Mobile phones in France

Feb 24th, 2014, 02:19 PM
  #1  
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Mobile phones in France

Since I do not own a smart phone, I've rented a phone in the US for use in my destination country. This year I'm traveling to France. My question is: Is there an inexpensive phone I can purchase to use the 3 weeks I'll be in country? Or would a simple French SIM card work in my US AT&T Go Phone (cir. 2007)? Any assistance for this non-tech person would be greatly appreciated.
Isadore204 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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Not sure what you mean by you've rented a phone for use in your destination country, but I have a $26 tri-SIM unlocked GMS phone that I bought on amazon.com that I use both domestically and for overseas trips. I purchased a U.S. SIM card from T-Mobile, which I refill periodically, and I have two French SIM cards and an Italian SIM to fill up the other SIM slots as necessary. Works like a charm for me.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 24th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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I never heard of a Go Phone before, but I see an AT&T page that says they work only in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

You can buy a "cheap unlocked quadband GSM phone" on Amazon for about $25, and put a French SIM card in it when you get to France.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 24th, 2014, 02:42 PM
  #4  
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StCirq and bvlenci..........Thanks very much for your responses. I'll check with Amazon.
Isadore204 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2014, 05:10 PM
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I have a T-Mobile cell phone here in the USA and it worked fine in France and Germany at zero extra expense last fall. I texted many photos from Paris to people at home, many messages and a few phone calls, it worked well.
ziggypop is online now  
Feb 24th, 2014, 05:50 PM
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so ziggypop-were you using the free texting through T-Mobile? I know they supposedly also now have free date worldwide-is that right? But I am assuming calls still cost you something? I would love to hear more since we are thinking of switching.
jpie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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The AT&T Go Phone is not unlocked and cannot be used with another sim card.

So far, T-Mobile has proven to be the best service for roaming, but if you want to purchase an unlocked quad, or world phone, then check eBay. There are an endless supply.

Calls using T-Mobile (international or domestic, in Europe) are only $0.20/minute, cheaper than my Spanish phone and quite a bit less that what AT&T charges.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2014, 07:58 PM
  #8  
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Robert2533........The T-Mobile info, especially the cost per minute, is very helpful. Many thanks.
Isadore204 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 01:08 AM
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jpie, the monthly statement was only a couple of dollars more than usual. I was very wary of the fine print but there was zero roaming charges on my bill. The service in Paris was a little spotty and slower than my home territory but I was pleased and left the French sim card unused.
ziggypop is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 02:16 AM
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I don't think the unlocking would be a problem. I saw an AT&T website that told you how to get an unlock code for a Go Phone. However, on that same website, I saw that the phone couldn't be used outside of North America.

http://www.att.com/esupport/article....id=6ILFYib3kge

My daughter has a T-Mobile phone, but she had no luck at all using it in London; she could get only very weak signals, when she got one at all. I suppose it depends on who they have reciprocal agreements with.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 05:01 AM
  #11  
 
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Is adore - the T Mobile service that ziggy/Robert are talking about is for someone who has a TMobile account here in US for normal, everyday use. While they have no contracts, it is a monthly service and they require you to buy a smart phone from them as part of that process and of course to pay a monthly usage fee which does include 20 cents a minute calls etc.

Once you have regular account set up, THEN you have the benefits ziggy talked about - it is not for a short trip to Europe. The phones are expensive so unless you are planning to keep the service, that really isn't an option. They do have a payment plan for the phone, but by the time you are done - the phone costs a couple of hundred dollars AND you have been paying for monthly service.

Either buy a phone on ebay or amazon and get a SIM card for calls.

I looked into switching from Verizon service to Tmobile for this reason and also their no contract/unlimited service. Coverage where I live isn't great with TMobile and having to buy a phone wasn't worth it to me.
DebitNM is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Thanks for all the useful info. DebitNM is totally right about the tradeoffs-so not useful for the "2 week" traveler but I was interested to know the call charge-so that is helpful. T mobile has this offer right now to buy out your contract, so that is also a consideration.

In our case we are going back to France to live and I am trying to decide if it might be useful to have the t mobile plan for the free texting and data but it doesn't solve the problem that most people may be calling me from within France on French plans, so I will probably also need at least a cheap French phone again....but since I have a new 2 year contract with Verizon, I may use the t mobile plan to change and pay for my phone just to get out of the contract obligation.

So thanks for all the info-I still have a couple of months to decide and it good to understand too that the coverage may not be optimal with t mobile.
jpie is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Could be, but the T-Mobile service I use doesn't require buying a phone from them and doesn't require a contract or monthly usage fee. It's a prepaid service. I buy minutes directly from the website and replenish them as necessary. I would NOT attempt to use T-Mobile overseas, though. A French SIM from Lebara is free and minutes are cheap.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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I have a Tmobile prepaid account, also, and I don't believe that type of account is eligible for use abroad.
Christina is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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My daughter lives in the US and her TMobile phone is on some kind of contract. It's certainly not a phone she bought just for travel. She was planning to change providers because her service even at home is no better than so-so. She stayed with the TMobile plan specifically because she travels overseas a lot and was enthusiastic about the their new international tariffs. After her experience in London, I don't know if she'll stick with them until the next time she comes to Italy.

My own experience with TMobile was infuriating. During an extended stay in the US, I got a TMobile SIM card to use while I was there. They warned me that data service with their pay-as-you-go plans was only 2G, but I accepted that, because I also had access to wifi. The reception was borderline acceptable on that trip. On my next trip to the US, the SIM card was still valid and still had considerable credit on it, so I took along an old phone and put the TMobile SIM card in it so I could use up the credit. During a layover in Germany, I got a "welcome to Germany" message from TMobile US. However, when I got to the US (Dulles airport) I couldn't raise a signal at all.

The next day, in a suburb of Washington, same thing. It took me an hour on the phone to find someone who could assist me with anything other than a set script of instructions starting with, "turn off the phone, remove the SIM card, re-insert it, and turn on the phone." Even though I told them that the SIM card was functional the day before in Germany, they couldn't do anything without beginning with this useless exercise. I got transferred to three different people who ALL started off with the exact same script, same words, in spite of my telling them that we had already tried that.

Finally, I got the thing working after a fashion, but the reception was so poor in most of the places I went that I didn't even come close to using up my credit; most of the time I roamed with my Italian phone. On my successive trip, I didn't even consider trying again. I have an excellent international roaming plan with my Italian provider, and I only wanted to use TMobile to finish the credit, but it's not worth the hassle.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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In every country I travel to, there is some sort of provision for inexpensive local phone and data service EXCEPT the US. Part of the problem is that most of their providers use CDMA rather than the GSM used in most of the rest of the world. However, AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM providers, and neither has any sort of satisfactory plan for travelers. Even their so-called prepaid plans have some sort of contract. TMobile's plan, the one that I got, is the closest to what a traveler could find in any country in Europe, but it doesn't provide satisfactory data service.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 12:37 PM
  #17  
 
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If you are staying in an apartment rather than a hotel, most land lines in France offer free calls to more than 100 countries. And phone cards let you call North America and at least all of Europe for no more than 0.01€ per minute. So do you really need a mobile phone?
kerouac is online now  
Feb 25th, 2014, 02:01 PM
  #18  
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ykerouac......Thanks for reminding me of the France's land lines, but Yes, I will really need a mobile phone while in France. I may not use it much, but having one will come in handy. I just need a simple phone, but a smart phone.
Isadore204 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 02:37 PM
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I have an unlocked quad cell from Cellomobile. Google them. It comes with an international SIM card but has another slot that you can use. You will never run outof money because it will automatically recharge your credit card. You can check the different rates worldwide. They gave me two numbers - one for Europe and a US number for use in the USA and Mexico. Only buy a quad unlocked phone because not all countries use the same band.
good luck.
rogandgee is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 07:49 PM
  #20  
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rogandgee......Thanks for the info. I'll check them out.
Isadore204 is offline  

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