AT&T Wireless in Italy??

Old Oct 7th, 2003, 11:57 AM
  #1  
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AT&T Wireless in Italy??

I have greatly enjoyed reading all the very helpful information on the board. I have seen a few posts regarding cell phone use while on holiday in Italy however specifically I am trying to see if anyone has had any luck/problems with AT&T service while in Rome as well as Sicily. I am leaving in November and have been told by AT&T customer service it is very simple to use and I won't need any calling cards or other complicated numbers. The per minute is a killer but I am only taking it so my son, back in the states, can get a hold of me and vise versa while in Italy. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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It will work if:

1. Your account is with AT&T GSM. That is your phone runs with a little chip called a SIM card. Much of ATT service at the present time is not GSM.

2. Your have a world band phone. You have to be careful with the "world band" phones issued by AT&T. Many of the AT&T tri band phones operate on 850/1800/1900. Frequencies used in the USA are 850 and 1900. Frequencies used in Italy are either 900/1800. Now I don't know what is what as I am not familiar with the Italian cell providers. Hopefully if the above applies to you, one of them will be using GSM 1800. As there are several providers in Italy that should not be a problem but I am not sure.

Have you read the threads and considered a pre paid plan while in Italy?
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 12:47 PM
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Okay, according to the research I have done my phone a Sony Ericsson T68i can operate using GSM/GPRS 1900 in the US and GSM 1800/900 in Europe. According to AT&T I have to add the international dialing feature as well as the world connect feature before I depart on my holiday and I should be set. I don't recall seeing the threads regarding pre-paid plans but that may be because I thought I would have to purchase a new phone. Any other info is appreciated.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 09:25 AM
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The info is correct....but AT&T international roaming charges are very high including a monthly charge and a charge to make and to receive calls.

Prepaid plans are much much better if you're going to be in a single country for a week or more as outging calls are somewhat cheaper (depending on the country or you can use a call back service) but receiving calls is free. The con is sending people your new European phone number (SMS messages anybody)....
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 10:39 AM
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I agree that .99 a minute is no deal but I really just wanted the accesibility my loves ones will have to get a hold of me while in Italy. I have read that most phones like mine are manufactured in a way that the SIM chip is not interchangable. If I wanted to purchase a pre-paid plan doesn't that mean I have to be able to change the SIM chip in my phone? If so, I may go ahead and take my phone but also purchase a pre-paid international phone card in Italy to use at pay phones and such.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 11:13 AM
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I could be a johnny come lately on this but all the GSM phones I know of are made so the SIM card is easy to access and change. That is the whole idea of GSM.

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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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According to everything I have read that is supposed to be the way it works however companys like AT&T, verizon etc who make the real money from the service as opposed to the phones(product) have designed some way to lock many of their phone so you are unable to change the SIM. I know it sounded crazy to me as well however I have run across this info several times during my research.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Okay, now I understand.

Verizon is not GSM. Its phone will not work in Europe, period.

AT&T is in the early stages of building a GSM network. Most of their phones are still not GSM and those phones will not work in Europe. So you have to make sure you are on the AT&T Wireless GSM system and not the TDMA system which is incompatible with European phone systems.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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To purchase a local prepaid card, you will need an unlocked phone that operates on GSM 900/1800. As far as I know ATT does not give out the unlock codes to their phones. I have an ATT Siemens S46 which I'm planning to take on my trip next month and just using their roaming service. I also have an unlocked Motorola LF2000 which I can bring with me so I can purchase and use local prepaid cards but after some research decided that I probably won't be using the phone enough to warrant the initial investment in SIM cards. If you're primarily going to be in one country it makes sense, but since I'll be in 3 different countries in 2 weeks it's not cost effective for me. I may bring it along anyway just in case.

You may be able to find a used unlocked GSM 900/1800 phone for very little money. Check around. A co-worker gave me his old one when he upgraded to a new phone.
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Old Oct 14th, 2003, 02:42 PM
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Patty,
Thanks for the info, as I suspected AT&T does not want to hand out the code to unlock my phone. No big surprise there. If I can find a used GSM phone before I leave I will go ahead and try the pre-paid plan, if not I will just make due with using my phone for emergencies or in the event I am unable to get to any other phone and buy a International phone card in Italy to use at pay phones and such.
Thanks for the info.
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