Calling home (USA) from Kenya?

Old Jan 12th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Calling home (USA) from Kenya?

I am going to Kenya next month and would like to be able to stay in touch with my husband in California. I have an international GSM phone I bought a few years ago for a trip to Italy. Am I right in thinking I can use it in Kenya with a new SIM card? Which of the several available SIM cards is the best? Any other thing I should know?

Thanks very much,
Kathy
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Frequencies are the same for Italy and Kenya and assuming you used a local SIM last time (in other words the phone is unlocked), it should work fine. I've mostly used Safaricom which I believe is 25 KES/min to the US (prepaid). I've also used Zain once but not enough to really tell which one had better coverage. However I believe Zain's intl rates are higher.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 03:07 PM
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Kathy
It's depending on where you are going!

Safaricom and Celtel are both very well established.
For a lengthy trip covering a fast area we rent both cards. It's pretty favourable!

Info:

http://www.kenya-advisor.com/kenya-mobile-phones.html
http://www.safaricom.co.ke/

Happy travels!

SV
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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To clarify, Zain is the new name for Celtel.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Same question, but the caller in Kenya does not have a cell phone. And the caller might want to phone once or twice from Heathrow too on the cellphone.

Can you rent a cell phone for several weeks here in the US and take it with you? Could you buy just 30-90 minutes worth of time?

Any idea on what that might cost?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 06:11 PM
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Mobal is a company that sells phones for use overseas (www.mobal.com). They have phones as low as $49, but the rates are comparable to what I saw with Verizon: $1.95/min for incoming calls and calls within Kenya, $5.95/min for calls to the US, $0.80 for texts. I had a global phone with me in Tanzania last year, but chose to use texts, as they are significantly cheaper. If you have, say, a Verizon phone that doesn't work overseas, they will lend you one that will, but the rates are about what the Mobal rates are, except that the texts were only $0.50.
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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Below are a couple of options if you choose to rent a phone here in the U.S and take it abroad. Cellular Abroad is a National Geographic venture and Planet Phone has a AAA connection with AAA discounts. I have not used either, but am using the Planet Phone option on my next trip strictly as an option if I have to deal with a a potential family emergency.


Cellular Abroad

http://www.cellularabroad.com/travelphone.php


Planet Phone

http://www.planetfone.com/
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Old Jan 12th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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So I will learn to text!

Thank you for the info.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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If you text, can you text to an email account? If not, then there would not be a text receiver back home.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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I saw mobal mentioned. However, do not thik about using mobal in Kenya at all. It will make no sense since their rates are higher than roaming rates charged by the US carriers. Get to Kenya and buy one of the recommended prepaid sims. Incoming calls will be free, and the international rates will be ok. If you are going to multiple countries and just want to use one number then you can look into global sims such as telnamobile and celtrek. I have used them on multi country trips to Nigeria, UK, France etc, and am quite satisfied.

http://www.telnamobile.com/

http://www.celtrek.com/

More info on all the sim cards here: http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/international.html
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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I found out I can text to an email account.

Can you rent a global sims phone for under a month?
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Old Feb 12th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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The rates for Kenya are excellent as well: free incoming calls and $0.69/min outgoing

Safaricom is still much cheaper so it would only make sense if you plan to country hop.
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