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Joined on: January 9, 2017
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Hmmm... I've traveled to Europe (Germany, Hungary, Austria, Poland, etc.) with a Verizon USIM before (with a Moto X 2014) and had no problems. Just have to set the phone to LTE/WCDMA/GSM mode.
That said, T-Mobile and AT&T generally have better roaming agreements in Europe than VZW. However, local USIM is generally the way to go.
Doesn't getting a local sim always mean using a different phone number, though?
Yes, but that's the whole point of a dual SIM phone. You keep your primary SIM for important incoming calls and use your local SIM for local calls and data use. Note that it's important to have a phone (like the Axon 7) that does active dual SIM operation where both SIMs are active at the same time. There are some cheaper dual SIM phones that require you to manually switch between the two.
For the EU countries you can do roaming with a pay as you go SIM from one of them as the roaming charges inside EU are very low.
For Switzerland and Iceland I would buy local pay as you go SIMs.
EDIT: A friendly warning about pay as you go SIMs from France (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom), as you can refill in lots of places inside France, but outside of France you can refill online only with a bank card issued in France.
I develop a wireless mobile product that is deployed in Europe. It has the following bands enabled and has no problems:
LTE (FDD) B1, B3, B5, B7, B8, B20
LTE (TDD) B38/B41
WCDMA/UMTS B1, B3, B5, B8
GSM B3 (1800), B5 (850), B8 (1900)
As such, I would say the Axon 7 US model should not have band support issues while traveling in Europe.
I've used my Axon 7 (US model) in the US with USIMs from non-US based operators (one from the UK and one from South America) with no problems. No manual settings were required for operation with these non-US USIMs. Also, I was easily able to add a new APN for a proprietary APN hosted on a private PDN gateway for data connectivity to company server. I know this is not your use case, but it demonstrates the ability of the Axon 7 in using "out of region" USIMs.
The real issue is not "does the Axon 7 support the right bands" (it is clear that it does) -- the real issue is "does the operator that issued my USIM have a roaming agreement with any operator in the region that I will be traveling". So largely, the issue is not technical (i.e., band support), it is related to business agreements between operators. That is why if you intend to use your phone/USIM while traveling to a foreign country, that you should check on your network operator's website whether they have roaming in the region/countries you intend to travel to. If they don't, you can always use a local / in-country USIM.
The majority of operators will control which foreign networks your phone/USIM combination will attempt to attach to via a file (EF_OPLMNwACT) on the USIM that lists the partner networks and sometimes the access technology (LTE, WCDMA, GSM) that you are allowed to use. I know of one US operator that dynamically updates this file over the air (SIM OTA) when you first attach in a foreign country as a means of reducing roaming costs by steering your phone to the network that they've negotiated the best deal with for that week/month/etc. This is quite useful in that it doesn't require the user to try a manual PLMN selection process that is kind of a hit and miss procedure that can take a few attempts to select a network with a roaming agreement.
If anyone is interested, I could put together a few steps to address the situation of "I'm in a foreign country and my phone won't connect!" to show folks how to configure settings and perform a manual PLMM selection with the Axon 7.
By the way, Verizon has started slowly turning down some of its 2G CDMA base stations.
You can do many things. Take a look at Truphone. It works in the UK, US, Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Germany, Poland or Hong Kong. Calling is cheap and you keep your number. One of the nice things about Truphone is that your balance does not expire. It's too expensive for data. When in Germany I sometimes use Truphone for voice and SMS in one SIM slot and use "Vodafone Websessions" Vodafone Websessions: Prepaid Internet - mobil mit Laptop und Tablet surfen for data in the other SIM slot. 35 Euros for 5 GB of data (smaller packages are available). In Germany WiFi outside of hotels is still pretty rare due to German laws.
With the amount of traveling you will be doing, there is no win. You'll be swapping SIMs every week as the coverage areas for each carrier varies greatly and most cards just stop working when you cross borders regardless if you have data or minutes remaining.
I've used T Mo, Vodaphone and Orange. I'm going to Paris next week, but will use a ATT Passport since I'm only going for 7 days and will have access to Wi-Fi in most places. Traveling in the "sticks" presents a bigger challenge. You need to map it out before you go.
Find stores where you will buy SIMs now, before you go, otherwise you will spend valuable time looking for a place to buy a SIM instead of sightseeing. Don't buy anything at an airport, or from Amazon... you'll be sorry.
Accept that you will be without coverage in some areas. For example, you leave one country in the morning and cross a border, arrive late that same day and cannot get a SIM until the next day. Also set a budget for yourself. We traveled from Amsterdam, through France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy last year (3 weeks). I used vodaphone in Holland and France. went without in Germany and picked up another vodaphone card when we got to Italy. I spent about $70 and was able to call restaurants, text home and use google maps the majority of the trip.
Thanks. I''m really hoping to use T-Mobile for the whole thing.... which will really be just the Milan area. and southern England.... with being used to the idea that the ridges of western Herefordshire might not have T-Mobile roaming... or anything... very good.
Wifi calling was out ot the question on the unlocked AT&T phones going to Cricket....
Now to find a second phone, for my wife, that is good for this. The Axon 7 is too big for her, and unfortunately the Axon 7 Mini isn't just a smaller version of it.
I've never used T-Mobile, but their website says "Standard speeds approx. 128 Kbps" and $0.20/min calling. Neither data nor voice don't sound like a good deal.
Yes, both SIMs on an Axon 7 can be active at the same time.
I'm sorry, but you need to be a little more specific. I've gotten much higher speeds on Tmo than 128kbps and I don't pay .20/min for voice.
You can pay extra to double the speed. There are reports of people experiencing much higher speeds.
Since I got T-Mobile, I've seen a lot of instances of 0.11 mbps... and stuff still working, so the prospect of a minimum of a steady 256 kbps (.25 mbps) could be tolerable.
I'm talking about calling the US from Europe and using data in Europe: International Plans | Traveling Abroad without Roaming Fees | T-Mobile shows $0.20/min. Cell Phone Plans | Unlimited Data Plans | T-Mobile One Shows the approx 128 kb/s. I got back two weeks ago from five weeks in Germany and Netherlands. Local 3G SIMS that worked great on my last trip 4 months ago were unusably slow-and had to buy LTE packages. As I said I've never used T-mobile in Europe-I'm on one of their MVNOs in the US-works great.
For me, 128 kb/s is really only good for email. In addition, to qualify for the roaming package you need a high-end post-paid plan.
Ah - OK, I think that's because Tmo does this unlimited international roaming, but the don't mention it doesn't cover the LTE bands so you get HSPDA or EDGE speeds. That's why a dual SIM phone like the Axon 7 is so nice. you keep your US SIM for incoming calls (which you control) and use a local SIM for LTE data and outgoing calls.