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Using a cell phone in Europe

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I have an iphone with AT&T service that will give me the ability to talk and text people home in the USA while I am in Europe. What I am concerned with is how I will communicate with people once I get there. I will be in Europe for about 2 months couchsurfing. I will need to contact the people that I am staying with while I am there. I have heard that buying an unlocked phone on eBay is a good idea.


but what do i do about the sim card and service once i get to Europe. Texting would definitely would be nice, to cut down on minutes, but I have the iPhone so don't need data.

I will port into London, then go to the following countries:
Belgium
The Netherlands
Denmark
Germany
Austria
Poland
Czech Republic
Switzerland
Italy
Greece
France
Monaco
Spain


Any ideas or suggestions?

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    Unless the iPhone is unlocked, you could end up with some major expenses. For that long of a period of time, you may want to invest in an unlocked iPhone (from Apple) and purchase a sim card at each of your destination. Otherwise, be prepared to pay for the luxury of having a service.

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    We've been through this constantly but a lot of it depends on just what your spercific communications needs are. Probbly the worst, is to use the voice/data roaming capabilities of AT&T. They will work but you can easily, believe me it's happened, run up mobile phone bills in a couple of months of $10,000. If we stick to voice and texting for a second, you can bring a lap top or notebook and use skype services and hope to hook on to wifi for a reasonable price at various hotels or hot spots or whatever. That you can do under any circumstances as an addition to what I will suggest next to handle voice and texting both within the eu and to call outside the eu.

    1. You will need an unlocked gsm phone with the European frequencies. As almost every 10 year old kid now has a smart phone, you will find an inventory of antiquated gsm quad band phones on places like e-bay which you can pick up fairly cheaply. The phone has to be unlocked (they almost all are on e-bay) and have at the very least the two European frequencies (900 and 1800 mhz.) but it wouldn't hurt to get a quad band with the two additional frequencies (850 ;mhz and 1900 mhz) used in North America. Again remember we are talking about voice and texsting only here. Use wifi with the lap top for data (although data prices are coming down too)...

    2. Now there are two choices. One choice is to look up a firm called e-kit. They at one time were all over e-bay. A firm that does offer e-kit casrds also is telestial. They have a bunch of sim cards (you stick the sim card in the phone which control things such as the service provider and the number) that give you both a UK number (country code 44) and a US number (country code 1). You will be reachable in all the countries you listed by any of your colleagues calling either of those numbers. If they call you on the British number (_44), you will receive calls for free but they will pay a price for a call to a British mobile which is smewhat higher than a call to a British landline from US ld carriers. If they call you on the US number, they pay whatever they pay and you pay 19¢/minute. Calls to the US are something like 48¢/minute with a 35¢ one time set up charge for each call. Of course nothing precludes you from making a call to whomever and asking them to call you right back and pay the 19¢ to receive! Calls within the eu to landline are the same price but calls within the eu to mobiles are twice as expensive. or..

    2. AT your first stop you can procure a local sim card and you can do research on the various telcoms in that first country. While within the country of origination of the sim card you receive for free (provided you can get the word out of your phone number)...calls within the eu are capped and the cap will be getting lower as of 01 July and with the way the euro is falling, who knows. Calls to North America will be moderately expensive but as soon as you leave that counyry while roaming rates won't be bad for calls within the eu, calls to North America will become very expernsive. Of course you can keep switching sim cards as you go to each new country. As a general rule, local sim cards are cheap. British sim cdards are cheapest of all as they are free. They literally are being given away and of course with British sim cards, the language problems are minimal.

    But if you keep getting new sim cards to make calls out, how do you notify people of the new number each time you pop in a new sim card, I hear you cry. Well I have a solution to that too.

    I use a firm called localphone.com. For a charge of I think $2 they will provide you a local number of most anywhere in the world. (I have requested from them and gotten from then a New York City number with a 212 area code, something some peole consider presigeous...you have a 212 number...some would almost kill for one). The rub is I can set from the internet that number to ring to any phone in the world via the internet at very very reasonable rates (calls forwarded from that number to a British sim card cost smething like 7¢/minute!)...so I use my home call forwarding to forward to that number which forwards to the mobile and voila call my home number in NY and within seconds you will be speaking to me on some local sim card I have set.

    You can also use calling cards to make calls...they are dirt cheap sometimes country specific . The question is the triggering number but of course using an eu sim card, a call to an eu triggering number shouldn't be all that expensive.

    I don't know which solution is best for you and there are some people who say nonsense, just use skype or wife or who wants to be bothered on holiday anyway.

    But I hope I've given you some ideas, I know there's probably too much here, of the possibilities you can explore to come up with the best solution for your own needs. Which one it is, I don't know and next week, something new and better might come out as such is wht goes on with technology today.

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