travel Pass.

They offer a package similar to AT&T’s, including unlimited calling, messaging, and data for use in Europe for $10/day. If you decide not to use the Travel pass, you will be charged for fares depending on your consumption, although this is much more expensive. Prices can go as low as $2/mb, making the Travell pass a more logical option.

The international package is unlimited in the first instance. However, this is always subject to conditions of use depending on the European country you visit. Don’t be surprised if your browsing speed is reduced after using a certain amount of data. Beyond this and the cost, Verizon has alliances with European carriers so that you will be covered during your trip.

Use your cell phone in Europe with Telstra.

Finally, we found one of the operators in Australia that offer roaming services to use your cell phone in Europe with an internet connection. In this case, Telstra divides the costs of its services into zones, Zone 1 only New Zealand and Zone 2 the other destinations, including some European countries.

For destinations in zone 2, a day pass is offered that includes unlimited messages and calls but only 1 GB for web browsing. In addition, to apply for the day pass, you must be an Upfront Mobile Plan customer. The cost is $10 per day for the overseas benefits. If you exceed your data usage, you will be sent an SMS with the opportunity to top-up for an additional 1GB, valid for 31 days.

Use your cell phone in Europe with Vodafone.

As we mentioned, Vodafone is one of the most important European carriers with roaming services on the continent. In many cases, you can buy a prepaid SIM card and use this service during your trip.

Among the plans you can buy with them are the pay-as-you-go SIM card packages called prepaid S, M, L, XL, and XXL. These cost 12$ and up to 45$ with data packages from 25GB up to 150GB for 28 days of use. 

With any of these plans, you will be able to roam in EU and UK countries as well as other destinations in the world. There is no additional cost, but you must consider some usage policies that could affect your browsing speed.

What is the best option for using your cell phone in Europe?

holafly europe esim custom days
eSIM with unlimited data in Europe. Source: Holafly.

It might be time for folks to decide which service they will employ when traveling now that we have covered everything we have here. For us, Holafly’s eSIM cards for Europe are among the best choices.

This choice is simple to obtain, more affordable than other options, and provides good service while traveling to different locations!

Frequently asked questions about how to use your cellphone in Europe?

What cell phone bands does Europe use?

Please note that these frequency bands may vary slightly between destinations within Europe. However, Europe’s most commonly used bands for 4G LTE are 1, 3, 7, 8, and 20 or Frequencies 2100, 1800, 2600, 900, and 800. We recommend confirming which ones are used in the countries you plan to visit before arriving.

Can I use an American cell phone on WiFi in Europe?

If your American phone has wireless network access, you can use a WiFi network in Europe without problems. If you plan to go this route, we recommend buying a pocket WiFi for your secure WiFi zone. Using accessible public networks can be tedious and put your personal information at risk. In any case, it is better not to depend on wifi networks and to have your internet connection through an eSIM Europe for travel.

Can I unlock a USA cell phone and use it in Europe?

In many cases, you can unlock your phone as long as you have fulfilled the contract with the operator you bought it from in the first place. The process may vary depending on the brand of phone and the carrier you are contracted with. Generally, you only need the IMEI number of your phone, your phone number, contact information, and contact the page. After that, you can use your unlocked phone in Europe.

Do U.S. cell phones work in Europe?

Yes, most American cell phones of recent years are compatible with European networks, so you can use your carrier’s roaming to communicate. You also have other options such as eSIM to have internet and take advantage of your mobile’s features in the same way you would at home.

Does Holafly’s eSIM for Europe have coverage in the UK?

No, at the moment the UK is not among the destinations covered by your eSIM for Europe. For this situation, they offer UK tourists eSIM card options.