Cellphone rental fees vary widely according to your destination and the calling plan you choose. Here are some sample fees from around the world. Note: if there’s a charge for incoming calls, you (the renter) pay the fee, not the person who is calling you.
Italy: All Cell Rentals offers one plan for Italy that costs $79.95 for a month’s rental ($29.95 weekly). SIM is included. All incoming/outgoing local and international calls to the U.S. are billed at $1.99 a minute. All Cell also offers a $99.95 a month rental plan for Italy. Incoming local calls are free, outgoing local calls are $.99 a minute, and calls to the U.S. are $1.99 a minute.
France: Cellular Abroad offers a one-month rental plan for France priced at $109.00 ($49 weekly) plus $69.00 for a SIM card (which is yours to keep). The plan offers free incoming calls, and outgoing local calls are billed at about $.75 (.55 euros) per minute. International calls are about $1.05 a minute.
UK: Travel Cell charges $29.99 for one week’s phone rental, $.50 for each additional day. Incoming calls are free, outgoing local calls are $.59 a minute, $.79 per minute to the rest of Europe, and $.69 a minute to North America. SIM included. Voicemail retrieval is $.59 per message.
Africa: Celluar Express’ South Africa plan has a daily rental charge of $2.95, $14.95 for a week, and $49.95 for a month. SIM is included in cost. Optional voicemail service is $.99 per day. International calls are billed at $2.95 a minute, local incoming and outgoing at $1.79.
Asia: International Cellular offers rental charges of $5.00 a day, $25 a week, and $65.00 a month, plus $1.50 insurance coverage per day. Calling charges in China are $2.95 a minute for calls to the U.S., $1.75 a minute for calls within China, and all incoming calls are also billed at $1.75 a minute. SIM included in price. International Cellular’s prices for Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are similar.
If you’re traveling to Japan or Korea, you’ll need a country-specific phone as telecommunications systems in these countries are not incompatible with other countries’ systems. MyJapanPhone’s plan costs $30 for a week’s rental, $2 for each additional day, $.60 per minute for local calls, calls to the U.S. $.90 a minute and all other international calls are billed at $1.20 a minute. For Korea, Mobal Rental offers $7.00 a day rental rates. Incoming calls are free, local is $.99 a minute, calls to the U.S. are $1.79 a minute.
Additionally you’ll probably have to pay a deposit for the use of the phone, $150-$200, which can be charged to your credit card. The deposit amount will be released when you return the phone in good working order.