iPhone in Europe: Information for Verizon customers

Verizon's international plans are bit different from AT&T's. Photo: Tourist Republic
Verizon's international plans are bit different from AT&T's. Photo: Tourist Republic

Note: This article is part of a series on Using an American iPhone in Europe… without Going Broke.

Since 2011, Verizon has offered the iPhone to its customers. Verizon’s international rates are comparable to AT&T’s, but Verizon’s data plans are a bit pricier.

Making international phone calls on Verizon’s iPhone 4S

For the international traveler, Verizon’s $4.99/month Global Value Plan discounts phone calls and text messages. In France and throughout much of Europe, international calls are charged $1.29/minute without the plan, and $.99/minute on the Global Value Plan.

Sending a text message in France costs $.50, and receiving one costs $.05.

International data plans for the Verizon iPhone 4S

Verizon only offers one international data plan, which charges $25 for every 100 MB you use.

The Verizon iPhone 4 hiccup

Important: Verizon iPhone 4 (not 4S) users will not be able to make phone calls, send texts or access the Internet or e-mail when traveling in Europe because of a network issue. This isn’t the case for all travel outside the States, but is unfortunately true for travel to most European countries.

However, using Wi-Fi networks will still work. The best bet for Verizon’s iPhone 4 users would be to put the phone on “airplane mode” and turn off data roaming just in case (see our tips below).

If you do need a smart phone abroad and are a Verizon customer with the iPhone 4, there is another option. Verizon offers a Global Travel Program that allows business travelers to rent smartphones that will work abroad.

Verizon’s “Trip Planner”

The best bet is to use the trip planner service on Verizon’s website for exact rates, plans and availability.

Also, remember to cancel your international plans as soon as you return. Otherwise you could be paying a hefty price for services you aren’t using.

Also in our Guide to using an American iPhone in Europe

Using an American iPhone in Europe… without Going Broke

Tips for AT&T Customers

Tips for Windows, Android and Blackberry Customers

Setting up your phone to avoid a billing “surprise”

AT&T vs Verizon: A comparison of international plans

About the author

Tom Meyers
About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]
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Cheapo Comments

16 Responses to “iPhone in Europe: Information for Verizon customers”
  • bonnie trager says:

    I am going to france. so what what i have read when yoou turn on the iphone any incoming messages are on its probably best to leave your phone off? you can buy a plan for a certain amoount of mgs? also what about the gps in the phone that would come in handy but then again if your phone is on and you receive a txt or answer a call charges acurr?

  • Kimberly Warren says:

    Oh thank goodness! I felt like I was the only one who was frustrated and confused by all the mounting add’l expenses I was bombarded with by Verizon in order to stay connected to home ICE.
    Your info has made me feel at ease with turning off my data and using wi-fi. One question, is Airplane Mode different from just turning off my cellular data? I was told to go to settings and under general turn off “cellular data”, but if I do this, will this be easier to connect to wi-fi or does using airplane mode make it even easier?

    • Hi Kimberly,

      If you turn off cellular data, your data (for emails and web browing) will go through Wi-Fi, but you will still be able to make and receive phone calls. This would be an option to keep your data usage down (to nothing) while traveling; however, if somebody calls you (or you place a call), you’d still be connecting to the phone network and would be charged.

      When you turn on “airplane mode,” however, you can’t make or receive phone calls either, and any data transfer goes through Wi-Fi. Thus, there’s no chance that you’re going to incur charges.

      I hope that’s clear!

      • Kimberly Warren says:

        Just got back from Ireland. Was not able to make or receive any calls due to some glitch in Verizon’s network. Kept my phone in Airplane Mode the entire trip and had to rely heavily on wi-fi to access email and internet. Thank goodness the Irish are friendly if no wi-fi was available. I’d recommend anyone using a iPhone on Verizon network, do their homework before travel. Even with written instructions from the Verizon tech, the phone feature was not reliable.

  • Daniel says:

    Just so were all clear….I can turn my iphone 4 (verizon carrier) to “airplane mode” and turn off “data roaming” and still be able to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi at an internet cafe / hotel in Germany/Italy/France etc. Right?

    • Daniel says:

      P.S…my plan is to use Skype to make phone calls to the US connecting through Wi-Fi at an internet cafe in Germany.

      • Hi Daniel –

        Yes, once you put your phone on “airplane mode” it won’t be sending or receiving any data through the phone or data networks. In order to use the Wi-Fi, you may have to enable it.

        You can test this out at home: Turn your phone on “airplane” and then see what happens. If you don’t see the Wi-Fi icon, go into your settings and manually switch “Wi-Fi” to on.

        Once you have Wi-Fi working on airplane mode, you’re set to use Skype and other apps wherever you please.

  • Dwight says:

    Hi Thomas,

    So, I cannot use my iPhone 4 in Europe? Incredible! A “network issue”?

    In the Fall ’12 I’m going to Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Rome, Italy. I have an iPhone 4. I would like to be able to use the Internet for browsing, info, maps, etc. and be able to send text messages in Europe and to the US. I would also like to be able to take photos of the trip. Phone calling is not essential.

    Would you recommend (in that my iPhone will be useless) that I use an iPad with or without data or a MacAir laptop? I will have to buy either one new. I only have an iPhone 4 and a MacBook Pro currently. The MacBook is too heavy. I have lugged it far enough already traveling throughout So. America.

    Thanks very much.

  • Martin H says:

    I have an iPhone 4s on the Verizon network. I’m here in the UK and I have no service. Nothing. I can connect via wireless, but that’s all. I thought my iPhone 4s was at least going to connect to the network but it didn’t.

    Maybe there was something I should have done with Verizon, but as I can call home to the US on the land line for free I’m not worried.

    I just thought I’d pass this on. My old Blackberry connected last year no problem, so i was really surprised my new 4s didn’t.

    Cheers.

  • LP says:

    If you iPhone does not work, it may be that your ICCD # has not been registered by Verizon. I had my iPhone stolen in Paris last year. When I returned later in the year with my new iPhone, it didn’t work. I contacted Verizon through my assistant, they asked for the ICCD # (available under Settings, General, About). Verizon registered the number, I turned the phone off then on again and voilá. Works fine.

  • J McGill says:

    Verizon phones use CDMA technology. Europe uses GSM technology. Verizon does have some “global” phone models that will work on both CDMA and GSM, but I didn’t think that the iphone was a global one. Am I missing something?

  • Al soto says:

    The iPhone 4 is CDMA only but from the 4S onward all iPhones have both CDMA and GSM.
    LTE is very different ( the frequencies used) by country.

  • Laura z says:

    I have an iPhone 5 (Verizon) got the global plan, data roaming is off and it was working fine to call my son while visiting him in Spain and it suddenly stopped working for in coming and outgoing calls. It says the carrier is vodka phone in settings airplane mode is off and wifi works. What is my problem? I am anxious to be able to get & receive calls again from my son? Any ideas what might be wrong? Also it says VPN not connected.

  • Laura z says:

    That’s vodaphone without iPhone spelling correction!

  • Lori says:

    So very important to know that the iPhone 4S does indeed have a glitch! We just experienced this with a child who traveled abroad to Ireland and England. The phone does not work and dealing with Verizon was very difficult. In fact many of their people at Global Support did not understand the problem. It took several calls before they were able to find a competent person who admitted that it was their fault. We did all the suggested steps before she left too. If you have an iPhone 4S through Verizon you need to make other arrangements. She contacted us using wi-fi through her hotels when she could.

  • Cristina says:

    I’m going to Italy and I am under contract with Verizon. If I bring my Samsung S3 to Italy and replace the SIM with a local one, should I be able to use it? I tried it once and it did not work… Is it because my phone is locked? Will it become unlocked when the 2-year contract period expires?

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