Simple Cell Phone for Paris?

Oct 29th, 2010, 08:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 85
Simple Cell Phone for Paris?

All my wife and I want to do in Paris is to talk to each other. An occasional third party local call would be nice, but not essential. Can we use our home phones? Exactly what will we need in the way of hardware and activation process?
Bronxbomber is offline  
Oct 29th, 2010, 10:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
Well, the first question is what service do you use at home? If you use simcard-based AT&T or T-Mobile, you have possibilities using the handsets you use at home. If you use the others (Verizon / Sprint / Metro PCS, Boost, etc.), you will not be able to use your US handsets.

Assuming you have a simcard-based phone, you can either:
A) If your service allows it, keep in your US simcard and do international roaming. Expensive (at least $2/minute) but the easiest solution. Also enables you to be reached on your US number while you are overseas.
B) Replace your US simcard with a French one while you are there, then switch them back when you return to the States.

For (B), before you go overseas, you will need to make sure your phone is "unlocked". In the States, when you purchase a phone with a service contract, your phone is tied via a software lock to that service. I know for myself, once I had my AT&T phone for over a year, I only had to call them and explain I was headed overseas to get them to unlock it. There are also unlock services on the internet that charge a fee to do it. (None of this requires anyone handling your phone.)

Once the phone is unlocked, you can swap out your US simcard for one from whatever country you are in. The easiest thing to do is purchase a prepaid simcard from a local service provider once you are in-country.

If you don't want to go through either of these processes, if you have a non-sim phone, or if you prefer to purchase a separate phone just for overseas, there are other methods available. (Since I don't use them, I can't be of assistance here! However I know this topic is frequently addressed in the Forums if you do a search.)
ggreen is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,940
In my neighborhood, the little phone boutiques sell used phones for about 10€ with a SIM card for 3€.
kerouac is online now  
Oct 30th, 2010, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 528
If you have Verizon Wireless, they have a program that allows you to borrow a phone that you can use in other countries and it comes with the proper SIM card included. You pay the shipping charge to and from your home, and you have a couple of options for per minute charges. You keep your regular cell phone number. We've used this on two trips to Italy, and it worked flawlessly. Of course, we only did this with one phone (so DH and I had one phone between the two of us) and our main purpose was to have a number in case of emergencies back home.
artsbabe is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,974
Your basic question has been answered, however using a US based phone network to make calls between mobile phones in France can be very costly as you will pay heavily for both placing the call and receiving the call.

The current low cost leader in mobile phone service in Europe is probably Lebara which sells phones, SIM, and minutes for under 20€. They only charge 0.15€ per minute, with no inbound minute charge. You´ll also have an easy contact number when making hotel/restaurant reservations.
Sarastro is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Posts: 21,940
It would be insane to use a US based phone service for your expressed needs.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 23rd, 2010, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2
There is a lot of ways to save money on cell phone cost. I suggest you get a sim card before you get to Europe though. I used call in europe this year for my two weeks vacation in La Rochelle. Take a look at their site, it may be of use to you as well.
skiptravel is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2010, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
If all you want to do is keep in touch with each other, or make the occasional short call, your home provider, while not the very cheapest, may be the most convenient. You can economize with text messages rather than phone calls.

I've used Call in Europe and Roam Simple and have been very pleased.

With any of those, you have service immediately upon landing and don't have to worry about "topping off" the SIM.

Local SIMs can be more economical, but keep in mind that everything is in French.
djkbooks is offline  
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