International Cell Phone

Old Mar 5th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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International Cell Phone

I am interested in using a cell phone in Florence, Venice and Rome but I hope to find an inexpensive way to do this. I have looked into renting through Piccell Wireless but it seems to be quite expensive for Two WEEKS. I heard something about disposable phones or prepaid phones. I don't understand how that works. Any suggestions about phones in Italy would be great. We still want our daughter to be able to reach us like she can when we are in the USA.
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Old Mar 5th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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Inexpensive? In Europe? Pass that over here. I'd like a hit.

The BEST way to do it is to:

1. Buy an unlocked tri- or quad-band phone on eBay (or a locked one you can unlock for free).

2. Buy a prepaid SIM in each country.

3. Recharge the SIM p.r.n.

4. Sell the phone when you're done (unless you're going back next year!)
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Old Mar 6th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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My regular everyday motorola phone from Cingular worked in
The U.K.,France & Germany (not Luxembourg never knew why ?) with no problem.Unfortunatly I was not in Italy. I believe it cost about $1.00 per minute. It was worth it, we kept our calls short and I only had about 35.00 extra on my bill. It is a GSM
phone but I think most are these days. So it may be worth checking to see if your cell service would work.
This link is another option to buy a phone.
Good Luck
http://www.mobalrental.com/?source=0702AA02NAMERFOR
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Old Mar 6th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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I'm an Australian so not sure how this would apply but before I go overseas I ring my phone provider and ask them to put me on 'roving'. I can pretty much go anywhere world wide and my phone picks up the local network. They should be able to advise you of the cost of calls.

Another option we have here is a phone card - my travel agent included a Qantas one in our travel documents. For $20 we get $25 worth of calls. The best part of a phone card is that people can still contact you by leaving a message (the number is provided with the phone card) and you can access these messages when you wish. This would be through your hotel phone or a public phone etc.

Of course, another option that allows people to contact you is via Hotmail.com which you can access through an internet cafe.
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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I checked ebay and the cheapest triband phones are a Motorola V66 Tri band unlocked GSM phone. Is anyone familiar with this phone?
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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That's an older Motorola triband unit sold in the US by T-Mobile that should be fine for your purposes if it is unlocked. FYI, it is selling new, unlocked for $120 at http://store.yahoo.com/1800mobiles/motv66worpho.html You can get more info at www.phonescoop.com
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 08:29 PM
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We have this phone thru T-mobile and have never had a problem with it. Used it all last year in Italy, Germany and France without a problem. T-mobile charges 99 cents a minute for calls outgoing. All incoming just went against our minutes plan. Very small phone, easy to carry.
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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latenighter,
How is your reception/dropped calls on the T-Mobile system? Do they really include all roaming through Cingular and Verizon and others without charges mysteriously appearing on your cell phone bill? Do you live in the U.S., and if so, where/is service ok there?
I have heard that inside buildings, T-Mobile does not receive well or drops calls, that is almost all buildings.
I understand that T-Mobile is good in Europe, as its parent company is there. But just how good is the connection in the United States? Assuming you live in the U.S.
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 09:32 PM
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A couple of misconceptions in the last post...

T mobile does not allow roaming off network. Verizon is not GSM anyway and you certainly could not roam on the Verizon network. In many areas Cingular is on the 850 frequency and most t mobile phones are not compatible with 850....

The post before that had another incorrect statement I believe. T mobile USA charges 99 cents/minute to both make and receive calls while international roaming which rates are obnoxeously high.

How good reception is in Europe is totally dependent on the network you are roaming on...most modern phones are able to hook on to many networks and while T mobile networks are preferred for T mobile roaming, you can choose your own network. For example if you arrive in the UK and your T mobile phone chooses as its preferred UK roaming network T mobile UK, you can do a network search and manually choose O2...not that it matters much as the rates never change, 99 cents/minute to both make and receive calls while international roaming no matter what network you are on in Western and Central Europe.

Whether T mobile drops more calls than the others, the answer is no but by looking at coverage maps you can see T mobile is probably not quite as extensive as say Verizon but it (T mobile) is fine in almost every big city in America and all carriers have holes in coverage in the bigger cities. Of course, Verizon is not a GSM carrier and I wouldn't be happy choosing them.
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 10:10 PM
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xyz123
When I visited T-Mobile two weeks ago, they specifically informed me that the Family Plan would include roaming in the U.S. I asked if that included to Cingular and Verizon, and the employee said that he frequently travelled in Virginia, and roamed on his to Cingular all the time. This was an answer to my very detailed question re: the linear map of coverage that is posted in T-Mobile stores, versus the almost completely colored in maps of Cingular and Verizon. I have since surfed on several websites that have message boards and come to the realization that all cell phone companies may actually be pumping bilge to you in order to obtain a contract which then is difficult to break. Of course, I understand that there is a federal law that requires a 14 day guarantee for all cell phone companies...some of them advertise like it is a specific benefit just provided graciously by their company, not others. I am confused about T-Mobile. I met a guy last night using a Sidekick from T-Mobile and asked him how his reception was. He told me that it was good, only he could not obtain reception inside his apartment. I understand that this is the issue in many cities.
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 10:36 PM
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Ive already posted this, maybe somebody knows better alternatives?

It took quite some time to find the answer to this question, but I believe the best alternatives are.
(Im always looking for better alternatives, so please post!)

- riiing or ecoworldcom by united mobile
- Tango Luxemburg

- Riiing is avalable either on ebay, or www.riiing.de or www.ecoworldcom.de.

Ebay would be the easiest way to purchease the card. Price is around 25 Euros.

Incoming calls in most of Europe are free. (including all the countries you mentioned) You get a Liechtenstein phone number which is hard to reach from Germany but no problem from the US and the rest of Europe. (You can reach a Liechenstein mobile number from 15ct US/min (www.callbackworld.com)

Outgoing calls are 39 Eurocent plus 25ct "flagfall" per connection.
Reload via credit card over the internet.
Calls from Mexico are 1.39 Euro/min

- Tango Luxemburg
Best for travelling to the US (GSM) a litte more expensive than riing if used in Europe. Can only be bought in Luxemburg, but card and reload coupons are available from certain companies over the internet. Recharge from you credit card. Simply send a SMS message containing the amount and your password. You have to register you credit card with them first.

Incoming calls aren t free, but:
0,35 Euro/min during european peak hours and 0,23 Euro/min off peak.

Can be used in Europe, the US and Canada at the same rate. Mexico is more expensive. Outging calls are more expensive too, but not much.

www.tango.lu

Please post better alternatives!
Im travelling a lot. www.Oskar.cz might be an alternative too, but hard to get the sim card.

thanks
logos999
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Old Mar 10th, 2005, 11:25 PM
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>I checked ebay and the cheapest triband phones are a Motorola V66 Tri band unlocked GSM phone.

Do dont need a triband phone if you travel to Europe. Get a Dualband 900/1800 Mhz phone from Ebay.uk or ebay.de. They are less expensive but cant be used in the US, where Verizon with CDMA2000 would be the better alternative anyway.
Shipping may be more expensive and you probably have to check with customs, but there is a large range of inexpensive (and unlocked) dualband phones available.

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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 12:00 AM
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I can only give you my experience. I am by no means an expert like xyz123. As a matter of fact I chose my t-mobile phone a year and a half ago by reading all of the posts here!

We have NO problems with our phones here in the US. I have traveled from California to New York with mine and never had any problems with reception.

When traveling in Europe, the phone automatically switches bands so no problems there either.
We did make alot of calls while traveling in Italy, Germany and France last year-a 3 week trip-and when calling back to the states reception was very clear. T-mobile, I believe, is based in Germany, so no surprise there.

You can call T-mobile and ask them to be sure, but if I remember correctly, we were told that incoming calls were counted against our anytime minutes with no extra charges.

Hope this helps!
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 12:06 AM
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Just thought I'd add we have the family plan. If that makes a difference. Also, we did have to sign up, no charge, for the International calling option before we left. T-mobile also requires that you have the plan at least 6 months before they will put your phone on the International plan.

I did read before that if your billing was automatic on your credit card that they would wave this rule, but not for us. We had to have it 6 months before we traveled. Luckily we did get the plan right at the 6 month mark before we left.
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 12:21 AM
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O.K., I stand corrected. I did'nt want to give you the wrong info, so I just called t-mobile and yes the charges in Italy for incoming and outgoing is 99 cents a minute on the Family Plan.
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 12:36 AM
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You know an alternative to free incoming and 0.39 Euro plus 0.25 Euro per outgoing connection plus sim card once for 25 Euro?
Thanks
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 01:31 AM
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The best alternative, at least right now, it seems is riiing with the free incoming but outgoing is a bit pricey but there is a way around that.

Go to www.callbackworld.com....for the time being and nobody can guarantee anything these days, their rates for calls from Liechtenstein where riiing is based is 14 cents/minute. Callback works like this...they give you a number in the US. You call that number; the phone rings twice and you hang up. No charge to you as the call has not been completed. Within seconds, their computer calls you back (hence the name callback) and a sweet voice asks you to enter the number you are calling including area code followed by the number sign key so if you are calling somebody in the US you dial their number (14152237456) and the call is completed. At present, liechtenstein mobiles as I have said have the smallest surcharges of any mobile phone country so you would pay 14 cents US/minute for the call. You pay nothing to Riiing as you are receiving a call...it works no matter what European country you are in as riing has free receiving of call throughout Western and Central Europe including countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary).

The other sign of the coin and I must add this is that things are changing very quickly and with riiing's very revolutionary no charge for roaming throughout Western Europe, some (not a sizable number) of ld companies are blocking or being blocked from completing calls to riiing, a dispute seemingly over pricing. It's not a big problem yet but keep tuned but IMHO (not very humble) the best alternative today, 11 March 2005, is riiing.
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 01:49 AM
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One other quick point to note on the issue of Cingular vs. T mobile...

The frequency issue may be a problem. T mobile was the first national US GSM carrier and they use throughout their entire a system 1900 (I forget the units)...for a variety of reasons as both Cingular and AT&T wireless migrated to GSM and developed their systems, they use both 1900 and 850. In some areas, just to get started, Cingular and T mobile agreed to share towers on 1900. Thus in California and Nevada, T mobile and Cingular used the same towers and were both on 1900 (when travelling in California, my T mobile phone used to say Cingular) and Cingular shared towers with T mobile in New York City...a lot of that changed with the merger of AT&T and Cingular as Cingular now had access to AT&T's network in California which is on 850 and T mobile will be taking over the towers of Cingular in California.

Why is this relevent I hear people say...well the frequency issue spills over a bit to international travel. When T mobile sells you an international phone, since they only use 1900 in the US, the tri band phones they sell have 900/1800/1900 (bear in mind to have full coverage in Europe you need both 900 and 1800). Thus their phones, the ones they sell, do not have 850. OTOH tri band phones sold by Cingular need both 850 and 1900 to fully work in all their coverage areas in the US. So their tri band phones generally are 850/1800/1900 which means a tri band you buy from Cingular will lack 900 which may or may not be a problem if you use the phone to roam in Europe or unlock it and use a prepaid European sim. Fols with tri bands coming to the US from Europe and Australia generally have the 900/1800/1900 type and will only be able to roam on T mobile and those parts of the Cingular system which are 1900.

It is claimed bysome people who are bigger experts than me (a few such people exist but very few) that 850 has better penetrating power in buildings than 1900 and that therefore Cingular is a better choice; others claims that this isn't so but rather the spacing of the towers is more important. I don't really know the answer or care. T mobile works for me; it may not work for you.

Finally, phone companies are very slow to embrace quad band philosophy. The only big phone manufacturer that has put out quad band phones is Motorola (850/900/1800/1900)...neither Nokia nor Sonhy Ericsson are likely to do so as their US markets are very small, people are much more enamored here of the non GSM carriers such as Verizon whose phones are useless, at least today, throughout the rest of the world. Verizon customers who wish to use their home mobile number to roam are forced to rent from Verizon a GSM phone with a sim card that Verizon programmes to ring on their verizon number. Anyway, Nokia, for example, simply has not made the leap to quad band and doesn't intend to...but it can be a problem as they use the same model numbers for phones they sell in the US and throughout the rest of the world...you buy a Nokia 3100, a nice little phone currently available from Mobal (BTW I have discovered the phones Mobal sells for the most part are not locked so you can buy from them and throw away the SIM card; currently they charge $99 for a tri band Nokia 3100 which is a very good price although the phone is kind of basic and doesn't have a camera)..anyway if you buy a Nokia 3100 from them it comes in a 900/1800/1900 version which is understandable as their service is geared to folks doing international travelling. Buy a Nokia 3100 from Cingular and you get a version in 850/1800/1900 and even if the phone is unlocked, there will be areas in Europe and the rest of the GSM world where the phone will not work as some carriers operate on 900 exclusively in some places. At least Sony Ericsson models have different numbers whether they be for the US or for the rest of the world. The Sony Ericsson T610 is a world phone with 900/1800/1900; the Sony Ericsson T616 is almost the identical phone yet it operates on 850/1800/1900....

To top it all off, T mobile on the Motorola quqd band phones it sells deliberately deactivates the 850 band; this can easily be restored but just an example how at present T mobile refuses to allow roaming on 850.

Of course new technologies are coming out and there are phones out there which are both GSM and other technologies specifically geared, for example, to Japan which doesn't use GSM at all.
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 02:07 AM
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Did you have positve experiences with callbackworld. Ive been using them for a few days now. It seems they are using the same system, at least the technology, as www.enlinea.com. I ve been using enlinea for some time before using callbackworld, but recently they dont respond to my email. They claim calls from Liechtenstein cost 10ct/Us per minute, but they charge 12ct/min. No explanation given. They say, I will get the money back (It sums up!), but no action followed. The promised me 5$ in free calls last year, but this were just promises. Dont get me wrong 12ct/min still is a great rate.

Did you experience any problems with callbackworld? Are cbworld and enlinea the same company?

Ive been unsing ecoworldcom/riiing since October 04, when it first appeared. No problems at all in France, Austria, Italy and Turkey. In Germany I had a few problems using T-Mobile as my roaming provider, Vodafone is working, Eplus and O2 not working at all. To reach the phone from a German fixed line you have to dial 01090 first and you call will be routed via BT Germany. I didnt experience problems with incoming calls from outside of Germany. Outgoing calls were never a problem even with T-Mobile. Callback via enliea and callbackworld allways worked.
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Old Mar 11th, 2005, 02:18 AM
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Thanks xyz123. So you can almost not use the riiing card with a 850/1800/1900 phone at least in Germany. Eplus and O2 who are 1800 Mhz are barred. T-Mobile is exclusively 900 Mhz and Vodafone has only few 1800 Mhz transmitters.
It might be a good idea, not to take this brand of triband to Europe if you want to use riiing.
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