Will My Cell Phone work in Europe?

Old Dec 10th, 2003, 06:46 AM
  #1  
Tat
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 284
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Will My Cell Phone work in Europe?

Do I have to think about doing something with my cell phone while in Europe if I want to call States. T-Mobile that is ...

Thanks
Tat is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 07:46 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your actual phone needs to be a tri-band phone, for instance like Sony Ericsson T300. Then, you have to request the International Plan with T-Mobile at least a couple of weeks prior to traveling. You have to have a payment history with them before they will activate it.

The phone has a Sim card. You have to dail all your numbers (incl in the US) with the country + area code (ie. 1-904-jacksnv). When you call from overseas, you need to use the country code pattern + the local number. T-Mobile provides all this information on their website.

I just used my phone this way the first time in September, and it worked fine. The calls (all in/out while in Europe) were $0.99/minute. We only used it to check back home a few times, which came in handy since a lightning storm knocked out the pumps to all the fish ponds, and also our TV went on the blink - poor house sitter!).

I bought and carried a spare battery (rather than a charger+converter), however I never needed to use it since I left the phone off most of the time. The battery held for 12 days this way.

I like this option b/c anyone who needs me just calls the same cell # as always, yet can reach us even while traveling in Europe. Very convenient.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 08:27 AM
  #3  
Tat
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 284
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the right on the money reply.
Using Web excesivelly I am sometimes forgetting to check on web ... go figure.
So, if my Mom will call ME - it is no charge then.
But if I want to call - beware !!! Right ?
I do have that 3way Ericson thing.
So, I must be Ok then ?

Thanks much
Tat is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 08:52 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No you're not quite okay. I'll tell you why.

T mobile actually has the most favourable international rates of the 3 US GSM carriers. 99 cents/minute to make and receive calls beats whatever Cingular and AT&T Wireless (GSM only) offer and if you are on one of those if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium type itineraries i.e. you're not settling in one country for any given period of time, it's probably the best you can do. You do need a tri band phone but T mobile, if you've been with them for a while or if you are signing up for T mobile service, virtually gives away many tri band phones. However as noted above, it does take time and a payment history to be approved for international roaming.

The big but is on the receiving of calls. If you are in a European country and have a plan with a local carrier, receiving calls is free. So if you're in the UK and you have a Virgin Mobile prepaid plan, you don't pay to receive calls.

I use Virgin Mobile as the example because they are, by far, the cheapest and easiest to understand in the UK. So if you're going to the UK for say a week or more, and you want to be reachable 24/7, you buy a Virgin mobile service pack. Costs £10 but gives £5 worth of call credit. Calls to US and Canada re relatively cheap (20p a minute timed to the second). But receiving calls is free (the caller pays a higher rate).

You can do this in most European countries but rates vary widely and policies vary widely. A little research helps. I know policies in France, UK and Holland.

The other thing is you need your phone to be unlocked. Once again, T mobile does this far better than its competitors (believe me I'm not a spokesman for T mobile but on international calls, they're the best). If you buy your phone from them, they will provide a code to unlock the phone. Cingular and AT&T Wireless will not provide unlock codes for their phones. As a matter of fact, without getting into a whole history of GSM phones, the frequencies AT&T and Cingular use may preclude you from using their so called tri band phones in some European countries on some carriers.

What do we mean by unlocked. When you buy a phone from a company, it is locked to that company. That means if you insert a SIM card for Virgin Mobile in a locked T mobile phone, it will not work. There are many internet providers who will furnish unlock codes for anything from free to $30.

Lots of info to digest but I hope this helps somewhat.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 09:00 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
xyz123 provides very knowledgable details about the various options for Europe cell phone use (click on his/her name, and you will see all the other posts with great information).

The short answer to your question is, the calls cost you $0.99 whether you receive it or you make it. If your mom calls you from the States, then she will also get a charge from her phone plan.

xyz123 is offering a different method if you plan to be in one country long enough to use up the cost of a prepaid sim card; if you don't use up the prepaid value, it usually will expire before you return to that country again.

I passed thru 3 countries in 10 days, so the T-Mobile plan was fine for me. We charged about $20 worth of calls.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 09:02 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe "charged" isn't the best word - we "made" about $20 worth of calls, which T-Mobile simply added to our next bill.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 183
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What about "Roam," how did that work?

I am going to look into bringing my cell or "renting" one there. My parents will be staying with my two small children at home and I want to be reachable at all times if there is some sort of emergency.

Has anyone rented a cell?
Mamma_Love is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 10:47 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mamma=Love, T-Mobile will roam in Europe. Each time you enter a new country, you go into a setting on the phone and select a local provider. It's very easy.

If you click on the screenname above, xyz123, you will get a boatload of comments about renting phones. Your head will swim, trust me!
Travelnut is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 10:50 AM
  #9  
caf
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The tri-band phone through a US carrier is OK for a limited number of calls, but if you plan on using the phone very much at all, it's much cheaper to buy an unlocked European phone once you're there and use prepaid service. We did this through Vodafone in Italy last year, and have since used the phone two additional times. I think the phone was only about $60 or $70 and the incoming calls were free to us. Lots of good information on doing this on Rick Steves' website.
caf is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 11:12 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,293
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just came back from a two and a half week trip and found it very convenient to use my AT&T Siemens S46 to roam. I signed up for the discounted roaming plan for $5.99 a month prior to my trip which brings the per minute cost down to $0.99 cents from the standard no monthly fee price of $1.29 (break even point is 20 minutes). Worked well for me as we traveled through 3 countries and prepaid sim cards would not have been cost effective for me. Plus I had the advantage of maintaining my same U.S. based number in case someone needed to reach me in an emergency. The downside is you have to pay for outbound, inbound, voicemail, and any calls routed to your voicemail that you don't pick up even if the caller doesn't leave a message. I think we used a total of 30-40 minutes of airtime.
Patty is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 01:38 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Caf..

I really don't mean to be arguementative with you but how could you say a tri band phone bought in the US is good for a limited number of calls?

A tri band phone bought in the United States, as long as it is not bought from Cingular or AT&T, has the two frequencies (900 and 1800) used by all GSM carriers (which means almost all carriers) throughout almost the rest of the civilized (and uncivilized) world.

If you go with T-mobile and buy through Amazon I believe currently they will sell you a Sony Ericsson T610 for next to nothing after rebates (provided you buy a contract with T-mobile). After being a T mobile customer for as little as 90 days, you call T-mobile and ask for the unlocking code which they provide for free. Done, the phone is now good to use in Europe.

Buying the same phone in Europe with a prepaid plan costs almost $300 and it will be locked and the carrier will most likely not provide an unlocking code.

There are many bargains on the internet for both dual band and tri band phones. My first time over I bought a Nokia 3310 for about $80. Dual band, unlocked, almost identical to the Nokia 3390 I got originally with T mobile except the 3310 operates on European frequencies (900 and 1800) while the 3390 operates on the US frequency (1900).

So to summarize you need either a dual band or tri band phone (not issued by AT&T or Cingular), it has to be unlocked and you can go into any phone store in any country that uses GSM and buy a SIM pack. Prices will vary but throughout almost the entire world, you will not pay to receive calls unless you are not in the country where the SIM card was issued.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 02:10 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,347
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We just returned from Spain where I used my T-Mobile Samsung dual band phone. I didn't have to do anything except call T-Mobile and request international calling. Since my payments are automatically paid with my credit card, I did not have to wait the 3 months (even though it is a new account). When we got to Spain, I just started dialing--no unlocking or anything.
JaneB is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 02:28 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,433
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tat: On my T-Mobile phone I didn't know I had to go into the menu and change bands.
Before I left I went down to a T-Mobile store plus called their 800 number and told them I was an techno idiot and what *exactly* did I have to do.
I couldn't have been more clearer but I ended up calling from Italy to find that out .
Your phone might switch bands automatically though.
Regards, Walter
ParadiseLost is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2003, 04:26 AM
  #14  
JonJon
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm certain I'll get creamed for saying this but, frankly, I wish your cell phone wouldn't work in Europe since there are already too many people using them over there anyway and, unfortunately including all the rest of us, unwittingly, in their conversations and daily lives.
But I won't mind as much if when you do use it you don't shout into it when in public and try to use it only when you are in private!
 
Old Dec 11th, 2003, 04:55 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JonJon, a "universal" rule ! Add: turn them OFF while in a theatre, restaurant, etc.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2003, 06:32 AM
  #16  
Tat
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 284
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How will I charge my phone in Europe ?
Tat is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2003, 07:04 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tat...

You can order from several British internet merchants chargers for your specific phone model. Most of the chargers sold in Britain operate on both US and European voltages. The rub is it will come with a British type plug and you will need a very inexpensive adaptor to use a British plug on the continent (costs maybe 2 or 3 bucks).

Other alternative, many of the British internet merchants sell a little device (again most of the ones sold will work both in North America and Europe but with a British type plug so you will need the same adaptor mentioned above) that you plug into the mains and then plug your car adapter into it to charge the phone. So if you already have a car adapter, this might be a solution.

Many of the tri bands sold on the internet (but not all) come with international voltage chargers (check the adapter to see if it says something like 100 - 250 v) but again it may or may not come with the proper male plugs. The US, UK and the continent all have different female plug types on their mains.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2003, 07:08 AM
  #18  
Tat
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 284
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What would I type in search, please ?
Thank you
Tat is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2003, 08:20 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,293
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Most of the multiband phones already come with dual voltage chargers, mine did. Check the plug on your charger to see what it says. If it's dual voltage, then all you need are plug adaptors (two round prongs for continental Europe and 3 rectangular prongs for the UK). Plug adaptors can be purchased at places like radio shack or travel stores for a few dollars each. Most high end hotels also supply them to guests.
Patty is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2003, 09:21 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try www.nextdayphones.co.uk
xyz123 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:48 PM.