Call In Europe - Cell Phone in France

May 15th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 134
Hi Stu: Go to the callineurope web site. Its all there, getting a phone w/ SIM, getting SIM only, the rates, and if you click around, the fine print. That is where the $60 a year is. And it looks like they contact you after the end of the year if you haven't used your $60 during the year. I say that both from reading their fine print, and by the fact that for my $41 I have a SFR SIM and a French telephone number, and they haven't asked me for anything else.

BTW, they send you the SIM in a nice "Welcome" type of envelope with a free luggage tag with both your US tele and your French tele engraved on it, along with a sheet of small labels containing your french telephone number, so that you can stick them on notes to your friends, etc.

Before you ask, they know your US telephone number because you fill it out when you order. It is my understanding that they run a quick credit check on you, etc., since they are billing you after you have used their minutes, and want to know enough to decide whether to open an account with you.

I feel like a walking advertisement. I'm not, but I am excited since their "deal" fits my needs.

Best regards
bocacpa is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,250
I know Call in Europe offers only a SIM as that is what I spoke with them about at the show.

I thought the rates seemed just a little high, but after reading about .80 per minute, I guess they are not.

They were giving out a $10 coupon towards the SIM and if I was sure of my trip to France, I would have purchased it then.

Sher is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,250
Stu. Would you know if I can purchase a French calling card that has a code that you enter instead of the type that you insert into a pay phone.

I have a cell phone and have ordered a SIM from CAll in Europe, but the house we are renting has a phone and I thought that would give me an option to call from a land line.

Or maybe you know if the rates to use a calling card are higher than the SIM.

Sher is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,925
Sher - SIM cards do not have such codes, what you are describing is a calling card.
The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is what tells the handset that you are using what the number is and what network to use. You can remove it from one phone and put it into a second (presuming the second is unlocked or on the same network) and any calls to your number will ring on the second.
We just returned from a trip to Paris and London for which we used Call in Europe SIMS in our own unlocked phones (a Pearl and a Razr) and it worked fine. We even had calls to our US mobiles automatically forwarded, as well as my blackberry emails. Haven't seen the bill yet but expect it will be much less than the international plan offered by AT&T, our US carrier. And BTW the staff at Call in Europe were very friendly and helpful - I would definitely recommend their service.
Seamus is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,250
Seamus. Thank you. I must not have been clear.

I was asking about a calling card to use on a land line from the house phone where we are staying. I have used one in France before from pay phones and I seem to recall it had a strip which the telephone read when inserted into the pay phone. Of course, this kind could not be used on a house phone. I would need a phone card with a posted pin which must be manually programed into the phone.

I have used SIM cards in several countries but decided to contact Call in Europe after Stu posted how expensive a SIM card purchased in France is.

I would be curious to know your assessment of the charges on your phone using Call In Europe when you get the bill.
Sher is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 54
I just returned from France and used a French SIM card (purchased through BrightRoam) and a call back service (Callback World). The Callback World service was flawless and was cost effective at 27 cents a minute to the US and French phone numbers because incoming calls were free on my SIM card. The Callback World service was great because there is no cost to sign-up and the calls are billed monthly with no "pre-payment" plan--you just pay for what you use.
Bucerias is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Is it just me, or does anyone else get jittery about giving a European phone company your credit card, with an authorization to charge whatever they feel is correct?

Considering the horror stories posted here and elsewhere, it sounds pretty risky.

(I'm nervous enough about the card number I gave
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
As long as they don't steal my identity, my attitude is if it happens, it happens....a phone call or two will remove any fraudulent charges and they send you a new card with a new number.

Can't worry about those things anymore....the vermin running these card stealing facilities are pretty is the problem of the banks to do more to see it doesn't happen (chip and pin?) although chip and pin won't help with internet merchants.

But they're cost analysts are such that going to chip and pin in the USA will cost them more than they lose in fraud!
xyz123 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 134
Sher, you asked for feed back when I got the bill.

We got back from France June 30. Yesterday (August 5) received Email with detailed billing of all the numbers we called, both French and the American and the blackberry KBs. We talked for 146 minutes and had 25 blackberry sessions all for $67.54, which sounds cheap to me; already charged through my AMEX card with the info I had given them when I set up the account.

All in all, a great experience and to me it seems that call in europe is a well-run company that did exactly what they promised.

bocacpa is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 11:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,874
We just got back from France too. The Call in Europe worked great. We also took our ATT cell with "international roaming" just for insurance, and in case we each needed a cell. What was interesting was that the Call in Europe phone was able to pick up a signal in some remote places and our Motorola cell (US phone) could not get any signal at all.

Sher - in case you're still here - go to a France Telecom office and get a calling "paper" called Ticket Telephone International. It's just a sheet of paper that they print from the internet (which you could do if you have a PC with internet connection) that indicates the access number (3089) and your unique password. This gets you 503 minutes to the US (in our case) for 15 Euros - dirt cheap. You don't insert anything in any phone - you just enter 3089, pasword, and then the number you are calling. If only works on land lines - it doesn't work on your cell. This method is convenient because you can give the access number & passwork to your entire family & anyone can use it. We purchased this last year, and used it then, and also in France last month when we had access to a land line (disappearing in France). This is for international calls, but they also have ones for calls within France too. DO NOT just get any similar card from a TOBAC. We made this mistake once, and it essentially didn't work.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,250
bocacpa. Thanks for remembering. I returned on July 24th.
So far, I have not received any charges for the calls I made.

Stu. We did have a land line, but I didn't really know what to do to access cheap calling. I am going to keep your advice for next time.

I did take an old dual band phone with me for just in case. But I used my T-Mobile quad band phone that I use here every day and it worked just great.

I had a little problem when I first inserted the SIM because the prompts were all in French. I don't speak or understand French. But I soon became used to it.

I will be interested to see how much money I spent.

I am not planning to return to France for a long time and that is a shame as the SIM worked so well.

I believe it is still .39 per minute to use from another country in Europe to the US so I might consider that if I have the opportunity within the year.

Thanks to both of you.
Sher is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,925
Here's another report back after using Call in Europe during recent travel.

The one-time cost to set up the CIE account and receive the SIM cards for both phones was $58 plus $12 S&H, total $70. Received detailed bill via email. Total usage charges for two phones (RAZR with voice only, BB Pearl with voice and BB, data), with call forwarding for both numbers so calls placed to US number automatically rang to the French number, was $95.76 for usage of 169 voice minutes, 1780 kb data and two SMS text messages. Most usage was in Paris, some also in London. Reception/ voice quality and data transfer speed were excellent - actually better than we get in the US.
Grand total for CIE: 70 + 95.76 = 165.76

By way of comparison, if we had stayed with AT&T the cost for this service would have been:
minutes 160 @ 0.99 = 158.40 (if subscribed to discount plan for $5.99/month) OR
160 x 1.29 = 206.40
data 1780 x .0195 = 34.71
SMS 2 x 0.50 = 1.00

So the AT&T cost (without taxes, etc.) would have been $200.10 (with the 5.99/month discount plan which, BTW, the site says is "retired" and no longer available so better use the higher rate for comparison purposes) or $242.11 without it. Of course there is also the regular monthly cost of the two lines but I won't even factor that in, since it is impossible to put contract mobile service on "vacation hold" like mail or newspaper delivery.

CIE: 165.76
AT&T: 200.10 or 242.11
Difference: $34.34 or $76.35

Of note the CIE welcome pack included simple instructions as well as luggage tags imprinted with both US and European phone numbers - a nice touch. The numbers will remain active as long as there is $60/year usage - which is not very difficult to do. Based on the obvious price advantage, as well as the great service, I plan to keep my CIE account active and would not hesitate to recommend it to others.
Seamus is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,250
I just received my bill from Call In Europe.
The total was about $62.00. That means that with the s&h and the SIM the total cost was about $104.
There was one call that was rather strange for .39 to Italy. I did not make a call to Italy, but I could have dialed incorrectly.
The calls would have cost me about $200+ I I had just used my phone with roaming and international calling on T-Mobile.
I also allowed a friend to make several calls.

I must say that I dialed whenever I wanted to my kids, my parents, my spouse and friends.

I feel pleased with the service as it was crystal clear.

I would use it again.
Sher is offline  
Aug 15th, 2008, 04:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,925
One thing to add - I used the blackberry service to keep receiving my personal emails and am now being deluged with spam, which did not happen previously on this email address.
Seamus is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 243
Resurrecting Stu's thread.

We're going to Paris in June. We still have our Call In Europe cell phones (dual band) that we used in Europe 2 years ago. I called the company and they told me that those phones can still be used with their SIM cards. However, our old SIM accounts have since been deactivated because of inactivity, and they'll have to send us new cards.

Here's what we're looking at:

CIE will be sending us 4 SIM cards at $29 each.

Incoming calls: free
Outgoing calls (to France and the US): $.39/min

Not too sure about text messaging costs.

Does anyone know of any other cell phone plan that is more economical?

We will also be bringing our iPhones but will be using those only as backup. While we are bringing a laptop to use in the apartment, I'll probably be using my iPhone when out and about to look up phone numbers, addresses, read reviews, etc. because the Call in Europe cell phones won't have internet capability.

What's the best way to keep iPhone costs down? Is there such a thing as an unlimited plan from ATT for a fixed monthly cost? Do you know of any other option so I won't come home to a $1,000 phone bill?

Thank you.
gelatolover is offline  
Apr 8th, 2010, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
It's pretty hard to beat CiE's rates. They are very close to the best pay as you go deals you can get in France and cheaper by far to call back to North America.

You can get a plan for your iPhone while away but it will be more expensive than CiE. Use your iPhone to look things up but CiE to make the calls! Have anyone use your CiE number to call you as calls are free coming in... I bet you'll be paying for incoming calls with ATT.

ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Apr 9th, 2010, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 243
Thanks Rob. I will be following your advice. Will also be threatening the kids to avoid using their iPhones in Paris, and that if they go beyond a certain $ amount because they didn't heed the warning, well, they will have to pay for it themselves, wouldn't they?
gelatolover is offline  
Apr 9th, 2010, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Text messages appear to be:
Incoming, Free
To France $0.19
To Rest of World $0.39
sbrian is offline  
Apr 9th, 2010, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
And apparently they've change the $60.00/year plan to $20.00 per quarter, in either case it's our option to renew existing number or let it expire and order a new SIM at a later date.

From their FAQ

7/ Validity of my SIM card
Your SIM card line is activated for a quarterly period from its date of shipment to you. The service automatically renews at no extra cost for another 3 months, provided you make $20 worth of line usage* within the 3 month period. If you do not reach that usage amount after the 3 months, Call in Europe will contact you and suggest you either extend the life of the line for another 3 months by paying an additional $20 or disconnect your service and simply order another SIM card prior to your next trip. Note: If you choose to disconnect your service and wish to renew it at a later date, you will not be able to keep the same cell phone number as previously used and will be assigned a new number.
(*voice calls, SMS and data)
sbrian is offline  
Apr 9th, 2010, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 134
What is interesting is that the $20/quarter is IN ADDITION to whatever you spend. on calls. The $60/year was a minimum, meaning that if you spent $61 on calls, it would only cost you a dollar more than not having used your phone at all for a year. For me, it meant that spending $72+ during my 2009 trip meant that the phone would have been available for my 2010 trip without buying another SIM card. But they changed their plan.

Since they changed their plan without notifying all of us "old" users, they told me that I could reactivate my SIM and start out on the new plan, effective when I wanted to re-activate.

Since I go to Europe only once a year, decided that it MIGHT make sense for this Spring's trip, but since I didn't want to incur the $20/quarterly charges for the rest of the year, it would be a temporary measure only: because I would have to cancel as soon as I came home.

Good luck figuring out what is best for you.

bocacpa is offline  

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