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colleen90405 Jan 15th, 2010 07:19 PM

cell phone use / rental in 5 different countries
I will be traveling to 5 different Eurpean countries in March (Belgian, Denmark, Greece, Croatia and Romania) and my cell doesnt work abroad. So trying to reasearch cell phone options, rates, etc -- starting to feel cumbersome and pricey. Any advice on renting or recommendations greatly appreciated!

ps - I will email and skype back home for the most part, the cell really is just to text my traveling mates and emergencies or very brief calls.

Robert2533 Jan 15th, 2010 11:13 PM

The first thing you should do is to change you mobile phone service. They seem a little primitive.

There are a few services, none overly inexpensive, but use by business travelers, Lebara-mobile is one.

Alec Jan 16th, 2010 01:20 AM

Short of changing your cell (mobile) phone provider, you have basically two choices: to get a cheap pay-as-you-go mobile set (phone + SIM) in the first country (Belgium) and use it to 'roam' in other countries (Option 1), or get an unlocked GSM or 3G phone that works on European frequencies and a global or international SIM (Option 2). With both, you have the advantage of just having one phone number for your folks to dial to contact you, though charges may be high for them as they'll have to dial a Belgian (Option 1) or another European (Option 2) mobile number (it's free for you to receive). There is no point in buying a new SIM in each country, as a slightly cheaper call charge is more than offset by the cost of SIM cards and your number keeps changing, making it difficult to be contacted. Call charge within Europe for a European SIM roaming in EU is capped, and it normally extends to non-EU country like Croatia. But when it comes to calling outside Europe, like US, unregulated charges can mount up for Option 1. This is where Option 2 comes in, where you normally have a set charge, typically around 0.50 US cents/min wherever you are. I've used TravelSIM and Easyroam for Option 2, and both work well. Also it's quite easy to top up, as you can just dial a special number or do it online. It can be a bit trickier to top up a Belgian SIM in Croatia, for example, so if you go for Option 1, make sure you top up a lot before leaving Belgium.

greg Jan 16th, 2010 01:44 AM

You may be able to leverage your existing setup. What is your carrier and what is the phone you have? Depending on what you already have, it might not take that much to make it work abroad.

isabel Jan 16th, 2010 05:31 AM

Who is your carrier? Why doesn't it work in Europe - the phone itself or the carrier? If your phone is not a quad band, then upgrade to one that is. They pretty much all are now. Then you'd need to get it unlocked. AT&T for example unlocked my new phone over the phone the day after I got it. But I've been with them for years, some companies want you to have had the phone for six months. But if you can get (or have) a quad band unlocked phone you can get a SIM that works in all the countries. You could also try to get an unlocked quad band phone on ebay. I used united-mobile which I loved but they went bankrupt, I just got a "" which appears to be the same. Incoming calls are free, outgoing reasonable (way less than AT&T charges for example). There are other companies as mentioned above, try googling international sim cards. Good luck

mrcamp Jan 16th, 2010 06:30 PM

See my response and other responses below. It sounds like your carrier is either SprintPCS or Verizon. While they are NOT GSM carriers like AT&T, Tmobile and most of the rest of the world, they do carry a couple of GSM/CDMA phones that will work outside the US. However, it's best to just get a cheap quadband GSM phone for less than $50 and purchase a sim cardat your destination, or in your own case, get a global sim card that you can use in all those cohntries.

colleen90405 Jan 18th, 2010 11:52 AM

Mrcamp, you are correct, its a Sprint/PCS service. I like Isabel's suggestion to buy a cheap unlocked quad band phone on ebay - then get a global sim card... wow, what a hassle! Thanks everyone, appreciate all the advice!

greg Jan 18th, 2010 12:37 PM

Ask your friends if they have an quad-band gsm phone just sitting around that can be unlocked.

colleen90405 Jan 18th, 2010 01:06 PM

good idea, greg, i will ask around... I just checked back with Sprint and they do now offer a few rental options, month prices pretty good but the service rates are ridiculous!

colleen90405 Jan 20th, 2010 01:48 PM

Success - a friend is loaning me his BlackJack mobile that is unlocked, works abroad, etc. Now to search for global SIM cards...

mrcamp Jan 20th, 2010 02:26 PM

I posted these links in the thread mentioned above. I have used the two below and quite satisfied. You can compare them via the 3rd link and see which one will work for your needs.

More info on all the sim cards here:

blh Feb 12th, 2010 03:42 PM


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