Three Ways to Get Internet Overseas

SIM cards are readily available in England

Internet access while traveling has been a primary topic of ours for many years. But we’ve only traveled in the US. Now we’re on a trip visiting friends in England and we’re taking the opportunity to learn about Global Internet access.

Three Ways to Get Internet Overseas

  1. Use local Wi-Fi hotspots. Turn off the phone’s mobile data, or turn on Airplane mode.
  2. Use your cell provider in Roaming mode. Depending on your provider, this can be very expensive (Verizon) or included at no extra charge like with T-Mobile.
  3. Buy a SIM card from a local provider and put it in your phone.

Cellular Voice and Data Service while in England

When I turned on my Verizon phone after landing in London, I got the message: Allow Data on this trip? If I said Yes, there would be “substantial” charges. Or, they gave a number to call to arrange for a global plan. A global plan from Verizon would have cost us $25/100 MB. Since we can use 100MB in less than an hour that was not the plan for us!

Jim’s iPhone on T-Mobile rang while we were walking through a field near Cambridge. It was someone from Virginia who had dialed his normal, Florida-based phone number. They chatted for a while and took care of business, without even knowing where we were.

Jim’s Nexus 6 appears to be his phone of choice. This was the device he used for Google Maps to navigate from Cambridge to Methwold, and from Bexhill to Belgium. While I was feeling quite out of sorts not being able to access any internet resources on my Samsung, not even a local map.

Wi-Fi Access

While at our friends’ house, we were able to use their Wi-Fi. For the couple of nights we stayed in a hotel, there was good, free, Wi-Fi available, and several of the pubs and restaurants we visited also had free Wi-Fi. But, this didn’t help when we were in a car or on a boat.


SIM Cards

A SIM card is the “Subscriber Identity Module,” a tiny card that establishes the connection between your phone and the cellular service provider. Once it is installed your phone has a new phone number and data service. In England, you can buy SIM cards at the checkout line in the grocery stores! The card only costs $1.50, then you install it and call the cell company to add $30 worth of service for 2-4 GB of data for the month. Here is our member video on installing a SIM card:

When we returned home, we presented our weekly show, What Does This Button Do? using Internet Connections Abroad as our focus. Here’s the show:


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