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I am going to Spain and am considering buying a new iPad with 4G (Verizon). Will it work?  Not the wi-fi, there shouldn't be any problem with wi-fi, but the cellular? I have not found anything reassuring or even understandable on the internet.

1. Do I need a sim or micro sim card to access cellular service in Spain with a US iPad?

2. Does it matter which iPad I purchase here in the US re: carrier? Verizon, ATT, etc?

3. Will I be able to find a sim or micro sim easily (in Barcelona)?


It seems like this should be easy, but I read that travelers have had difficulty, and like me, they bought an iPad here to bring with them when they travel.

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Hi, David! You lucky dog - love Barcelona...

Anyway, to your question, no, this is not all that easy, actually - which is why as you've read some people have gone as far to buy an iPad abroad just for use during overseas travel. You don't have to go that far, but admittedly getting around US data plan charges is a bit of a maze -  I don't know how Verizon works, but I have AT&T, and as I'm sure is the case with Verizon, the overseas roaming plan is an absolute killer. So there are basically 3 options: 1. buy a micro-sim card overseas, 2. find a service with sim card that offers cheap out-of-plan roaming, or 3. buy/rent a portable WiFi device that works overseas. 

Honestly, I have not tried option 1, but I have looked into it a bit, and it seems that on Verizon, iPads are unlocked, so you can buy a local sim card in Barcelona and use it. I have also found vendors such as www.nowroam.com which will send you a sim card for overseas use.  You might want to investigate these.  So far I have opted for the latter technique, and here on Tripatini I found Tripbutler (www.tripbutler.com), which rents out WiFi thingies that work in most of Europe for a much much more reasonable rate than roaming plans from US carriers.

Let me know how you make out - if you find a better option than Tripbutler I just might switch next time!! :-) 

Thx. Verizon Global says they have a plan $25 for a month 100MB (I don't know about data - does that sound right, or would it be GB, or KB?).  I don't know what I would need for the 3G part of my trip- would only turn it on (as opposed to wireless) at a site we are visiting, as needed.

Verizon's network in the US is a CDMA, and AT&T uses GSM.  What you need is an unlocked iPad. Most of EU is GSM. 

3. Yes you can buy a sim easily in Barcelona. You will have to carefully choose a plan that is good for you. 

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