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Kenomac 07-02-2019 09:17

Cellular Internet in Greece
 
We're making plans to sail the 53 down to Western Greece for the summer, and would like to get some idea of how good the cellular service is around the inland sea and the Greek islands in general. 'Been sailing around Croatia and Italy over the past three years, where I can report the service is outstanding with 3G service or better even out to the most remote islands inhabited only by goats; far better than service anywhere in the USA.

Just wondering if we can get by with our cellphones (mobiles) along with our TMobile unlimited data plan, or do I need to add a satellite system to keep in touch with clients. I already know about obtaining local SIM cards etc, but we've had better luck with fewer hassles over the past three years being self-sufficient regarding data rather than running around purchasing SIM cards from smoke shops, news stands and local vendors.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Ken

mikedefieslife 07-02-2019 09:29

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
I found cell service to be good enough. I couldn't always use the internet when on a remote part of an Island, but was mostly in contact.

Greek data plans are pathetic. I found it better to use a UK, or Italian sim for large amounts of data 40-50GB.

In towns and cities, as you'd expect there was excellent 4G, but off the beaten track you might be down to voice and sms use only.

Neziak 07-02-2019 10:21

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
We are heading to Croatia and Montenegro this summer. Can you please share details of your T-Mobile unlimited plan? As you say would be easier than looking for a local SIM.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 11:09

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Neziak,

The T Mobile plan isn't ideal in that it's a USA based plan for unlimited data, but still charges 5-20 cents per minute for phone calls.... which is not how it's advertised. T Mobile will also cut you off and discontinue all service after three months due to the extremely small print in their contract that allows them to do so if you're continuously out of the US for an extended stay. For us, I get around it by either buying a local SIM card for the final month and suspending my phone number or using another T Mobile account. This year, we'll most likely install a satellite phone and data device, and communicate via text and WhatsApp for a portion of our stay.

T-Mobile USA and T-Mobile EU are two different companies, which I didn't know when I purchased the plan in the USA, so T-Mobile EU does not help us over in Europe in any way, but the service is active from the time we arrive at the airport which is very helpful.

De.windhoos 07-02-2019 11:18

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2820239)
We're making plans to sail the 53 down to Western Greece for the summer, and would like to get some idea of how good the cellular service is around the inland sea and the Greek islands in general. 'Been sailing around Croatia and Italy over the past three years, where I can report the service is outstanding with 3G service or better even out to the most remote islands inhabited only by goats; far better than service anywhere in the USA.

Just wondering if we can get by with our cellphones (mobiles) along with our TMobile unlimited data plan, or do I need to add a satellite system to keep in touch with clients. I already know about obtaining local SIM cards etc, but we've had better luck with fewer hassles over the past three years being self-sufficient regarding data rather than running around purchasing SIM cards from smoke shops, news stands and local vendors.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Ken

+/- 95% is covered by 3G or 4G.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 11:44

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by De.windhoos (Post 2820338)
+/- 95% is covered by 3G or 4G.

ευχαριστώ

boom23 07-02-2019 13:16

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Due to my upcoming Med cruising season, I just switched my cell phone service to Google Fi, which works almost everywhere.

Google Fi uses mobile towers from 3 mobile networks, and one of them is T-Mobile. They charge $10/gb, with a cap at 6gb for one line and 10gb for 2 lines. So, the bill will depend on data usage but it is good to have a cap. A data only SIM is $10/gb.

In the S. Pacific I would get a local SIM in every new country. A local SIM is better for local calls but I do not know about data charges. I am not sure about the Med yet. I may use my Google Fi for data.

I also have a dual SIM Samsung Note 8 phone (International version), which makes having two SIM cards easy.

De.windhoos 07-02-2019 14:01

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by boom23 (Post 2820407)
Due to my upcoming Med cruising season, I just switched my cell phone service to Google Fi, which works almost everywhere.

Google Fi uses mobile towers from 3 mobile networks, and one of them is T-Mobile. They charge $10/gb, with a cap at 6gb for one line and 10gb for 2 lines. So, the bill will depend on data usage but it is good to have a cap. A data only SIM is $10/gb.

In the S. Pacific I would get a local SIM in every new country. A local SIM is better for local calls but I do not know about data charges. I am not sure about the Med yet. I may use my Google Fi for data.

I also have a dual SIM Samsung Note 8 phone (International version), which makes having two SIM cards easy.

the nice thing about the EU is that all countries are in the same zone (zone 1) and providers are not allowed charge roaming fees for data. To be honest, $10/GB is pretty expensive. So my advise is to get a sim in any of the EU countries and use that. And when you go outside the EU (Turkey, Morocco) either get a local sim, or use your Google Fi.

boom23 07-02-2019 15:02

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by De.windhoos (Post 2820430)
the nice thing about the EU is that all countries are in the same zone (zone 1) and providers are not allowed charge roaming fees for data. To be honest, $10/GB is pretty expensive. So my advise is to get a sim in any of the EU countries and use that. And when you go outside the EU (Turkey, Morocco) either get a local sim, or use your Google Fi.

Thank you! That sounds good.

I have no problem to get a local SIM card for data, if it is cheaper. Google Fi charges only for what I use. I just need to maintain my US phone number so that friends and family can reach me.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 15:05

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
I’ve been dancing around with SIM cards for years now, but the issue which becomes the problem is having a constant phone number where associates and clients can reach me in every country. The local SIM cards don’t solve this problem, because when you return a phone call using an unrecognizable local SIM, people are now in the habit of blocking those calls. So none of your calls go through.

boom23 07-02-2019 15:08

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2820466)
I’ve been dancing around with SIM cards for years now, but the issue which becomes the problem is having a constant phone number where associates and clients can reach you in every country. The local SIM cards don’t solve this problem, because when you return a phone call using an unrecognizable local SIM, people are now in the habit of blocking those calls. So none of your calls go through.

That is why I have my US number Google Fi SIM card. Unlike T-Mobile, they do not suspend your account if you are overseas for more than 3 months.

A dual SIM phone helps also. I only carry one phone. Or, you can have a local SIM on your wife's phone and a US SIM on yours.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 17:33

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
My wife and I are on a T-Mobile family unlimited data plan for $50 prr month each, $100/month total. Right when she gets off the plane in Turkey, Itay, Greece or Croatia, she can call me for free using data on WhatsApp. We simply switch phones if I have servis cut off since she spends time in the US.

boom23 07-02-2019 20:20

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2820552)
My wife and I are on a T-Mobile family unlimited data plan for $50 prr month each, $100/month total. Right when she gets off the plane in Turkey, Itay, Greece or Croatia, she can call me for free using data on WhatsApp. We simply switch phones if I have servis cut off since she spends time in the US.

If my wife and I use 10gb+ of data our bill will be $135 ($100 for data and $35 for 2 lines) and we don't get cut off. That's the max charge. We don't reach 10gb often so our bill is usually much less. Last month it was $45. Something to think about.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 21:05

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
I checked out the google FI only to find out the rates are higher than I'm paying for the same T-Mobile service by nearly 100 percent. For an additional $49 per month, I can subscribe to a satellite service and have a dedicated phone number which can be dialed by friends, family and business associates provided I first install the proper hardware. For example in Italy, data costs only around 1 euro per GB, and in Croatia, it's about the same cost. So to pay $80 per month for Google Fi which does not even include international calling which is extra, it doesn't make any sense to switch. For the same price as Google Fi on one line, I can have unlimited data and US to international calling on T-Mobile plus a dedicated satellite subscription.

When you cruise, especially with friends aboard, 10GB of data is almost useless since you'll be going through 3-4 times as much each month. I can burn through 10GB every 14 days without too much difficulty just by myself.

boom23 07-02-2019 21:42

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
It looks like you have it figured out for yourself.

I plan to get an EU data sim card for my boat WiFi and a local call sim card for local calls. I just don't want a phone company cutting me off because I'm overseas too much. Call me weird...

Kenomac 07-02-2019 21:50

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by boom23 (Post 2820643)
It looks like you have it figured out for yourself.

I plan to get an EU data sim card for my boat WiFi and a local call sim card for local calls. I just don't want a phone company cutting me off because I'm overseas too much. Call me weird...

You can simply get a T-Mobile US plan with three numbers (SIM cards) on the account for under $130 which is about what you're paying now. Then switch between two of the SIM cards at three month intervals to eliminate getting cut off. It'll still be cheaper for you and you'll have unlimited data. Besides.... while in the EU, you'll be mostly making data calls using WhatsApp or FaceTime as many Europeans do when calling the US. Have you actually been cruising the Med, or is this something new to you? What country are you from, as this will have some bearing on the plans you purchase?

We've been dealing with this for 7 years.

Palarran 07-02-2019 22:29

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
My last season there I bought a Cosmote hotspot. It wasn't cheap but did have wifi all over. The best service I've had was with AT&T's unlimited plan for $10 per day. That sounds like a lot but we regularly have 4 to 8 people making calls, text messages, and using data and it was fast.

Kenomac 07-02-2019 22:44

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Palarran (Post 2820651)
My last season there I bought a Cosmote hotspot. It wasn't cheap but did have wifi all over. The best service I've had was with AT&T's unlimited plan for $10 per day. That sounds like a lot but we regularly have 4 to 8 people making calls, text messages, and using data and it was fast.

That's $310.00 per month! I was only paying $50 per month unlimited and using the phone as a hotspot. And for an additional $20 per month, I had an iPad on the account with it's own SIM card for unlimited data which didn't get cut off at 4 months. :smile:

Uricanejack 07-02-2019 23:28

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
I use satellite for work due to working in remote location.
Turns out I live in a relatively remote location where cell is pretty unreliable (Rural Canada)

Satelite phone and internet is very expensive, very annoying , and very slow,
Work wise in today’s world I need it and I have to have it. Fortunately I don’t have to pay for it.

higher latitudes like 49. Mountains get in the way. Forget about downloading anything much more than email or text unless you want to pay big bucks.

For personal use I use cell and 3G and put up with being out of contact for personal stuff.

I recently signed up to the 21st centuary and got an iPad with a 3G SIM. For when I am traveling. Even in Canada it’s fairly cheep for my use. Next time I am in UK I will probably get a SIM just for the I PAD. In Europe they are cheep.

When I travel to UK. Change SIM cards. Getting new ones is a PIA but is the cheapest. For convenience I keep the same pay as you go card and pay the minimum top up to keep it going even though I may not use it for the entire time.
People I like to be in contact with know the No.
People I don’t want to be in contact with don’t.

Small side benefits. My UK sim costs less than my Canadian SIM if I get an international roaming add on for the US.
So I don’t bother getting a US SIM

Haven’t been to Greece but I expect if what the others say is right a EU SIM is good for all the EU and my UK SIM might be good for few more weeks in The EU.

I don’t do ocean sailing. I’ve looked at Satelite, for offshore it’s probably very nice to have. If I could use cellular coastal I would.

boom23 07-02-2019 23:49

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2820647)
You can simply get a T-Mobile US plan with three numbers (SIM cards) on the account for under $130 which is about what you're paying now. Then switch between two of the SIM cards at three month intervals to eliminate getting cut off. It'll still be cheaper for you and you'll have unlimited data. Besides.... while in the EU, you'll be mostly making data calls using WhatsApp or FaceTime as many Europeans do when calling the US. Have you actually been cruising the Med, or is this something new to you? What country are you from, as this will have some bearing on the plans you purchase?

We've been dealing with this for 7 years.

I'm paying less with Google Fi than I was paying with T-Mobile in USA. Also, I don't want restrictions for a service that I pay for. It may cost some more in Europe but I don't care because they don't restrit me. At this point of my life, I value service over price. I'll get an EU sim card to balance it out. Everything works out at the end and I don't sweat the small things.

But, no I have not cruised in the Med before, just the S. Pacific. I'll figure it out as I go. This forum is an amazing resource!

Sojourner 08-02-2019 00:33

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Hey Ken! Don't know if you've seen me pushing my Solis Skyroam on other posts, but if not, here's my pitch: It's a little orange hockey puck you leave turned on and in the boat (altho you can take it in your pocket to go anywhere you like). When you approach a new country or area or whatever, usually still a good 10 miles from shore) it finds and automatically simulates a SIM card for that country (works in something like 200 countries). It lets you connect up to 5 devices to it thru Wifi (works all over the boat for us, 53 footer); if you hook up a sixth, it'll kick one off temporarily. 4G LTE, superfast, UNLIMITED data, for 80 bucks a month. You don't ever have to wait to get the dinghy in the water or go find a sim card at a gas station...it's already on. If you have a badboy or other wifi system in your boat like we do, you can hook the badboy to the solis and attach even more connections that way. Plenty of speed to run netflix all day long, just connect your WiFI smart TV to it and you're done. Along with skype and everything else you need. Love love love it. Plus you can put it in your backpack and it's got enough charge to charge up a few cell phones while you're wandering around to boot....

https://www.skyroam.com/eu/wifi-pric...xoCkdQQAvD_BwE

Kenomac 08-02-2019 04:48

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
We had a guest who was quite the world traveler for work on our boat two years ago who used the hockey puck, it was new to him at the time. I'd like to find out more, can you send the information on the monthly plan? Your link just explains the purchase option for the puck itself. Thanks

The US Orange hockey puck plan costs $9 per day which comes to $280 per month.

CatNewBee 08-02-2019 05:03

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
If you are near France, you can buy a free.fr SIM for 19.99€/month prepaid card, 100Gb Internet 4G in France / 25Gb in EU inclusive, free voice and SMS, works also in Croatia, Switzerland, US, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and lots of islands (over 50 countries).

Check out the fees. You can buy the SIM on teller machines in various places, you need a credit card and a e-mail address. You must provide a french address for the registration, easiest way is to use the marina you are in. You will not get any papers shipped, all communications online and via e-mail.

You can extend the duration online, after 3rd extension they extend automatically in the future, cancellation can be done monthly by writing / e-mail?.

https://mobile.free.fr/

jmschmidt 08-02-2019 10:33

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
I have friend who has based his charter boat in Greece for the last several years and he lives there most of the time. He would have the answers. He's a major techy too. PM me and I'll give you his email address.

Rapanui 08-02-2019 11:07

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Although roaming charges within EU for EU plans are basically the same as the home country it has limitations for fair use. Basically, it allows trips abroad from 'home' country but 'if in any given four-month period your phone is outside the home country for over half the time, your network CAN charge you roaming fees on calls, texts and data usage' We have never had a problem but tend to do trips of less than 2 months.

One solution to keeping the same 'phone number' while using various SIMs would be to use a Skype address which also has the advantage of being much cheaper Skype to Landline or Mobile.
In Croatia we use a VIP (now A1) SIM for data using our Mifi which costs 10 kuna a day (~£1.20) for 1Gb a day. If you preload it with sufficient funds you can keep it active for no use with no cost for over 6 months and just resume when you return. There is an even better 'tourist' deal for 75 kuna for 1 week (say ~£1.30 day) for unlimited data, but you cannot recharge so you just have to puchase a new sim each week.

Neziak 08-02-2019 18:00

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Sojourner - the Skyroam looks very interesting. I read a review in Forbes from March last year that the speed is throttled to 3G/2G speeds after the first 500MB is used in a day. Can you confirm whether this information is correct or now outdated? Thanks

Popaul 09-02-2019 03:11

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
we had good coverage in greek waters using a prepaid Vodafone card. Make it working in the shop as mostly explained in Greek only and you dont find renewal shops in smaller islands.

Dockhead 09-02-2019 03:32

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2820466)
Iíve been dancing around with SIM cards for years now, but the issue which becomes the problem is having a constant phone number where associates and clients can reach me in every country. The local SIM cards donít solve this problem, because when you return a phone call using an unrecognizable local SIM, people are now in the habit of blocking those calls. So none of your calls go through.


Call them with Skype Out. You can program any number to show up as the number you are calling from. Will be cheaper than an international call from a European SIM card, too.



Or better yet, get a Skype number. Then your associates can call you on a U.S. number, and this will be forwarded to you on Skype wherever you are.


Or just train them to call you directly on Skype, or What's App, or Viber, or whatever, which is free. That's actually what I do, although I also have a Skype number.

Dockhead 09-02-2019 03:40

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rapanui (Post 2820991)
Although roaming charges within EU for EU plans are basically the same as the home country it has limitations for fair use. Basically, it allows trips abroad from 'home' country but 'if in any given four-month period your phone is outside the home country for over half the time, your network CAN charge you roaming fees on calls, texts and data usage' We have never had a problem but tend to do trips of less than 2 months. . . . .


Indeed, and pay attention to this.


If someone is spending a whole summer in Greece, then you really want to be using a Greek SIM card, notwithstanding the greatly improved roaming situation in Europe.


I spend my working life travelling between the U.K. and different European countries, and I have settled into a routine of keeping two SIM cards in a dual SIM card phone, one from the UK, and one from somewhere else, now Finland since I'm spending a lot of time there. When I'm in third countries (neither the UK nor Finland), I alternate roaming on one or the other, in order to avoid this problem.




Not interesting for the OP, but for those cruising in Northern Europe, note that the Nordic countries (sometimes plus the Baltic countries) are considered a single market by some mobile providers, and coincidentally, you find the cheapest data rates (and best service) in these countries -- sometimes 30 gigabytes for 999 crowns, working out to an incredible Ä0.35 or so per gigabyte, cheap enough to consider streaming movies. Seamless coverage even far from civilization, and often 50 - 60 mbs connections.

OzDean 09-02-2019 06:06

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
Howdy Ken, We have been cruising around Greece off and on for a few years, currently in the Ionian. Having used both T Mobile and Cosmote, found Cosmote the best, maybe due to it being the incumbent and it is supported by the govt to offer special remote islands broadband packages, though this only for locals. For our last couple of trips we simply purchased a prepaid SIM from Cosmote shop. The last long trip (2017) we purchased the SIM card in Rhodes, the SIM cost 5EUR and then the Cosmote "Whats UP" plan costs 10EUR. This comes with initial data allowance, then you activate 1GB for 1EUR, where the 1EUR is deduced from the initial 10EUR. So we found that each time we came into a port or to an island, if we had run out, simply activated another 1GB. This initial 10EUR covered us from Rhodes down to Crete and up to Kithera before actually to "top up", in other words we had gone through our 10EUR. Ok so to top up you have to buy a voucher and put the code into the phone. We used the data for emails and weather plus occasionally playing fortnight. The coverage was excellent, whenever you were withing sight of land you pretty much had some signal. We used the prepaid SIM into an Android phone and then created a hotspot for another 5 or so devices to access. Last year I took the "Whats Up" SIM card into the Preveza Cosmote Shop, they said it had expired and I would need a new SIM but they just gave me one for free and then I purchased another 10EUR for 10GB which I did not even use all of. If you want more data then then just buy a couple of 10EUR vouchers and have them ready to go. Regarding the speed, I had to do a couple of work calls (Skype/Zoom) and it was fine. One time at anchorage I had to take the tender out away from the cliff face to get signal.

italienf 06-04-2020 07:36

Re: Cellular Internet in Greece
 
For the EU you could use voxi from the UK.60 GB only costs 20 dollar.

https://www.voxi.co.uk/plans



https://www.amazon.com/Vodafone-Endl.../dp/B07DZTX49W


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