Mobile Phone in Europe Advice PLEASE!!

Mar 31st, 2011, 03:24 AM
  #1  
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Mobile Phone in Europe Advice PLEASE!!

We are Aussies going on our first European trip to the following countries: United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Germany, Greece and Vienna as well as to Singapore and Hong Kong. My mother has recently become ill and I need a mobile phone to receive/send calls and text messages. Can someone please help with what are our best alternatives/options? I am not mobile phone savvy so please keep it simple. Thanks all.
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Mar 31st, 2011, 03:26 AM
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mobal.com
qwovadis is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 04:11 AM
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This is an American company. Is this OK for us or is there an Australian phone company similar?
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Mar 31st, 2011, 05:11 AM
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Unlike the contrary minded Americans, for the most part Australia operates on gsm using the same frequencies as do most of the rest of world. You may already have an old gsm phone (people like to upgrade) that you can get unlocked by the company who first issued it to you. If not, you will need a gsm phone with the two international (European) frequencies of 900 and 1800 mhz readilly available on ebay or in Australia.

If your first stop is England, then you can pick up an English sim card that will work throughout Europe. Cheapest calls home to Australia will only be possible in England. Given you seem to be doing if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium, I would use this card to receive calls while in Europe...if you have to call out, use a calling card with a local number in the country you're in and you will be charged eu rates to reach the triggering number. This way you don't have to keep telling people your number, it will remain the +44 number you get in England. Vodafone might be best as you can top up with vodafone vouchers throughout much of Europe.

When you leave Europe, you might wish to go for local sim cards in Singapore and Hong Kong...

Or you ight wish to consider an international card such as ekit where almost all the countries you listed allow free reception of calls and not too expensive calls home....
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Mar 31st, 2011, 04:00 PM
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Excuse my ignorance but ekit?
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Mar 31st, 2011, 05:00 PM
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ekit is actually an Australian company...you can look them up on ebay.
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Mar 31st, 2011, 05:19 PM
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Why not just switch on “Global Roaming” from Telstra, Vodaphone, Optus or whoever your provider is.
Calls will cost you a fortune, but SMS is not so bad. Calls will be really expensive.
It’s an easy solution, and your Australian phone will work in Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong. I don’t think you can have global roaming if your Australian phone is on pre-pay, though.

Or buy a cheap second phone from Cash Converters or on eBay. We took a couple of ancient Nokias with us, and bought local SIM cards in Italy so we could talk with each other. That was cheap.

Ekit might be a good way around it, too. http://www.ekit.com/ekit/home/ for info.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 03:52 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for the information but how does one tell if the phones we have here are gsm?
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Apr 1st, 2011, 04:34 AM
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Answered my own question looking up the model on net. ekit looks the go...too good to be true actually. Any drawbacks???
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Apr 1st, 2011, 04:52 AM
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I've haven't had problems with it....it does seem to function very well in receiving calls....logos, a very trust cotributer here does point out to make calls out, it uses a call back system. Instead of being ble to dial a number and have the call go through, what happens is you dial the outgoing number, hang up and wait for a call back from the company's computer and then the call goes through. It's sort of a voip system....logos says she has had difficulty sometimes with getting the callback and having her credit evaporate. I haven't had that problem but the reality is tht since you're paying so little for it, you can give it a try out and if it doesn't meet your needes, then you can go the local sim card route.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 05:01 AM
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When I travel abroad (I'm from the US), I always call AT&T and have the international data package turned on. They always ask if I want the ability to call people for a package rate but say no. But I do know that there is a package that will make international minutes cheaper. I would HIGHLY recommend you call your phone carrier and see what international options they have for you. They deal with this all the time and can at least let you know what is available to you. Good luck!
loginid is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 05:06 AM
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Up till now, I have had a GSM phone and used country SIM cards, but am beginning to travel further afield and to more than one country on one trip. On another thread, folks have suggested either WorldSim or Mobal.com. I am having trouble understanding exactly how these work and which one would be most appropraite for our use. xyz123 or anyone, can you explain the difference between these 2 services and how they can be used in multiple countries including Europe, Russia and Lithuania, and Africa? The traveler will be using cell phones in the visitng country and receiving or calling the US. Thanks.
justretired is online now  
Apr 1st, 2011, 05:30 AM
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I do know some suggest mobal but when you look at the rates, they are very expensive compared to ekit.

loginid..in this thread the OP is from Australia not from the USA. As far as USA people reading these threads, they swear by AT&T (or T Mobile USA or Verizon) for international travel voice roaming when they should be swearing at them. They are RIPPING YOU OFF big time....to use their international rate, you have to pay $1.49/minute rounded up to the next highest minute to both make and receive calls. And with verizon, you probably have to rent a world phone from them as their system is not gsm. If you want a phone just for emergencies or so that the dog sitter can get ahold of you, it's okay. But if you really intend to use a cell or mobile phone to receive a lot of calls or make a moderate amount of calls, it is easy to run up bills of hundreds of dollars which is absolutely not necessary.

As discussed elsewhere, country specific sim cards are the cheapest but you have to deal with the constant changing of numbers (although there are some services which will give you a local for you number and you can set a ring to number via the internet easily enough) or one of the international cards which have lots of countries where you can receive calls for FREE (surely you can't beat that) and RELATIVELY cheap international calls....it's just a case of looking.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 05:57 AM
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Some people have said something about a call back feature. You just can't make a call from a country to the US- you need to call a number and pin and they call you back. Is that right? I'm trying to understand how ekit works. Thanks.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 06:52 AM
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Xyz123,

I'm pretty sure you did not read my entire post. I am recommending that they call THEIR current carrier to see what options there are. It doesn't matter where you are from, you can at least investigate your options from your current provider, whether it's US, Canada, Australia, or Europe.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 11:09 AM
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Callback feature...no, you dial the number with the full international country code (I haven't done it in a while you may or may not need the + or the international call prefix, I seem to think not but don't hold me to this). No pin, no triggering number but what happens is the call does not go through immediately, rather you are instructed to hang up the phone and then some seconds later, your phone rings (the callback) and you will hear a message sometime to the effect please wait while we connect your call and then the call may (probably) goes through/ This situation is referred to on international cards as a callback.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 07:42 PM
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I took the advice here (Flanner's I think) and bought a phone for 4.95 pounds (having my image to consider I passed over the 2.95 model) and ten pounds of call time from The Carphone Warehouse in London and it was good for at least 10 decent length calls to Australia and with the addition of an adaptor now serves as my new mobile phone (replacing an outdated chunky el cheapo model which was an acute embarrassment to my teenage daughter). Before that had a Railplus complimentary five dollar ekit phone card (obtained via a Rail Europe booking) which I topped up a further twenty bucks and which came in very handy for a call of twenty plus minutes from a public phone in a village in eastern France to Australia (and may still have more credit available for all I know).
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Apr 2nd, 2011, 02:38 PM
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from the BBC..there is no easy solution.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programme...ne/9442413.stm
ribeirasacra is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 02:47 PM
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the cheapest thing to do is take your little laptop and skype all over the world for free - PLUS you can actually SEE who you're talking to if they're on video, too. I've bought two cell phones and ditched BOTH of them in favor of skyping. Skype ROCKS! Listen if my parents can do it, you can do it.
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Apr 2nd, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Hi Andrew, given that you admit to being not mobile phone savvy can I make the following suggestion? If you do go to your mobile phone carrier at the local shopping centre take somebody with you who is mobile phone savvy. Any teenager or young adult will understand what is being said. I'm in the habit now of taking my daughter who is in her 20's with me to the phone shop as I use a mobile phone every day, but I honestly don't understand what those phone tekkies are telling me and I'm too disinterested to learn.

I agree that sms is by far the better option and we've used it very successfully when in Europe (I live in Sydney). A phone card that you can buy at a newsagent (in Europe) is also an inexpensive way for you to phone home.

How long will you be away for? It sounds as though you are trying to cover an awful lot of Europe in one trip.
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