How To Use Cell Phone In Europe 2024: Traveler’s Guide To Stay Connected

It is crucial to learn how to use cell phone in Europe the right way so you can prepare your best to stay connected throughout your Europe vacation.

How to use cell phone in Europe for tourists

This article outlines everything travelers need to know about how to use cell phone in Europe. It suggests the option to purchase mobile data such as eSIM, pocket wifi, SIM card or data roaming during your trip to Europe. Besides, the article also gives instructions on how to best use your phone during the trip. Thanks to that, visitors can have the best experience and still keep in touch with their families.

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies and Networks in Europe

Regarding compatibility, using the phone in Europe may vary from country to country. However, most smart mobile phones are compatible with carriers in Europe.

Most European countries use networks with the 2G (GSM) standard for voice calls and text messages and use 4G (LTE) standard networks when high-speed data is needed. 

Frequency ranges used in Europe include:

  • 2G (GSM): 900 MHz, 1800 MHz
  • 3G (UMTS): 2100 MHz
  • 4G (LTE): 1800 MHz, 2600 MHz, 800 MHz, 2100 MHz

II. Use Cell Phone in Europe – Will My Phone Work?

You can use cell phone in Europe
You can use cell phone in Europe without hassle

Yes. You can use cell phone in Europe. However, it’s worth checking your phone’s compatibility with European network providers and how fast it works. To know most accurately, you can:

  • Check if your phone has the same frequency band as European carriers.

Verifying these things in advance, tourists will not be surprised when traveling to Europe. The network frequencies used in Europe are described below:

Bands 2G900 MHz, 1800 MHz
Bands 3G900 MHz, 2100 MHz
Bands 4G800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz
Bands 5Gn28a 700 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3500 MHz
  • Or, you can contact your local network operator for the most detailed information.

Check your phone’s compatibility with SIM cards and carriers in Europe through the manufacturer’s specifications. If the phone is not compatible, travelers can use data roaming services. However, this method can cost a lot of money. 

▶ Learn if your phone can work abroad (including Europe)

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Europe?

Yes. Preparing an International Plan for traveling abroad is very important because it will help you feel secure and worry-free. For Europe, this allows you to use the internet as soon as you arrive in Europe without needing additional time to learn about other services. Tourists can enhance their experience with the following benefits:

  • Call and text internationally at attractive rates
  • Use mobile data abroad at better rates than regular data roaming rates
  • Keep your home phone number intact when abroad, without losing stored contact information
  • You can choose different packages depending on your needs and the number of days you travel to avoid wasting money
You need prepare an international plan before arriving in Europe
You need prepare an international plan before arriving in Europe

Although you can use public wifi in airports, train stations, supermarkets, etc. because it is completely free, some of the following problems may arise.

  • At some public wifi connection points, they ask you to fill in some information in a form, which may reveal your personal information.
  • Connection speed is slow because many people connect at the same time
  • Risk of viruses attacking your mobile device

IV. What Are Options To Use Cellphones In Europe For Tourists?

Good to know: The policy named Roam like at home in Europe allows you to use your phone while traveling among 27 EU countries (which join this policy) without incurring any additional roaming charges. It means you can use the same prices for calls, texts, and data usage among these countries.

There are a number of options for using other international plans such as eSIM (note that the phone needs to be compatible with eSIM), SIM Card, Pocket Wifi. Below we give you detailed information about how to use cell phone in Europe

1. eSIM Plan for Europe

eSIM plan for Europe
eSIM plan for Europe

The eSIM package for your trip to Europe is technologically advanced and can be activated online. As long as your phone supports eSIM, you can still use the SIM card with the primary phone number currently available on the phone at the same time. This means you can use both SIM cards at the same time.

As mentioned before, not all phones can work with eSIM. Therefore, to be sure, you need to verify that your phone is compatible with eSIM or not.

To buy eSIM for Europe travel, tourists have several options: buy online from international SIM providers or providers that specialize in delivering SIMs to Europe, and buy upon arrival at several major European airports.

2. International SIM card for Europe

Using international cards helps save costs
Using international cards helps save costs

Using an international SIM card for Europe travel allows you to save money. Just one SIM card to use throughout the region. Besides, the diversifying packages are also extremely ideal for most users’ needs.

Although there are many advantages, the limitation of this form is that it cannot use 2 SIMs at the same time like eSIM. Otherwise, travelers will have to remove the primary SIM from the phone. Travelers can buy international SIM cards through the carriers’ websites. Besides, you can buy a SIM card for Europe at the airport or mobile store.

3. Pocket WiFi

Pocket Wifi is a small device that provides a mobile internet connection, requiring a SIM card to operate. This device is compatible with many different types of mobile phones and can connect to multiple internet-connected devices at the same time. Pocket WiFi is simple to activate, it does not require unlocking the phone to connect to the internet. So it suits people with locked phones.

Wifi can help groups of tourists connect to the internet together
Wifi can help groups of tourists connect to the internet together

Along with the quality and convenience of pocket wifi, its cost is relatively high. When using the internet, you need to put it in your pocket and take it with you anywhere to keep enough distance to connect. Furthermore, although many devices can be connected, if the maximum number is exceeded, it will affect the quality of the wifi.

V. Will My Local Network Work In Europe?

Most likely your local network will WORK. It means that you can completely use cell phone in Europe. However, this connectivity option is considered as the most expensive option among all. If you don’t strictly control your habits and usage needs, you will have to pay a lot of money at the end of the trip. 

Therefore, to limit the waste of money on your trip to Europe, you need to determine your internet usage and buy a suitable package. Not strictly managing how you use data, calls, and messages will cause you to spend money on unnecessary things.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Europe With Your Cell Phone

Among connectivity options for Internet access, eSIM is a flexible and cost-effective choice for tourists to Europe. It is also very simple for customers to use eSIM, just scan the QR code to connect. This both saves time and does not require removing the SIM in the phone.

Gigago helps tourists save and use flexibly
Gigago eSIM helps tourists save and use flexibly

One special thing that public wifi or a physical SIM card cannot do is stable connection without interruption by any other SIM card.

Some other highlights of eSIM include easy to buy, easy set up, diversifying plans to choose,…

Which Europe eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

eSIM data plans for Europe range from 1GB to 50GB with validity up to 30 days. Another of its variety is the cost from $3.5 to $126. Depending on trip duration, habits, and needs, choose the appropriate package. Visit the online store of a reputable eSIM provider (like Gigago) to choose the right eSIM plan for your trip to Europe.

Pro Tip: A great thing when buying eSIM plans from eSIM resellers is that you do not need to show any personal information for registration. This is hassle-free for every tourist!

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Europe

Some tips when using phones in Europe
Some tips when using phones in Europe

To make your trip to Europe well-prepared and have the best experience, Gigago suggests you some great tips on using phones in Europe below:

  • Verify compatibility: make sure your phone can work abroad and is compatible with European network providers. Most smartphones are equipped with the ability to connect to 4 frequency bands 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. However, to be more sure, you need to check with your service provider or phone provider’s phone specifications.
  • Unlock your phone to use: If your phone is locked and can only be used with another carrier, you need to unlock it. This helps you use networks from European providers, helping to save costs and provide more stable access speeds. Learn how to check if your phone is locked or unlocked first.
  • Buy SIM cards in Europe: Buying a SIM card in Europe is a good way to save money and easily connect to the internet. Tourists can easily buy it at airports, mobile phone stores, train stations,…
  • Download offline apps: Downloads can be used offline, including maps that can help travelers quickly navigate and save money. Especially, even when you are in an area with weak coverage.
  • Data control: To save costs, you need to strictly manage and control your package data. This can help you avoid wasteful usage and have data to use when needed.

VIII. FAQs about How to Use Cell Phone in Europe

Do I need to install anything before arriving in Europe?

Yes, you may need to enable international roaming and ensure that your phone is compatible with European networks that typically operate on GSM technology.

Is there a way to avoid high data roaming charges in Europe?

You can save on roaming fees by purchasing a SIM card in Europe or by signing up for an international roaming plan offered by your home carrier. If you choose to buy a SIM card, you can do so at the airport, mobile store or train station.

What are the benefits of using a local SIM card when traveling in Europe?

Using a local SIM card in Europe allows travelers to take advantage of a variety of packages. Besides, the charges for data packages, calls, and messages are much cheaper than international data roaming.

IX. Conclusion

There you have gotten some basics about how to use cell phone in Europe. Make use of the tips shared so you can make your trip to Europe the best experience possible. If your mobile phone is eSIM compatible, visit Gigago for an eSIM to make your European internet experience great.