Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Gibraltar Guide

Logo of the Telecom Operator in Gibraltar: Gibtelecom

Gibraltar is the only European region that has a wild monkey population. Around 300-400 of them can be found trying to steal your food from your backpack, so beware!

Besides that, what can you actually do and see in Gibraltar? Of course, you have to see the Rock of Gibraltar. You can also find many caves as well, such as the Saint Michael's Cave. Moorish Castle has cool views from it too.

What is not cool is dealing with an expensive roaming bill you get from roaming with your provider in Gibraltar. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card, like a Gibraltarian.

Mobile data is not overly expensive, but not super cheap either in Gibraltar. Even then, using a local SIM card will probably be cheaper than roaming.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Gibraltar. Let's do this.

Telecom Provider in Gibraltar

Gibraltar has 1 telecom operator:

  • Gibtelecom

They have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.

What SIM card should you buy when visiting Gibraltar? If you want to buy a SIM card in Gibraltar, then Gibtelecom would be your only choice.

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Like many countries in Southern Europe, and Europe in general, you do not have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. This means that it is not a country, nor is it part of the United Kingdom. However, Gibraltar does fall in the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, which makes it, until the end of 2020, part of the European Union.

As of June 2017, a new regulation has been enforced, which is known as roam like at home, meaning that those with a European Union (or EEA) SIM card should be allowed to use (some) of their data allowance in other EU/EEA countries without a surcharge.

Until the transitional period expires on the 1st of January, 2021, those with an EU/EEA SIM card can Roam Like at Home in Gibraltar. After that, things can change drastically. The same can be said for using your Gibtelecom SIM card in the EU/EEA. Once there is more information about this issue, this section will be updated, but it is something to be aware of.

With that being said, let’s see what Gibtelecom has to offer to us.

Gibtelecom

Gibtelecom is the sole operator in Gibraltar, and they are state-owned.

You can get a Gibtelecom SIM card, called Reload, for 25 GBP ($30.20) at the Customer Service Center in Jon Mackintosh or from other retailers. You will get the 25 GBP spent on the SIM card as credit.

Reload scratch cards are sold for 10 GBP and 25 GBP in many stores throughout Gibraltar, but you can also recharge online. To top-up, dial *101*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, then you would dial *101*123456#. Dial *100# to check your Reload balance.

Gibtelecom has 5 data packages to choose from:

  • 10 GBP: “Unlimited” data (3 GB high-speed, then throttled to 128 Kbps until you have hit 10 GB, then the speed will be reduced to 64 Kbps) for 7 days. Activation: text DATA7 to 8100
  • 10 GBP: 1 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATA1GB to 8100
  • 14 GBP: 2 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATA2GB to 8100
  • 17 GBP: 4 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATA4GB to 8100
  • 29 GBP: 10 GB for 30 days. Activation: text DATA10GB to 8100
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Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Gibraltar

So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Gibraltar. However, that is not the only way to be online in Gibraltar. I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.

Roaming in Gibraltar with Your Provider

Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Airtel Zambia, then you would be roaming with Airtel Zambia in Gibraltar.

You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.

Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Gibraltar, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Gibraltar, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.

Using Free WIFI connections in Gibraltar

This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.

First, you need to find hotspots in Gibraltar. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.

In the case of Gibraltar, you will not find many hotspots.

Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.

Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Gibraltar

Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.

Travelwifi banner

I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.

Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Gibraltar

International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.

All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Gibraltar. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.

simoptions banner
Surfroam Banner

International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in Europe require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.

My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Gibraltar

Getting a SIM card from Gibtelecom would be your only option when considering a Gibraltarian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

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You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Visiting other countries in Southern Europe? Check out my Southern Europe SIM card buying guide, covering other South European countries, such as Albania, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and the Vatican City (Holy See).

What about other places in Europe? My Europe SIM card buying guide covers all European destinations, such as Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight for Gibraltar

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Gibraltar. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Gibraltar drop.

Travel by Train within Europe with InterRail or EURail

Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail/EURail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. InterRail is for European citizens and EURail is for non-European citizens.

Book Your Accommodation for Gibraltar

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Gibraltar. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Gibraltarian hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Gibraltar

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Gibraltar, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to British Pounds for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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