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The Best eSIM For Iceland | Prepaid Data Plan Buyer’s Guide

A guide to everything you need to know about finding the best eSIM data plans for Iceland

phones and technology

The cheapest way to get high-speed mobile data while traveling in Iceland is with a prepaid eSIM so don’t waste money using your current plan’s expensive international data service package (Iceland is expensive enough). So what is the best eSIM for Iceland? I’ve crunched the numbers and compared multiple data plans to help you find the best option for your trip.

Fast Answer: My two favorite eSIM retailers SimOptions and Holafly. Both companies offer multiple affordable prepaid data plans that work well in Iceland and will cost you around $2.5-$4/day.

I go into more in-depth, specific recommendations in this article so keep reading to learn more.


The Problems With Many International Data Packages

Your current mobile provider probably has an international data plan option that they’re happy to sell you… but there are two significant downsides:

  • They’re expensive.
  • Their service is often slow, inconsistent, and has limited data caps.
  • Some plans automatically charge you the second you use any data abroad.

Let’s take a look at a few of the plans offered by the largest US mobile carriers:

The AT&T International Day Pass costs $10 per day. They also have their insanely-priced AT&T Passport plan, a monthly plan that’s either $70/month for 2GB of data or $140/month for 6 GB. Then they charge an insane overage of $30 per GB. Verizon also has a $10/day pass but they knock you down to 3G speeds after 2 GB each day.

T-Mobile offers many of its customers free “unlimited” international data… but you’re downgraded to nearly unusable 2G speeds after you hit 5 GB of data. T-Mobile gives you the option to pay more to get 5GB at better speeds but then you’ll be charged a premium.

On the other hand, eSIM data plans from Orange or Holafly will cost you around $2.5-$5/day so you’re paying 2X-5x by sticking with your current carrier’s international data plan.

For more in-depth information on international data plans and eSIM, check out my guide on How To Use Smartphones and Data Plans In Europe and my Guide To eSIM data plans in Europe.


My Guide To The Best eSIM Data Plans For Iceland

Like most countries in Europe, Iceland has a few major domestic mobile carriers that mainly service local residents:

These carriers have decent rates but they typically only offer eSIM plans to their customers with long-term contracts.

Therefore you have two choices if you want mobile data in Iceland—either buy a physical SIM card once you’re in Iceland or buy a prepaid eSIM online that’s tailored for short-term visitors. These tourist-friendly eSIM plans are much more convenient because you don’t have to mess with registration, weird translation issues, international payment processing problems, etc.

For this guide, I’ll focus on these tourist-friendly eSIM plans.

How To Evaluate a Prepaid eSIM Plan

Each eSIM plan I’ve listed below varies slightly so pay attention to the specific details. Let’s look at the main things to consider:

  • Data Allowance: Prepaid data Plans typically give you a set amount of mobile data (i.e. 5GB, 10GB, 30GB, etc) but others give you unlimited data over a set amount of time (5 days, 15 days, 30 days, etc).
  • Plan Length: eSIM data plans can be valid anywhere from about 5 days to 90 days once activated.
  • Mobile Hot Spot Tethering: Many eSIM plans don’t allow data tethering so you can’t always use your phone as a mobile hot spot.
  • Voice Calls and SMS Texting: Some eSIM plans are data only—which means it doesn’t include voice calls or SMS texting. This isn’t much of an issue since you’re probably not going to be calling people but it’s something to consider.
    • NOTE: You can still use iMessage to “text” between iPhones but you can’t send messages between iPhones and Android phones. Or you can download WhatsApp to send messages over data (which is what most Europeans do).

Holafly Iceland Unlimited Data eSIM With Europe Calling

  • Prices For Unlimited Data (Check Holafly for details)
    • 10 Days: $34
    • 15 Days: $47
    • 20 Days: $54
    • 30 Days: $64
    • 60 Days: $84
    • 90 Days: $99
  • Service Speed: 5G/4G/LTE
  • Calls coverage: 60 minutes of credit make calls from all of Europe—except Iceland, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Turkey. Comes with an Austrian phone number.
  • SMS: None
  • Data Tethering: No
  • Data service works everywhere in the EU

Holafly is a new Spain-based eSIM provider that I previously used while in Europe and had a great experience. Holafly sells both Denmark-specific plans and Europe-wide data plans.

Unlike other mobile data companies, Holafly gives you unlimited data and a local phone number with 60 minutes of credit for making/receiving calls from European numbers (see exceptions above). I’m a fan of how Holafly plans come in durations from 5 to 90 days—so you don’t have to over/underbuy for your particular trip.

Holafly isn’t an actual mobile carrier but they rent bandwidth from local mobile provider networks—the only downside is that you’re more likely to get less priority (i.e. slower speeds) on the local network during peak usage times.

Holafly doesn’t allow data tethering in most cases so you won’t be able to use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

You can read my in-depth Holafly review to learn more about my experiences using Holafly.


Bouygues My European eSIM with Europe Calling

Bouygues Telecom is a major French telecommunications company and they’ve recently released their own prepaid eSIM data plan to compete with the popular Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan. I’ve personally used prepaid Bouygues data plans during previous trips to Europe and had good experiences—read my Bouygues My European eSIM review to learn more.

There’s a lot to like about the Bouygues My European eSIM plan—notably how it comes standard with 30GB of data and unlimited calls/texts within Europe and data tethering. I also like how the Bouygues eSIM plan is valid for 30 days so it’s a great option for longer trips.

  • Price: $44.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 30GB
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and credit for overseas calls
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and credit for overseas SMS
  • Credit validity: 30 day
  • Phone Number: This eSIM card comes with a French phone number
  • Coverage: Anywhere within the European Union (except Switzerland)


Orange Holiday Europe eSIM 30GB For Iceland

  • Price: $49.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 30GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 120 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 1000 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM plan comes with a French phone number that can still be used anywhere in Europe
  • Service works everywhere in the EU

The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM data plan is another excellent eSIM plan because it comes with many features you don’t find with other plans—including international voice calling and texts (it gives you an actual French phone number that will work anywhere in Europe).

This plan comes with 30GB of data and it also allows you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot. Orange is one of Europe’s largest mobile companies so you’ll always get great coverage and high data speeds.

The potential downside to the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM is that it’s only valid for 14 days once activated so it’s not great for longer visits (but you can always buy a second plan).

I’ve personally used the Orange Holiday Europe plan while traveling through Europe and it worked flawlessly. Read my Orange Holiday Europe review to hear more.


Orange Holiday Europe 50GB eSIM For Iceland

  • Price: $59.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 50GB (they sometimes give you 30GB of data)
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 120 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 1000 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 28 day
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM plan comes with a French phone number that can still be used anywhere in Europe
  • Service works everywhere in the EU

Need a lot of data? Consider the newly released Orange Holiday Europe 50GB eSIM data plan which is a beefed-up version of the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM. It has 50GB of data and it’s valid for 28 days (compared to 14 days with the standard plan). This eSIM also comes with many features you don’t find with other plans—including international voice calling and texts (it gives you an actual French phone number that will work anywhere in Europe).

The Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan also allows you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot so you can put that extra data allowance to good use. Orange is also one of the largest mobile companies in Europe so you’ll always get great coverage and high data speeds.


Orange Holiday Zen eSIM for Iceland

  • Price: $29.90 (Check SimOptions for details)
  • Data: 15GB
  • Service Speed: 4G/LTE
  • Calls: Unlimited within Europe and 30 min outside of Europe.
  • Texts/SMS: Unlimited within Europe and 200 outside of Europe.
  • Credit validity: 14 day
  • Data Tethering: Allowed
  • Usable on any device (phones, tablets, hotspots…)
  • This eSIM plan comes with a French phone number that can still be used anywhere in Europe
  • Service works everywhere in the EU

The Orange Holiday Zen eSIM is the budget version of the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan listed above. It comes with 15GB of data and has fewer voice minutes and texts, otherwise, it’s the same as the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM plan.

Many users will use more than 15GB of data while traveling for a week or two but light data users could easily use less than 15GB of data during a typical 10-14 day trip.


Additional Tips On Using Your Phone in Iceland

I’ve written a bunch of articles about how to use smartphones and data plans in Europe and how to buy prepaid data plans in Europe but below are more helpful tips about using your phone in Denmark and throughout Europe.

BUY A PORTABLE BATTERY CHARGER

I highly recommend packing a portable battery charger to ensure your phone doesn’t die in the middle of the day. I use Anker PowerCore portable chargers because they’re tiny and affordable but there are multiple options.

TAKE STEPS TO LOWER YOUR MOBILE DATA USAGE

It’s extremely easy to unknowingly burn through data because many apps continue to use data in the background. Facebook, email, Instagram, Snapchat, podcast apps, Google Photos… these apps can all constantly use data throughout the day without you knowing it. That’s why it’s important to know how to limit your data usage.

BLOCK DATA TO SPECIFIC APPS IN YOUR SETTINGS

You can disable data access to individual apps in your phone’s settings. I turn off data access to every app except for things like Google Maps or others that I’ll use more frequently. Pay particular attention to podcast apps that automatically download episodes and photo backup apps (Google Photos, iPhoto/iCloud, etc.).

DOWNLOAD OFFLINE MAPS

Google Maps lets you download entire city maps so they can be used offline. As an added bonus, GPS doesn’t use data so offline Google Maps works fairly well (but not all functionality works). Here is a good YouTube video that explains everything.

Be Careful About Using Free Wi-Fi Networks

Many free Wi-Fi networks are unsecured so you run the risk of having your data read while using them—that means thieves can see everything you’re doing. So only do stuff like banking, etc. while using mobile data.


MORE EUROPE TRAVEL TIPS FROM THE SAVVY BACKPACKER

Check out more of my favorite articles to help you plan your trip to Iceland and the rest of Europe:

James Feess
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