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Cellular phones in Paris...would you bother?

Cellular phones in Paris...would you bother?

Old May 7th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 89
When we travel in the States, we carry cell phones, so why not in Europe?

We had an experience several years ago that needed my brother-in-law's immediate attention, unfortunately he and his wife were out of the country with no contact data. It fell to my wife (read me) to make the decision, my B-I-L wasn't happy but his wife was. Okay, lesson learned.

We have two unlocked GSM (technology used in Europe and is almost a world standard) that we carry on trips. Cingular and T-Mobile (primary USA GSM providers) offer world service. You can buy prepaid SIM cards for specific countries from various vendors either via internet or in-country.

We also set a "talk time", if my wife should not talk to her mother and offspring regularly she gets worried. Gramma & the girls give us a time they will be home and we do the time difference and insure we are in our hotel room for their call, this way everyone is happy (even the guy who has to pay the bill). Gram & girls also have our itinerary, but that is always subject to change, hence SMS to all concerned and everyone is happy.

We also use the travel cells when we are seperated. It also works for those times when our friends need to contact us when we are on the move.

Options are to use Cingular(Read AT&T)/ T-Mobile with world service, buy an unlocked cell phone from a vendor (such as http://www.tigerdirect.com) and a SIM card (here you have options again), or use the hotel services, normally the hotel doesn't charge for incoming calls or for taking messages, most of the apartments that we have rented did not have answering machines. Outgoing calls
this can be pricey from a hotel, you can use a calling card, the apartments offered local calls but limited international (you need to check).

SIM cards can be country specific (prepaid, recharge you need to check) or world service.

http://www.telestial.com use to have a tutorial about SIM cards, I know they sell both types.

It really is a personal choice, with many options landline, cell and internet. Cell phones are smaller, less weighty than a laptop and some have as many options.

My wife and I were in Paris late February, early March of this year and set Gare de Lyon as our rally point if seperated.

We also traveled outside of Paris to Lyon and Macon (we have friends there) via the TGV, cell reception was outstanding on the train. Our friends called while we were on the train to confirm that we were on our way.

To answer you question,"Cellular phones in Paris...would you bother?"

Please remember "having the ability to do does not mean you have to use it but sometimes it maybe useful", number one Irish Granny rule.
Stormin280 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 24
We used hirephone.com you get the phone here and take it with you. We drove France, Switz, and Germany 12 days est $100.00 never used it however, the safety factor was important.
cklimon is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 51
I simply do not see any downside to HAVING it -- as many people have said, you do not have to use it! I, too, like to be a bit "out of touch" but if I don't email my mom often enough she worries -- now she can just make a quick call and make sure I'm ok! I don't answer most calls, mostly family, the friends watching my home and once answered an "unknown #" call and was glad -- it was the credit card company, about to turn off my card, even though I had called to tell them I'd be out of the country. And if you travel with others it makes everything so much more relaxed if you don't have to worry about getting lost! When I wander off in a crowded market (as I always seem to do) I know I can find my friends, or they can find me, when necessary. I always have my US phone (T-mobile) as well as a French SIM (to communicate with all of my French friends). -Ronda
RondaTravels is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 265
I do bring mine--I have Cingular, and don't have to do anything to get mine to work in Europe. I mostly use it to text-- far cheaper than calling, and great for when my travel partner(s) and I are doing different things, and want to meet up later.
Jen is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 428
I'm in Paris, on my own, in an apt. twice a year so have a French cell phone with a French SIM card. I bought it a few years ago from cellularabroad.com. Unfortunately, if I don't use it (in France) once very 8 months or so, I will lose my number. But check out mobal.com - they will sell you, for $49 or $99 depending on features, a phone with an English phone number that works almost everywhere except in Korea or Japan.. I got the $99 one, because it also works in the US so it is my backup, in case something happens to my American cell phone and also - if I use it once every 6 months (I think) I do not lose my phone number.
Jess215 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 28
Just a follow up: I, like many who have replied, have Cingular. I called them and it looks like I don't have to do anything special, because I have service already. It's somewhat more expensive, and I could sign up for a month of "world traveller" service if I wanted to, which is $5 for the month, and brings the rate per minute down to 99 cents instead of 1.29 or something. Since I just wanted to make sure I had service in case of an emergency, I don't think I'll bother getting the world traveller rate. But since I already have the ability to make and receive calls internationally, it's a no-brainer. I'll bring the phone.
Thanks for all the reples.
Jazzblues1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,131
ira, my dear:

It is a small price to pay to be able to travel 4-6 months each year, ya know?
StCirq is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Jess, you will never lose the phone # with Mobal b/c it is not a prepaid plan. They just wait for usage and pass the per-minute charge on to you.
Travelnut is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Activate International Roaming via Internet (2 minutes)
Airtime: 99¢/minute.
Internet WAP access: $5.99 a month unlimited, no airtime charge
T-Mobile rules

Activate International Roaming by calling them (20 minutes) or going into a store (30-90 minutes depending on traffic)
Airtime: $1.29 a minute unless you pay them $5.99 a month, in which case a minute costs 99¢. The "month" is any part of a calendar month, so if you use it for one day or thirty-one, the month costs you $5.99
Internet WAP access: from $2.99 per month plus 2¢/kilobyte to $24.99 unlimited
Cingular sucks
Robespierre is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 168
I haven't read through the thread, so I apologize if someone already said this...

When I last went to Paris I rented a cellphone through piccell wireless. It is not very expensive and very easy to order a phone. I was in Paris for a week, called home to NY everyday for about 5-10 minutes and I don't think the bill was more than $40 plus the weekly rental charge. Also, they have free incoming calls, so if you have a good international plan from your land line at home, it is a great deal.

I could have gone to Paris without a cell phone, but I liked knowing I had one for the "just in case scenario".
cjacob is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 09:43 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 27
if you're not expecting to do business or check home hourly, don't bring your phone. one of the fun things about Europe is that there are internet cafes all over the place and it's interesting to visit them. not only can you get access to a computer, but often internet cafes have EXTREMELY cheap phone calling. so you can call the states for just a couple of dollars -- while getting a nice espresso while you talk.

we took the iJourneys.com iPod walking tour in Paris and found it to be really cool, interesting, cheap and easy.
worldtalker is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 48
I use it for peace of mind, both mine and my credit card company's. Actually, the first time I felt I needed one was when I was meeting my parents mid-trip in Munich, Germany (I went to Rome first, they went to London). It came in very handy for making alternate plans when the fog rolled into Heathrow and they weren't sure they'd be able to make it.

I have an unlocked Tri-band that my friend bought for me in Hong Kong. For Europe, I use a sim from http://www.freeglobalsim.com/

Still looking for one that's a good deal in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
fuzzypuppy1234 is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 02:32 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1

I'm from Central America and am planning a trip to LA, wanted to know how can I get a prepaid sim card to use while in the US (I will bring my GSM phone with me)

thanks for you help
koolbones is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 06:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 197
We just got back from Paris (as in, last night) and did not use a cell phone. We were three generations travelling together: my husband & I, my parents, and my two young sons. We wrestled with the cell phone question. Ultimately it was the cost that made us decide not to bring/use a cell phone.

We were fine. In retrospect, I don't think we would have even used it. We didn't even use our free phone calls back to the U.S. in our apartment or stop into an internet cafe. We completely tuned out on everything.

Not sure if this helps...but we survived fine in Paris (as well as Koln, Haarlem, and Bruges) without a cell. We all just agreed to meet up again at a certain time. We also gave our family back in the U.S. all of our hotel information so they could easily leave a message in cases of emergency.

P.S. Trip report coming as soon as I cut my grass!
NThea is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271

You can go to ebay to purchase prepaid USA sims at very advantageous prices....do you have a gsm phone and if so what frequencies and is it unlocked.

In the USA, for the most part, you can walk into most any department store or electronics store or even some convenience stores (7-11) and buy a throw away phone with a US prepaid plan for not very much...the only advantage I see in keeping your Central American cell phone is to have the phone number available to your colleagues and friends but then again you probably pay an arm and a leg to roam in the USA.....it is much the same as the discussions we have when people go to Europe from here....buying a prepaid sim vs. using the roaming capabilities of your own network.

If you go the USA prepaid route, perhaps your cell provider allows call forwarding to your US number for not so very much which would resolve the problem of having your colleagues and friends able to reach you.
xyz123 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
NThea - for future reference: www.smobil.de sells a SIM that costs .01€/minute when you're calling another Smobil customer. Their other rates aren't so great, but for keeping a traveling party in touch, that 1¢ price is pretty hard to beat.

They used to sell phones for 30€, but I don't see any specials at the moment.
Robespierre is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,233
We had our cell phone service modified for our Europe trip. The cost was $5/month and $1/minute for calls to/from the US. In 10 days, we probably spent a total of 10 minutes on the phone. For the cost and convenience, why wouldn't you do it? If you don't want to be bothered by the phone, shut it off.
BTW, some people here have made mention of "phone cards." I'm kinda clueless on this. Are you talking about credit-card-type cards that have an access code? How are they used?
j_999_9 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Sounds like j_999_9 is on Cingular. That six bucks a month (one day or 31) can be avoided either by: paying Cingular $1.29 per minute, or

paying T-Mobile a straight 99¢/min (no monthly); activate International Roaming on line in seconds.

A phone card is the same thing as the prepaid deal you can get at Walgreen's in the U.S. - you dial the carrier for free, then punch in your card number.
Robespierre is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
>used to sell phones for 30€
You can get a Motorola F3 for 25€, (unlocked dual band) at the post office right now. This includes a 5€ credit on a T-Mobile prepay SIM.
logos999 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 620
only YOU can decide if it's right for you. It amazes me that in this day and age anybody would think it's a big deal to use a phone ANYWHERE! GIve me a break.
richardsonsnm is offline  

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