Using cellular phone overseas?

Old Mar 30th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Using cellular phone overseas?

Hi, I have an AT&T/Samsung cell phone. How can i get it to work in Germany, France, and Switzerland? I would only be using it there, and not making calls back home to the US.

Is it cheaper to buy a phone there?

Or should i just buy an international calling card at Bestbuy? If so, do i need to buy a SIM card?
PoissonRouge is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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You'll have to make sure that AT&T has authorized your phone for use outside of the country, otherwise it will not work, assuming it is a GSM model phone.

If the cell is unlocked, then you will be far better off buying a local sim card to use instead of using the AT&T roaming service.

If you need to purchase a GSM cell phone, you can find both new and used ones on eBay.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 03:31 PM
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When I purchased my plane tickets to Europe via Orbitz this week there was an offer for an international cell phone. $29 with $5 free, then you purchase whatever airtime you think you may need. May add on more if needed. It is supposed to be good in nearly all of Europe. Hoping this was a good idea.
auleen is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2012, 04:15 PM
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This type of question requires understanding how much you intend to use your phone which you have not supplied. Whether it is cheaper to buy depends on answering this question.

Whether your ATT phone works at all technically depends on the capability of your phone. You must have at least one of 900mhz or 1800mhz to work at all. To function everywhere, your GSM frequency must include both 900mhz and 1800mhz. A US based phone may not have these capabilities. Lower end US phones have neither of these European frequencies. Look at your spec.

Once you figure out that your current phone is technically capable of operating on European GSM frequency, whose SIM card = carrier should you use? For < 10min total usage, it is probably least hassle to just use for your phone using ATT's international charge.

For more calls, you have several choices.

1. Have your 900mhz/1800mhz GSM capable phone unlocked and use one of the local SIM from one of the countries you visit. Inter Europe roaming charge is not that high so unless you are making lots of calls, just use SIM from one country in another.

2. If your usage is from a land line, and if you are only making local calls from your hotel room, check the hotel local calling rate. It is probably less than using your ATT international plan.

3. An international calling card is needed if you plan to call back US, but you said that is not your usage.

DO NOT enable Data Roaming using your ATT SIM, if your phone is capable of doing this, unless you REALLY REALLY understand the fee structure. ATT offers international data package in 25MB, 125MB, 275MB, and 800MB with stiff overage charges. I have data usage metering Apps on my phone to understand my data usage. Since I don't need to keep my US number, I use local SIM with data capability at a fraction of US based carrier's international data plan.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:25 AM
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I appriciate your detailed responses!

Greg, I will be there for 2 months(not staying at a hotel but a house). I'm not sure exactly how often i'll use it; i don't even use a phone at home so it's not like i'll be missing anything..
I don't want it for chatting, just for basic communication with 1. the other person with whom i'm traveling and 2.the with the host families if we need to meet somewhere. I'll be in a forgein country so i don't want to be screwed if i get lost if you know what i mean!
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