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#346022 - 28/06/2011 00:27 Temporary mobile phone in Europe?
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
I'll be in Europe for a month later this year, primarily in France, Germany, and (mostly) Italy. I'd like to have a mobile phone to use during that period.

What are my options?

Thanks!

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#346023 - 28/06/2011 00:36 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
For internet this looks good...

http://www.abroadband.com/

Are you after a phone and SIM or just the SIM on it's own ???

Cheers

Cris

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#346027 - 28/06/2011 04:15 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Cris]
dr_dos
member

Registered: 02/03/2002
Posts: 134
Loc: Bendorf, Germany
I'd say go for a prepaid SIM card. Those can be recharged at most gas stations - at least here in Germany.

Peter

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#346028 - 28/06/2011 04:56 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: dr_dos]
BartDG
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2537
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
I suggest you buy a (cheap?) mobile phone and buy a prepaid card in every country you visit. Otherwise roaming costs will kill you. Then you can just swap SIM cards as you like. Of course, this also means your phone number will change per country as well, I don't know if that would be a problem for you.
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#346029 - 28/06/2011 05:32 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: BartDG]
dr_dos
member

Registered: 02/03/2002
Posts: 134
Loc: Bendorf, Germany
Originally Posted By: Archeon
Otherwise roaming costs will kill you.


Since the EU has capped roaming costs within Europe it shouldn't be that bad.

Peter

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#346030 - 28/06/2011 06:33 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: dr_dos]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5724
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Roaming costs are still about 10 times the price as compared to calling a UK phone from a UK prepaid SIM.
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#346031 - 28/06/2011 10:56 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: andy]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
If you can cope with the number changing then any cheap pay as you go SIM is your best bet. Roaming within Europe has been capped but it is still significantly more expensive than a regular call.

Do you need data? How much you going to be calling/texting on your phone? If it isn't too much then you might see if your regular carrier has any out of country roaming bundles you can have added to your account.

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#346034 - 28/06/2011 11:08 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: tman]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
I don't need data, just voice, and quite likely a constant inbound number.

And yes, both a phone and a SIM card. So I ought to be able to get a SIM card just about anywhere there, then. Any good options for a phone (eBay, obviously, but other ideas)?

For that matter, cheap phone recommendations? I assume anything that says "GSM europe" should work?

I wonder if there's a prepaid phone/SIM that has more or less constant per-minute rates somewhere between the per-country and the roaming values?

Thanks all!

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#346035 - 28/06/2011 11:19 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: mlord
I don't need data, just voice, and quite likely a constant inbound number.


If you don't care where the number originates you can even use a voip.ms number and just forward to the different SIMs as you move around.


Quote:
Any good options for a phone (eBay, obviously, but other ideas)?


You'll probably pay more for shipping on an eBay purchase than you will for a cheap phone. Last time I was in Portugal I got a phone for my dad to use and it couldn't have been more than $20. You can buy them here for the same price or less from 7-11 via their Speakout pay as you go service.

Quote:
For that matter, cheap phone recommendations? I assume anything that says "GSM europe" should work?


Any unlocked GSM phone obtained in Canada will work. Or any AT&T GSM phone from the US.
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Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#346036 - 28/06/2011 11:33 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: hybrid8]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
If you're roaming then you'll probably get charged to receive a call as well as making calls even if you regularly don't get charged for receiving. This is fairly normal practice for NA but unusual for UK or maybe Europe.

You can get cheap pay as you go phones when you buy the SIMs if you don't want to buy one in Canada first. Only issue is that they may be network locked so you can't change the SIM when you go to another country. e.g. This Alcatel phone is only 4.99 + a 10 usage credit but its quite likely it'd only work for Orange UK.

I don't know what carriers you'd use in France, Germany and Italy so can't give you any specific pricing for them but I wouldn't expect it to be expensive.

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#346037 - 28/06/2011 11:38 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
Any unlocked GSM phone obtained in Canada will work. Or any AT&T GSM phone from the US.


I don't think so. USA/Canada use different frequency bands for GSM than what most of the rest of the planet uses. So the phone, if purchased outside of the EU, will need to be a quad-band phone to cover everywhere.

The 7-11 phones are not quad-band.

Anyone know the cost to just buy a pre-paid SIM w/handset once I arrive in France? I don't need a ton of airtime -- probably very little, actually -- say no more than 100 minutes total over the month.

??

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#346038 - 28/06/2011 11:44 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
eBay seems to have a ton of listings for this particular quad-band unit.

But I expect one can do better by purchasing in-country (??).

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#346039 - 28/06/2011 11:44 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: mlord

I don't think so. USA/Canada use different frequency bands for GSM than what most of the rest of the planet uses.


You're thinking of T-Mobile in the US which in general is lacking and needs to be 5-band.

Quote:
So the phone, if purchased outside of the EU, will need to be a quad-band phone to cover everywhere.


Maybe I shouldn't have said "any," but every GSM phone I've owned has been quad band, including my iPhone. smile Ok, at least Tri-band, able to be used in NA and Europe.

Quote:
The 7-11 phones are not quad-band.


I used older T68i and a Samsung for a while on Speakout, I just figured all their cheap Nokias were capable too. I just checked the Nokia I got with my Speakout SIM and while the main model is quad band, the version they give you is a "-2" model which does only support two bands.

But Speakout phones are locked anyway, so I wasn't suggesting you use one of them - just showing a price comparison.


Edited by hybrid8 (28/06/2011 11:56)
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#346041 - 28/06/2011 12:06 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Originally Posted By: mlord
I don't think so. USA/Canada use different frequency bands for GSM than what most of the rest of the planet uses. So the phone, if purchased outside of the EU, will need to be a quad-band phone to cover everywhere.

You want something with 900MHz and 1800MHz support as they're the two GSM frequencies used in Europe.

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#346044 - 28/06/2011 13:36 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
If you want a simple quadband unlocked phone, I can recommend the Blu T200. It's small and power efficient. I bought one for $35 on Amazon, but it can sometimes be seen for around $25 on ebay. There is also a T210 version with two SIM slots.

The included power supply supports 100-240V 50/60Hz. The phone connects to the charger through its mini USB port. It can be charged from a computer USB port with the proper cable.
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80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#346046 - 28/06/2011 16:26 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: robricc]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3694
I've got an old Moto KRZR that I keep around for this sort of thing. It's quad band, but doesn't do 3G at all. For my upcoming European trip, I'll be touching down in England, Luxembourg, and Germany. It's tempting to see if I can make do without it, since I'll have real Internet access everywhere I go. It's the in-transit parts where having a working phone might be valuable.

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#346089 - 29/06/2011 22:09 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: DWallach]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2409
Loc: Roma, Italy
If you don't want to change phone # from country to country, get a SIM card from the country were you'll spend most time. If that's Italy, 'd say all operators here will work everywhere in EU: Vodafone, TIM, Wind, Tre. TIM and Vodafone will have the best coverage in Italy, so you probably want to get those.
I'g get a SIM card and then charge it as needed. In Italy is just like in Germany, you can charge it virtyally everywhere but, most conveniently, on line with your credit card.

There are zillions, and constantly changing, and quite confusing plans you can pick from, and I can't recommend any of those specifically because tomorrow they'll have a different name and will change fees slightly. Just stop in a shop and get whatever plan costs you less when calling/being called from abroad. That's it. Also, unless you spend in EU months, you won't probably notice any significant difference in cost, after all.

I actually happen to have a Vodafone working SIM card which I am not using (it used to be in my dismissed car sat system), so I'd be happy to let you have that, even though I'm not sure how to work this out. Let me know if interested.

Phones: Nokia2323. It's the most basic one, and you can find it at 30 euros in shops or on line. Possibly less. It works and hopefully won't break open if you drop it. And software won't be that bad as similarly priced competitors.

I always used my phone(s) when in the States, in the last 10 years, though. Most GSM phones are tri-band since a long ago: 900 (EU), 1800 (EU), and 1900 (US) MHz. So, unless they are carrier-locked, a phone you get in Canada should work here too.

Operators in EU will have partners in other EU countries which will give you better fees.
Wind in Italy = Orange in France and UK.
France Telecom = TIM in Italy = BT in UK (I think)
Vodafone is in all the above countries.
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MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#346099 - 30/06/2011 00:07 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
I've ordered the $52 "smartphone" quad-band (linked earlier here) from Hong-Kong off of eBay -- should have it in 3 weeks or so.

Now I need a SIM. Our plan was to find one on arrival in France, but I wonder.. that Vodaphone SIM you have: any idea what it might cost to charge up with 100 minutes of airtime for use in France, Germany, and Italy?

I take it the phone number associated with it would be an Italian number, right? That would actually be ideal, since most of the time it will be used in Italy on this trip. smile

Tell me more!!

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#346101 - 30/06/2011 00:18 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Mmm.. will "RICARICard airtime vouchers" work with that SIM card ?

Nevermind.. it all looks dirt cheap for air/data time compared with here in Canada (eg. 1GB data for EU12.). One possible issue though: I read that an Italian SIM likely would result in Italian language for all of the voicemail prompts and also for the "topping up" service via the phone. Our Italian may not be good enough for that. smile

But the EU rates for Vodaphone look cheap enough that perhaps we might just get a French or German SIM from Vodaphone and use that for the entire trip.

Still thinking about it all. Suggestions and advice would be more than welcome!

Cheers


Edited by mlord (30/06/2011 00:30)

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#346112 - 30/06/2011 05:53 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2409
Loc: Roma, Italy
Theory:

- Yes, it is has Italian phonr #: +39-3........
- It already has quite some money on it (Euro 100 or more), so you may just paypal me whatever moeny you spend, and, should you not finish it up, ship the sim back to me. Or, finish the money in it and just keep it.
- I was going to pull out from vodafone website / my account, the plan I had associated with the sim to give you an idea of what calls would cost.

BUT

Practice:

- I've just been on vodafone.it and logged on, and it's not showing me any info. I'm going call them later at some point to find out where my money is gone.
- In the mean time, if time is a concern to you, you definitely can buy a SIM card in France and fees will not be overkill. But hopefully, I can help you with this if I can sort out what happened.

I think the problem may be related to the fact that I have not used this SIM for months, and they may have temporarily disabled it. If that's the case, I should only need a phone call to fix this. But who can tell. It's a phone operator, things can get overcomplicated.

I'll let you know.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#346114 - 30/06/2011 06:50 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Taym]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
There are loads of global sim companies out there...

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-roaming-calls#global

Most of those are quoted in , maybe there is something like that for Canadian users ???

Cheers

Cris

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#346122 - 30/06/2011 12:12 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: taym
I think the problem may be related to the fact that I have not used this SIM for months, and they may have temporarily disabled it.

I read somewhere that they expire after 12 months or something and then get disabled.

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#346123 - 30/06/2011 12:16 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Cris]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Cris
There are loads of global sim companies out there...

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-roaming-calls#global

Most of those are quoted in , maybe there is something like that for Canadian users ???

Thanks for the link.. more good reading material. smile

I'm leaning towards a Vodaphone SIM now, because their presence in Germany and Italy means pretty good/cheap rates for nearly all of the month I'll be over that way.

Taym's SIM might be nearly ideal too, especially since I could return it to him in person just before departing from Roma airport. smile

Cheers

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#346137 - 30/06/2011 15:40 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2409
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: mlord

I read somewhere that they expire after 12 months or something and then get disabled.

They used to, and, once expired, it was unrecoverable.
Recently, regulations changed forcing operators NOT to cancel unused SIMs (and causing users to lose money on them). So, I think it is just disabled. I am calling them tomorrow morning. I'll keep u posted.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#346139 - 30/06/2011 16:04 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
Originally Posted By: mlord

I'm leaning towards a Vodaphone SIM now


I think I am right in saying that just because Vodaphone operate a network in one European country doesn't mean if it does in another and you roam there you get a particular good deal. It's worth checking.

Cheers

Cris

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#346142 - 30/06/2011 16:42 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Cris]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Originally Posted By: Cris
I think I am right in saying that just because Vodaphone operate a network in one European country doesn't mean if it does in another and you roam there you get a particular good deal. It's worth checking.

What Cris said. They're all run as separate companies. I know that the Euro Kindle has a Vodafone UK SIM in it but there are a few countries where the Kindle will end up roaming to a non Vodafone network even thought there is a local Vodafone presence.

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#346144 - 30/06/2011 18:40 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: tman]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2409
Loc: Roma, Italy
You can purchase plan options so that, when "abroad", calls to your originating country, or to numbers on your same operator, or landlines, or data traffic from abroad, or email services specifically, or whatever, will cost you less.

Often, such options will only work when you're on the proper partner operator abroad.

For example, with 10 Euros/month I used to purchase a plan option that, for a limited number of minutes, would make my calls while abroad cost me as if I was in Italy - where my SIM is originally from -. Since I have a Vodafone SIM in Italy, that would only work when using Vodafone in France, for example.

Unfortunately, at least here, such plan options keep changing name and features. It's just a mess to know what is available and whether you actually need it or not.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#346153 - 01/07/2011 07:02 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Taym]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2409
Loc: Roma, Italy
... ok, my SIM is gone forever and Vodafone is sending me a check with the amt that used to be on it. So, a new procedure.

Sorry Mark, I suppose I can't help as I thought.
_________________________
= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#346154 - 01/07/2011 10:50 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
No worries! They seem to be cheap enough to simply purchase once in-country. I'll probably get a "small" one for France/Germany, and a second one once I arrive in Italy. The phone claims to have dual SIM slots.

Cheers!

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#347272 - 05/09/2011 16:59 Re: Temporary mobile phone in Europe? [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
I've ordered the $52 "smartphone" quad-band (linked earlier here) from Hong-Kong off of eBay


A waste of hard earned cash, that was. Tried it with a GSM SIM in Canada, and it was incompatible with all of the in-country networks. Binned it.

Arrived in France, found an Orange shop around the corner from the B&B, and for EU29 I got a basic voice/text phone (Samsung) with SIM and EU5 of airtime included. Added another EU10 of airtime to that, and it should do for a few weeks.

In-country airtime costs 0.07/minute, EU roaming at 0.42/minute. Okay for short-term use.


Cheers

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