Review – EuropaSIM European Roaming Mobile Prepaid 3G Internet

IMPORTANT: Please note that the EuropaSIM is no longer available in the form described below. We recommend that you look at the 3G/4G SIM options available through motorhomewifi.co.uk if you’re looking for a low-cost European roaming SIM card.

Description of It EuropaSIM provide prepay 3G SIM cards which you can use in your mobile phone, laptop, MiFi, USB 3G dongle, iPad or other network-unlocked SIM-enabled device to get roaming Internet access across Europe.
How We Use It We drive between countries fairly often as we are roaming Europe, so buying local SIMs isn’t always cost effective. As we update our blog every day, we need Internet access each and every day we travel, regardless of whether we’re in the mountains, desert, a city or as is often the case, a small town in the middle of nowhere. We have a roaming SIM card managed by EuropaSIM in our Android mobile phone, provided by www.motorhomewifi.co.uk. This gives us mobile Internet in 47 European countries. As well as having Internet access on the phone (great for doing research while out and about), we can use the phone’s mobile hotspot feature to create a secure WiFi network in our motorhome and browse the Internet using an old iPad we have.The SIM is actually an Italian Vodafone SIM; EuropaSIM are just a 3rd party who package them up and sell them on, so you are in reality hooked-up to an enterprise-class network. The SIM is also voice and SMS-enabled, so you can still make and receive calls if you have it in a phone rather than a dongle or laptop.
What Do We Love?
  • It’s prepaid, so we have reasonable control over our costs.
  • Once it’s set up, it just works. We’ve now roamed with it from the UK through France, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. It roams from network to network, no problem. Coverage has generally been very good; I (originally – it’s since been re-written) wrote this on an EDGE connection on a campsite in the Swiss Alps, miles from anywhere. Note that my expectations for data speed and reliability may be very different to yours: if you expect broadband speeds everywhere, you will be very disappointed.
  • You get 500MB per day for €3, and if you go over 500MB the data rate slows down, but you pay no more. For this daily price you also get 50 SMS text messages and 50 minutes of calls (25 outgoing to the EU zone, and 25 incoming).
  • You only pay for the days you use the SIM.
  • We can buy credit using PayPal, no faffing about in shops trying to get people to understand what you want, or trying to buy top-up cards or printed-off top-up receipts.
And What’s Not so Great?
  • Service text messages from Vodafone come through in Italian, which we don’t understand, a bit lazy of us not learning the language!
  • You have to set up the APN yourself on your phone, which isn’t hard, but only if you know how…
  • Buying local pre-paid SIMs (at roughly €25 to €40 per month including cost of SIM) will almost certainly be cheaper if you stay in a country more than ten days and access the Internet every day. Buying Satellite Internet may prove cheaper still if you’re in it for the long term, but has a whole raft of service quality issues to consider, not just cost.
  • You have to pay a service charge of €3.90 every time you top up credit, which hurts. The last I heard, Adam at www.motorhomewifi.com had found an ‘unofficial’ workaround to avoid this.
  • You have to be very careful with the APN settings. If you get them wrong you’ll be charged a higher rate (check the EuropaSIM web site and read it really carefully!). Also, if you plan to ‘tether’ a mobile phone to share the Internet connection with a laptop, other phones etc, make sure you ONLY have one APN configured! We had the correct APN set up as the default, but another one was also present on the phone, and we found we were being charged twice per day. We had to delete all APNs, just leaving the EuropaSIM one there.
Our Summary Picking a roaming Internet solution across Europe is difficult and you need to consider your own circumstances. If you already have a UK contract which you can’t or don’t want to get out of, you may be better off simply roaming with your UK SIM. If you’re like us, with no UK contract and are travelling for months on end, crossing national boundaries every week or three, then the EuropaSIM may well be a great solution for you. We’ve gone for a four-star review, as the ‘unlimited’ data per day solution is about as good as it gets, plus the additional text messages and call minutes. You will be able to get better prices for local SIMs, but you may well be in for a whole load of hassle too – we spent hours in shops trying to buy SIMs or arguing when the weirdly ate all of our month’s credit in a couple of days! EuropaSIM simply works.
4stars
Where Can I Get It? You can order direct from EuropaSIM. We found it was cheaper to buy from the sole UK distributor, who happens to be a motorhome fanatic and all-round mobile Internet guru. Talk to Adam at www.motorhomewifi.com.


4 Comments

    • I can honestly say I never measured it Paul. At its very best it would support a good quality video Skype, but that was pretty unusual. The SIM is a Vodafone one, so you get whatever level of speed and quality is available on their network, or partner networks. Cheers, Jason

  1. i am little confused on the amount ..if I am staying 10 days in europe and plan to use sim (data) for all the 10days then I have to pay 43.99 + 30 euros ?

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