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Aug 8th, 2013, 07:51 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 37
Sim Cards

I have a quad band GSM phone. WIll be in Paris and Florence starting 8/24 and want a sim card in the phone when I land in Paris.
Which company and what type of card should i buy? I would prefer to mail order and have in place when I land to connect with locals/friends. I will want to make a few phone calls home....infrequent...mostly for use in the city to connect with local/friends.
Thanks for the help.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 08:13 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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www.lebara.fr

Best deal around. Top it up once you get there.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 08:53 PM
  #3
 
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Lebra is fine, but I prefer a local sim card. Calls home will be no less expensive unless you can call from a WiFi zone, or have an iPhone with AT&Ts Call International or Skype.

One great option used to be Blackberry from T-Mobile, which allowed you to call back to the States for free, but I don't know if the service is still working.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #4
 
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What do you mean "local" sim card, Robert? Lebara is "local" to France.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 06:54 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Lebara charges .05€ per minute to the USA. The AT&T Call International plan is $30 per month plus $0.38 per minute. Lebara is significantly cheaper than the any US service provider´s roaming plan.

Skype charges per minute to either land lines or mobile phones to the USA is $ 0.023. Skype´s charges might seem reasonable but I use Diamondcard which offers rates to the US at $ 0.016, almost half of what Skype charges:

http://www.diamondcard.us/

T-Mobile offers a free VoIP calling plan for its US customers (free meaning it consumes minutes against your monthly allotment if you have one). All that is needed is a compatible phone, which most of their smartphones are, and an internet connection (WiFi). Calls are placed or received just like they are if you where back home.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #6
 
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Lebara is a multi national organization that has local branches in various countries. They all pretty much are local in that country. Thus lebara in France (loebara.fr) is a local French provider with very good rates and also follows eu roaming rates. All the lebaras for the most part are very good for calls from that local country to North America as well as Australia but once you leave the local country, while say having a lebara.fr card in Germany, you will be able to receive calls at a reasonable rate and make calls within the eu at a reasonable rate, calls outside the eu are very expensive. But the same would be true of the larger French (SFR, Orange FR) providers without the cheap calls to North America from France.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 07:53 AM
  #7
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I should have clarified. I have a Verizon iPhone 5. I bought a Samsung GT-E1182L E1182 DUOS Unlocked Quad-Band Dual SIM GSM Phone for use in Europe. I would do not currently have service for this phone. I would like to get a SIM card here for use when we land. I leave on 8/24 or I am just going to have to wait until arrival in Paris? I will use email on the wifi at hotel for talking with the states. I will likely make only a few calls while in Paris and Florence.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 12:11 PM
  #8
 
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Lebara may or may not get you the SIM card before you leave. The first one I ordered came in 5 days. The second one took two weeks. I don't think there are any guarantees, but give it a try. The worst-case scenario is having to get off the plane and buy a SIM at the airport.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 01:17 PM
  #9
 
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T-Moble used to offer free VoIP calls with certain Blackberry models, but not with any other device. This service is no longer available with the "new" T-Mobile
http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-s...-services.html

Regarding Lebara France: True, international calls are inexpensive for the most part (0.05€/minute), but not much better then using the AT&T Call International App on the iPhone, Blackberry or Android (0.08€/minute at the current exchange rate) or using Skype. There is no connection fee and I don't have to recharge the sim. Local calls using a Lebara are another issue, expensive unless you're calling another Lebara number.

Lebara France National Tariffs:
Other France Mobile 0.15€/second
Connection fee of 0.15€.
All international calls are charged per minute, all national calls are charged per second.

Lebara does offer a France Plan (60 minutes for 4,90€), valid for a period of 14 days.

When using a local French service provider (like SFR), which technically Lebara is not, all incoming calls are free, there is no connection charge and local outgoing calls are reasonably priced at 0.38€/minute on a pay-as-you-go plan.

If you're using an iPhone, messages between iPhones, iPads and iPods are free anywhere in the world when in a WiFi zone.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 02:41 PM
  #10
 
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T-Moble used to offer free VoIP calls with certain Blackberry models, but not with any other device.

I have used both my HTC Amaze as well as my wife´s Samsung Galaxy to make VoIP calls to the USA from points all around the globe, not just in France. Technically talk time counts again one´s monthly minute maximum just as does local calls but with unlimited plans, about $50 per month, the VoIP calls are free, both inbound and outbound.

Regarding Lebara France: True, international calls are inexpensive for the most part (0.05€/minute), but not much better then using the AT&T Call International App on the iPhone, Blackberry or Android

Seriously, you are comparing Lebara per minute costs against someone´s VoIP costs. It´s a rather pointless, apples and orange comparison and extremely misleading.

Local calls using a Lebara are another issue, expensive unless you're calling another Lebara number.

Lebara France National Tariffs:
Other France Mobile 0.15€/second


The Lebara mobile to mobile cost is 0.15€ per minute, not per second. A 0.15€ per second charge would mean that local calls would cost 9€ per minute which is not true. You are confusing the way in which talk time is invoiced with the actual per minute cost. On international calls, total call time is rounded up to the nearest minute. There is no rounding up on domestic calls, call time accumulates on a per second basis.

When using a local French service provider (like SFR), which technically Lebara is not, all incoming calls are free

Technically, Lebara uses the Bouygues mobile network and all incoming calls are indeed free.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 04:08 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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That's how much I pay attention to T-Moble since they do not offer an international data roaming package. Calling back to the States from the EU is something I seldom do. Messaging works better.

Lebara France's web site must be wrong as it states that all local calls are charged by the second except to other Lebara numbers. There is no mention of these charges on the UK or Spain web site. I guess it all depends on where you get your Lebara sim, as they offer an outstanding plan in Australia, unlimited calling to France, Spain, the UK and the US for only $49,95 for 30 days.

http://www.lebara.fr/prepaye/tarifs?isoCode=en_GB
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Aug 9th, 2013, 04:26 PM
  #12
 
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Lebara France's web site must be wrong as it states that all local calls are charged by the second

On the French language site, the wording is almost identical except that the French site uses the word ¨invoiced¨ rather than ¨charged¨ which might paint a clearer picture. Another way to look at accumulated costs is that international calls are billed at minute intervals and domestic calls are billed by accumulating total seconds used.

Either way, billing for international calls by rounding up to the next minute and charing 0.05€ per minute or billing domestic calls by totaling actual seconds used and charging 0.15€ per accumulated minute, there are few companies offering cheaper calling than what Lebara offers.
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