Orange is a major telecommunications provider in Europe, offering mobile connectivity across multiple countries. For travelers visiting Europe, an Orange SIM card can provide affordable calling, texting, and data during your trip. This guide covers everything you need to know about getting connected with Orange while in Europe.


I. Quick Facts About Orange in Europe

Orange operates mobile networks in France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Belgium, Moldova, and Armenia. It has over 200 million customers across Europe, placing it among the largest mobile carriers on the continent.

Some key facts about Orange in Europe:

  • Market Size: Orange is one of the largest telecom operators in Europe, with a strong presence in 26 countries and serving over 280 million mobile customers. 
  • Network: Orange boasts a vast 4G/LTE network covering almost the entirety of its European footprint, with significant investments in 5G rollout. Orange consistently ranks among the top operators in terms of network performance and reliability in Europe.
  • Services: Orange offers a variety of mobile plans with different data allowances, calling minutes, and text messages to cater to various customer needs. The company provides fixed line and broadband, a diverse range of TV channels, often bundled with mobile plans for competitive pricing.

So if you’re visiting any major destinations Orange covers in Europe, it has the network capabilities and travel products to keep your smartphone connected affordably.

Orange Logo

II. Orange Coverage and Speed in Europe

When traveling in Europe, Orange has extensive mobile network coverage options across multiple countries. It also continues expanding and upgrading its 4G/LTE networks to deliver fast speeds for data and calling.

1. Orange Coverage

Orange Coverage in Europe
Orange Coverage in Europe

In France, Spain, Poland, and other Orange countries, it maintains strong coverage footprints:

Northern Europe:

  • Coverage: Excellent in major cities and well-populated areas, with 4G and 5G reaching most urban pockets. Rural areas might experience spotty coverage or depend on 3G.
  • Strong Presence: Dominant in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Partners with other operators in Nordic countries and Ireland.
  • Network: 4G and 5G widely available, 3G still present in some areas.

Southern Europe:

  • Coverage: Widespread in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, with strong 4G penetration and growing 5G presence. Remote areas and islands might see weaker coverage.
  • Strong Presence: Leading operator in Spain, with significant market share in Portugal and Italy.
  • Network: 4G and 5G dominant, with 3G gradually being phased out.

Western Europe:

  • Coverage: Nearly ubiquitous in mainland France and the UK, offering extensive 4G and 5G coverage even in rural areas.
  • Strong Presence: Unchallenged leader in France, a major player in the UK.
  • Network: 5G widely available in major cities, 4G ubiquitous almost everywhere.

Eastern Europe:

  • Coverage: Varies considerably. Poland and Slovakia enjoy strong 4G and growing 5G coverage, while other countries like Romania and Hungary exhibit more pockets of coverage.
  • Strong Presence: Market leader in Poland, significant presence in Slovakia and Romania.
  • Network: 4G widespread, 3G still prevalent in some areas, 5G rollout ongoing.


While Orange’s coverage generally excels in urban areas across Europe, rural regions might have lower network strength, especially in Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Orange stands as a significant player in most European regions, offering reliable and increasingly fast mobile networks.

2. Orange Speed

Orange, a major European telecommunications company, offers varying internet speeds across its European regions due to factors like infrastructure investment and population density. Here’s a concise overview:

  • Northern Europe: Generally boasts the fastest speeds, exceeding 1 Gbps in many areas. Countries like Sweden, Finland, and Norway are frontrunners in fiber optic deployment.
  • Western Europe: France and Belgium enjoy strong 4G and 5G coverage, with major cities exceeding 1 Gbps. Spain and Portugal have good 4G coverage but are catching up with fiber optic rollout.
  • Southern Europe: Italy faces challenges due to geographic diversity and older infrastructure. Urban areas like Milan and Rome offer good speeds, while rural areas lag.
  • Eastern Europe: Poland and Romania exhibit significant progress in fiber optic deployment, reaching speeds above 500 Mbps. Some Balkan countries still rely heavily on DSL, resulting in slower speeds.

Overall, Orange is committed to expanding its fiber optic network across Europe, steadily improving internet speeds for its customers. It’s crucial to remember that specific speeds can vary within each region depending on factors like individual packages and local infrastructure.

III. Orange Connectivity Options for Travelers to the EU

For travelers headed to Europe, Orange has two main connectivity options to access its networks:

Option Description Pros Cons
Prepaid SIM Card Physical SIM card purchased before or during travel, activated with a local plan (data, calls, texts). Easy to obtain. Wide network coverage. Potentially cheaper for longer stays Requires phone unlock. Needs physical installation. May incur setup fees
eSIM Virtual SIM card downloaded onto your phone, activated with a local plan. Convenient, no physical card needed. Easy to switch between plans. Can activate before travel Not all phones support eSIM. Requires compatible device and software. Limited availability in some areas
Roaming Using your home mobile service plan while abroad. No need for additional SIM or eSIM. Familiar phone number and service Potentially expensive data charges. May have limited call/text allowances. Not guaranteed to work in all areas


  • Short trip (less than 2 weeks): Prepaid SIM Card with a smaller data package is your best bet. Consider Orange Holiday Europe SIM offering 15GB or 20GB for 14 days.
  • Medium trip (2-3 weeks): eSIM with a moderate data package (20GB-30GB) offers convenience and flexibility. Orange Holiday ZEN eSIM provides 15GB and unlimited calls/SMS within Europe.
  • Long trip (3 weeks+): Negotiate with your home operator for roaming packages or consider local SIM cards for extended stays in specific EU countries. Orange offers various regional plans with longer validity.

Pick the appropriate option based on whether your device supports eSIM connectivity or relies on a physical SIM card instead to connect when traveling.

IV. Orange vs Other European Mobile Operators

Some of Vodafone’s major competitors in Europe include:

  • Vodafone: Strong competitor with a similar footprint and focus on innovation. Often offers competitive data deals.
  • Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile): Dominant player in Germany and Central Europe, known for excellent network quality but potentially higher prices.
  • Telefonica: Large presence in Spain and Latin America, known for value-oriented plans and bundle deals.

Compared to other providers, the key advantages of Vodafone are:

  • One of the largest operator in Europe: Extensive network coverage in many countries.
  • Strong brand recognition: Established reputation for reliability and quality.
  • Competitive data plans: Often offers generous data allowances and good value for money.
  • Variety of services: Mobile subscriptions, broadband, TV, and more.

While more expensive than local carrier options, Orange provides the convenience, connectivity, and coverage for hassle-free EU roaming. For access across multiple countries, it competes well as a provider tailored to traveler’s needs.

V. Best Orange SIM Cards for Tourists & Costs

Orange offers different SIM options for travelers to Europe, with Orange Holiday Europe SIMs providing the best value and convenience.

Plan Price (USD) Data Validity Calling & Texting
Orange Holiday Europe SIM/eSIM ~$5 1GB in 4G/LTE 7 days Not included
~$21 12GB in 4G/LTE 14 days 30 mins + 200 texts
~$43 30GB in 4G/LTE 14 days 120 mins + 1000 texts
~$54 50GB in 5G/LTE 28 days 120 mins + 1000 texts

As a traveler, Orange Holiday Europe SIMs tailored to visitors offer better value and ease of use. You get a lump allotment of data and minutes upfront during your trip. Topping up can extend your plan if traveling longer. These SIMs also include EU roaming bundled with local rates.

VI. Does Orange EU Support eSIM?

Yes, Orange has launched eSIM support across its European footprint either directly or through partnerships. Orange provides an eSIM option which offers the same plan as the Orange Holiday Europe plan mentioned earlier.

This allows you to connect Apple iPhone and Google Pixel devices straight to Orange Europe using cellular data eSIM profiles. Check the Europe eSIM-Compatible Devices List to know if your phone is compatible with eSIM. 

So eSIM is currently available on Orange networks in key countries France, Spain, and Poland so far. Expect continued rollout across Europe by Orange as eSIM adoption grows.

VII. Where to Buy an Orange SIM Card and eSIM

You can pickup Orange SIM cards across Orange shops while in Europe. But as a traveler, it’s often more convenient to order your Orange SIM internationally for delivery or airport collection before your trip. Here are the best sources to purchase Orange SIMs and eSIM profiles:

1. Where to Buy Orange SIM Card for EU Travel

Orange SIM cards for EU travel can be purchased through multiple channels, both online and in-person:

  • Orange website: You can directly purchase the Orange Holiday Europe SIM card or eSIM through their official website. They offer various data plans with included minutes and texts, valid for different durations.
  • E-commerce websites: Online retailers like Amazon, eBay, and other travel gear stores often sell Orange Holiday Europe SIM cards. These may offer competitive prices and convenient delivery options.
  • Orange retail stores: If you’re already in Europe, you can easily purchase an Orange SIM card at one of their retail stores. This is a good option if you need immediate activation or prefer personal assistance.
  • Airports and kiosks: Many airports and travel hubs in Europe have kiosks selling prepaid SIM cards, including Orange. This can be a convenient option if you’re arriving from outside the EU.
Orange store in Poland
Orange store in Poland

2. Where To Buy Orange eSIM

To access Orange eSIM profiles for iPhone & Pixel compatibility, specialized eSIM retailers are the way to go:

  • Online: You can order an Orange Holiday Europe eSIM online from the Orange website or from other retailers such as Europe eSIM. The eSIM will be sent to you by email with a QR code that you can use to download it to your phone.
  • Orange retail stores: If you are in Europe, you can also purchase an Orange Holiday Europe eSIM from an Orange retail store or right at airport kiosk.

Purchasing directly from Orange as a traveler can require local registration. So reputable eSIM sellers offer a more convenient way to order Orange eSIM connectivity.

Travel Europe without roaming fees. Get an eSIM plan from starting at $5/day. Works on the Orange network across countries. Hassle-free connectivity awaits – get your eSIM today!

Europe eSIM
Europe eSIM

VIII. How to Install and Activate Orange SIM Card

When getting started with your Orange SIM, just follow these quick steps to install and activate it:

1. How to Install and Activate an Orange SIM Card

  1. Insert – Insert your Orange SIM card into your phone’s SIM slot
  2. Power On Phone – Your phone will automatically read the SIM
  3. Connect – Select Orange network and input SIM PIN when prompted
  4. Configure APN – For data, manually enter APN as ‘orange’
  5. You’re Connected – Start using your Orange Europe SIM!

That’s all it takes to get up and running with an Orange SIM card in Europe. You’ll receive detailed instructions specific to your SIM card as well that outline the process.

2. How to Install and Activate Orange eSIM

To connect with an Orange eSIM, you’ll install your cellular plan profile slightly differently:

  1. Order eSIM – Purchase compatible EU Orange eSIM plan
  2. Receive QR Code – eSIM retailer emails QR activation code
  3. Scan QR Code – Go to cellular settings and scan code
  4. Activation – Profile configures network access and restarts
  5. Connect – Orange eSIM plan activated and ready!

Rather than swapping physical SIMs, your eSIM plan securely downloads over-the-air. You’ll still configure APN settings the same.

Both SIM card and eSIM options work reliably using Orange’s mobile networks locally across Europe.

IX. Orange Call & SMS Rates in the EU

For prepaid SIM card rates on Orange Europe, here is an overview of calling, texting, and data pricing:

  • Calls within the EU have max roaming charge of €0.19/min, equal to domestic rates.
  • SMS roaming max is €0.06/text, same as local rates.
  • Data roaming regulated at €0.00512/MB but most plans include unlimited EU data.
  • Rates only apply when roaming between EU/EEA countries, not within the country visited.
  • Applies whether an Orange customer from France uses their phone in Spain, or vice versa.

So Orange keeps calling and messaging rates low across Europe. Most prepaid SIMs come with bundles of minutes and texts minimizing any overage fees as well during your trip + EU roaming.

X. How to Top Up Your Orange SIM Card

To add more calling/text credits or data bundles, topping up an Orange SIM card is easy:

  • Online – Using your phone, access an Orange recharge PIN via online top up sites
  • Vouchers – Purchase top-up vouchers at Orange shops and local retailers
  • Expiry – Credits typically expire after 4 – 12 months depending on amount
  • Autos – Re-ups like Extra Time automatically renew data/mins every month

Online top ups are fastest if needing more data mid-trip. But voucher cards bought locally can work too in a pinch.

Expiry dates allow topping up even if traveling a few times across the year. And auto top up settings can simplify recharging monthly.


Does my phone need to be unlocked to use Orange SIM/eSIM?

Yes, you’ll need an unlocked device to insert an Orange SIM/eSIM. Most American and Canadian phones are unlocked by default. Some EU and Asian models may need officially carrier unlocked first though. iPhones are unlocked so long as you don’t owe any payments.

How long does an Orange SIM card last?

Orange prepaid SIM cards for tourists like Holiday Europe SIMs have set validity periods, usually 7 or 14 days depending on plan. You can add data bundles or extra time to extend longer. Resident accounts have monthly autorenewals as well.

Is my Orange SIM 5G compatible?

Currently Orange doesn’t have much coverage for 5G across Europe. A few major cities may access 5G but networks are still rolling out. 4G LTE speeds meet most needs. An LTE SIM card still works when networks upgrade but don’t expect broad 5G.

XIII. Final Words

An Orange SIM card or eSIM provides reliable connectivity across extensive Orange networks in Europe. With fast speeds, EU roaming convenience, and quality prepaid plans, Orange ticks all the boxes for travelers needing connectivity. Order an Orange Europe SIM or eSIM pre-trip for seamless connectivity when traveling Orange countries. Stay connected without costly roaming fees using Orange SIM cards for Europe.