Cell Phones In Italy

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May 17th, 2004, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Cell Phones In Italy

While I'm in Italy, I need the use of a cell phone. Can any one provide me with information relating to this subject. I was told I have to rent a phone, because the sprint phone that I have would not function. They are quoting me a price of $150 for the phone and $1.50 per minute for usage. Is this high? What other company's offer international phones.
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May 17th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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piccellwireless.com has cell phones for $39.30/month. They will mail it to you in the US and also include a prepaid UPS label to return it in the same box. It will be active as soon as you reach Italy. All incoming calls are free from anywhere in the world. Calls to the US are .325 E/min with a .144 E connection fee. Calls within Italy are ~0.2 E/min. unless you happen to be calling someone with another piccell phone,then its only .07 E/min.
I used this service in March and it worked very well. Good luck!
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May 17th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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can you tell me what parts of Italy you used the phone in we will be going to Rome, Sorrento, Florence and Venice. Did it work better in some parts than others? thanks!
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May 17th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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A friend of mine who lives in Italy part of the year just told me another option. She told me to buy a cheap cell phone when I get there and then buy prepaid phone cards designed to use with cell phones. She said that this is the cheapest way to go. I figured that I would just give the phone to my nephew who lives in Florence after we have used it.
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May 17th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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i do not know this piccell sounds very inexpensive i wish i could find someone that has actually used it! Anyone?
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May 17th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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Carolw said she used it with great success. I think I may try it out to on second thought as it would be nice to have a number in case anyone from here needs to reach me. The site said they send you your phone with an Italian number already assigned. Nice touch so that you can give it out before you leave. This is a great idea!
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May 17th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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I just wrote this to someone else....the 150 dollars is expensive as hell but the 1.50 a minute is about right regardless of the carrier...get rid of sprint and get a gsm based carrier like AT&T or Cingular...but do not touch T-Mobile. You could get your own phone for that much and it will always work abroad and you will get better cell service.

I deal with telcommunications all day long and would like to point out a few things from my experiences with GSM/GPRS phones/devices between US and Europe:

1. if you are going to buy a GSM phone make sure it is quad band -- including the new 850 standard. This new standard does nothing in europe but makes the world of a difference in the US. If you have AT&T I recommend the Motorola V600 (quad band phone). However, if you cannot get the quad band phone make sure your phone has at least 900, 1800 and 1900. I currently have the Nokia 7210 (tri band) and it worked in Europe as well....but I will be getting the V600 shortly. I know two people that have it and they absolutely love it.

2. As stated above, you need the other bands to connect in Europe and your phone must have WorldConnect enabled. If you do not have WorldConnect your phone will say access denied when trying to connect to Vodaphone. Believe me....I have experienced this in Italy.

3. I would strongly recommend using a calling card unless you are in an emergency situation. The cost of a phone call when roaming in Europe will be at at least 1.00 dollar a minute, plus a the cost of the call, etc. I have already seen a few 500 to 800 dollar phone bills for executives making phone calls from Europe...when they could have used a calling card and talked a lot longer for at least a 1/10th the price.

4. Finally, you may find that GSM / GPRS devices do not always work properly in Europe...regardless of what people say. I strongly recommend reading on http://www.phonescoop.com/ to see what people say about the phones.

5. You may be able to rent a phone from a carrier that has an international number. I am not sure of the cost but I know it is possible.

6. You will most likely have to manually select the service from the cell phone and make sure you pick Vodaphone....unless your cell phone company has a special international roaming agreement...but I doubt that because I have not seen one yet and keep asking our sales execs if this is going to happen...and they shrugs their shoulders and say...."dont know".
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May 17th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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Why would you say don't touch T Mobile. At least for international roaming, T mobile is far superior to AT&T and Cingular for the following reasons:

1. Their rates are cheaper. No monthly charge a la AT&T 99 cents/minute for roaming receiving and making calls throughout Western Europe.

2. They only use GSM 1900 which means their tri band phones will have the European frequencies of 900 and 1800. Cingular and AT&T tri bands have 850/1800/1900 so you don't get 900 and that means in certain countries you could be up the creek without a paddle.

3. Most importantly T Mobile will provide unlocking codes for its phones so you can use local prepaid SIM's if you are going to stay put in one country for 10 days or more. AT&T and Cingular do not provide unlock codes (you can easily unlock Nokia phones as the unlocking code calculator is very very freely available on the net or you can have the phone unlocked when you arrive in Europe for about $10...it is commonly done in Europe).

But while I am not an apologist for T mobile nor an employee, their service is every bit as good as AT&T and/or Cingular. Of course, there are places where one may be better than the other so it is more a matter of where you live than a blanket statement from somebody who may not know as much as he thinks he knows.
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May 17th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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Just tried to sign up with Piccellwireless.com. The terms seemed great until I got to the part where they wanted not only my credit card information (I understand this), SSN and passport numbers. Why does any company need my SSN if my credit card is all they will need to charge me? Anyway, I declined to accept the issuance of my SSN to get a temporary phone.

Clea
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May 17th, 2004, 07:18 PM
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I bought the Nokia 6820 because they were out of The V600. I really didn't have a choice because of Bluetooth. They said I could buy a sim card for Europe from them and just change my plan for the 2 weeks I would be away. No one said anything at AT&T about a quad band. My 30 days are not up yet. Should I exchange this phone??
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May 17th, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Cingular and AT&T are far superior to T-Mobile -- do not even try to compare them. I actually have a AT&T GSM phone and I have a T-Mobile GSM/GPRS device/phone combo...I do agree both have dead spots but T-Mobile has far more and with far more dropped calls and the voice quality on AT&T is much clearer. I work in New York City...if T-Mobile does not work well in NYC then to me it does not work at all and the coverage in NYC is patchy! I also have other countless T-Mobile stories I can tell you about Europe and other cities around the US.

As for AT&T tri-band phones, I think I made it very clear to make sure your phone has at least 900, 1800 and 1900...did you read my post before lashing out?

As for international roaming with AT&T, there is no monthly charge. I have WorldConnect on my phone and it is free. You are referring to discounted international dialing which brings down the per minute rate when roaming for the tune of 2.99 a month.

As for the unlocking codes, I was kind of aware of this but most of our execs want their own phone number when abroad so I never researched it but it is an option.

Thanks for the information.
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May 17th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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The 6820 is tri band but it does not have GSM 900 (unless you have the European model)...I think you will be fine without 900 but that depends on the country you are going to -- call AT&T tech support they can tell you for sure. From what I can see 900 mainly effects Asia/Far East countries.

I have seen the V600 and know a few people who have it...and they love the phone!! Check out the link below about your current phone....the reviews are pretty good.

http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/phone.php?p=413

Either way make sure you have world connect enabled on your phone. It is a free service and will allow you to use your US sim card if the European one does not work...but it will be expensive per minute to use the US sim card.
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May 17th, 2004, 07:51 PM
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It is important to differentiate between the old 'AT&T WS and the new GSM AT&T WS (soon to be merged with Cingular I might add).

The consensus in NYC is T Mobile is better than AT&T GSM although not as good perhaps as the old AT&T (TDMA???). As far as NYC and Cingular, I am sure you are aware that Cingular uses T Mobile towers in NYC so service is identical.

They all have dropped calls and dead spots; even too does Verizon although many think it is the best mobile provider in the USA (although of course they are not GSM so their customers cannot do international roaming).

T Mobile's rate to call Western Europe on its World class rates is 29 cents/minute even to mobile phones in Europe. I think AT&T GSM is somewhat higher as is Cingular but I wouldn't swear to that.

I did read your post and didn't understand after telling people to get a quad band to make sure if they are getting a tri band to get one with 900/1800/1900; it seemed to me to be an inconsistancy.

If you are going with either AT&T or Cingular GSM you will need a phone with 850 as in many areas of the US, the two carriers only operate on 850. So again the tri band phones they sell which they label tri bands have 850/1800/1900 and may leave an unsuspecting person out of luck if he or she tries to use the phone in certain European countries or with certain European carriers. The problem does not arise with T Mobile as their entire national network is only on 1900, they don't do any 850.

Of course you want a phone that can be unlocked so if the need arises you can use a European prepaid SIM. Once again it is extremely important to be aware of the fact that T mobile has consistantly provided unlocking codes for the phones it sells after as little as 3 months of service with them for FREE (like in free). Neither AT&T or Cingular provide unlocking codes so their attitude is screw the customer, don't you agree.

I stand by my statement. If international roaming or use of international SIM's is important to you, the best GSM carrier is T Mobile. Of course, I do understand there may be other factors in particular local areas and that is when you either have to make a trade off, or failing that simply buy a dual band phone strictly for travelling to Europe, something that is quite inexpensive and easy enough to do.
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May 17th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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We've used our t mobile phones in Europe with no problems at all. Clear as a bell. We plan to take them to Italy this summer. I checked with t mobile on the band situation, and found the bands we have just right.
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May 17th, 2004, 08:04 PM
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Very good response and much clearer than your original response! This GSM world is very confusing and unfortunately the customers are the ones who pay in the long run.

The only thing I do not agree on is about AT&T TDMA service. As it was good, I do not think the voice quality is anywhere near as good as GSM and it only gets better with the GSM 850 frequency.
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May 18th, 2004, 02:24 AM
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As a matter of fact at least in Norway and I beleive most of the other Nordic countries as well they first built out the 900 band coverage and only introduced the 1800 band cell-towers some years ago. Thus if you are dealing with a place with old cell-towers there is a good chance you will only get coverage on the 900 band. So the 900 band is definately in use in some parts of Europe at least...
And to add to xyz123's comments, if you only want to call back in case of emergency, or don't care that much for price, roaming is fine. Otherwise DO get an unlocked phone with the right bands/frequencies and use a local prepaid SIM. There is a reason changing SIM is a 30sek operation.

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Jul 19th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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