Cell Phone in France

May 31st, 2004, 08:42 AM
  #1  
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Cell Phone in France

I'll be in Paris for 2 weeks, and need to have a cellphone. What's the most economic way to have a cell phone there? Does it make sense to rent one in the US, and pay high per minute costs; or is there a better way? I've heard something about using a sim card in my unlocked international cell phone, but I'm not sure how to do that?
moish3553 is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:16 AM
  #2  
rex
 
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You have an "unlocked international cell phone" - - a GSM phone? - - seems rather unusual that you own such a thing, but have never had occasion to try using outside of the US (or maybe just never in Europe?)

But anyhow - - and I am NOT speaking from experience on this - - but yes, I think that a SIM is the way to go. And I think you can walk into any mobile phone store (Orange, for example, are everywhere), and even with just pointing, you will be able to locate what you need, and have the confidence of trying it before you leave the store that you have the talk access you need.

This does not answer - - and I will not try - - whether the charges will go to your current mobile carrier, or the SIM will provide youstrictly with so much pre-paid time. I, for one, would be interested in hearing back on your experience(s) with this.

Hopefully, others will be able to confirm this with actual experience - - what kind of phone is it that you have?

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:53 AM
  #3  
 
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I leave this Friday and have the same requirement. My cell phone is not a GSM so it won't work in Europe. So I went to www.globalcellularrental.com and completed their online order form and voila, the phone, instructions, carrying case, adaptor and charger arrived at my office this morning all ready to go with a France telephone number. Easy and cheap.
Gayle is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:53 AM
  #4  
 
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I am going to Paris on Wednesday. I talked to T-Mobile, and they said that I would be able to use my GSM phone, and that it would be 99 cents per minute to call to U.S.
thomthumb is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:17 PM
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Indeed, I have been using my Sony Ericcson and T-Mobile the past two trips. You must have T-Mobile activate the international roaming, usually at least of couple of weeks before traveling.
You may need to find a carrier when you arrive - go into Connect, GSM, and Select...it will search and offer you choices. If you change countries, you might need to do this exercise each time. I usually leave my phone turned off, so now I can't remember if it automatically chose a provider every time I changed countries.

You can keep your same phone # and all calls will be $0.99/minute. Sim cards can bring the per-minute charge down but it also changes the phone number, and the cards expire if you don't reload them within a few months. We only make calls for emergencies ($10-12 per trip so far), so it is adequate for our needs.
Travelnut is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:28 PM
  #6  
rex
 
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Reading these past two posts - - 99 cents a minute! - - leaves me coming back to offer my "standard" advice: BUY a pre-paid cell phone there, and for most needs have the callers call YOU. Incoming calls free. The first 25 euros of pre-paid time typically included with a phone which should not cost you more than 80-100 euros - - and then "sell it forward" here on the forum, once you return.

You'll make out better in the long run.

(note to other readers of this thread: not as practical for travelers visiting multiple countries; unlocked phones means considerable extra charges for "unlocking" to use in multpile coutries).
rex is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:48 PM
  #7  
 
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Rex..

If you have bought a tri band from T mobile and have been a customer for 3 months, they will unlock the phone for you for free!
xyz123 is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #8  
 
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Rex, I have to disagree. I have a GSM unlocked cell phone which I have used in several European countries, and the Caribbean. There are NOT extra charges for "unlocking."

You do, however, have to have a different SIM card for each country, which you can then use on subsequent trips if you are back in less than a year. (Otherwise it expires and you have to get a new SIM)

It is more expensive initially buying the SIM card. For example, for €25 you might get only €15 talk time. After that you can "top up" your talk time at face value.

So it's true that if you are visiting several countries on a trip this might not be your cheapest way to go.

For me, though, it has been very reasonable to have my European phone, since I usually only go to one country on a trip, and often I'm back again in less than a year, so I can keep using the same phone number.

I just keep the SIM cards that I'm not currently using in a labeled envelope (they're very small), and have them when I need them again.

It is very easy to open up the phone and replace a SIM card with another one.
marcy_ is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 01:12 PM
  #9  
rex
 
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<<There are NOT extra charges for "unlocking.">>

I meant on an inexpensive pre-paid phone - - but if I am even wrong about that (it seemed to be true when I last inquired, in 2003, in Austria) - - then I would greatly appreciate being set stright.
rex is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 01:42 PM
  #10  
 
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It depends on carrier, manufacturer and other factors.

However, any Nokia phone can easily be unlocked as the calculator for computing the unlocking code is freely available on the net.
xyz123 is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #11  
 
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As I just plan on saying "Hey Mom, I got here okay, and the airport didn't fall on my head", I thought the 99 cents per minute sounded good.
thomthumb is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 06:18 PM
  #12  
 
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As I said... first of all, my phone was bought from Amazon.com for $0.01, yes a penny. Then there was a rebate for $20. I use T-Mobile as my regular service in the States, and as my international roaming service in Europe. The connection is good. I am not a constant cellphone user, don't call just to chat. Call to see if dog is ok, how to fix the pump in the fish pond - just the necessary calls to keep mind at ease. We spent maybe $10 last fall and maybe $15 this spring.

Any other arrangement was simply far more expensive (and a bit more complicated) than was necessary for our needs. If you have children or elderly back home, or are on business, I certainly can see that $0.99/min is going to run up a bill.

There are different approaches for different situations...
Travelnut is offline  

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