Pay as you go cell phones for Europe

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  1. Can anyone give me any recommendations? I am going to France, Italy, and Portugal.

    Is it better to bring an unlocked phone and just pay for a sim card? Or the entire (cell phone and sim card).

    Thanks!
     
  2. It will be cheaper if you bring your triband phone and buy a sim card in each country.

    I'm a bit lazy and usually just bring my regular phone + sim card and pay the roaming charges, but that can get pretty pricey!
     
  3. We bought a $50 secondhand triband phone before heading over.

    When we arrived in Switzerland we bought a Sim card from Orange that was prepaid, and we were able to use it all over Europe, and topped it up once.

    It seemed like a good deal and they were very helpful. But I was so tired from the long flight that I just let my husband take charge while I slept standing up in the store!
     
  4. Make sure you get your US phone unlocked first. Buy a SIM card over there.
    I think it really depends on how much you'll be spending on calls. Roaming charges are the killer as your phone keeps searching for networks in areas with little reception and there's nothing you can do to curb this. I once went to Thailand and my phone searched for a network 9x in a span of half an hour, incurring me unnecessary charges.
     
  5. You got charged just for your phone searching for a network? I bring my phone with me everywhere and never get charged while it is looking for a network. Only when I use it to text or call.

    I think it just really depends on how much you want to use your phone and how long you will be there. I just use my own phone because it never bothered me to pay extra on the rare chance I'd be using my phone. But then... since college I haven't gone to Europe for under two weeks so I haven't really needed to be calling anyone. If you're there for a while or going to be on the phone a ton, definitely bring an unlocked phone to get a new sim card, as suggested. Enjoy your trip!
     
  6. Yes because I leave it on all the time. If you're on T Mobile here you'd be compatible with T Mobile over in Europe, the roaming charge will be significantly lower than with an unaffiliated network. However, not all places have equal signal strength, and it also depends on the type of phone you have. If the network signal is weak or drops, your phone will automatically search for a stronger network and every time it does you will be charged. Some countries can be as high as $1.00 per attempt! I remember chalking up $40 a day on this searching thing alone. That's crazy and I never used roaming anymore but bought the country's prepaid SIM card instead.
     
  7. Take a phone with you that you can use in Europe, unlocked, triband or gsm compatible and just buy a prepaid sim card that you can top up depending on how much you use it.
     
  8. This is what we do, but we also have a Skype phone as well.
     
  9. if you use a european sim card you shouldn't pay roaming charges in europe. i've only ever paid when i've actually made a call, sent a text message or used the internet. if i spend a significant amount of time in a particular country i will get a sim card there though, you can save a lot of money if you use your phone a lot. some of the prepaid sim cards don't work abroad, so you might have to get one in each country if the cheapest one will only work in that country. i don't know how good a deal it is, but you could try getting something like this: http://www.highlifeshop.com/p-738-bluefire-wireless-sim-card-and-phone.aspx
     
  10. I have never heard of this happening. I do a lot of international travel and usually have local SIM cards but also keep my U.S. phone on just in case (I have two cell phones so I can travel with both). Just in the past year, I've done this in the U.K., Italy, France, even as far away as Dubai and Oman and I have never once been charged for anything other than making or receiving a call or text.
     
  11. My bill is itemized that's how I see it. Is yours?
     
  12. Yes, it has every call I make listed, so I can see each number and if there were roaming charges. But I rarely ever use my U.S. phone when I'm out of the country, although it's always turned on. And when I turn it on, it searches for a signal and I see which local network it's picked up. But I have never been charged when it's on but no calls are made or received.

    Are you using a regular cell phone or something with a data plan, like a Blackberry? I've heard of crazy roaming charges with data plans, but not with basic cell phones. If it's just a cell phone and you're being charged every time your phone searches for a signal and you travel extensively, you might want to consider switching to another carrier. I'd be spending a fortune if I was charged every time my U.S. phone searched for a network in another country.
     
  13. No just a regular cell phone. I'm through with roaming, I just get myself a local SIM card when in a foreign country and top it up whenever I return to that country. I don't think it's the US carrier's fault when the phone keeps searching for a network in foreign country, it's that country's network signal that keeps dropping, usually out of main city boundaries when I go hiking or exploring. One way to escape these roaming charges is to configure you phone to search manually or to stick to one network. But sometimes I forgot to switch it.
     
  14. A couple years ago, I bought a Mobal international phone because at the time, Verizon Wireless didn't sell phones for Europe. The Mobal phone only cost $50 (for use in 150 countries, not including the US), I only pay for the calls I make, and I have an international phone number for life. http://www.mobalrental.com/indexex.asp
     
  15. esiders, when did you have to pay for the calls? was it a bill or did you prepay? i'm really interested in this phone and would really appreciate any other advice. TIA! :tup: