Just got back from Europe
A few months ago, I made a post about going to Europe and finding SIM cards and plans for my phone (here). Well, I just got back home on Saturday and thought I'd write a follow-up as to what we did on our trip.
I ended up going with Lycamobile for the UK, France, and Italy. You get a SIM card, buy a top-off card, and buy whatever bundle you want. It was super simple to do. Most liquor/convenience stores carry both SIM cards and top-off cards. The UK was by far the easiest. You didn't have to show any form of ID in order to get a SIM card. In Paris, I needed to send Lycamobile a copy of my photo ID. In Italy, the place made a photocopy of it and I had to tell them where I was staying. In Spain, we came upon a Lebara Mobile kiosk at the airport and used them. Much easier since I didn't have to hunt a place down. I wished that Lycamobile, or any of the bigger cell service providers, did that. It would have saved me a lot of time upfront.
Speeds. Plenty fast enough for our uses (mainly GPS/navigation and Ingress), but I didn't test it to get numbers. GPS was a little off at times, but that's to be expected in big metropolitan cities. Service cut out inside certain buildings, but I'm not sure if that's due to the service or the concrete buildings themselves. My wife's N4 had issues in London and I had issues in Paris with getting disconnects, but that's about it in terms of complaints.
Pricing. It's so cheap! In the UK, we paid £7.50 for 150 minutes and 150 SMS, with 500MB of data. The SIM cards were £1 each. For France, we paid €5 per sim card and €4.90 for 250MB of data. We ended up topping off twice to get 500MB of data while there. In Italy, the SIM cards were free and we paid €12 for 1GB of data. In Spain, the SIM cards were free and we paid €10 for 1GB of data as well.
If anyone's planning on going to Europe and needs data service, I'd highly recommend these two if you're looking for something cheaper.