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Techno-peasant in need of iPhone Sim help

A friend has loaned me her old, unlocked iPhone 4s and a microSim card she bought in late August (good for a year). She wiped all her stuff off and I'm currently syncing with my iTunes for contacts etc.

I will be wanting the ability to call the following:
-my daughter's cell phones (both CA numbers) one in CA and one in MN
-my sister's VA cell number in France (unless she gets a burner)
-places of business in France
-possibly some numbers in Scotland

I also have my own Verizon iPhone 4s and I've purchased the global calling and data plan, but phone calls are still $1/min so I'm seeking cheaper options. I do have Skype on my iPhone, so I can do some phone calls that way, but I'm guessing I only want to do that where I have a good wifi signal. I think it's a few cents/minute but I believe there's a connection charge per call, too.

I'm looking for recommendations on carriers and plans and logistically what I do (go to a phone store, go online, go to the equivalent of a verizon store?)

Thanks so much,
Los Altos, CA

Posted by
31071 posts

I am confused. Why do you need 2 phones? What kind of SIM did your friend put in her phone?

Yes to use Skype a decent signal is required, but less of a signal if you are OK making a voice call - like an old fashioned phone - rather than a video call.

If you are calling your daughters' cell phones will they be smartphones with Skype and will they be wifi when you call them? If so, they are free calls, Skype to Skype. There's only a per minute cost if calling to the cell or to a regular landline, and it doesn't care what state they are in, but does care which country as the rates are different for the charged calls.

I use Skype a lot from here in the UK to phones around the world and usually very good quality. If the call is bad hang up and try again. I load €10 onto my Skype account every year or 6 months and it takes an awful lot of calling to eat through that.

Posted by
31071 posts

my sister's VA cell number in France (unless she gets a burner)

I'm really sorry that I am as thick as two planks - maybe because I was at work in the middle of the night and am suffering sleep deprivation - but that sentence makes no sense to me. A burner what? And why would it matter if she was burning something?

Posted by
809 posts

Nigel, thanks. I'm Alison's sister, and it took me a little while to figure out what she meant - maybe it's California slang? Anyway, a burner is a cheap phone that could possibly be dumped at the end of the trip. I believe Alison is now in the air, enroute to Paris, so let's hope her questions are resolved.

I have Skype on my iPhone and will be putting $10 on an account to call landlines if needed, as you suggest. I leave on Weds; looking forward to the Loire valley, then a week with friends in Scotland!

Posted by
9363 posts

Nothing like waiting till the last minute! :) Since Alison didn't stick around to get answers, I hope she figures it out. I am still curious about why she needs two phones. The one with the European SIM will be the best rate, unless you can use Skype on wifi.

Posted by
65 posts

Well, I'm enroute.....but slowly due to an unanticipated 22 hr layover in Salt Lake City.

Sorrry about the slang - by "burner" I did mean a cheap phone with pre-paid minutes.

On the 2 phones - I don't need two phones, but my iPhone is "locked" to Verizon and their international calling plan is 99c/minute. I will definitely use my iPhone and Skype whenever I have wifi. I'm hopeful that I can buy a local plan to use with my friend's old "unlocked" iPhone with a sim card from Orange. I don't know if I have to buy a plan from Orange (ie whether the sim she bought is "locked" to Orange) but I'll hit a phone store in Paris and see what options I have that are less than 99c/min As an extra bonus - my husband has an old dumb phone, so having the 2nd iPhone means we can occassionally separate and text as needed.

Thanks to all those who replied above and to the others who sent me private messages with info on lebara and other options.
And now.... I just need to get there:)