"Calling Home" in Germany

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Feb 22nd, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #1
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"Calling Home" in Germany

Hey, going to Germany/Austria for 2 weeks. Have an AT&T smart phone (WiFi capabilities) and pay for limited data and unlimited texting. Has free mobile to mobile (my parents have AT&T). Also have a laptop, but would rather not take it. Wondering what the cheapest way to communicate is? Am I covered? Pay for calls as I make them? Use Wifi (charge?)? Just facebook and use mobile data?

Thanks for any input.
awheaton is offline  
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 07:39 AM
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If you make calls or use data with your ATT account you'll pay dearly. Turn off data, load a phone app like Skype and use wifi to make Skype calls.

Or get your phone unlocked and use a German SIM.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:24 AM
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Your US unlimited data and unlimited texting, and free mobile to mobile plan is not valid in Germany.

Look up AT&T international voice and data roaming section at AT&T wireless web site. It is costly for voice and punitive for data.

The Skype, for you and your parents, requires setup. Do it well before your trip to make sure both know how to use it. For Wifi Smartphone Skype to US computer based Skype, there is not additional charge once you gain Wifi access. You can also add money to Skype account and when your parents call you over Skype, you have a choice of answering Skype on Wifi or forward the call (you program when to forward after so many rings) to the German phonenumber associated with the German SIM - this costs ~0.30 euro/min or so, and that's why the Skype account needs to be funded.

There are many more possibilities.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:58 AM
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You can also Skype from your computer to a US phone VERY inexpensively.

Do a search for the previous threads on picking up an inexpensive German SIM.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Does Germany have "hot spots" where free Wifi is offered? If so, facebook would be a sufficient means of communication.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:46 AM
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WIFI is everywhere these days. Try using the free WIFI finder at
http://www.jiwire.com They have an app for smartphones too including Android: http://jiwire.com/android
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:13 AM
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The VOIP calls, such as SKYPE, adds delay to your conversation due to many factors.

Slow network, slow computer, and the speed of the processor used in your Smartphone all impact the delay.

Be sure to test it out at home where you probably have the most ideal condition. Using the VOIP over Atlantic usually adds additional delay. Some people cannot handle the change in conversation tempo. If a conversation cannot be carried out with your parents at home, it is even harder from Germany and especially if your parents use a speaker phone.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:16 PM
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On a recent (Dec 2010) trip to Germany, my brother and his wife wanted to keep in touch with home regarding her mother. We would visit the tourist office and ask where they could call home. We would be referred to some shop that forwarded the calls through the internet. It was dirt cheap. Privacy was not great but so-so. It worked in Würzburg, Nürnberg and Regensburg, all the places that we asked.

I have an AT&T iPhone. I have looked up AT&T plans for an upcoming trip. They are reasonable enough, especially for just phone service. Still, it seems simpler just to do as we did before.

Regards, Gary
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 02:08 PM
  #9
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Great advice all, thanks a ton for the input.
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