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Cells phones in Italy - Does this sound right?

Cells phones in Italy - Does this sound right?

Sep 24th, 2009, 08:30 AM
  #1  
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Cells phones in Italy - Does this sound right?

My mom and I will be in Rome and Florence in November and we thought it would be good if we could use our cell phones to call each other if we split up, as we sometimes do (she goes shopping, while I go to a castle, for example). I've read various threads on this forum about using cell phones or renting ones and decided I just needed to call Verizon. What they said sounds too easy and good to be true. They said they just need to turn on the international capability and then our phones would work over there and the charge would be $1.29 per minute for calls. Or the other option is a $3.99 access fee and then calls are reduced to .99 per minute. Does this sound right? Every once in a while customer service agents aren't well trained and give out bad information and I plan to call again and see if I get the same info from another rep, but thought I'd run it by you experienced travelers. Thanks in advance!
aggiegirl is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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Yes, it is very similar to the plan rates from AT+T and as long as you have a phone which works in Europe then that is all you have to do (other than input the international dialing code (001) to call a US number although I-phones can be set to do that automatically.

I am CERTAIn somebody is going to bombard you with information about getting a local SIM card or using a pre-paid phone because it will be cheaper to use (that rate you were quoted is MUCH higher than you'd pay if you did get a local SIm card or a pre-paid phone...BUT how often are you actually GOING to make calls, etc.???

Up to you...
Dukey is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Hi Dukey, thanks for the response. Calls will be minimal, heck, might be none! They would just be if one of us got caught up with something and wanted to alert the other of a new meeting time or place. Last year while we were in Paris, my mom took an escorted daytrip while I did my own thing and she didn't come back at the expected time because it turns out the tour she planned to take was full and she had to switch to a different itinerary and company and couldn't tell me, so I was imagining the worst when she didn't come back as expected. She didn't get back until probably two hours later than expected and had we had the use of our phones, all the worrying could have been avoided.
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Sep 24th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Are your phones quad band?
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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kybourbon. Maybe I shouldn't, but reading her post saying that she contacted Verizon her carrier, it is possible with her phone. They should have asked her what kind of phone she has. Some of Verizon's are quad band, aren't they.

aggiegirl. Look at the information book you recieved with your phone to see if it is quad band as kybourbon asked. If so, you should be able to use it in Italy. But I would call again. That is not a bad idea at all. And if you are making very few calls it is a good plan. As Dukey says, there are cheaper ways, but for minimal calls the plan will work fine.
Sher is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Thanks, I will check to see if the phones are quad band.
aggiegirl is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Go to Verizon's website and they have photos of the phones that have global capability. We got one and it worked perfectly. However, their customer service people gave us different information on what to do overseas to make it work; everytime we called we got a different answer.. We didn't have to do anything; it connected to local and US numbers without doing anything extra, just dialed the numbers with area code for US, and local numbers in Europe.The phone seemed to adjust as we went from country to country, no problems at all.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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I called a local Verizon store and they told me neither my phone nor my mom's would work over there. That's so frustrating that they can't get their people to give out the correct information (the people at the 800 customer service line)!! HappyTrvlr, I took your suggestion and looked at the pics on the Verizon website and sure enough, our phones were not pictured. I guess we will have to go without because we don't want to sink money into new phones since the ones we got aren't old.
aggiegirl is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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We got ours free when it was time to upgrade so do that when the time comes.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Sep 24th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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That I will do! Next year!
aggiegirl is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Wait, don't despair! Call Verizon back and ask about the global traveler plan. They will send you a loaner phone that will work in Italy (your trip needs to be less than a month in length). I think it is $12 or something for shipping, no daily fee. The info is on their website, let me know if you can't find it. I also posted on this week ago, click my name and see my description.
Yes, it is pricey compared to the buy an unlocked phone/buy a sim card route, but we figured we weren't going to be making enough calls to justify jumping through those hoops.
I am using a loaner world blackberry in a week for our Italy trip. I will report back and let folks know how it works. It shipped really fast too.
mascot is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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As long as you're sure you won't be making many phone calls, the suggestions work....contact verizon and they will provide a loaner phone capable of being used in Italy and you retain your number and it's totally transparent....be aware that when roaming you pay to both make and receive calls and calls are charged rounded up to the next highest minute both ways so a 61 second call between you and your mom will cost both of you $2.58 or $5.16 ouch....three or four calls like that will pay for the "incovenience" if you will of stopping off at a mobile phone store in Italy and picking up 2 cheap Italian phones with local sims. But it's up to you which way you want to go....
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 05:28 PM
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I believe that text messaging is more reasonable under the Verizon plan, $0.50 to send, $0.05 to receive so if you and your mom can text each other that would save money. I agree that the minutes are going to be pricey, just more motivation to stay off the phone.
mascot is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Thanks mascot and xyz123. Please mascot, do post back after your trip and let us know how the phones turned out. And how your trip turned out too of course! Have a safe and fun trip!
aggiegirl is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:29 PM
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You should check to make sure what kind of calls are included in this "roaming" charge quoted by Verizon or ATT of $1.29 per minute. Local calls to an Italian number yes. But if you have 2 US registered cell-phones each with a US domestic number and you want to call each other, normally with GSM phones you will need to pay international call charges to call the other one (plus the carriers roaming charge) and then the called phone will dial you back to Italy at international rates too (and plus roaming). Great for your friends in US to call you, they pay domestic, you pick up the international tab. Also if someone in Italy wants to call you, they have to dial international and you have to pick up the return path charge.

So unless the the Verizon "international capability rate" applies for calls between 2 US numbers while both are in Europe, then you are much better to go with a couple of cheap phones here and pay-as-you-go sims. If you friends call you they will pick up the international tab.
Sampaguita is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:53 PM
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The price is right for the US international roaming costs...both AT&T and Verizon (if you have one of their loaner phones) charge $1.29/minute to both make and receive calls to and from US numbers so the caller would pay $1.29/minute to call a US number and the recipient would pay $1.29/minute to receive the call while roaming on the Italian network (US phones do not surcharge calls to US mobiles, they are treated the same as US landlines...that is the charge...with both verizon and AT&T for an additional fee, you can cut the $1.29 to $0.99 still awesomely too much. Again the key here for the OP is just how much they will use the phone...if it is truly simply for emergencies or they will be using text messaging as suggested, it probably is easiest to do with paying the US inflated almost criminal (compared to eu roaming rates) roaming rates and be done with it. OTOH, if they will be making and receiving all sorts of calls both between each other and from home, then, especially in Italy, the way to go is to pop into an Italian mobile phone store and pick up the cheapest mobile phone and cell phone plan.....Italian sim cards are very cheap; nmost are only €10 with €5 of credit included. The cheapest phones are very cheap and from what I've read, the Italian phones are usually sold unlocked which means they can be used in other countries with other sim cards if the OP goes say next year to France or the UK. The merchant should also be able to show how to set up the voicemail to be in English (I know TIM and Vodafone IT allow that, not sure about WIND but I think they do too) but the phone voice menus can be set up in English also very easily. Yes, I know it takes "valuable" time like about 20 minutes from your holiday but may be well worth it as I have seen people who get addicted to using their US roaming mobiles and come home with $300 roaming bills; it's very easy to do. With a prepaid Italian sim, all calls you receive are free while in Italy.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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We had pretty much decided to go with Verizon for our Oct. trip to Italy until this great info popped up! I now think we will buy our phone and SIM card in Rome. Just how "cheap" are the phones and how much air time do you get for E10?
KathyJasper is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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ttt
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 05:43 PM
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KathyJasper, you can buy phones for as little as $25. Even here in the US, you can buy phones that will work in Europe (it needs 900/1800 bands), for as little as $40 or so. Check amazon, buy.com, etc. Calls back to the US, can be about $0.50 or so. If you buy the same sim cards, calling each other will be a lot cheaper. Incoming calls will be free of course.
mrcamp is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 06:02 PM
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Just remember that if you buy a phone and SIM, or just a SIM in Italy, you'll need to bring your actual passport with you when you buy it/them. And, it can take 1-3 days to get it activated depending on who you buy it from and when. There are some outfits that sell the SIMs and mail them to the US pre-activated (they still need to wait until actually in Italy to activate the phone), but they charge $30-50 premium for this service. But, you will know ahead of time what your European phone number is. Check out http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/italy.html
Bugaboos is offline  

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