Dear Lifehacker, I will be in Spain, France and Italy for five weeks starting May 1 with my iPad Air (iOS 9.3 ). My iPad has no sim installed but can take one. What do you recommend as to a sim to buy? I need to access email, and suss out local info maps, timetables etc as we go around. NO Skype or movie music downloads. Thanks, Waltzing Matilda
Fortunately, those are among the cheaper countries to activate data roaming in — but of course it’s still not cheap.
OVO‘s prepaid roaming works out to 50c per MB, the same as Optus prepaid. Meanwhile Telstra prepaid charges a laughable $3 per MB. Let’s roll our eyes at that rate while we move onto the more serious contenders.
Travelsim is 25c per MB, which is worth checking out.
Things get better if you have a SIM on a plan. For example, with Vodafone, you can pay an extra $5 per day (for a maximum of 50 days), and get charged normal Australian rates for data usage. The downside of course being you’re then stuck on a plan, the cheapest of which is $888 over 24 months, but charges less than a cent per MB.
Woolworths of all places has a European data bundle going at the moment, and the $25 plan gets you 1GB. That works out to be $0.025 per MB, though it notes that the SIM is not compatible with the latest 4th generation iPad models. Older models should work fine.
You’ll probably be fine going for the cheapest of each provider’s offerings, though usually if you go one step up, there’s a significant increase in value. It might be worth it, just to be safe.
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