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StCirq Jul 26th, 2005 02:28 PM

Just bought a quad-band phone. Now have new question.
I just purchased what seems to be a really nifty little quad-band phone on e-bay. It's unlocked, of course, and now I need a SIM card. I just read a few pages from the Riing website, and it seems I can either purchase a Riing SIM and airtime for about €50 or a local-country SIM, which it says will probably be cheaper, especially if I buy it once I get to that country (France in my case). Since in the foreseeable future I'm only going to use the phone in France, that seems like the best option.

Now my question: If I go to, say, Orange in France and buy a SIM card there, does it come with airtime on it? If not, how do I purchase airtime - go back to Riing?

For some reason this whole cell phone thing seems so much more complicated than it should be!

Carmen Jul 26th, 2005 02:50 PM

When we bought a SIM card in Italy, it was loaded with the value that we paid, in this case 40 euros. I don't know if Orange would be exactly the same, but I think they generally come with at least <i>some</i> airtime, if not the full face value.

StCirq Jul 26th, 2005 02:54 PM

Thanks, Carmen. On my old French cell phone I got some airtime with the original SIM card, and when that ran out I bought t&eacute;l&eacute;cartes worth 25 or 50 or whatever minutes. Is that what I'd do when the airtime on the SIM ran out?

How about if I do end up using it in other countries? When the airtime runs out in, say, Italy, do I just buy the Italian equivalent of a t&eacute;l&eacute;carte?

xyz123 Jul 26th, 2005 04:11 PM

The Orange FR sim card comes with a little bit of time...I believe 10&euro; worth plus I believe a 1 month validity; at least that's the way it was several years ago. You will be paying nothing to receive calls and variable rates to make calls within France and a lot to make calls to North America.

When time runs low you go to a tabac and ask for a recharge slip, dial 224 and then enter the pin number on the recharge slip. Various recharge slips comes with varying degrees of validity. You can check it out on their web site; although it is in French or on in the operators section.

Orange FR policy is that your number remains valid for six months after you use up the validity of the last recharge. The 20&euro; comes with 2 months of validity so six months after that the number remains yours and you need only do a rechrge within that period of time to maintain the validity of the sim card. After that, you would have to buy a new sim pack which means a new number etc.

Orange FR does not allow you to re charge using a non French credit card nor can you buy vouchers, at least as of this time, in other countries. But they do allow roaming in the United States so before you leave France if yuo want to retain the number, buy a 10&euro; recharge with 10 days of validity which you might not use but extends the validity of the sim card for six months after that, giving you time if you will to get back to France if this is important enough.

Riiing is a completely separate has the free roaming not only in France but throughout the rest of Europe. Orange FR allows roaming in other European countries but at high rates including the fact you pay to receive calls as well as making calls.

Calls to North America on Orange FR are pretty expensive. It may pay to get either a French ld card which a local French number so you would pay domestic French rates to access the ld carrier and then their rates to call North America or you can read various comments on using callback world which means you would pay 30/minute timed in 6 second intervals to call North might also wish to get an account with an outfit such as kall8 which will give you a US 800 number which can be programmed to ring through to your French sim; with that you can also program your US mobile to ring to the kall8 number which rings to the French sim which means in effect you can sort of retain your US mobile number without paying asininely high Cingular or T mobile US international roaming rates.

So much flexibility is available but it means you have to do a little bit of homework.

gforaker Jul 26th, 2005 05:05 PM

I bought an unlocked phone on Ebay a few months ago and last month used it in a trip to Germany and Austria. D Telecom had a deal for 20 Euro which included a SIM card and 10 Euro of talk time. When it got low, it was simple to add money to. Austria was roaming, but still OK for occaisional use. I am sure there are similar programs in France. You can check them here -

StCirq Jul 26th, 2005 07:45 PM

THANK YOU, xyz123 - your help has been invaluable. Am I right in that once I run out of time on the original SIM card I get a t&eacute;l&eacute;carte and dial hat 224 number and activate the Orange card?

xyz123 Jul 26th, 2005 11:39 PM

You go to most any tabac and say, &quot;bonjour monseiur (or madame), avez vous un recharge pour la mobilcarte pour vingt (twenty) euro s'il vous plait&quot;, they will use something that looks like a credit card terminal and give you a slip with a 16 digit number on it, you dial 224 and enter the 16 digit number and you've recharged.

kappa Jul 27th, 2005 12:08 AM

Can someone tell me what is the advantage of quad-band over tri-band phone? Thanks.

xyz123 Jul 27th, 2005 12:33 AM

As with so many things (temperature, weights and measures, using coins as the basic unit of currency) the United States refused or was unable, take your pick, to agree on standardized frequencies for GSM mobile services 10 or 15 years ago.

While most of the civilized and uncivilized world settled on using the 900 and 1800 frequencies for their GSM services, since many other types of wireless communications were already using these frequencies, the US GSM service was almost entirely on 1900.

Basically for a while, the only US GSM carrier was T mobile and all of its service was on 1900...they are an international company and offered international roaming to their customers. Therefore people wishing to use their sim cards (the brain if you will of GSM phones) in the same phone as at home, needed a phone which had 3 bands (900/1800/1900)so called tri band phones. Of course one could always buy a dual band phone in Europe (900/1800) and simply switch the sim cards....

In the last few years Cingular (and also AT&amp;T Wireless before merging with Cingular) began offering GSM service and migrating most of their customers to GSM. But the 1900 band was pretty much saturated and of course it was impossible to use either 900 or 1800 but they had licenses for 800 (or 850 same thing) so many of their GSM towers use customers of Cingular GSM need phones that use both 850 and 1900 but again they wish to offer international roaming (at rates somewhat higher than T mobile) so they began selling tri band phones, but since both 850 and 1900 were needed for their US GSM services, the third band was 1800. So tri band phones you buy from Cingular in the USA have 850/1800/1900 and are while not useless severly disabled for use in Europe where there are many companies in various places whose GSM services are only operating on 900.

The confusion gets worse as many of the Nokia models use the same model number. For example the Nokia 3220 an entry level camera phone has been available for a while in Europe and it is a tri band (900/1800/1900) but Nokia wished to offer the phone in the USA so if you buy the phone in the USA from T mobile it says they're selling the 3220 but they're really selling the 3220B (they don't tell you this; you only find it out after buying the phone) which has substituted the 850 band for the 900 band as T mobile is now entering into some roaming agreements in North America with carriers on 850.

The solution is obvious....a quad band phone with all 4 bands (850/900/1800/1900). Only motorola has embraced this technology to a large degree and experts have told me motorola phones are not as good as Nokias.

Hope that helps.

kappa Jul 27th, 2005 01:26 AM

xyz123, thanks, that was so imformative. I don't think I understood it all at first glance but I will read again carefully. My question was because living in Europe I used to have a bi-band Nokia then changed to a tri-band Nokia a year ago and I did not know quad-band existed.

StCirq Jul 27th, 2005 07:52 AM


I just want to be sure that when you say &quot;slip&quot; you're referring to the Mobicartes. I've been buying them for years in France, so the procedure is totally familiar to me. I'm just having a terminology *moment* here. Is your &quot;slip&quot; my Mobicarte?

I'll be sure to look into the other services you recommended for use in the USA and other countries. I do want this phone to be my main phone no matter where in the world I am.

Thank you.

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