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using an international SIMMs card on a Sprint cell phone Vs buying a prepaid phone

I am curious if anyone who has used an international simms card with a Sprint iPhone 5s phone. I believe we have to "unlock phone" but want to hear from this community if anyone has sucessfully accomplished this feat..

We have the iPhone 5s phones and want to be able to insert an international SIMMs card to make calls or text while we in paris between our travel party.

Assuming that this will work, Do i buy the SIMMs card when I arrive in Paris? or buy one online?

Or is it more practical to purchase a prepaid phone when I arrive in Paris?

Thanks

Albert

Posted by
31471 posts

albert,

I assume you're asking about using a French SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) with your iPhone 5S. A number of people here on the forum have done that, and hopefully they'll provide a few comments on their experiences. I've used a similar method with my iPhone 4S, but I've been using a SIM from one of the "travel phone" companies. The phone number is based in the U.K. but works all over Europe with the same consistent rates.

If you want to buy a SIM for use in France, the best method would be to just buy one when you arrive there. Lebara seems to be one of the firms that is frequently mentioned. If you'd rather use a SIM from one of the travel phone firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Telestial, Mobal or EuroBuzz (there are others), you can buy those online. If you use a SIM purchased in-country, you'll be on a PAYG plan and will have to top-up when your minutes are depleted. If you use a SIM from one of the above firms, many use post-paid billing (calls charged to a credit card), so no topping-up is necessary.

Whichever route you choose, you may need help setting the phone up initially, as some of the data settings may need to be changed.

Posted by
9 posts

I am also traveling to London after Paris… getting a SIM card that would work in Paris and London would be great.

The SIM gives me a certain amount of usage? what about data for internet access and text messages?

Albert

Posted by
31471 posts

Albert,

Voice and text are usually provided with basic service, but data is a separate feature. I haven't checked lately, but the least expensive data will usually be with a SIM purchased in-country. Many of the travel phone firms offer data, but it's usually more expensive. One important point to note is that it can sometimes be difficult to top up SIM's after leaving the country of purchase.

I'd suggest having a look at the websites for the firms I mentioned in the previous post, and if necessary give them a call. Roam Simple is the firm I mentioned that uses a U.K. phone number and they have good rates for service in the U.K., but data is still a bit pricey.

Of course, all this depends on having an unlocked phone.

Posted by
5697 posts

Albert, figure out exactly what you want to do with the phones -- for us, using WiFi at the hotel/apartment in the evening covers most of our data and email needs. We had our phones put on vacation hold so that 1) we aren't paying for the service from home and 2) there's no chance we will use international data/call roaming by mistake. Email works fine. For local calls/texts we bought a pair of phones with post-paid service and use them to check in with each other when separated. Our kids know not to call except for emergencies (I.e. somebody's dying) -- all else can go by email.

Posted by
37 posts

Hi, I can't answer your question fully, but I do know that I also have a (Sprint) iPhone 5s and I called them to unlock it and it was easy. Then I went to London and bought a Sim card from a tourist shop and they put it in and it was cheap and worked great. I think, based on my research before last summer, that there are no Sim cards that work both in Paris and London.
Hope that helps.
Cheryl

Posted by
3460 posts

The LEBARA sim card is your best bet . I have used them extensively in the UK and France and also in Germany and Switzerland . Buy the card at most news kiosks and tabacs in Paris , the included instructions ( in English ) will show you how to activate it . Look at the Lebara website for further information and details . the calling rates are dirt cheap about five cents per minute for calls to the US and they have always worked smoothly for me . One last comment - I have a Samsung S4 phone which takes a micro card - I think the IPhone 5 uses a nano card , but check before you go . The price of the card is negligible ( on my recent trip to the UK . it was only one pound . You then add a top up to make calls . In France you might find a configuration that is , say , Ten Euro which would include 7 or 8 Euro in calling credit .

Posted by
9363 posts

Albert, you can buy phones with post-paid service online from Mobal, Eurobuzz (also a Mobal company, but cheaper), Telestial, and others. I have used Mobal and Eurobuzz - I have bought phones from both. They also sell SIMs that can be used in any unlocked phone. You register a credit card with them, but you are never charged unless you make a call. You can view an itemized bill online, too. You never have to worry about adding minutes or having your SIM expire.

Cheryl is slightly wrong - any SIM will work both in London and Paris. But you will use up your time quicker in the second country because you are roaming. There could also be a problem adding minutes. Last year in the UK, I asked a Vodaphone rep about buying a phone there and using it in Spain. He said it would work, but you could not reload a UK Vodaphone SIM at a Spanish Vodaphone store. At that time, there was no way to reload it online, either, so I passed on buying the phone. Depending on the length of your trip, you could probably load enough minutes on it to last throughout without reloading.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Everyone for your answers on international calling.

I am also traveling to London… do i get a different SIM card for Paris and London?

Posted by
3460 posts

What Nancy says about roaming between Paris and London is true , Given that the price of the SIM itself is so low , if you start in Paris , for instance , you could burn up whatever is left on the French card in London ,and then just pick up a UK card and go on from there . Again , the Lebara SIM will do this seamlessly .

Posted by
9363 posts

Yes, you can get them at the airport. Keep in mind that any time you change SIM you change phone number. That could be important if you want people to be able to reach you

Posted by
31471 posts

albert,

Rather than buy a different SIM card for each country, using a travel SIM as I mentioned earlier would allow you to keep one number for the entire trip. That will make it easier for the other members of your travel party to contact you. In addition, you'll have a working phone as soon as you step off the plane.

If you decide to try that, be sure to do some number crunching on the costs of data (if you require that), as that will be the most expensive component.

You may find it helpful to have a glance at THIS website which should answer many of your questions.