Phone simm cards -where to obtain?

Aug 18th, 2013, 08:38 AM
  #1  
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Phone simm cards -where to obtain?

We arrive in Paris at CDG at 6:20 AM. Where can we obtain a simm card for our I-Phone (unlocked) so that we can call numbers in Paris or back to the states? Would we also need a different simm card in Amsterdam? or will one work throughout the European Union?
Any information you can provide will be appreciated.
Thank you!
pumpkin is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #2  
 
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If you aren't leaving for a few weeks, you can order one here for free.
https://www.lebara.fr/sim-gratuite

It is a bit tricky to fill out the form; this is what I did:

"So to recap what I did was put New Mexico USA where it asked for city [ville]; I put Albuquerque where it asked for state. put zipcode where it asked for "code postal" and I did not enter a phone #"


http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rom-the-us.cfm
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:29 AM
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Debit, why did you switch the state and city from what they asked? Just curious why you did that. I don't really see "state" on the form as I presume they think you live in France, and don't need anything but the postal code and city and street address (numero, which is the street number, and then the name of the street). I would put the state in the "complement d'adresse" which I imagine is just like in the US when you fill out some forms like that, it can be anything from an apt no. to a company name. So I might put in "MT, USA" or Montana USA

Of course the form explicitly says it is only for French residents. So I guess it is a risk by putting in a different country. But if it is free, there is nothing to lose to see if you get it.

YOu should be able to buy one at those general purpose stores in the airport or train station called "Relay" (they have papers, mags, candy, misc stuff).
Christina is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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oh, as to whether Relay will be open at CDG at 6:30 am? Probably not, but might be at 7, not sure. And they may not have one, either, at least the kind you want. Is there some reason you simply must make a phone call immediately?

IN Paris, you can get one at those large electronic stores, like FNAC. Virgin has closed, at least on the Champs-Elysees. FNAC is still there, though, as well as elsewhere.
Christina is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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If the Relay isn't open, you can go into Paris and buy a SIM at any tabac, any Phonehouse store, individual phone service stores like SFR, Orange, and Lebara, or FNAC.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 18th, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #6  
 
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I switched things around so that it would look more like a US address to increase the likelihood of actually getting the SIM card. I actually filled the form out twice. I filled it out the way it asked the first time and when I got my confirmation, the address so was mixed up, I was afraid it might not get here. So, I redid it as stated in post above. I got it delivered via the second attempt.
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 01:21 PM
  #7  
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Yes, I need to call to let the manager of the apartment know we have successfully arrived so we can be met.

Do these cards work throughout Europe?
Thank you,
Jean
pumpkin is offline  
Aug 18th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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They will work, but you will incur roaming charges. You can go on their websites and see what the charges will be to various countries. Your best bet is to get a cheap SIM for each country.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 19th, 2013, 06:37 PM
  #9  
 
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Did they take out the pay phones at CDG since I was last there in the spring of 2011? I've always used the pay phone to make calls from CDG.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 20th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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There are indeed pay phones at CDG.
Sarastro is offline  
Aug 20th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Do the pay phones at CDG accept coins or a credit card (with or without chip)? Or do you have to buy a phone card?
MaineGG is online now  
Aug 21st, 2013, 08:19 AM
  #12  
 
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Apparently some phones at CDG do take coins.

Regarding Lebara phones working elsewhere in Europe... the EU has capped roaming rates to 45 cents a minute so it wouldn't be expensive to use for short calls.

Regarding Relay shops at CDG... people sometimes report them having Lebara SIMS, sometimes not. It seems hit and miss. If you have enough lead time do try to pre order. Contrary to what Christina says above.... there is a line for "State" as you can see here: http://www.lebara.fr Then choose "English" and "Get Free SIM" at the bottom left. It does work... mine arrived in Canada in 5 days.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Aug 21st, 2013, 10:39 AM
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It's true the Relay stores don't always have Lebara SIMs. Last time I landed in Paris, the Relay store was out of them.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 21st, 2013, 10:47 AM
  #14  
 
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I ordered one to be send to a French address from Lebara, but it never arrived. I went to Orange - they told me that they could not sell me a sim - I had to get a phone as well. I asked about a dongle for a laptop - they told me only if I take a year's subscription.

I didn't bother looking into it further - salespeople in French phoneshops are in my experience pretty useless.
Tulips is offline  
Aug 21st, 2013, 04:18 PM
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Tulips - When we arrived in France two years ago without a SIM, we tried without success to get a Lebara SIM at Relay, FNAC and a couple of other stores in Paris. Finally went into The Phone House in Lyon where a very helpful clerk set us up with a Bouygues SIM that was more expensive than Lebara, but still very reasonable. A few days later when we were in Dijon, I had a message on my phone requiring me to input a code of some sort. I walked into the Phone House there and the clerk was very friendly, helpful, and took care of the problem. So my experience with one French phone shop was good. Maybe you should give them a try.
MaineGG is online now  
Aug 21st, 2013, 11:06 PM
  #16  
 
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I think in France it really depends on who you encounter in a shop.

I once bought a phone + simcard, which next day, did not work. I went back to the store. The girl says she cannot help me, I have to phone Orange.
The number she gives me, can only be called from a French line.
I ask her how to do that with my French phone, that does not work; maybe she can make the call for me?
That was out of the question - her suggestion was that I should find someone with a French phone, maybe a neighbour, and make the call from their phone.

I speak quite good French - and she was not kidding. She agreed that the phone did not work, but insisted I had to phone Orange to get it fixed.
Tulips is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2013, 02:50 AM
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If you don't have time to get a SIM card via mail before you leave why not just make the call in the airport using your US cell provider (roaming costs likely to be $2 or $3 for a quick call) or if the apartment manager is using a cell phone just text her (less than $1). That way you aren't looking for a SIM card after flying all night and having to activate the phone at the same time.

As well - if you aren't planning to use the phone a lot have you considered a roaming package from your US provider? For AT&T it's about $30 for a 30 minute package (plus $10 for text) - maybe a more convenient option if your usage is light.

(I also use Skype Mobile on my iPhone so when I'm in an apartment with wi-fi it's free to other Skype users or really cheap buying Skype credits)
Elizabeth_S is offline  

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