Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

laptop- using Sprint card?/also cell phone dilemma..

laptop- using Sprint card?/also cell phone dilemma..

Old Jun 7th, 2007, 08:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 18
laptop- using Sprint card?/also cell phone dilemma..

I am wondering if you can use a Sprint Broadband card in Europe.

I'm looking into purchasing one in order to have internet access while I'm traveling.

I'm new at overseas travel and have been reading the posts here but didn't see mention of this.

Also- regarding cell phones: I need to make business calls from Europe to the US (I'm self-employed so have to pay for this myself) and have been reading the many posts about cell phones.

I have a Cingular phone and am debating using the .99/minute plan vs getting a
Sim card. There doesn't seem to be an easy solution to this.

Fyi, I will be in Switzerland for a week next week so don't know if it's worth it to buy a phone/ get a sim card for one week.

Thanks in advance for your help!
carol2 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 42
No, Sprint uses a totally different type of cell system that doesn't exist in Europe.

I'd get the sim card for your phone - just make sure your phone is "unlocked" and that you can switch sims.
ebflo is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 510
You need to check your cell phone to see if it operates on the European frequencies, 900 and 1800. If it doesn't, you'll have to get one that does, along with a sim, or you'll have to use land lines and a calling card.
For advice on cell phones, try


or the many cell phone posts on this forum.
sjj is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 09:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 18
Thanks ebflo and sjj.

Darn- I was hoping to get better access with my laptop there but it sounds like nothing's available.

Regarding my cell phone- I used it in France all last week on the .99 Cingular plan and had no problem with reception.

I tried to get the phone unlocked (was talking to Cingular while I was there) and they said they can't unlock it (fyi it's a Sony Ericsson walkman-style phone).

I don't know if it's the model or what- it was quite frustrating and I'm planning to go to the Cingular store today.

I also have a Blackberry pearl so maybe they can unlock that?

I was hoping to travel a lot now that I've started but would really like to get the phone/computer prices down tho this seems like quite a challenge.

I'm on the phone a *lot*- mostly to the U.S. and some to the countries I'll be visiting.
carol2 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
I can use my T-Mobile iPAQ 6810 phone anywhere in North America or Europe as both a laptop modem and pocket internet terminal for $5.99 a month - you can get a similar service called MEdia Net from AT&T/Cingular, but it will cost 1¢/kb.

Here's my article on cell phone internet access: fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?tid=34986388

Here are some of the services I use: tinyurl.com/29jlrk
Robespierre is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 42
You definitely need an unlocked phone. Buying a sim over there will do you no good if you can't use it in your phone.

Good luck!!!
ebflo is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,882
Hi carol2,

Some hotels have wireless connections, some have it at a cost.

My hotel in Wengen, Switzerland, had free internet connections (though it was very hard to locate unless you were on the same floor).

My hotel in Zurich had internet connection, but it cost about $10 for a few hours' use.

So e-mail your hotels to see what they have.

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 04:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 18

Thanks Robespierre, ebflo and swandav2000.

Robespierre, thanks for the links to your other posts. I'm stuck with ATT/Cingular (I have both my phones with them already)

I did talk my smart Cinguar contact today. I asked about the broadband thing which I think is the MediaNet that you're referring to.
He said it would be too expensive to use.

At the Apple store the salesperson was telling me I can use my phone as a bluetooth to my laptop (I think you were saying this also?) and access the internet this way. It sounds a bit complicated tho(!) and I only have two days to figure it out (also I don't have the latest operating system on my Mac so that may be an issue..)

Also the Cingular guy knows someone next door to his store that can unlock my phone for $20.
carol2 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,769
I would find out if you have the bands necessary for use in Europe, if you do, I would definitely go to that person referred to you by Cingular. I did the same thing last year. I bought a SIM card in France and it worked very well.

For your MAC, do you have blue tooth? If you do, you can use it in just about any Starbucks or even MacDonalds - If you look at the upper right hand bar between the phone icon and the sound icon you will find the connectivity icon. If you click it, the first choice is "AirPort on" or "Turn AirPort Off". If your iBook has those choices, you can connect to WiFi.

Robin4 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 04:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 18
Hi Robin4,


Yes I have the right bands on my phone- for whatever reason, Cingular canít (or wonít) unlock it.

Regarding my MAC- yes I have blue tooth. I didnít know about Starbucks and MacDonalds in Europe. The Starbucks here (in California) isnít free- requires a paid TMobile subscription.

I love Airport & use it all the time here!! (there are tons of hotspots all over town) though sometimes even though it shows a strong signal I'm not able to get access.
carol2 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 04:55 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8
Yikes - I am so confused. I went into my cingular store earlier this year with my Sony Erikson W600i and asked Cingular if it would work in Italy, Spain and France for my trip this year, and they assured me it would. I think something about it had to be GSM? And just last week, I had to buy a new phone (twisted the Sony the wrong way) and before buying the Cingular 8525 I asked several times to make sure it would work in Europe.

What do you mean by a new CIM (SIM??) card? How do you unlock your phone? I understand the minutes are going to cost me more, but I need to make sure it will work!
coyote_lakes_golfer is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
If you have been a Cingular customer for a while (more than a few months), march into one of their stores with your phone and insist they unlock it - if the tech refuses, ask to see the supervisor. If the supervisor refuses, ask to see the manager. Drop the name "T-Mobile" a few times.

D.C. al Fine
Robespierre is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2007, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,769
I know there are very talented people here that can tell you much more than I know about it. I have a four band Sony Ericsson.

There is also a link that shows a list, which is pretty much up-to-date, of free WiFi sites in Europe. I am sorry but I don't have it with me right now. I am sure you can find it through search.

Robin4 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2007, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 222
As posted in other threads, cingular should be able to unlock any of their phones as long you have been a customer in good standing for more than 90 days. Even a prepaid customer. Not sure why they can't unlock your SE if it's a cingular phone. $0.99/min is pretty steep if you plan on calling back to the US a little bit. If you check the other posts, especially the ones by xyz123, you will see that a prepaid sim is your best option. If you plan on going to many countries and want to be reached on a single number, you can look at at any of the international sims + callback service mentioned in the other threads. As for data, I think cingular has a PDA plan that you can get and will niot cost extra to use internationally. You just have to talk tot he right rep. or check their website. Getting your phones unlocked will give you more options, so do that first. I started with cingular in January and have now unlocked 3 phones through them.
mrcamp is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Here's what I could find on AT&T's international data plans: tinyurl.com/2e6ksc

It looks like 100mb of laptop surfing will cost $140 a month, or $40-55 for more limited access via PDA.
Robespierre is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2007, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
GSM is not broadband but rather slow. It takes ages to load a page. See if you can get a WCDMA phone with the proper USIM card (just like a SIM, just for WCDMA too. ) In Germany at least, 1mbyte WCDMA prepaid data costs 24ct (www.aldi.de)at 384mbit. GPRS mostly is painfully slow if you're used to DSL at home . On Ebay you'd pay 50€ for an used unlocked WCDMA (Motorola E770, E1000 or V980) (And it works in Japan too )
logos999 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2007, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
The "Alditalk" USIM costs 14.99€ including a calling (surfing) credit of 10€ (at 24ct/mb, WCDMA and/or GSM (GPRS). Fully compatible with GSM and WCDMA phones. The Motorolas have 900/1800/1900 GSM and 1900/2100 WCDMA all in one. They're lacking 850 GSM, so in the US they don't work "everywhere". However, roaming with United-Mobile works even in Japan, where GSM doesn't exist at all. Those are real "world phones".
logos999 is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Australia & the Pacific
Jan 8th, 2007 01:36 PM
Aug 3rd, 2006 02:55 PM
Jun 23rd, 2006 09:54 AM
Jun 19th, 2005 05:20 AM
Apr 14th, 2003 03:41 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information