Enters Proximus to get a pre-paid data SIM.

- Do you have Belgian ID?

- Me: huh? Oh, no, I have EU ID.

- Oh, then it will take four days to activate… we work with the government to check your documents, etc.

Tell me again about this Single Market of yours… I swear with the military on the streets, police sniffer dogs everywhere and shit like this, Belgium is one far-right government away from fascism with great chocolate and shopping.

TBH most places are these days… and usually without the great chocolate.

Walked into Orange and got one without any hassle.


* By “no hassle” I mean no warnings about it taking X days to activate but they did scan my passport so it’s linked to me. Looks like you can’t anonymously access the Interwebs anymore. I remember many years ago having a similar experience in Turkey where prepaid cards would stop working after X days so it seems we’ve caught up with and surpassed Erdoğan.

@aral sorry, that supersize coupon is only valid for the dystopian part of your order. Everything else must be fought over. But you can raise this issue with our citizen support representative, he'll be waiting for you in the detention area.

I think it's down to national law. You didn't need to show ID for prepaid SIMs in Germany a few years ago (not sure about nowadays), and in Britain, I got one based only on my mail address and a valid e-mail address -- not sure what checks they ran in the background, though. UK does a lot of creepy stuff to compensate for not having national ID

@aral In addition to the data-privacy aspect this is a practical problem for us seafarers too, who often need a temporary SIM for a few weeks or months at a time and don't usually have an entry visa for the country we're in (so passport validation can be a problem.) Only really seen it in the Middle East before, though; pretty worried to hear its reached Europe now..

@aral isn't that the law now, no SIM card without ID? I think I read something along those lines a couple of years ago. Can't remember if I needed ID in England (2012), definitely needed ID in Germany (2013) and Sweden (2014)

@aral This was rushed into law following the 2016 terror attacks in Brussels, with complete disregard for any opposing voices obviously.

@aral You'll love to hear about the law the previous government (headed by the 'center'-right party, of course) passed to add biometric data (fingerprints) to all ID cards. It's completely ridiculous and probably unconstitutional.

@aral Funny thing is, about 20km further in the netherlands they don't even ask for your ID...

@aral Belgium is like this about everything. If you want to visit under freedom of movement rules but stay with a friend you’re technically supposed to register with the local commune.

@aral Last time I checked a year ago it was still possible to get prepaid SIMs in Finland with optional 3G/4G data without providing any documentation. My parents visited and I got one for them to use during their stay, just walking into a kiosk, and another one to use in a laptop with a built-in 3G modem 🤷🏻‍♂️


About that single market: There're no roaming fees within the EU (thanks EU!). So whatever your data tariff in Ireland, you can just use that anywhere in the EU, including bulk data volumes etc.

Things that change abroad:
1: free calls and texts "within the network" -- if you're abroad you count as outside the network
2: costs for calls/texts to the country you're in cost the same as if you were home. So not actually a change, but a potential reason to get a local SIM.

@Mr_Teatime @aral Yeah, if you call and text, but that's a quirky edge case for phone use these days. 😀

I hear Estonian SIMs are popular to use as pan-EU SIMs.

That's pretty much my point.

That said: Some people I can only reach via SMS or phone (or Whatsapp, but no), there are companies and agencies who require it (e.g. 2FA with banks), so despite the uses becoming fewer, there are some unavoidable ones. Having a local phone number also allows others to call you using inland tarrifs, without paying international rates, so there's that.

...for data, I don't think it makes any difference.

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