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Has anyone rented a "free" cell phone with their car rental?

Has anyone rented a "free" cell phone with their car rental?

Feb 25th, 2007, 09:19 AM
  #1  
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Has anyone rented a "free" cell phone with their car rental?

I keep seeing these offers for a "free" cell phone rental with a paid auto rental. I've seen this promotion from Auto Europe, Hertz, Avis and other reputable agencies. The promotion page does not tell you the entire Terms and Conditions, including the airtime costs and other charges. Has anyone rented a cell phone and can tell me what is the cost of airtime and any other charges?

We're only going to Europe for a week this year, and do not want to waste any time dealing with cell phone issues. We were planning on setting up International Roaming through Cingular, and just bringing our quad cell phones, in case there was an emergency. But, then I saw this offer and wondered if it was worth it. TIA!
Mariarosa is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 09:37 AM
  #2  
 
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We used the "free" offer in Italy when we rented with AutoEurope. It was free, except for about a $30.00 shipping envelope system for receiving it and then sending it back. But we were gone for over a month, driving a lot, and didn't have a cell phone with options available like you describe, already. You have to also give them a fairly hefty credit card "deposit", that included a number of minutes I can't remember- but we didn't go over the limit and so the whole thing did end up being $30.00. At one point the phone wouldn't work and the customer service was excellent- they somehow FedExed a replacement to the middle of Tuscany! I don't think, for just a week, and with your own phones for an emergency, that it's worth it. Also, pay phones, unike in America, are everywhere and actually function!
sglass is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 11:50 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi M,
> We were planning on setting up International Roaming through Cingular, and just bringing our quad cell phones, in case there was an emergency.<

A very good idea.

One of the major problems with the free cell phones is that some of them put a hold on your CC for an exorbitant amount of money in case you lose or damage the phone.

Check the fine print.


ira is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 12:21 PM
  #4  
 
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I done both the "free" phone from Hertz and the cingular quad phone. Use the quad phone...its much easier and cheaper in the long run.
granbury is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 12:49 PM
  #5  
pdx
 
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Hey - what's a quad phone? We'll be going to France next month and my friend is worried about keeping in contact with her kids. Is a quad a special service?
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Feb 25th, 2007, 01:25 PM
  #6  
 
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pdx: Probably more than you WANT to know:

A 'Quad phone' is related to "bands", which is to say the frequencies over which transmissions are broadcast. In the US, TMobile, Cingular and SOME AT&T utilize GSM service. Sprint, Verizon and others use CDMA. The rest of the world uses GSM in various flavors -- 800, 850, 900 or 1800 frequencies. TMobile uses 1900 and Cingular and AT&T use mostly 1900 but also use 850.
A Quad band phone accesses 850, 900, 1800 and 1900. Usually, a TriBand 850, 1800, and 1900 will work in most places in Europe, but you have to notifyCingular or whoever to activate the global roaming. That usually entails pretty hefty charges ($2-3 per minute)for BOTH incoming AND outgoing calls. Advantage is people in the US can just call your regular cell # and connect with you at no cost TO THEM. Disadvantage is that anyone in Europe must call your number in the US to reach you, even if they are in the same building as you.
Most phones are 'LOCKED' to the SIM card that comes with the phone and will not work with any other. If you get the unlock code, or own an unlocked one, you can buy a local sim in Italy or where ever and just plug it in. That gives you a local number with no charge for incoming calls and 30-50 euro cents per minute charges for outgoing local calls.

Hope this helps...

Bob
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 03:14 PM
  #7  
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Thanks everyone. I think I'll just keep things the way they are. I would have to talk more than 5 minutes every day on my cell to surpass the "free" phone charge.

pdx - A quad phone just ensures that you'll be able to access the roaming network in Europe. As Bob describes much better than I could, the bands used may not be the same as the US.

Bob - The roaming charge is not $2-3 per minute anymore (I'm sure at some point it was that expensive). It's $1.29 with no minimum or set-up charges. We did this in Mexico last October and our additional cell phone bill was $8 + tax.

Mariarosa is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 08:26 PM
  #8  
pdx
 
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yikes, Bob. That's just plain scary. Thanks (I think). Sounds too expensive and complicated for a week's vacation. We'll get her a phone card.
pdx is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 08:35 PM
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well as always, it depends on what yu want the phone for...if being reached 24/7 is important, a phone card is no substitute for a mobile phone.

Certainly if one is driving, one should always have a mobile phone in this day and age just in case.

The mobal solution is a solution for those who in the USA use verizon as their prime carrier which long ago sacked the idea of using gsm to conform to most of the rest of the world certainly almost all of Europe.

Cingular and T Mobile USA customers have it much better in this regard because of the ability to use their GSM carriers and many of their phones to roam while in Europe but the rates are such that it only makes sense in an emergency..$1.29/minute on cingular and $0.99 on T Mobile USA to both make and receive calls rounded, BTW, up to the next minute is almost highway robbery but I wouldn't argue against it if one is only making a few calls on a once in a lifetime trip across the seas.

Of course there are lots of other solutions which, if the eu has its way, will become much more attractive in the very near future.
xyz123 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 06:09 AM
  #10  
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pdx - It's not that complicated. If your phone is fairly new, it has a good chance of being a quad band phone. Check with your cell phone carrier. I agree that a cell phone is a great idea for emergencies, especially if you are driving, although as many posters have pointed out, public phones actually still work well in Europe (unlike the US). I know when I studied abroad in France (waaaay before the cell phone age), I would buy these inexpensive phone cards at any local Tabac and use the public phones.
Mariarosa is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #11  
 
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We will be driving around France for 2 weeks & in Paris for 1 more & thought a cell would come in handy. We have Sprint so that won't work for us. I went on Ebay to see if I could purchase a quad band phone becuase we have been traveling to Europe atleast once a year & thought buying one would be a great idea. My problem is there were so many available, I was overwhelmed. Some were $30 & some were $400! How do I know which kind to buy? Do I have to wait until I get to France to buy a sim or can I purchase one on Ebay also?
sparks is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Any working quad or triband should suffice. Price is usually dependant on 'all the bells and whistles' which should be unnecessary for what you are using it for.
Sims CAN be purchased stateside (usually at a BIG premium). The only advantage to prebuying is that it will give you your Frech cell number BEFORE you leave.
When I bought my Irish Sim stateside, it cost me about $50 and included 10 euro of call credit. I can buy the same thing in any Irish cell store, including the "free" minutes, for about 10 Euro.
Bob
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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I can probably purchase it on Ebay also, but was worried about buying the wrong thing. Does it have to be specific to France?
sparks is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 03:37 PM
  #14  
 
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In a word --- YES.

In order to get a local number that permits local calls, you need a French phone company with good coverage in the areas that you will be. Dunno what that would be, in France, but you can probably do a google search. You need to look at rates, coverage and all.

Bob
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 01:47 PM
  #15  
 
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We bought a Mobal phone for $49 several years ago. It's great to have if you need to call within Europe - you pay only when you use it. We had no need to call the US, but did use it to call ahead for reservations, etc. It even worked from a cruise ship.

Check it out at www.mobal.com.

You are issued a permanent phone number which you can give to family before you leave so you can available in case of emergency. We are planning on using the same phone again this year as we drive through Spain for three weeks.

FLJudi
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Feb 27th, 2007, 02:43 PM
  #16  
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Hi Judi. I guess a Mobal phone would work for folks that don't have a cell phone, but I really don't see the advantage of it if you already own a cell phone. It costs $49 + each minute within France is $1.25 and each minute to the US is $1.50. I already have a phone that works in Europe and all calls are $1.29 per minute and I only need to pay when I use it. Since it's my regular cell phone, folks can reach me in case of an emergency. Fine for limited usage.

I guess I am trying to find out if there is another easy option that would be less expensive for 1 week this year.
Mariarosa is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 07:23 PM
  #17  
 
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We were in France and had a free cell phone with Auto Europe, and it was great! We didn't need to receive calls, but my husband checked his voice mail in the US every day, and could call his clients. Also, I would call hotels from the road for availability, prices, reservations and sometimes directions. It was so simple and convenient.

However, if you don't need a phone on the road or need to receive calls, a friend buys phone cards in the country she is visiting and has no problem using them.

There are problems with either if the people you are calling have privacy on their phones. The calls won't go through because the number is identified as unavailable! He mentioned this problem in his outgoing message, so that his clients were aware that they might not receive a callback from him!
dtwtraveller is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 11:48 AM
  #18  
 
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Just read that there has been a recent ruling on Companies' ability to "LOCK" cell phones....

http://www.networkworld.com/news/200...c=netflash-rss

Bob
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 01:33 PM
  #19  
 
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I.C.-
Thanks for the info! I have just called Cingular and using the threatening "Congress has ruled...locked...illegal" have gone through the channels and am supposed to be receiving the unlock code via email within the next two weeks-at no charge. I will have to let you know what happens.

My guess is that they will provide the code but stall as long as possible and I am sure I will still have to purchase the cable needed when unlocking a Sony Ericsson

Thanks again!
Dawn
12perfectdays is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 03:54 PM
  #20  
 
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Do you know if a cell phone that works in Britain (we have bought sim cards there) would work in Turkey?
Millie64 is offline  

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