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Calling US from multiple Euro countries: Telestial, local SIM, other ideas?

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May 18th, 2012, 06:35 AM
  #1
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Calling US from multiple Euro countries: Telestial, local SIM, other ideas?

I am traveling to several countries (Iceland, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, UK). I have an ATT iPhone but even with the international plan the fees are high (from .99 to 2.29 depending on country) for both making and receiving calls. I mostly will use skype but I need a back up plan for this trip (to receive emergency calls from my family - I'm leaving a few 'problems' behind) and to make some calls (back to the US) at times of day when I won't be at my hotel or in a wi-fi zone. I do have an unlocked phone that I have used many times in the past with both buying local sim cards, and I used to have the united mobil sim before it went bankrupt.

So I could just buy local SIM cards (in fact I have a talk mobile sim bought in London last year that I think still has credit on it) but not sure what the roaming fees are now (I know they are changing). Telestial "Passport" is $19 to buy with $10 credit and seems to cost .49 min to call the US (plus .35 connection fee) and .19 to receive calls (no connection fee) and has a US phone number. This sounds like a decent deal. But I've read some bad reviews on it (on this forum, but two years old). Anyone have any recent experience or know of something better. Thanks
isabel is online now  
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May 18th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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Hi Isabel - hoping I am able to help you. I recently (Jan 2012) used the Telestial Passport service whilst I was away in Peru, on a long road trip. The service worked just fine for me. The rates were both transparent and competitive, and the phone, SIM and connectivity seemed perfectly reliable to me. I'm not sure how new Telestial are, but expect any bad reviews may have been just teething issues that have long since been ironed out.

I actually took it a step further and used their Journal Service too, which mapped my whereabouts and allowed me to share these via their website (and my own) - so my family and friends could see here I was too, and I could also locate my various text updates on a map, so everyone could see what I said and where. This sort of thing might be good for you too - if you are doing a big trip (which it sounds like you are).

I hope that helps - you can check out my Journal here http://www.ekit.com/ekit/tj/TJM/QueGuevara/journal_map

Regards
Rich
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May 18th, 2012, 07:45 AM
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PC Magazine selected Telestial as best, here's a video from PC Magazine on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPPwlF8VNqY
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May 18th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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isabel - please note that the two responders registered on fodors this month and this is the only thread they have commented on.
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May 18th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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I have used Telestial for years. I am on my second phone from them. It is a Razor phone. Free incoming calls to most countries. Very easy to call the US. My husband calls 2-3 times a day and sometimes more. He has the number programmed to quick dial so he doesn't need to dial all those numbers each time. It is easy to recharge minutes by internet or on your phone.
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May 18th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Telestial is a specialist in this sort of thing....they use a company called e-kit. I have found offers from e-kit somewhat cheaper than telestial on ebay (although not overwhelmingly so). You can also pick up an unlocked gsm phone with at least the 900 mhz abd 1800 mhz bands on ebay but that would probably be your best bet for a multi country trip at this time and place.

(You can also make a quick call to somebody and have them call you back as receiving calls on the passport sim card or most e-kit sim cards dialed to your +44 (UK) number are free to you but might cost the caller or they can call you on the +1 USA number they will provide you and they pay probably nothing and you pay 19¢/minute throughout the European countries you mentioned.
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May 18th, 2012, 11:06 PM
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re Adrienne's comment. I am new to the forum, but hope my opinion is no less valid because of that.
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May 19th, 2012, 04:04 AM
  #8
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Thank you all for your replies. Sounds like Telestial might be the way to go
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