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Urgent: Question about cell phone

Old Aug 18th, 2011, 04:17 AM
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Urgent: Question about cell phone

Hello, Sorry for the urgent message, but we are leaving for paris (4 days), switzerland (5 days) and Italy (12 days) and I was wondering if there is a sim card we can buy there.

We dont really need to make calls, but just want to able to receive calls from family. Does it make sense to buy sim card in each of these countries or is there one card that would have free incoming?

Thank you and I appreciate your anwsers at the earliest.
s_roopra is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2011, 05:13 AM
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For France, any French SIM you purchase will give you free inbound calls received within France. Any French SIM will be in roaming mode when used in a different country.

If all you need is to occasionally receive a call from home, a roaming plan offered by your normal provider may be a better solution.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 05:28 AM
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sjj
 
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My wife and I use international sims for travel in Europe. She uses a Mobal.com sim. The calling rates are high and you have to pay for incoming calls, but the SIM itself is inexpensive, around $10.

I use an international sim marketed by Ekit. Here's the URL:

http://tinyurl.com/3jnkuka

Incoming calls are free, and outgoing calls are around 50 cents a minute. The sim itself costs around $50. Ekit also sells its sims on Ebay for a discounted rate, see


http://tinyurl.com/3vzcs8p

I prefer international sims to one country sims because I don't want to spend my first few hours in a country looking for a cell phone store and because I want to be able to give my family a contact number in advance.

I assume, by the way, that you have a cell phone that will work in Europe. You can buy phones like this on ebay. If you do, be sure that the phone you buy is an unlocked GSM phone with the European cell phone frequencies, 900 and 1800.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 05:28 AM
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I agree. It doesn't make any sense to buy different SIMs if all you're keeping the phone for is an emergency call. At most buy one SIM in Paris.

However, you have left out the detail that in order to use a different SIM in your own phone, your phone has to be unlocked ... not all providers will do that if you are still under contract.

I would offer a simpler, and perhaps cheaper, solution.

If you just want the phone for emergency incoming calls only, learn to text and make sure whoever needs to contact you knows how to text. A text (even on a roaming plan) costs 50 cents or less, and you can use one to set up a time where people can call you (for free) on your hotel room phone. Or if you need to talk at length, you can buy a phone card and make a call from pay phone (this is much less expensive than a cell phone roaming call).

But many plans do have international roaming plans that can be paid for by the month. You use it only during the month you are traveling and then turn it off when you get home. Though this still means the costs for calls can still be close to $1 per minute, and you pay the international charges when someone calls you.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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Thanks, Doug for that info. I called Bell here in Canada and they have some great plans for that very kind of communication with family! Thanks as well for letting me piggy-back on this thread!
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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"A text (even on a roaming plan) costs 50 cents or less, and you can use one to set up a time where people can call you (for free) on your hotel room phone."

We have had trouble getting text's from friends because there plan did not include international texting. I can text them from Italy but they can not text me.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 09:42 AM
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Thank you all for the responses. they are all very helpful.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Before I'd spend $50 for an international SIM, I'd just buy a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone in Europe. They're as common there as they are here. That will only cost $35 or $40 and will come with probably all the minutes you need for your trip. Any Monoprix in Paris will sell them.

But texting is key to saving money when communicating by cell phone internationally.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 12:11 PM
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We just returned from two weeks in France and Italy with a sidetrip through Switzerland. We have AT&T and learned from a trip last year. That time, I got an old Blackberry of ours unlocked by AT&T and bought sim cards with prepaid time on them, but all the recordings were in French and I am not that fluent, so it was really a pain in the you-know and hardly useful. This time, I added an international calling plan to my hubby's phone---for $19.99 he could make calls for 19 cents a minute. He hardly used it (called his office a few times) but it paid off compared to the roaming charges if we hadn't had it. I also put international texting on my phone and those of our two college kids. For $10 each we got 50 texts; over that number, they were 40 cents a text; incoming texts were free and were NOT considered international to the sender because they texted our US numbers. Having texts available made it so convenient to text each other to coordinate meeting up, etc. All together, I spent $50 more on my cell plan and would have spent more than that with the cell-phone set up I tried last year---plus that wouldn't have given us the easy communication between the four of us like texting did.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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For those considering a Lebara SIM, the website for recharging your card is available in English as is the phone prompts. Calls to the USA cost 0.09€ per minute, text messages are .10€ each. Calls to either French fixed lines or mobile phones are .15€ per minute. Inbound calls are free.

If two in your group have a phone with a Lebara SIM, calls are only .09€ per minute.
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