Europe Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Cell phone usage in mult countries

Jump to last reply

I am interested in having a cell phone to use in Europe (Germany, Austria, Estonia and Sweden) to call to the U.S. I do not care if they number changes between countries, and I do not care so much about data (I have free hotel internet access to use at night for email, etc).

We will be starting and ending in Frankfurt, Germany. I am checking with my work since they handle my current cell phone plan (Iphone4 - current Verizon service provider) to see if they can modify my plan and provide a cell phone for use while I am there, but I would like to have plan B should this not work out.

Given my travel and associated countries what is the best suggestion?

  • Report Abuse

    logos is the exdpert on German sims although she used to come on here all the time but since her prediction that the US dollar was on the verge of collapse against the euro proved to be quite wrong, has seemed to disappear. Of course for me, there is a terrible language problem as my knowledge of
    German is about 4 words deep!

    Here's the problem. There are probably carriers in each country which offer fairly cheap PAYG (pay as you go plans) for reltiavely little. There are several in Gerjmany and you should be able to find one. Assuming you get a German sim card, you will have free reception of calls while within Geramany and fairly cheap reception of calls within the eu...I think as of 01 July the rate for receiving calls within the eu will drop to 0,09€ it was just reported. You will also be able to make fairly cheap calls within the eu as the eu has capped the price of mobile calls within the eu. I think I read it is something like 0,29€ or somethjing like that beginning 01 July. But here's the rub.

    While calling outside the eu might not ber so bad if you're in Germany with a German sim card, to make up for the lost revenue it will be very expensive frm outside Germany to call North America (that's a generalization butr is pretty much the way it is). The work around, of course, is to make the call home and hve them call you right back so you becme the recipient.,

    Another alternative for a multi country trip is e-kit. They have a few sim card plans which include free reception of calls within the eu. The sim card will give you 2 numbers, a +44 number (British country code but actually located in the Isle of Jersey or the Isle of Man, I forget which). Your caller will pay for a call to a British mobile whikch is surcharged on North American ld carriers because of the nature of the mobile phone set up in Europe (it is called a termination fee) or you will get with the card a US +1 number (although you don't get a choice of area code) where your caller pays for a US ld call which, of course, can be free on many mobile plans with national roaming and you pay 19¢/minute to receive the calls. Not too bad. Calls to the USA cost smethig like 48¢/minute with a 35¢ set up fee fo each call not great but not bad also.

    You will need a gsm phone unlocked with the 900 mhz. and/or 1800 mhz which you may already have when you upgraded to a smart phone in the USA (assuming you're American) if you had a gsm carrier (T Mobile US or AT&T US) and they may be willing to unlock it for you or you can buy relatively cheap phones on ebay as with the switch to smartphones, lots of year or two old gsm voice/sms phones exist for relatively little.

    Hope this helps (too bad you're not starting in Great Britain. Can give you lots of info on British sim cards which are free, have dirt cheap rates to North America, follow eu roaming rules and present no language problems!

  • Report Abuse

    Have you already looked into your Plan A? If you look at the Verizon site, you will find that the value international plan in $0.99/min. You might have access to a corporate price, I doubt it is much lower. You have to look at your usage pattern to decide if you can live with this rate. If not forget about Plan A and proceed to Plan B, C, D,...

    The key factors are how much you plan to use, the direction of the usage, and the time of usage. When do you plan to communicate with US? If that time is predominantly while you are in hotel, you don't even need cell phone options. Just use any of the VOIP products.

    If you usage is high while away from WiFi range, you probably want to use local SIM(s) with a 900/1800mhz GSM phone (iPhone4 is not.) You can acquire such phone at home or in Europe. If you had iPhone4S (CDMA/GSM capable) you could have your phone unlocked by Verizon (Verizon rep said after two months when I asked him earlier this year) and use local SIMs.

  • Report Abuse

    I have a similar problem as the OP - different countries though - in my case mostly Italy, Slovenia,Belgium and Netherlands.

    I have a talkmobile sim card that I last used in March 2011. I can't find on their site any way to tell if it would still be active. Also their site has an 'international charges' page but it's blank so I can't see what the costs are to use the sim when in the other countries than the UK.

    I will be in London for one day at the beginning of this trip so could buy a new sim card if there is one that has decent rates. I would be using it to call the US from the various countries I'll be in. I primarily use SKYPE but I do need to be able to also use a phone (I do have an unlocked phone that works in Europe). My 'regular' phone here in the US is an iphone on ATT and the rates are pretty high in the countries I'm going to, even with the 'international' plan (which only brings the price down a few cents, still at least .99 a min, and in some countries up to $2.29. Any ideas for me?

  • Report Abuse

    They are basically giving away sim cards in London on British telcoms. You're only there for one day, right? Since you had a Talk Mobile sim card, you probably have an unlocked gsm phone. Any of the British telcoms will do but you might wish vodafone UK. You'll have to check on their web site any current tariffs but they had last summer a cheap tariff form the UK to the USA and they would also apply the eu roaming rates wonce you leave the UK...they go down on 01 July but right now they're not all that bad at least as receiving calls within the eu and making calls to eu places after you leave the UK. Why vodafone UK?

    Vodafone allows you to top up within a country where there is a vodafone affiliate using that country's vodafone voucher. So for example in Italy, you can use a vodafone IT voucher to top up if necessary. Otherwise, you have to estimate how much you will be spending and pre-pay that amount.

    Of course if you run out of credit, you can always go the direction of a local sim in the next country but that entails perhaps language problems and informing people of your new number.

    Or you can go with ekit, available on ebay following the suggestions I made above. It really depends on what your pattern of calling will be!

  • Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators

  • Report Abuse

    If your plan A doesn't work then follow this as plan B.
    You can use a Unlocked GSM phone with any GSM network around the world.So,You can buy an Unlocked Phone and use any local GSM Sim card in it.But the Unlocked phones are way too costly than locked phones in the market .For that,you can buy a Locked GSM Phone and unlock it using unlock codes. You can get the unlock codes for cheap price from http://www.onlinegsmunlock.com/ .If you already have any GSM phone,unlock it and use it with local network sim.

  • Report Abuse

    Have you looked into Mobal -- http://www.mobal.com/
    I have been using them for a several years in different parts of the world and been very satisifed. You do buy their phone and ONLY pay for minutes used - no monthly charges, etc.

6 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement: Writers Needed for Morocco Guidebook
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Apr 11, 14 at 05:51 PM
View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 What to wear
  2. 2 Istanbul - Itinerary recommendations
  3. 3 Feedback regarding Jay Way Travel
  4. 4 flea markets in France
  5. 5 Ideas for a Mother-Daughter UK Trip
  6. 6 Switzerland itinerary help - 1 week Lauterbrunnen, 1 week ??
  7. 7 Madrid apartments
  8. 8 London neighborhood suggestions
  9. 9 Two days to spend in northern Spain traveling by car
  10. 10 Need ideas for a Christmas 2014 holiday vacation?
  11. 11 I need a haircut
  12. 12 Timing a river cruise
  13. 13 High Level 12 day Itinerary for Turkey; Mountain Lovers and Photographer
  14. 14 Is Naxos worthwhile if not planning to spend time on the beach?
  15. 15 We Need a Pact
  16. 16 Flying into Barcelona and have 5 days to go where?
  17. 17 Greece- general questions and itinerary
  18. 18 GENEVE,MONTREUX,INTERLAKEN and LUZERN or Weggis?
  19. 19 Tipping in Greece
  20. 20 Aberdeen Angus steakhouse
  21. 21 Honeymooning in Europe
  22. 22 Southern France
  23. 23 Germany A'dam Belgium Itinerary Help
  24. 24 Malmaison - how to get there from Paris
  25. 25 Spain tips beyond safety
View next 25 » Back to the top