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cellphone/iPhone contact with USA while in Netherlands/Belgium without wifi

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Mar 18th, 2011, 12:34 PM
  #1
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cellphone/iPhone contact with USA while in Netherlands/Belgium without wifi

Between my husband and I we have a 3GS iPhone and an unlocked quad-band cellphone, all with AT&T.

We will be in Netherlands and Belgium in April with a river cruise for 10 days, and the boat does not have wifi. What is the best way for us to call back to USA, and for our children to call us in Netherlands/Belgium while we are on the cruise.

We'll be arriving Amsterdam airport first. Is there a place in the airport where we may purchase a local phone card to put in my unlocked quad-band cellphone to use in Netherlands/Belgium? Or is there an easier option to use the 3GS iphone instead?

Thanks in advance
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Mar 18th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #2
 
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You could use either phone, but unless you are willing to pay huge data usage costs be sure to turn off the data service on the iPhone. Easiest thing would be to sign up for the AT&T World Traveler roaming package which for a monthly fee of USD5.99 reduces the per minute charge in Netherlands from 1.39 to .99 and in Belgium from 1.39 to 1.29. You keep your same phone # so people calling you dial just as if you were at home. When you return from the trip just discontinue the roaming.
There are other options which would save a bit per minute but involve new SIMs and new phone numbers, so unless you plan to do considerable calling the AT&T option is a good deal.
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Mar 18th, 2011, 02:04 PM
  #3
 
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There are several places in Schipol airport to buy a pre-paid SIM card. They are pretty big kiosks, so won't be hard to spot.

Following costs are for Ortel Mobile, which has a kiosk at Schipol. I imagine other prepaid services (Lebara, etc) are similar.

Buying the SIM card in the airport: ~ 25 euro
Adding money to prepaid: ~ 5-10 euro (some cards come with a few euros included)
Incoming calls to you while you are in NL: free to you, international calling rate for your kids (could be hefty depending on their service)
Outgoing calls from you to the US while you are in NL: 12 cents/minute

Once you cross into Belgium:
Outgoing calls from you to the US: 46 cents/minute
Incoming calls to you from US: 18 cents/minute

Text messaging would be cheaper the entire time, as the charge is per message not per minute (about 13 cents per message in both NL and BE)

Whether all that is worth it to you (versus just changing your AT&T plan), is up to you. Will you be calling other places in NL and BE, or just your kids back home? Will you want to talk to them a lot or just to check in? Will you use the SIM card in the future?
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Mar 19th, 2011, 09:47 AM
  #4
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Thanks to Seamus and Nina for your responses. I will not be calling places in NL or BE, I'll be just calling home.

My estimated calling time may be 30 ~ 40 minutes total. Therefore I think AT&T World Traveler plan may work the best between us and the kids at home.
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Mar 19th, 2011, 10:21 AM
  #5
 
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Go to lebara.nl.....their sim card is free and calls to the USA from NL are cheap....you can roam in Belgium but calls to the USA are much more expensive while receiving calls isn't that bad (a quick 30 second call home and they call you back?).
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