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Heading to Gibraltar? A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card
Buy a local SIM card to reduce your roaming rates.
Gibraltar is very popular with tourists and an important part of the United Kingdom, just off the coast of Spain. Using your phone there can work out to be quite pricey, so to keep costs down why not switch to a local SIM card so you can take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs. Gibraltar has special prepaid SIM card deals for tourists, with offers that could reduce your bills. So, whether you’re planning a quick break or an extended trip, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com/ca.Prices last updated 8 Aug 2017
Telco providers in Gibraltar
English-speaking Gibraltar is classed as a British territory, and has one main operator: Gibtelecom. It has been tried and tested by locals and international travelers and can be trusted. Also, its deals are competitive. It will certainly work out cheaper than the service your current provider can offer you on the island. Gibtelecom goes through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate. Gibraltar has good network coverage and a healthy overall speed. We have highlighted the best deals below.
About Gibraltar’s telecommunications
If you’re thinking of coming to Gibraltar from Spain then you might not need to purchase another SIM card. Many Spanish networks operate on the island and there are no roaming fees. If you’re coming from Spain, check with your provider before you make the trip to see if Gibraltar is included. However, if you plan on staying for a longer period, or are not heading there directly from Spain, it’s most definitely worth purchasing a local SIM card to reduce your roaming rates. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless services are available, and SIM cards are handed out for free. Credit must be added to activate. Locals call their prepaid SIM card plans “pay-as-you-go” and they can be purchased without any registration or form of identification.
Gibtelecom is a state-owned provider and offers the best coverage out of any SIM card that can be used on the island, including the Spanish SIM cards that use Spain’s antennas to activate their service. The Gibtelecom “pay-as-you-go” SIM card is available from the official store in John Mackintosh Square and other approved resellers around the island. Although this “pay-as-you-go” is classed as a free SIM card, you must top up £25 credit to use it. Credit amounts of £10 and £25 can be topped up from many retail outlets displaying a “Reloadcard” sign. Dial *101*<voucher code># to add credit. Dial *100# to check your balance.
The standard default data rate outside of packages is £0.14 per MB. The following monthly data packs can be added:
|500MB||£9||Text DATA500MB to 8100 (Valid for 1 month)|
|2GB||£14||Text DATA2GB to 8100 (Valid for 1 month)|
|5GB||£29||Text DATA5GB to 8100 (Valid for 1 month)|
|10GB||£10||Text DATA7 to 8100 (Valid for 7 days)|
Gibtelecom’s APN:www.gibtele.com, and website in English:www.gibtele.com
Some top tips from finder.com staff:
- Both English and Spanish are spoken in Gibraltar.
- Locals call a SIM card a “Chip” or “SIM” and refer to prepaid as “pay-as-you-go”.
- Ask the retailer to help set-up the SIM card for you.
- There are limited stores on the islands, and SIM cards can sometimes be out of stock. Try to get to the stores early and be prepared to do a bit of shopping around.
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Gibraltar.
“The signals coming from Spanish phone network masts (masts located in Spain) do overspill and cover most of Gibraltar”
“Most if not all call boxes are card only. Cheapest way to keep in touch is via the internet/phone shops (locutorios). There is one at the bottom of Engineers lane off Main Street, another one at the bottom of Irish Town at the back of BHS store (was undergoing refurb last month though) and one on Main Street just past the Governor’s residence. I made a 20min call, peak time and the cost was £1.24”
“Remember if you do buy a prepaid SIM card for your USA cell phone that the phone must be unlocked here before you leave.”
Pros and cons of Gibraltar’s telco provider
The provider requires you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this option, or to find out whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you set off on your travels.
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- No phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- There are limited stores on the island
Another question about finding the best SIM?
Q: What shall I do if I lose my phone?
A: Your phone is your lifeline, especially when traveling around Europe. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. The importance of having a direct link to family and friends via social media or through phone services can never be underestimated! If you do lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you still have no luck then cancel any plans or payment methods associated with the phone, report it missing and make a note of the crime number to claim on insurance. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let this one out of your sight!
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