Travelling Europe with Verizon iPhone 5s
I've searched for how best to travel with my Verizon 5s, and I understand I can get a SIM card and my phone is unlocked. The Verizon overseas plan, particularly the data plan, is very expensive, so a SIM card change is the better solution. That solution triggers some questions to which I have not been able to get a clear answer:
1. How does iMessage work if I put in an overseas SIM card? Does Apple find me by IMEI, UUID, tel no? One of my adult children has an iPhone, so they can reach me by text at my iPhone, but when I get an overseas SIM, does she need my overseas tel no for that?
2. How does SMS work? My other adult child has an android phone, so she texts using SMS. I presume that needs my overseas number, right?
3. How does Skype work? I have a Skype account and the Skype app on my iPhone, but don't use it much. If I change SIM card, it looks like I'll need to open a new account with that overseas number for it to work. Is that right?
You have the option to receive iMessages using your phone number and/or email address. I have my cell # and my email address set. I just did a little experiment to see what would happen if my phone was offline. I used my wife's iPhone to send texts using my phone # while it was in airplane mode (essentially mimicking it not having a SIM in), and I got the texts not only on my iMac, but on my iPhone after turning airplane mode off. So, you should have no issue continuing to receive iMessages while in another country as long as you have an email address set for receiving them, not just a phone #.
As for SMS, anyone not using iMessage will need your overseas # to send texts. However, I don't know if additional charges would apply when sending SMS to an overseas number, or receiving for that matter. Check into that carefully, or consider alternatives to SMS.
I have no idea about Skype. You could consider using FaceTime instead for the iOS users.
UPDATE: I'm in France now so I have an update. On arrival at Heathrow, I went to a shop in Hayes to look for cards for UK and France. Got a UK card for lycamobile at the recommendation of the shop. It was OK for the one day I used it, and the data plan seemed good for the price (15 GBP for 500 GB in a month). It was only 3G, however, as most (if not all) of the pay-as-you-go seem to be. When we crossed into France on the Chunnel train, as soon as we came up from the tunnel, it recognized that it was in France, advised me that voice calls were now expensive. It never offered any data. I do have Data Roaming set to OFF because that can get VERY expensive, so that may be the problem, but I didn't even expect the voice to work. In Gare du Nord the shop there had no iPhone 5 cards, send me to a smoke shop on the street who also didn't have any. Decided to give it up as a useless hunt and got my rental car to drive to Normandy.
In Normandy I never saw a shop with SIM cards. Didn't expect one on every block, but never saw one. When we returned to Paris, I found an Orange shop who had a two week card with 500MB. Perfect! Still 3G, but I'm back on the net! I post this for any other travelers, plan in advance, maybe even get your cards mailed to the US if possible, so as to avoid wandering around without connectivity. And unless things change, no 4G for PAYG cards.
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