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Traveling to Europe (Cell Phone use)

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by franchise403, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. franchise403

    franchise403 Contributing Member

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    I will be traveling in Europe for 10 weeks (UK, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands) and was wondering if anyone knows the best solution for cell phone service?

    I already have my iphone 4s unlocked and just wanted to use it. I would prefer not to have to buy multiple sim cards in each country, cheap data would be a huge plus but not required. I won't be making any calls back to the states (I'll just use skype for that), it's mainly for emergencies and to communicate with my wife if we aren't together. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. bobrek

    bobrek Politics belong in the D & D

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    Is the iPhone both CDMA and GSM capable? If so, you should have no problems calling in Europe or back to the states.
     
  3. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    If you have AT&T it pretty much works everywhere in my experience. Verizon is trickier, but they'll send you a loaner-phone if your plan doesn't work. Not sure aobut Sprint/TMobile. Just call your provider and see what they say.

    Be careful and keep your phone off unless you're using it, and use it sparingly, or esle you will get whipped with massive data/roaming etc charges. Like a few hundred bucks or so. That sucks.
     
  4. bobrek

    bobrek Politics belong in the D & D

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    Sam is right about accidental usage.

    I have Sprint and used a GSM phone in France, Brazil and Africe and CDMA in Korea. Shortly after I turn my phone on in a foreign country, I get a courtesy text from Sprint telling me how to dial as well as rates per minute for calls and rates to send and receive texts. Prior to leaving the U.S., I make sure that my phone is set to not do any data, calls or text without me confirming it.
     
  5. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    The cheapest solution would be to get a prepaid SIM card in each of the countries. I understand you don't like the hassle, but then you could even use Internet, depending on the provider. I have Vodafone with a contract in Europe, with my contract, I can use data in all Vodafone countries (UK, Italy, Germany definitely included). But I don't think they offer the same for prepaid cards.
     
  6. franchise403

    franchise403 Contributing Member

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    What about just purchasing a sim card when I get to Europe?
     
  7. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    I don't think there is a prepaid SIM card that covers several countries in Europe. So yes, that would be better in terms of protecting you from crazy cost on your contract at home (once the SIM card runs out, you just can't call anymore), but it would still be very expensive on the card when you use it in another European country.
     
  8. bobrek

    bobrek Politics belong in the D & D

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    If your plan is for emergencies and spouse whereabouts, it probably isn't worth the hassle to do anything. With Sprint, to send a text in a foreign country is 50 cents and to receive is 5 cents, so a text to then from your wife would be $1.10. I assume other carriers are roughly the same.

    Another thing to consider is to make sure your plan is set up for International usage. It was no cost to me, but Sprint had to 'flip a switch' so I could use my phone out of the country.
     
  9. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

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    You don't need a different SIM card in each country. Just look up the APNs for each country and change them in the Settings on your phone.
     
  10. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    AT&T offers a 50 text package for europe for a very reasonable cost. You can also turn on another option that gives low-cost billing for most European countries without having to swap sim cards. I forget the names of these options, but you can turn them on via the AT&T app on your iphone.

    I used this on my last trip and it was very effective. For data I just waited for free wi-fi spots.
     
  11. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

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    If you keep data on, you're bill will be in the 300-400 dollar range for the week. International data roaming sucks. A different sim card is the least expensive option. You can also get international data service just for you trip. Make sure its international "DATA" and not just international service or you will get a nasty surprise when you get your bill.
     
  12. DallasThomas

    DallasThomas Contributing Member

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    I just got back from Italy last night, and I had went the prepaid SIM way.

    First I tried Vodafone.it, but the service sucked and I burned through the credit in less than a day - even with background data & sync turned off and minimal apps installed, with minimal usage overall.

    Then I got a 10 Euro TIM card and abused the hell out of the data and got great reception and it lasted all week. It also allowed me to roam in Germany on the way back, where I finally ran it dry.

    So, to summarize - if you go the prepaid SIM route, you can take it with you to the next country and roam at 2-3 times the price per megabyte or minute. When that runs dry, you can get another local SIM or not (depending on your time frame).

    And when you're in Italy, I highly recommend TIM for service. Vodafone had 4G/HSPA+ while TIM only had 3G/HSPA, but I don't think the iPhone works on HSPA+ or 4G (unless it's AT&T, which will get the HSPA+). Either way, the connection to TIM 3G was faster and WAAAAYY more reliable than the Vodafone anything.
     
  13. franchise403

    franchise403 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for all of the replies. Since we won't be using the phone all that much I'll probably just buy a prepaid sim in each country. Thanks again for the help
     

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