cell phones

May 11th, 2007, 04:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 51
cell phones

I am considering purchasing the Mobal international cell phone for my June trip to Italy. Has anyone used this one? How is the reception, service, ease of use??
bellac is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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It's fine....its reception will be whatever Italian network it is roaming on which means it will be excellent. It's very easy to use...turn it on and voila however....

Are you sure this is your best choice...calls are asininely expensive. How long will you be in Italy? How much will you be using the phone.....you can take the phone they send you and see if it is unlocked or get it unlocked...usually very easy to do and then meander into an Italian cell phone store and buy a local sim...you will then cut the cost of making calls by about 90% and of receiving calls by 100% as receiving calls with an Itlian sim card while in Italy are FREE like in FREE.....

If on the other hand mobal is simply a back up for an odd emergency call then it's certainly fine.
xyz123 is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 04:54 AM
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We got a Mobal phone for our trip to Turkey last fall and plan on using it for our upcoming Portugal trip. Reception was good everywhere we went and I like having the same number everywhere we may go and the convenience of being billed for just what we use. It works for us because we only use it occasionally as the per minute rates are high. However, if you plan on using the phone often there are excellent alternatives out there that can be seen by doing a "cell phone" search on this site.
DickM is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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Hi B,

If you want a phone only for emergency use, the mobal is a good idea.

However, if you are going to be using it every day, there are much cheaper alternatives.

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

ira is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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My family had good luck with it in London and Paris and I used it in Brussels - in problem.
Jess215 is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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I used Mobal in Paris, Macon/Lyon and points in between, reception was excellent even on the TGV.
xyz123 is correct, Mobal is expensive.
They charge for incoming calls, with the exception of the UK.
I bought an unlocked quad band from Tigerdirect.com which gives me the option of using local SIMs. Their are a number of companies selling unlocked GSM phones.
It depends on what your using the phone for, emergency contact Mobal is fine, daily usage then there are cheaper alternatives.
Stormin280 is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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If you don't have a cell phone at home and are thinking of getting one, this might interest you:

Robespierre is offline  
May 13th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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We just got back from Italy, where the TIM stores had cell phones for 15 euro, and the starter phone card was 10 euro (included 5 euro talk time). We did not buy a phone, but got a card for our old Mobal phone, which was unlocked. The salesman was very helpful in getting it all set up. I don't think the current Mobal phones are unlocked though.
nonnafelice is offline  
May 13th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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By the way, this web page has a list of TIM stores in Italy:
nonnafelice is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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Just went on e-bay and found a BUNCH of phones for sale, all listed as "world-phones, unlocked". I assume I would have to go to Italy and purchase a sim-card there, and hope someone is kind enough to instruct me in installing it (?). Do I need a tri-or quad-band, or does it make a difference? Some of the phones look like VERY old models of basic Motorola cell phones. Advice, please!
The Mobal sounds good on paper, but what do you consider "asininely expensive"?
Thanks for any help!
marlynek is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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asininely expensive...anything $1/minute to make and receive calls and up....receiving calls should be free of course and making calls....no more than $0.50 all of which is obtainable with either local or international prepaid sims.

As far as phones are concerned, when you are selecting a phone for use on a trip, you don't need bells and whistles...any basic phone will do as long as it is

1. unlocked
2. gsm
3. As we are discussing Europe has both the European frequencies of 900 and 1800.

What you have to be careful about on ebay with tri band phones, even if they are advertised as "world" phones is to make sure if they are tri bands they have 900/1800/1900.....unfortunately tri band phones made for the US market now usually come with 850/1800/1900 and you would not have the 900 frequency which some carriers use in Europe almost exclusively which you would have to be careful about when choosing a local prepaid sim.

Sometimes even the merchants don't know what's going on and they advertise the models as "world" phones; you have to be especially careful with nokia phones as for some hard to understand reason, they don't change model numbers for the real world phones as opposed to the phones they have been forced ot make for the US market as because of spectrum issues, the US carriers were unable to use the same frequencies as the European.

None of this matters, of course, with quad bands which would have all 4 frequencies.

I read on another bulletin board the sad case of a woman who followed all the suggestions, bought an unlocked phone on ebay, went to Croatia bought a prepaid sim and couldn't get the phone to register on the Croatian network she bought the sim card of...the idiotic clerks told her that was because the phone was locked...it turned out the problem was that it was a US tri band not a real world tri band and the carrier she chose operated in Croatia exclusively on 900! The merchant refused to acknowledge he had sold her a phone under false pretenses claiming as long as the phone had 1800, it was a world phone.
xyz123 is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 11:29 PM
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I bought a cheap used trimode phone locally on Craig's list got it unlocked for $25 and bought a Passport simm on Telestial.com
I think it is cheaper than Mobal.
danri92131 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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We bought the Mobal for our trip to Italy last year. Very easy to use, handy internal alarm clock, great reception, etc.,. We will take it with us to Spain this year and who knows where next year! ;-)
AnnMarie_C is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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I am not sure what folks mean by expensive.

I used it several years ago for a trip to Europe where I needed to have a phone number BEFORE I left for my Girl Scout parents.

The bill for a LOT of use a whopping $60. IMHO that was not that high. I have used it several times since then. Generally one short call to the US is all I need, less then $10.

I fail to see how buying a phone in Europe and spending a part of a day dealing with that (in a country where I don't speak the language) is going to be so much cheaper.

If you plan to spend hours on the phone calling home then maybe it's too expensive. (HOwever, if you plan to spend hours calling home, why are you going?) But for emergency contact and calling ahead for a quick reservation it seems to work just fine. Mine will be making it's fourth trip this week.
CarolA is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:42 AM
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Where do you go to get it unlocked?
ddstrangg is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Some people think that paying more than $1 per minute to call back to the US is 'expensive' especially when there are apparently some phone cards and perhaps even SIM cards that bring the cost down to pennies per minute.

Dukey is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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Getting phones unlocked can be a catch as catch thing and depends on country. Logos on this board tells us that in Germany, it is illegal to unlocked a locked mobile phone and it is hard to find places to unlock it.

In the UK, as I walk down Oxford Street in London, I find store front after store front advertising they will unlock phones for something from 5 quid to 8 quid.

Some Nokia phones can easily be unlocked by downloading the Nokia unlocking converter and doing it yourself. Or some advertise they will send an unlocking code via the internet.

Let me also emphasize I respect anybody who feels that for limited use, paying over $1 minute to both make and receive calls while roaming in Europe is no big deal and if you feel that way, don't let me talk you out of it.

But technology does march on and there are things we take for granted today that were pipe dreams a decade ago. You want cheap phone calls...take your laptop and use voip. Use calling cards to make calls...you get lots of minutes for little money but there can be pitfalls there too (hotel surcharges, pay phone surcharges, lack of ability to find a working pay phone, figuring out how to use a pay phone etc.)

The real beauty of cell phones is the ability to be reached 24/7. Some people have the attitude that when on holiday they don't want anybody intruding on their holiday. That too is a personal matter.

Personallhy I am fascinated by the new technology and the ability to forwards calls seamlessly from my home landline to my European mobile phone as if I was sitting in my own living room and have friends be able to call me for next to nothing.

The only disagreement I might have is that it is such a difficult thing to set up a prepaid account in Europe...in Europe the use of prepaid has been very very advanced as people visited different countries as a matter of regularity. The last time I had to do this, it took 10 minutes and was done and once done, it is not necessary to worry about it again.

But again, everybody has to make their own decisions as to what is best for them and what is worthwhile to them.
xyz123 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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>hard to find places to unlock it.
If you're in southern Bavaria, just cross the border into Austria and you can talk openly in a shop about your "problem" . Other than that you need "people you trust". If you can and need to unlock it, the UK would be the place to go. However, I'm not the one telling you to do things you mustn't do!
logos999 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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European SIM cards for unlocked cell phones are also available on ebay. I just bought one to use in Greece this summer.
tmac04 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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can someone explain to me why using cell phones in different countries is so complicated? my basic 3 year old nokia seems to work fine in europe; my provider is cingular.
drm1418 is offline  

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