Phone in Europe

Old Aug 8th, 2012, 10:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Phone in Europe

We will be traveling to Paris, Brussels, the Netherlands and then to Tuscany. Would like comments about a phone to use in these countries. We will be spending most of our time in the Netherlands and in Tuscany. Should we purchase an international phone? Should we contact our US phone company [AT&T] and add international calling to our current phone?

Thanks for your comments
harleyjo65 is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If your plan is AT&T your current phone will probably work in Europe if you do nothing. Call their customer support and ask. No need to get a international calling plan for a short trip.
RJD is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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There are hardware aspect and the plan aspect in using your existing phone.

1. Hardware. For a phone to work in these countries, the phone must operate on GSM system (AT&T does) on 900mhz or 1800mhz at minimum. US phones operate on 850mhz and 1900mhz, so the most basic phones from the US will not work at all in Europe. It is best to have both 900mhz and 1800mhz. My experience in Italy is that in country side, only phones capable of 900mhz work.

2. Plan.

Using your AT&T SIM card. If your phone is hardware capable, your phone will work in Europe as is, which is good and bad.

Good. If your voice usage is very low, that is less than 10min or so total. Then just use your hardware capable phone.

Bad. VOICE: If your voice usage is much higher, then contacting AT&T lowers your per minutes roaming fee. But it is still high. Look at your AT&T international web page for just much much (or little) your minutes charge is lowered.

DATA: If you just let your phone data roam, you will get hit with a breathtaking charge. AT&T offers several international data roaming bundles. You need to be very aware of your data usage. If you don't want to wonder into data roaming territory, learn how to turn off data roaming on your phone.

Using a SIM card from Netherland or Italy. For this to work on your phone, your phone must be network unlocked to accept SIM cards other than the ones form AT&T. A stock phone from AT&T are locked to operate only with AT&T SIM cards. This path offers much better voice per minutes fee as well Data access.

If your phone is not hardware capable, you need to get hold of a hardware capable phone in US or buy any phone in Netherlands or in Italy.
greg is online now  
Old Aug 8th, 2012, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 36,040
People go through a great deal including getting unlocked phones, buying local SIM cards, etc., etc.

IMO a lot depends on just how much you are going to use your phone and for what.

I have an android phone and my carrier is AT+T. Their international rates are much higher than if you got a local SIM card and all those other alternatives.

I keep my own costs low by not using data services and if I do use the phone to check and send e-mails (I generally use my travel laptop) I ONLY do it where I have access to free wi-fi and as a last resort, any Mickie D's will offer it and they are, to the absolute consternation of many, except the stockholders, everywhere in Europe.

It's solely up to you. How many calls are you reasonably going to make?
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2012, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,355
What greg said, and IMO, the chances of this working out for you are slim, and even if it does, you'll probably pay a bundle for it.

I'd suggest you go on e-bay and buy a cheap unlocked quad-band phone, at least dual-SIM (I just bought one for $31.00), then start by ordering a free French SIM card from for France. You can get SIMs for the other countries when you get there,or maybe someone here knows of offers similar to Lebara's for the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium.
StCirq is online now  
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