Vodafone iPhone

May 17 2010 Gordon

 This is a post about my latest travel in Europe using an unlocked iPhone. I was going to use my Movistar SIM for travel in Spain and Portugal but my Mexican Movistar SIM card was not compatible with Movistar Spain. Movistar Spain did not have a non contract prepaid data option for travelers either, and Vodafone did (no contract), so I purchased their SIM card. In general, I have been very happy with Vodafone. Coverage 99% of the time. I wish I would not have had to purchase a Vodaphone Portugal SIM as well when going into Portugal, but the cost for a week in Portugal was only 10 euros. I think having to have two Vodafone SIMs is a function of European countries and their taxes. No one in Europe seems to be able to have a “Euro” carrier that works without roaming in all of Europe.
I used my Vodaphone prepaid SIM only for data for one month, no voice or SMS use, only data. You do need to activate the data option once you buy the SIM card. In Spain, you need to insert the iPhones Network >>> Cellular Data setting as well. This is the APN address, just Google “iPhone Spain Vodaphone APN” and you have them (APN: airtelnet.es, username: voadfone, password: vodafone) In Portugal leave all the APN fields empty. Of course, you should do this before you get to Spain, while you still a cellular data network or just do it from the Vodafone store where you bought the SIM card on their computer.
Adding “recharga” Euros to your prepaid account in Spain is very easy. Just go to any gas station, supermercado, or Vodaphone store. You just tell the clerk how much to recharga and what your Vodafone telephone number is. You will get a text from Vodaphone confirming your purchase, seconds after the clerk submits it to Vodafone. There are other ways to recharga, including directly on your iPhone but I don´t like giving my credit card number to any carrier ever. One glitch, I experienced initially was that your data connection will be cut-off once you reach a minimum Euro balance of around two Euros. This confused me the first time it happened. The good thing about Euro carriers is that they must notify you by law if your balance is low and they can´t let you accrue a negative account balance. No monster bills allowed in Europe. The US congress is trying to create the same laws in the US but corporate America probably will try to derail this good idea.
I kept my iPhone in airport mode mostly as I didn´t want to drain my prepaid minutes or my phone´s battery (I was camping 50% of my nights and didn´t always have an easy recharge option). I used Google maps and the GPS alot for bike touring map navigation and this required activating the Vodafone data network. I used the data network without hesitation for a month and I spent about 70 Euros “upping” my phone, totally worth the cost in my mind. Having a Vodafone iPhone with maps/GPS, email, NYT, and Twitter is great for a month long bike tour in Spain.

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  1. Pingback: Euro Tour 2010 Summary « Gordon Banks

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