Cell phone between Egypt and Canada

Old Sep 18th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Cell phone between Egypt and Canada

Our group of 50 students and parents is travelling from Canada to Egypt in March 2009 for two lovely weeks in the land of the Pharoahs.

I think it is wise for me to carry a cell phone which will allow contact between the two countries. Is anyone aware of a plan or company that provides reasonable rates between Canada and Egypt. I think I will need to purchase a GSM phone. I really need to be able to be reached from Canada and to call Canada.

Any suggestions/thoughts?

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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Hi tC. I can't help with the calling plan but I have a suggestion about the phone itself.

I completely agree that carrying a phone is a good idea, especially since you are traveling w/students. But you might not need to buy a new phone. Unless your current phone is really old, (like more than 3 years) it's probably good to go. Find out if your phone is quadband or triband. If you have a quadband phone it will definitely work in Egypt. I think even a triband will work there, but I would get a quad-band just to be on the safe side. I have a Moto-Razr and it worked beautifully, but most (if not all) phones on the market today will work overseas.

I have T-Mobile which is not a cheap plan for Egypt so I hope someone else can recommend a better plan. I've heard that buying a SIM card is the best deal but once again, I hope someone else can make a suggestion.
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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We used our AT&T phones on our recent trip to Egypt to text each other while there (and elsewhere) and to call to and from the U.S. a couple of times. We just enabled international roaming on our existing plan, so the calls were very expensive ($2.49 per minute in and out).

The least expensive route would be to get an unlocked [that's the key] quad band gsm phone on ebay (or borrow one - but it must be unlocked)and then buy a SIM card in Egypt. The only problem is you will then have an Egyptian phone number and you'll need a way to get that number to all the parents back home. Maybe you could have one contact person back home, send the number to that person, and they could disseminate the information to the other parents?

The other possibility is to buy a phone and plan before you go - check Telestial dot com to see if they have one for Egypt.
 
Old Sep 19th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Hi! Agree with dmlove's suggestion re getting an unlocked GSM handset (if you are a Rogers or Fido subscriber you already have a GSM phone - check that it's quad band - here's a link to Rogers to check the model number - point #2

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...setLanguage=En

then have it unlocked.....you might have to do that in London, although some can be unlocked online.

We bought a Vodafone prepaid SIM card (available widely) and used it to call Canada - as I recall it was about $1.00/minute and incoming calls are free (although the person calling from Canada will pay a higher rate than if calling a landline). Roger's charges $3.50/minute to call Canada and $2.50 within Egypt - link to charges here (point number 1)

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...setLanguage=En

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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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Oops - forgot one other very important point - when you buy a local SIM prepaid make sure it is they remove the international calling block........easily done just needs a reminder
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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Thanks everyone.
P_M - I will need to research. I have a Moto-Razr (through Bell Canada) as well, but I have been told it will be very expensive to use in Egypt. I am looking for the deal that will work best for us. I don't have a problem purchasing another phone for use in Egypt.

dmlove - Thanks, good advice. I think I may be able to approach our travel company to facilitate an Egyptian phone number. I don't it would be hard to have the phone number distributed among parents once we are in Egypt. I will check the Telestial web site for information.

Elizabeth_S - good to see your voice again. The Vodaphone idea is good. Reducing the cost to $1 per minute is more in line with my thoughts. Thanks for the reminder to have the international calling block removed. p.s. it was great to meet you in August. I think we should plan another GTG for next year.
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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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The first thing you should do is ask Bell Canada if they will unlock your phone for you. We have been with AT&T in the US for years, and they will unlock your phone if you have been a customer for some time. We recently had them unlock my husband's old MotoRazr. (We also have one or two unlocked phones that we got on ebay). Then you can get an Egyptian SIM card (I just checked Telestial and I think it's too high-priced) through your travel operator or when you arrive in Egypt and use it in your MotoRazr. Then when you get home, just put your old SIM back in.
 
Old Sep 19th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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dmlove - Bell Canada is CDMA (like Verizon and Sprint) and cannot be used in Egypt (Bell only has 3 handsets that will work on an international GSM network and they're really expensive)

Our GSM carrier (Rogers) will not unlock your phone for you - you have it done at a kiosk in malls or online.

teacherCanada - maybe someone on the Canada board has a spare, unblocked GSM handset - I did but lent it to our goddaughter who is in England for First Year University
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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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I meant unlocked handset......typing too fast.
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Old Oct 6th, 2008, 01:40 PM
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Most likely your guide will have a cell phone for immmediate emergencies.

If the guide is willing you can email their number back home as an emergency contact.

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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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I travel all over the world and I don't take my personal cell. After reading an article in a travel magazine, I bought a phone from www.mobalrental.com

They have two "world phones." One for $49 and one for $99. They work all over the world, there are no monthly charges and no roaming fees. You only pay for the calls you make (their rates per country are clearly listed on their website). When not traveling, I store the phone until I'm ready to use it again. Best investment I've ever made when it comes to keeping in touch while away. It's worked everywhere from Italy to Tahiti to Zambia.

I'm traveling to Egypt, Jordan and Israel in November, 2008 and I'll be taking it with me.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 7th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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tropicfan

Thanks for the hint. I will check out the website. Our travel agent (whom I really do trust) has offered to provide a rental phone while we are in Egypt for $5 per day with free incoming calls, but more costly outgoing calls.

I appreciate the opportunity to explore an alternative.
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Old Oct 14th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Matt_D

Thanks for the info. I searched Rebelfone and their sim card is free for the first three months only. We would still have to purchase a phone ($60 - $80). Incoming calls are $2.27 per minute and outgoing calls are $2.99 per minute.

Mobalrental is similar, but the rates are $1.75 and $2.95 respectively. We would still need to purchase a phone ($50 - $100). This plan offers between $20 and $99 credit for calling.

If we rent the $5 per day through the travel agent we get free incoming and pay about $2.50 per minute for outgoing calls.

We still have a few months to figure out what we will do.

The beauty of having the phone before we go is our ability to provide the number to parents before we depart. That alone is worth a lot to parents.

Thanks everyone for your good ideas.
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 10:59 AM
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I forgot I had started this thread. It is only fair to let you know how things worked out for us. By the way, we had a great trip and I have posted a trip report if anyone is interested.

I ended up purchasing a $99 (all figures US$) mobal phone. This company sells phones with a UK phone number and next to guarantee it will work in 150 countries. Per minute calls are not cheap (about $2.95 from Egypt to Canada) - but all you pay for is the minutes used. Texting costs about $.80 each and a few students used it to text home. There are no monthly charges, no roaming fees etc. I was dubious at first, but after using it in Egypt numerous times it was always top quality service.

There might be better deals if you make lots of phone calls, but for our purposes (the integral emergency link between parents and their travelling children) it was ideal.

One morning I called my wife when we were in the hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings and I just couldn't help sharing the experience. She eventually woke up (it was 2:00 a.m. in Canada), however, she never really shared my enthusiasm for the moment.

I will be travelling to Europe in about 40 days with another school group and the mobal phone will be in my pocket.

tC
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