Cell Phone in Europe

Jul 6th, 2008, 07:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Cell Phone in Europe

We'll be booking many of our hostels/apartments/hotels as we go along, and I am thinking it may be worth getting some kind of cellphone to bring on the three week trip (so that we can make arrangments a day or two before arriving, or even call the day of). I know that my phone will not work in Europe, does anybody have any economical ideas? Last time I used a calling card, but didn't use the phone very often at all. I remember the dailing was fairly complicated as well (the process included lots and lots of numbers)...
worldview is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 05:49 AM
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Hi W,

Look up <cell phone> in the "search this forum" box.

There is one particularly good thread with lots of details.

ira is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Well, you have lots of options, and as ira points out there are a million threads here you can search to explore them. You can get your own cell phone to work in Europe perhaps, or you can buy or rent one fairly inexpensively.

You do need a tri- or quad-band phone, unlocked, to use in Europe. You can rent one from Mobalphone or elsewhere, buy one on E-Bay, or, if your own cell phone is already tri- or quad-band, have it configured for use abroad.

As for dialing, there aren't any more numbers than you'd need to dial for a number in the USA - I wouldn't call it "complicated." My home number in France, area code included, is exactly the same number of digits as my home number in the USA.

StCirq is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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There are only two bands in Europe, so a tri- or quad-band phone is not required. Just make sure that whatever you get operates on 900 and 1800.

telestial.com sells them, unlocked, with charger and SIM for $40.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 06:53 AM
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I bought the telestial phone for a trip to Italy and was very pleased with it.
bfrac is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 07:00 AM
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brac, did you get the $39 one?

I'm thinking of getting the $39 deal but wondering if there are any "fine prints" I should be worrying about as I can't believe how cheap it is.

It seems also this phone won't work in the US so is there any guarantee they provide in case the phone doesn't work one you're in Europe?
chcl is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 07:43 AM
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The advantage if you do get a tri- or quad- band phone is that it will work BOTH in US and Europe. You can pick one up cheap on eBay, just search for unlocked quad band phone.

We recently used www.callineurope.com, got SIM cards t put in our own unlocked phones, and were quite pleased.
Seamus is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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But if your Europe phone will work in the US, you have to be on either AT&T (ugh!) or T-Mobile (yay!), in which case you would probably have got a quad-band phone from them already.

If you shop www.ebay.co.uk, you can get a mobile phone for a few dollars - have the seller deliver it to your hotel.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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I believe I bought the next price up from the 39.00 phone. It was definitely less than 100.00. I bought a SIM so that I could use the phone in other countries besides Italy since we were traveling through Germany and my friend was borrowing it for Austria. It does work in the US, but the rates are extremely high so it is not advised. I'm pretty sure you could just change the card to a carrier here. However, I did try it before I left home to make sure it worked, just rang my home phone with it (and vice/versa) but did not answer the call, just made sure that it went through both ways.

Another nice feature that worked for me was that it came with an 800 number so my family could reach me easily if necessary and they didn't have to worry about not having an international calling plan.
bfrac is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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StCirq, when using a calling card, you usually have to dial a special number, then enter a long, multidigit code, before you actually enter the number you're calling. I often make mistakes on that long code.

So we bought a cheap mobile phone in Glasgow last trip. There was a slight problem understanding the salesman's Glaswegian. And it didn't have very good coverage in northwest Scotland.

Next trip we'll buy a SIM card for that country.
Mimar is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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I asked this question a few weeks ago. In the end, I ended up having my laptop with me and using Skype. It was definitely the most economical -- the hotels where I stayed had WiFi.

At that time, the conclusion I came to was that if I'm just making *limited* calls, the simplest option is to pay roaming charges to the US carrier. At that time I was a Sprint customer, so this wasn't an option. But this will work for T-mobile or ATT customers, as Robespierre says. Alternatively if the carrier unlocks the phone, then you can buy a local SIM card to use.

Otherwise stick to a calling card.

My reasoning is that no matter what option I was looking at, I was to spend in the $50 range just to get a phone going. So equivalently, that's about 10-20 minutes of calls with roaming, which may be sufficient if you're not planning to use the phone a lot and don't have time to figure out all the details. However in my case Skype was unquestionably the most convenient and economical option.

Since I returned from my trip, I've ditched my Sprint service in favor of T-mobile prepaid service in the US, which doesn't charge by the month, but charges by the amount of time I use on my phone. I'm planning to investigate on a future trip whether I can use this phone (it is quad band) overseas with T-mobile. If not, I'll try to get them to unlock the phone to use with a local SIM card.
111op is offline  

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