Cell Phone Tips: 2010
More and more travelers are using mobile phones in Europe. How does your US phone work in Europe? Have you found any great deals for buying or renting a phone once you arrive?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
cell phones in Poland
We went to Poland in October. I had my cell phone unlocked and we bought a prepaid Polish sim card for about $25. It allowed us to call various places within Poland during the month we were there and to call the States about 3 times before we we ran out of money. Very awesome as some others we talked to used the plan from the states and spent much more! We could also have added more minutes for not much money.
Portland, Or USA Mon 12/27/2010
verizon loaner phone
I used the Verizon loaner phone as well. It worked well everywhere I went and the rates were reasonable for the comfort of knowing that you have a usable cell phone the moment you get there. A word of caution though, make sure you change the service over to the loaner phone a few days before you leave and that the charger works. I had received a faulty charger that wouldn't work at all. Fortunately, my travel buddy had the same loaner phone and I was able to use her charger.
HB, Ca USA Mon 12/13/2010
Verizon Global Loaner Phone
We took advantage of Verizon's global service when we traveled to nine different European countries in July and August (2010). Verizon charged only $9.99, plus reasonable per-minute rates. We got a list of the rates when making the arrangements. They sent us global "loaner" phones via FedEx before we left the U.S.; we FedExed the phones back to Verizon when we returned. As another traveler mentioned, people could call us at no additional charge, because the phones used our U.S. Verizon numbers. We could transfer our contacts as part of the activation process. This worked beautifully and allowed us to be in contact with family for emergencies, etc. I waited to post until we'd received the bill, but there were no extra charges. We were impressed!
Portland, Oregon USA Wed 10/06/2010
A Phone for Europe
I went to Germany recently and took a EuroBuzz cell with me. It not only worked well around Germany but the rates were a flat rate so I didn't end up having to sell my house when I got back.
Baltimore, MD USA Thu 09/30/2010
Now Finally Happy!
Now Finally Happy. I now use my dear CelloMobile SIM and GoSIM SIM card (which is actually less reliable but serves it's purpose) for my worldwide travels, and boy do i travel a lot. Get loose of those old age scammers that want to rip you in two.
New Haven, CT USA Tue 09/21/2010
cell phone rental for Italy
I am preparing a comparison chart of the various companies that provide cell phones/service for travel in Italy. The best prices were with a company called Planet Omni. HOWEVER, when I called them they told me that the prices I saw on the website were no longer valid and was quoted prices that were HIGHER than any of the other companies I had looked at. Wasted about 30 minutes of my time. DO NOT DEAL WITH PLANET OMNI OR THEIR SISTER COMPANY TELESTIAL. Debbie
Trumbull, ct USA Wed 09/15/2010
Cell Phones Using Credit Cards with Automatic Payments
We used a cell phone service where we purchased a cell phone with a SIM card that had a German cell phone number. You have to agree to provide a credit card number with the phone charges being automatically charged to the card. We did this for the past two years with extended trips to Germany. The first year was fine with reasonably priced calls. However, the second year, we got hit with two calls, made within seconds of each other that showed 60 minutes each. The charge for each call was $195. We did not make those calls but we had provided our credit card and the calls were automatically charged to our account. The cell phone service checked with the German provider who asserted that our phone made the calls. That was not true. The service graciously paid for one of the calls and we paid for the other. You have no recourse at that point. From now on, we will buy a SIM card with prepaid minutes rather than subjecting ourselves to that again. It was disheartening and required lots of time and effort to try to resolve it.
Fernandina Beach, FL USA Sat 09/04/2010
I have to admit...I used to travel with my mobal phone without knowing that anything else existed, I was paying crazy prices per call, but who cares I can make calls...Until I found other competitors to them which made me think how can these idiots even be in business. I am now a big fan of cellomobile.com, they serve me well.
Williamsburg, VA USA Wed 08/18/2010
I recently went on a trip to South Africa and used Fonerent. They are local to me and delivered next day to my house. I wasn't certain the $2 a day would be worth it until my colleague got his bill. He spent $800 in a week and me just $110. We do the same job!! Recommend them but just take the standard phone not a smart phone would be my advice.
Paramus, NJ USA Mon 08/09/2010
French SIM card
I used a service Call in Europe while in France. I didn't want to go the pre-paid route and wanted a cheap SIM card to make local calls and calls back to the US. Worked well and cost overall was low
New York, NY USA Tue 07/27/2010
During my daily search for quadband phones on Craigslist I happened upon a Samsung Katalyst. I bought the phone after settling on a price of $20 with the seller. As it turns out the phone has WIFI which allows me to call anywhere in the world using the internet where a WIFI signal is available at my regular per minute rate on T-Mo prepaid. At this time its 8 cents per minute. I've tested it on my home router and in the parking lot of the local Starbucks....it works
Excelsior Springs, Mo USA Tue 07/20/2010
We debated what kind of unlocked quad band phone to buy before leaving for Europe. Despite our consternation and confusion, we've ended up using a Skype account. We're in The Netherlands and find that the charge is around 2 cents a minute. The charges will vary by country, but most of Europe seems to be around 3 cents per minute. My husband used this Skype account for a 3 hour conference call to the US and we spent less than $5. The account is refillable and you can even set up a Skype phone number so others can call you. We've used the Skype account to call the US as well as Germany and France so far. For future trips, we will only use Skype.
Gulfport, FL USA Sun 07/18/2010
Very small phone from cellomobile.com
I recently rented from cellomobile.com, I like their service, but their phones are too small for me. I like to hold a phone in my hands, and not fear it falling out. But anyways I enjoyed my trip, what the heck!
Cedar Rapids, IA USA Mon 07/05/2010
International calling cards
I just returned from a 2 week trip to Europe. I have a pay-as-you-go cell phone in the states that I didn't think would work, so we just thought we would use the international calling cards that we would bye there. Bad idea! We were able to find a card (after many attempts in London) and used it there ok. But, for Paris, Rome and Salzburg, payphones did not accept calling cards of anykind - only collect calls and credit cards. Let's just say we only called home to verify our ride at the airport and it was very expensive! Get a cell phone!
Racine, WI USA Wed 06/30/2010
Cell Phone in Italy
I bought a SIM card to use with my Verizon phone last August when I went to Italy with my family. While the sim card was pretty pricy, the per-minute rate calling in the country or back home was much cheaper than using my verizon service would have been. And, having a couple of cell phones and blackberries made it easy to my family to coordinate days when we didn't spend every minute together. I've travelled to Europe several times in the past without getting a phone. It's not a necessity but it can be useful. I got mine from Call-In-Europe.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 06/29/2010
Telestial SIM card
We purchased online a prepaid SIM Card/Telephone from Telestial for use in Italy. It was to be self activating upon the first use in country. Upon our first use we recieved a long message in Italian. A friendly Hotel Receptionist translated it for us. Informing us that we must present our Passport at a local office and fill out forms to use the device. In a 3 week trip we were unable to find the particular company. In the future we will purchase the necessary items locally vice on line.
Oak Harbor , Wa USA Sat 06/26/2010
Global Cell Phone Rental for Verizon Customers
If you would like to take a cell phone abroad and you are a Verizon Customer, Verizon offers a rental service for global phones for travelers who will be out of the country for 30 days or less. The service costs $9.99 for the rental and shipping cost. If customers add the global value plan ($4.99 for a month) to their current phone plan, most calls will only cost about $.99 per minute (see Verizon list of costs for specific countries) to make outgoing calls, $ .50 to send texts, and $ .05 to receive texts. The global value plan is put into effect when the phone is activited, and the plan is pro-rated, so the user is only charged from the day the phone is activated until the day the phone is deactivated; thus, the user may end up paying less than the $4.99 for the month of the global value plan. It takes two business days to receive the phone via FedEx (signature required) delivery and users can activate the phone by calling Verizon or by going to a local Verizon store. Additionaly, the Verizon customer can keep his or her current phone number. To arrange for a phone rental, Verizon customers should call Verizon Customer Service and ask to speak to the Gobal Services department about Global phone rental.
Pittsburgh, PA USA Sun 06/13/2010
Beware of snap judgements without researching what you are buying. Mobal is expensive and not for casual use, but gave us excellent service while in Paris and Wales. Check it out before you decide. I do not own any of their stock!
Arrington, TN USA Fri 06/04/2010
The phone worked very well. Called TN from the west coast of Wales and reception was like "next door." Free texting anytime and free incoming calls while in UK was nice. Not for everyday, casual use, but great for my purposes. Recommended.
Arrington, TN USA Thu 06/03/2010
I got a Verizon Samsung Renown last year but it was having trouble keeping the signal so Verizon sent me the Escapde free of charge. I had it unlocked via Global Support and can put in any SIM Card from Europe and it will work. It has both CDMA and all GSM bands so I can use it anywhere.
Another feature that you can use to disable text messaging data etc is Airplane Mode. If you don't want to receive calls or text and other data charges switch your phone to "Airplane Mode" it will turn off all connections with the network and you can still use your phone to check your calendar appointments, listen to music etc.
When going on a museum tour you can download the MP3 files to your phone switch on Airplane Mode and hear the tour. It will also save your battery too.
Saratoga, CA USA Sat 05/22/2010
Just got my Railpass through Rick Steves and Eurail provides a European sims deal for $20. You can sign up for automatic re-charging also.
Soquel, Ca USA Sat 05/15/2010
Stay away from mobal!!
Stay away from Mobal, they are a ripoff....I use either Telestial.com or CellMobile.com for my international cell phoen use.......Mobal charges 10 times the rates others do.
Arlington, VA USA Sun 05/09/2010
cell phone and phone card France/UK
I purchased a Mobal global phone for $99 and got a $40 call credit. It does not require changing of SIM card with changes of country. Texting in is always free and calls in are free in the UK. Otherwise, it is expensive and probably should be for emergency use only and this is how I plan to use it. As to a phone card: RailEurope has a phone card charging 6 and 5 cents a minute for France and UK respectively. Because of the offer I received I was able to get $15 of call time for $5. When we get back I will give a followup report on how well the phone and the card worked.
Arrington, TN USA Fri 05/07/2010
Been There Done That. Finally found a great solution
I am using cellomobile.com, for my business employees, they have the best service I have ever experienced. I have used many companies for my company in the past, however they all use a service that has some kind of call back, which I find is very annoying, and it also sucks!. They also sell the callback, but they have an option to get the regular stuff. I am loving it!!
Mitown, CO USA Thu 05/06/2010
I have purchased a ONESIM phone card and am very frustrated!! I am in Australia and have unlocked my iphone but can't get the thing to work. When I call a number the callback gives me no time to accept before it hangs up. The help from ONESIM is useless when they are only open business hours & I am the other side of the globe!!! Costly mistake??? I leave for Italy next week and hope I can get this fixed.
Point Lonsdale, Vic AUSTRALIA Mon 05/03/2010
Warning for TIM card in Rome
I had been using a TIM card in Italy for a few weeks and went in to recharge my minutes. I put 50 euros in cash on my card. The next day it didn't work. Frustrated I went back and after about 45 minutes was told that they put my 50 euros on someone else's phone number. They refused to cancel the money, or to switch it to my number. Finally, they said someone from customer service would call me, but they never did. I asked fellow students about this and it is known problem that had happened to others. Even if they put money on a number the does not exist the will not change anything. I switched to the Wind card and have had no problems. Double check everything when you put more money on, especially when using cash, and don't let them rush you out the door until you know everything is correct.
Austin, TX USA Thu 04/29/2010
I believe that the Verizon international phone rental service has been discontinued. Too bad, because it worked well for me in the past.
Arrington, TN USA Mon 04/19/2010
I purchased a Tmobile phone in London which worked in Europe but not here in the US. It worked very well both in the UK and Belgium.
Chicago, IL USA Fri 03/19/2010
To disable roaming on an iPhone go into settings and select "Airport Mode", and a small icon of a airplane will appear in the upper left corner of the screen. Consider that the iPhone also has WiFi capability, so in theory you can tap into any free WiFi source with the iPhone and surf the web(don't know if these are widely available in europe). The Blackberrys do not have WiFi. Its a little omplicated to get the iPhone WiFi to work, but might be worth exploring. For unlocking a Blackberry, I used-- gsmphonesource dot com, worked fine good price. Also, using a "retractable travel" USB/iPhone cable saves space and weight (rather than an electrical charger).
New York, NY USA Fri 03/05/2010
International Phone Solution for Verizon Customers
My husband and I are traveling to Italy and leaving our daughters with grandparents. We use Verizon in the US. Verizon is offering a global program that allows you to borrow a phone for 30-days for $9.99. This covers their 2-day Fed Ex shipping to you and the return sticker for you to return the phone. You keep your same local cell phone number and you don't get charged if somebody calls and you DONT pick up the phone. The only charges you incur are each time you place or pick up a phone call ($1.29 per minute for travel in Italy), or text messaging ($.50 for sending a text and $.05 for receiving a text). The real plus for us is that there is no charge to our parents because they are calling our local Verizon phone number. You can extend the 30-day phone, but not sure what the cost would be. There are no deposits required, but you cannot purchase insurance on the phone. If you lose or damage the phone, it will cost you $199. Thought this was a great solution to our international phone issue!!!
San Diego, CA USA Wed 03/03/2010
Heartily recommend gosim.com for phones and SIM cards
gosim.com is fantastic. I'm in the US, but dealt with their UK office to get a phone and SIM card to my son who is in Brussels for the semester.
I turned to gosim.com because my original choice, acetelecomstore.com, appears to have dropped off the face of the planet. I ordered a phone and SIM card from acetelecomstore.com before we left the US but my order never went through, emails and phone calls were never answered. So, no phone before we left for Brussels.
Bellaire, TX USA Tue 02/09/2010
Northern Europe Pre Paid SIM Cards
Just got back from Scandinavia...
I purchased an old, unlocked quad-band phone of eBay for $20. When I arrived at Stockholm C, I walked out and across the street was The Phone House. The guy there was helpful...hooked me up with Comviq Amigos plan, which is a pre-paid plan that you can top-up via phone/card/internet. The SIM card was free with 100 SEK top-up, and the cost is .65 SEK/minute (about 9 cents) to call abroad, with free calls to other Comviq or Tele2 users within Sweden.
The instructions were in Swedish, but the guy interpreted the basics for me, and I was able to log on to the internet and use their english language website for more details...I had no trouble, even when we went over to Norway (though the roaming rate is more like $1.25/minute--cheaper to just pop into a convenience store in Norway and buy another SIM). Even though the card worked all over Scandinavia (we even went over to Helsinki with no problem), you will have to dial a special code to call from outside of Sweden. Again, for any extended stays, it would be easier to just buy another pre-paid SIM, since they are so cheap.
Middletown, DE USA Sun 02/07/2010
Purchasing a Phone for Europe
Anyone buy phones from callineurope or EuroBuzz? Are they reliable?
We are travelling to Spain, France, and Italy.
Chicago, IL USA Tue 01/12/2010