Cell phone for Egypt and London

Old May 3rd, 2009, 08:42 PM
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Cell phone for Egypt and London

I'll be going to Egypt and London in December and need a cell phone. My mom is kinda freaked out about me going to Egypt on my own (never mind that I'm joining a Trafalgar tour for the entire time in Egypt) so I need to be able to text or briefly call her pretty much daily while I'm in Egypt and still fairly frequently while in London. She's not arguing about me missing Christmas to go somewhere that scares her, so I need to be good and call or text often.

My phone won't work and I want the phone ready to go before I leave the US. It'll probably be 2 years or so before I get to travel overseas again so I'd rather not buy anything. Any ideas?? What type of phone do I need anyway to work in both parts of my trip - quad band? (Yes, I'm cell phone illiterate).

I'll post this for the UK board as well.

Thanks for any help
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:31 PM
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You said your phone won't work - are you sure of that? What kind of phone/service do you have? We were in Egypt and London last summer and used our regular phones (expensive way to do it, but easy), but we have AT&T (not Verizon, which is a total pain as far as overseas travel goes).
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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:19 AM
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If your phone will accept a SIM card, you can buy a SIM card in each country to use.
Everything is expensive in London, but a SIM card is not that expensive in Egypt. There are 3 companies now all competing for the business so they make them pretty affordable. Then you just buy time in advance to send those messages.

If your phone is "locked" (I think that is what you call it in America) and can't have a new SIM card installed, and you won't purchase a new phone, then you'll just have to ask your provider how they handle overseas communications.

Good luck.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:31 AM
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O.K., here is all you need to do. First go to Buy.com of to Ebay and buy an unlocked quad band phone ($40-65). When you arrive in Egypt, buy a SIM card either at the airport or in a shopping kiosk. ($5-10). You will use whatever number the local phone company provides on the SIM card you purchase. Alternatively you can set up Verizon Quad band service on one of the phones they have with that capability and keep your US number while traveling abroad but that will cost you nearly $3.00 per minute for both incoming and outgoing calls and that's not very practical. It is not difficult to buy an unlocked phone in the US and recently it became legal for all supppliers to provide unlocked phones for their subscribers. Google this topic on the internet for even more insight.
Ted
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Old May 4th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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My phone is definitely locked, so I can't put a different SIM card in it. I didn't realize that unlocked phones were so cheap; I was expecting a quad band phone to cost closer to $100-200 range. $40-65 is definitely in my price range and about what I was expecting to pay to rent a phone.

As for buying a SIM card at the airport, does anyone know if the instructions are in English? There's nothing quite as frustrating as having the instructions, but not being able to read them. How do I know the per minute rates this way? Is there anything I can look up ahead of time?

Thanks for all of your help!
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Old May 4th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Iowa,
If you have a quad band phone, you can call your provider and ask for the technical department. Ask them to go through the unlock procedure with you. You will have to give them some numbers off of your phone and they will then instruct you on a specific key code sequence. Once completed your phone will anounce that it is unlocked. In the past 1 or 1 1/2 years all of the cell phone companies have been required to unlock customers phones when requested. There are also a lot of web based independent companies who will supply an unlock code for $10-15. Once you get "in country" you buy a SIM card for whatever denomination suits your needs. Usually they range in cost from $10-50. They are good for from 6 months to a year but can be renewed if you stay in country and want to keep the same number. Usually incoming calls are free and outgoing average a couple of cents/minute. If you do decide to buy an entire new phone, look at Amazon or Buy.com, both provide the genuine article. Some providers, such a Verizon, will allow their quad band phones to be used outside of the US but the charge is $2.50-3.50/minute and it applies to incoming and outgoing calls. As fabulous as our technology is, we are not up to speed in wireless or internet connectivity. I fly for a living so I keep several different SIM's, one for each country I normally visit. Each card has its own number but at least I can be reached and can leave word ahead of time as to which number to use.
Ted
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Sorry I left some stuff off. Its usually cheaper to buy SIM cards outside of the airport (shopping malls) but sometimes not as convienient. The instructions will always be in the country's own lanuage but English will be included as well. Don't buy a SIM card in a country other than the one you intend to use it in as the provider of the card may not be the one who provides the best coverage in country. For example, a Vodaphone card from the U.K. may or may not provide service in Africa, depending on the individual card and U.K. prices are usually much higher anyway. Once you arrive you will be able to determine the most popular card just by the way they are displayed in the kiosks. Have a Ball,
Ted
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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I'll definitely be buying a phone, mine isn't quad band. As long as there are instructions in English and they sell them in the airports, I can learn how to play with SIM cards. I'll get one in Cairo for while I'm in Egypt and then another once I get to Heathrow.

Ted, thank you for all of your help
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Iowa,
Below is a link to the sort of phone you might want, it has a lot of features but there are many others and you shouldn't have to pay more than this for a good one.

http://techbargains.pricegrabber.com...st=product_tab
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Old May 4th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Just adding to this, so there's no confusion. I agree with everything Temba said, except "requirement" (i.e. law) that allows unlocking.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:01 PM
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That should have read "except there is NO "requirement" (i.e. law) that requires unlocking.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 04:39 AM
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Iowa,
Not sure if this link will work but it shows that you need a phone capable of using GSM 900 & 1800 for the U.K. and Egypt.

http://www.cellhut.com/popupcountrie...productid=1410

Others might also find it helpful, just remember that as long as your phone is unlocked, can take a SIM card and can use at least the GSM 900 and 1800 band, you are good to go.
Ted
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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If you are a Verizon customer you can get a phone from them for $9.99. I did when i travelled to europe last fall. Go to their website and look up how to do it or call them. They were extremely helpful in the whole process for me both how to do it, how to activiate the phone once they sent it to me, and even when i had questions while there.

amy
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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I'm with US Cellular, which is great for my normal uses but worthless for travel outside the US.

Thank you all for the help, I really appreciate it. Even though I'm an adult, my mom is still not entirely comfortable with my travel addiction so being able to call will really help put her a bit more at ease.

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Old May 6th, 2009, 04:26 AM
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As others said, get an unlocked phone on ebay, buy.com, amazon etc. They are pretty cheap these days. Get to your destination and get a local sim. They even give the sims away in the UK, if you have a UK address or hotel address that it can be mailed to. Most UK carriers also have extremely good rates to the US. It should not be any much difficult to get a sim in Egypt either.
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