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Will I be able to add minutes to the phone I bought in Spain 3 years ago?

Will I be able to add minutes to the phone I bought in Spain 3 years ago?

Old Mar 10th, 2014, 06:51 AM
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Will I be able to add minutes to the phone I bought in Spain 3 years ago?

3 years ago while in Barcelona I bought a very basic (flip style) Alcatel phone which included minutes on a movistar simcard. I was able to top up minutes while in Spain. The phone model has been discontinued but I have everything I need to use it again.

I don't think the sim card expires so will I be able to go to a tabacos/newstand and using the same numbers associated with the sim and pin buy minutes so that I can use the phone while in Andalucia this month? Thanks, Deborah
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 06:58 AM
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The SIM card is probably expired and someone probably has that number now. Just buy a new one when you land. After all, the SIM is free.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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SIM cards technically expire in 6 months if you have not used them in that time period.

We landed in Barcelona looking for SIM card. We went into a variety of stores expecting to find something. We wanted nothing else--just a SIM card.

We heard the same advice over and over again: go to El Cortes Ingles (the department store).

Worked out fine. Yep, we bought our SIMS in their tech department, both of which came with enough credit that we never needed to top off. However, we could just as easily bought a new cheapie phone with SIM too.

When we returned within the 6-month period to the Canary Islands (technically, still Spain), our SIMs worked but we topped them off via a second-hand electronics store.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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Agree...your SIM card will have expired and you'll have to get a new one, with a new number of course.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 08:30 AM
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Drat--I expected the minutes to expire but thought I could still activate the SIM card. Is my basic Alcatel phone unlocked so that I can buy a sim card at the first place I find or do I have to buy another movistar sim card?

I'm waiting for the arrival of my Europe to US plug adapter so I can charge the phone here in the US before leaving in two days. I can't try my universal sim card until I can charge the phone. Unfortunately our AT&T iphones are not unlockable until our current contract expires in 2015 so I'm hoping to just use this basic phone. Thanks for helping me understand the ins and outs of cell phone use in Europe Deborah
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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I know what you mean. My husband and I both have Androids which are UNLOCKED and can take SIMS, but I'm not even going to take a chance on paying for accidental data downloads. We do use them abroad almost daily in Airplane mode whenever we hit WiFi. And most hotels that we've encountered in Europe provide free WiFi. Ok, not in the room always, but most always in the lobby.

We just Skype back home if needed.

Otherwise, for communication between the two of us, we rely on our cheapie GSM phones, mainly so we can do SMS practically for free. We do a lot of cycle trips, and all we need to do is signal, "I'm at the bar at mile 31" or "Man down."

DeborahAnn, costwise, you really might just be better off buying a new phone anyway. You can test the waters, so to speak, once you land, so don't fret.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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DeborahAnn, stop making this into a bigger deal than it is. It's no more effort to get a new SIM than to top off an old one.

Buy a SIM from anywhere.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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>>>I expected the minutes to expire but thought I could still activate the SIM card. Is my basic Alcatel phone unlocked so that I can buy a sim card at the first place I find or do I have to buy another movistar sim card?
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 12:01 PM
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sparkchaser, I thought I asking a pretty basic question, I bought this phone at a Movistar place is it safe to assume it will accept whatever brand of SIM is available at a newstand or only a movistar SIM. The phone hasn't been used in 3 years so it's not surprising it needs to be recharged before I can try a different SIM. I can't charge it right now to test it because the charger has a European plug and my adapters are for use in Europe not Europe in the US. We leave on Wed and the adapter should be delivered late tomorrow.

alessandra, I do have another phone, an unlocked 3G that has a global sim from geosim. It doesn't always work the way it should so I was hoping this 2G Spain phone would be more reliable and giving my husband and I each phone service. Since I bought this phone in Spain, I thought I would use it again. I'm trying to keep my travel footprint small by not buying a phone each time I take a trip Thanks, Deborah
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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>>>I can't charge it right now to test it because the charger has a European plug and my adapters are for use in Europe not Europe in the US.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 01:26 PM
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For these not in the know, you can top off you sim and keep it active using Canaries Telecom online, something new that popped up a couple of years ago (http://www.canariestelecom.com). It's quick and easy.
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 01:27 PM
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That should be: http://www.canariestelecom.com
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 01:27 PM
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Doesn't that require you continually topping it off?
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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I have an old Spanish phone that I use every year when I go back to Spain. I always do what everyone has described -- buy a new card to put in the old phone.

My question is whether the phone expires in 6 months if you don't add money or if it expires in 6 months if you don't use it for 6 months. Robert's post suggests that it's the former, but I just want to make sure that all I have to do is put some more euros on the card and it won't expire, even though I will probably have an 8-10 month gap with non-usage.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 10th, 2014, 10:24 PM
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Unless you are just "adding minutes" and the minutes do not expire, adding money to a SIM just to keep it active seems like a monumental waste of money.
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Old Mar 11th, 2014, 12:30 AM
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you can probably get a new "pack" phone that comes with minutes and sim card for about 19E.
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Old Mar 11th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Recharging your phone only makes sense if you want to maintain your mobile number (for friends and business). I've had one Movistar number for about 12 years, another for close to five, recharging the minimum charge every 6 months (€15). When not in Spain, I use it to message friends just to keep the numbers active.

Vodafone has a nasty habit of giving your humber to someone else if you do not use the phone (with or without minutes left) to someone else if you don't actively use it every few months, which is why we stick with Movistar.

If you only travel every now and then, then purchasing a new sim makes the most sense.
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