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Call from US cell phone to US cell phone while both are in Italy

Call from US cell phone to US cell phone while both are in Italy

Old Mar 4th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Call from US cell phone to US cell phone while both are in Italy

I have an AT&T cell phone number in the US. If I take this phone to Italy and call my wife's AT&T cell phone (which will also be in Italy at the same time), do I just dial her number like I would in the US. Is the call free if it would free in the US or will international roaming charges apply?
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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No. You need to get the phone activated for international by AT&T first, then go to their website to see what you need to add in front of the number -- usually holding on to the + sign, then dialing the number with 1-prefix-number -- sometimes with 2 zeros, but the website will explain it better. International roaming charges DO apply.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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I would contact AT&T and ask about their rates. It may be cheaper to buy two cell phones while you are in Europe. In Germany we bought our phones in a Tchibo, small dept. store. Now my daughter is in Germany at University and she bought a different phone, because the Tchibo phones were very expensive per minute, even calling within Germany.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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If you have had your phones for a while, you may be able to get AT&T to unlock them. They are GSM phones if they are AT&T, and that means you MIGHT be able to use them in Europe (the European GSM frequencies are not the same in every case as US frequencies; some phones are "quad band" and will work either in the US or in Europe). So you must also figure out if your phones are "quad band" or not - depends on the make/model of the phone, not on AT&T.

Last fall, I took my unlocked T-Mobile GSM phone (a Motorola) to Italy and simply bought a prepaid SIM card for it from a Tim store. They need a copy of your passport, but otherwise it costs only about US $16 for the prepaid SIM and it's pretty easy. That's going to be way cheaper than international roaming charges if you use the phones very much.

And if you want people to be able to call you from the US, you can forward calls for a small per-minute fee to your Italian Tim cell phone # - which will have free incoming calls. I used a service called Local Phone to get a US phone number setup with forwarding to my Italian cell phone. Worked out quite well, only about 15 cents a minute for me, free for the person calling me in the US since they had free domestic long distance.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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Andrew, thanks, they are both quad band phones. I will check with ATT about unlocking them. I assume after they are unlocked I can still use them with my old SIM card still in there?
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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I think you have to register the phones with each new SIM card you insert in there, but I am fairly sure you can return to using your old SIM cards when you get back to the US - it just may take an extra second the first time to re-register it. Ask AT&T.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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If you go w/the AT&T option, activate International roaming on their website the day before you go to Europe - it's the $5.99/mo option and you'll pay .99/min for (most) calls including those to your wife's phone - her phone will also have to have international roaming turned on too. Don't forget to turn it off when you return to the States.

Dialing your wife is like dialing the US from Europe - you need to put a "+ 1" before the 10 digit number - some smart phones will insert the +1 others will need you to enter it.
AT&T will send you a dialing info email.

If you anticipate making a LOT of calls in Europe, unlocking your AT&T phone and getting a SIM over there might be worthwhile.

hth,
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 03:55 PM
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If your phone is 3G do not be tempted to use it for internet access. The roaming download charges can by silly to the extreme. There are stories of Brits visiting the US and coming home to £1500 bills.

DeActivate 3G before you go and access WiFi hotpots.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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I have an iPhone with ATT service. I enroll in the international plan while traveling, but have learned through expensive experience to keep the fetch and push features turned off unless I am in a wifi area--that roaming alone is very expensive. The $.99 per minute rate is also very costly within a few minutes. If you want it only in case of emergency, that's one thing.
If you plan to have actual conversations, either buy a sim card or a local phone is Italy, or simply buy a prepaid international telephone card in any store in the USA. The cards cost about $20 for 90 international minutes or so, and when you dial the access number within Italy, that's only the cost of a local call. But don't use your cell phone to call that access number; dial it from a public phone or hotel room phone when you are ready to chat.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 07:20 AM
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I think everybody has covered it....with the $5.99 plan, it's 99¢/minute to make and receive calls so the call would cost $1.98 rounded up to the next minute...talk for 61 seconds and it's $3,.96 ouch ouch. You can text message or buy 2 Italian sim cards....if the phones are unlocked you just switch the sim cards...if the phones are locked, you can buy cheap gsm phones for $20 or less on ebay or in Italy...Italian sim cards are among the cheapest in the world.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:13 AM
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Consider texting.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:34 AM
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This is so wierd to me because I have AT&T and did nothing to the phone when taking it to Greece. I used it, worked fine, but it was expensive. I just used it once or twice and incase we got separated.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 12:42 PM
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It is my understanding that on the AT&T plan texting is free to receive but costs you 50 cents for every text you send.
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 03:28 AM
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I bought a sim card from Three www.tre.it in Italy in May - local calls and data were very cheap. Right now it's 3gb for 5 euro. However, I had to produce a codice fiscale - this website walks you through the procedure, scroll to the bottom of the page. http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/italy.html
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 03:30 AM
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Sarvowinner is correct. Getting the codice fiscale is very easy, like 4 questions and then you print out your information.

dave
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 04:20 AM
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<i>If your phone is 3G do not be tempted to use it for internet access. The roaming download charges can by silly to the extreme. </i>

This can happen even if you don't actively "use" it. I had a huge bill waiting for me even though I didn't browse the internet, send email, or make calls - just the incoming emails to my phone and using the "map" for a few seconds and leaving the map application open while the phone was in my pocket.
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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Sarvowinner: <i>I bought a sim card from Three www.tre.it in Italy in May - local calls and data were very cheap. Right now it's 3gb for 5 euro. However, I had to produce a codice fiscale - this website walks you through the procedure, scroll to the bottom of the page. http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/italy.html</i>

Have things changed since September 2009? At that time, I simply showed up at the TIM store in Parma with my passport, and I had a working prepaid SIM in my phone in about 20 minutes (part of that because they didn't understand much English and I didn't understand any Italian). I hadn't heard the term "codice fiscale" til just now, so obviously I never did anything to obtain one. They never complained that they were doing anything special to complete the transaction, other than making a photocopy of my passport and filling out an application.
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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From what I've read...codice fiscale can be produced by any mobile phone store...it is a number tied in to your last name and date of birth...there's been some discussion on that forum about it.....is it official? Not clear but the webmaster there is Italian and it is claimed the store selling you the sim card can produce one instantly....this is hardly new, it's existed for a while.
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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It seems to be hit & miss. I set mine up online before I left in May 2010 as I heard it is required. When I sent into the Three store, the sales guy (who spoke perfect English) was very helpful, but apologetically said he couldn't sell me one without the codice fiscale. I produced mine and he said he had to refuse lots of international customers as they don't have them. It didn't sound like it they would produce one for you. Perhaps because the store is located in a very touristy location (Spanish Steps), they are more vigilant.

It certainly would not hurt to take it with you.
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Old Jul 24th, 2010, 06:55 PM
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Whether a store can produce a C.F. on demand may depend on what kind of store it is. There seemed (as in the US) a wide variety of cell phone vendors in Italy - from the store in the Milano Centrale that seemed to be merely a Vodaphone affiliate to the official TIM store I visited in Parma. Perhaps it also depends on WHERE the store is. Could there be different rules in Rome than elsewhere?
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