Monaco is known as the “Billionaires Playground”. Yachts, casinos, and extravagant eveents, it is understandable why it is considered ot be a playground for the rich.
If you are not into the expensive stuff, head to the Exotic Garden of Monaco, which has many succulents from all over the world. Musée océanographique de Monaco is a cool marine museum. You better not skip Larvotto beach!
What could make your trip to Monaco more expensive is by roaming with your provider in Monaco. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Monegasque one.
The issue, however, is that mobile data is expensive in Monaco. So roaming may be a good option for some travelers.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Monaco. Let's go.
Telecom Provider in Monaco
Monaco has 1 telecom provider:
- Monaco Telecom
Monaco telecom has 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Monaco? If you want to buy a SIM card in Monaco, then Monaco Telecom would be your only choice.
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Like many countries in Western Europe, and Europe in general, you do not have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Monaco.
Do note that mobile data is expensive in Monaco for European standards.
A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: Monaco is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam Like at Home rule does not apply in Monaco. Normally, I would recommend that those from the EU/EEA are better off getting a local SIM card. However, that may not necessarily have to be the case for Andorra.
A handful of European operators include Monaco in their Roam Like at Home category, which makes it important to consult with your operator before deciding to roam in Monaco with an EU/EEA SIM card.
Monaco Telecom, however, does have a roaming agreement with Orange France, which allows Orange France customers to roam in Monaco without a surcharge.
Those from the EU/EEA, and anyone else for that matter, will be better off heading to France, get an Orange SIM card, get a reasonable data plan, and roam in Monaco instead of getting a Monaco Telecom SIM card – it could save you some money.
Additionally, the antennas from French operators cover most of Monaco because they have been allowed by the French and Monacan governments to deploy base stations.
If you do not enable data roaming when in Monaco and have a French card, you may not even have to worry about roaming costs or getting a Monacan SIM card. Do note that speeds can be slow.
The same can be said when having an EU/EEA SIM card. Instead of disabling data roaming, you have to change the data roaming setting from automatic selection to manual selection and select a French network to take advantage of the Roam Like at Home feature.
Orange France reportedly has the best coverage and speeds in Monaco, but SFR, Bouygues Télécom, and Free Mobile can also be selected.
With that being said, let’s see what Monaco Telecom has to offer to us.
Monaco Telecom is the sole operator in Monaco. They offer mobile plans, which are not prepaid plans, but they have options that do not require you to be in a long-term contract with them. It is, however, not clear whether travelers can take advantage of these plans.
Moreover, it looks like those younger than 26 get a discount when getting a mobile plan.
Monaco Telecom offers the 4 plans with no commitment. The data allowance can be used in Monaco, metropolitan France, Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments.
You also get unlimited calls and SMS, which is for local use and use when in metropolitan France. The allowances can also be used when in Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments. Only one plan allows you to make unlimited calls and send unlimited SMS while still in Monaco and Metropolitan France.
The are 4 Monaco Telecom mobile plans with no commitment are available, of which 3 offer data:
- €39.99: 20 GB in Monaco, metropolitan France, Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments
- €49.99: 50 GB in Monaco, metropolitan France, Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments, unlimited minutes in Monaco and metropolitan France and from Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments, and unlimited SMS in Monaco and metropolitan France and from Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments
- €109.99: 100 GB in Monaco, metropolitan France, Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, French Overseas Departments, Canada, and the United States, unlimited minutes in Monaco and metropolitan France and to and from Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments, and unlimited SMS in Monaco and metropolitan France and to and from Europe, Switzerland, Andorra, and French Overseas Departments
* Prices for those younger than 26: €19.99, €19.99, and €69.99 in order.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Monaco
Now you know everything about buying a SIM card in Monaco, but what are your other options? Although buying a local SIM card is almost always the cheapest option, the cheapest option would be using free WIFI connections in Monaco, but you can also roam with your provider in Monaco, use an international SIM card in Monaco, or use a mobile hotspot in Monaco. Let’s see what our options are.
Using Free WIFI hotspots in Monaco
Using something free is always better than paying for something. However, sometimes, free stuff may be of bad quality. Sure, you do not have to pay anything for using a free hotspot (unless you are required to purchase a beverage or meal at an establishment), but it may be a challenge to find a free hotspot. Moreover, the connection may be so slow that it is practically useless.
In the case of Monaco, there will be many hotspots around, but those are paid options by Monaco Telecom, but free for Monaco Telecom customers:
- €4.99: 1 day
- €14.99: 7 days
- €29.99: 30 days
Do note that public hotspots are unsecure. Hackers love to steal sensitive information on unprotected connections because it is apparently easy to do so. That is why I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using a public hotspot, and I would encourage you to do so too.
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 NordVPN subscription now!
Roaming with Your Provider in Monaco
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 Hey by Vodafone Faroe, then you would be roaming with Hey in Monaco.
Roaming may be the most convenient way of using your phone abroad. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, which, in turn, means you do not have to swap SIM cards. As a result, your friends and family from home can easily reach you on your cell. With many providers, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the data roaming setting on your phone, and you are good to go.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Although roaming with your provider may be the most convenient way of staying connected in Monaco, it can also be the most expensive option. There have been many horror stories where people have racked up roaming bills up in the thousands and even more than ten thousand.
Luckily, many providers have affordable roaming plans, allow you to roam for free in some destinations like Monaco, or allow you to use your plan’s allowance in Monaco. For example, with Virgin Mobile Canada, you can use your plan’s allowance for 12 Canadian dollars per day. This may be affordable in some destinations for a small number of days, but it will be expensive for prolonged periods.
If you are unsure about the roaming options of your provider, I have written many articles about roaming with various operators around the world. I analyze them in-depth and give you my advice on whether you should roam with your provider or not. If yes, I also state for how long you should roam to take the most advantage of the offer.
One thing that should be avoided at all costs is to Pay As You Go roaming where you pay per minute, SMS, or MB. This is how many people get expensive roaming bills because the roaming prices for data are usually extremely high.
If you want to roam, make sure to get a roaming plan. Unless your provider offers extremely low Pay As You Go roaming rates, which is only a handful of providers, then you can consider doing so. Furthermore, if your provider lets you roam for free in Monaco, then you should go for it. Just note that your speeds will be lower as a roamer than if you were to buy a Ugandan SIM card.
Using an International SIM Card in Monaco
International SIM cards are SIM cards that work internationally. Most SIM cards do work abroad, but then you have to roam with your provider. International SIM cards, however, let’s you use one SIM card in many destinations around the world for, often, the same price. This way, your friends and families can still reach out to you while traveling.
International SIM cards are, however, much more expensive than buying a local SIM card in many cases, but they are often cheaper than to roam with your provider. There are many international SIM card providers out there, but a few providers I can recommend are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are useful for those who frequently travel for leisure or for business. That way, everyone can reach you on one number instead of a handful of local numbers scattered around the world.
Moreover, many destinations in the world require you to register yourself before you can buy a local SIM card. In some countries, the process is quick, while others require much more of your time. Furthermore, the registration process may be cumbersome in countries.
Finally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some. It can be a challenge dealing with a salesperson who does not understand you. They may try and sell you the most expensive option out there. Luckily, you know the prices of SIM cards and packs in Monaco, so you cannot be taken advantage of.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip, 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.
Using a Mobile Hotspot in Monaco
A mobile hotspot 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.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
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.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Monaco
Getting a SIM card from Monaco Telecom would be your only option when considering a Monegasque SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Going to other countries in Western Europe (or Southwestern Europe)? Check out my Western Europe SIM card buying guide, covering other West European nations, such as (Andorra), Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, (Portugal), (Spain), and the United Kingdom
What about other places in Europe? My Europe SIM card buying guide covers all European destinations, such as Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, 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 Monaco
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 Monaco. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Monaco drop.
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 Monaco
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 Monaco. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Monegasque hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Monaco
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 Monaco, 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 Euros 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.
Enjoy your trip!