Group: Forum Members
We are not EU residents, and so the possibility of subscribing to a European-based phone account is limited. Currently we use pre-paid service from Spanish operator Simyo, good anywhere in Europe, at 28GB for €17 per month.
Our solutions for the past few years have been:
1. In France, you can subscribe to Free France, a telephone operator, via a credit card. We subscribed to their €2 per month plan four years ago, and that's been our "voice" telephone number ever since. Whereas in France proper they can give you what amounts to essentially unlimited internet for about €20, they cap data use elsewhere, so this was our solution for data only when we cruised France.
2. All over Europe, you can purchase very cheap prepaid _data_only_ plans. For almost two years our solution was Wind Italia, which gave us 20GB for €9 per month, and we could pay from anywhere via PayPal. We used it in a bunch of countries and hardly at all in Italy. Sadly late last year they started capping non-Italian use at 3GB, so it was time to get something different.
3. We are now with Simyo Spain: 28GB for €17. Pay from the phone itself, but alas!, their app rejects our U.S. credit/debit cards. So here is what we did: we got one of those all free/zero cost N26 bank accounts. It comes with a debit card. Trough a Spanish friend, we deposited €500 on it (deposits from any European bank account are free to sender and receiver). The Simyo app accepts the German-issued N26 card, which we use exclusively to pay for phone service, so we figure we have enough to pay for several years' service.
4. Final note: service from innovative/"new entrant" companies such as Free France/Wind Italia/Simyo Spain, etc., has been perfect for us sailing around, but it is to be acknowledged that the former national monopolies are said to have more comprehensive networks. Guess what? When we are out of the country where we purchased our service, we often get roaming service from a so-called "premium" service provider, not that, in the end, there is any noticeable difference.