Cell Phone in EU?

My Girlfriend and I need to use a phone in France specifically as we are renting an apartment and the the operator wants a way to get in touch. She will be going to Ireland and Belgium prior to France. Does anyone know if you can purchase a prepaid burner in Ireland and still use it in France? Is it based on EU or region? We only need it for a few phone calls, so we don't need a ton of minutes. Any advice on other ideas are also very welcome.

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
877 posts

Yes, you can buy an inexpensive prepaid phone in Ireland that will work in other EU countries.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2888 posts

Justin ... another option. Do you have a U.S. cell phone that will work in Europe (e.g. a quadband phone on either AT&T or T-Mobile)? Calls are expensive ($1+ a minute), but if you just need to make a couple of short calls, this could be an option.

Posted by Justin
Denver, CO, USA
2 posts

Sounds like a burner phone purchased in Ireland/Belgium would work fine, but I don't want to pay roaming if I can avoid it. And if you had a different SIM card, would that be the same number? Also are there any brands that are preferred? Vodafone, Virgin, etc.? Sorry for my cell illiteracy, usually I just go without a phone, but in this case we need one.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8726 posts

I don't get this. By "burner" it sounds like you intend to discard the phone. Such a shame for the environment. Big carbon footprint too. Since you are only making a "few" calls why not just bring your own phone, turn on an international plan, and it may well be cheaper to you than buying a phone and a sim or maybe two sims and then having to load them with credit. And the disposal.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7176 posts

Each SIM card is going to have a phone number associated with it - when you change cards, you change numbers. I don't worry as much about the number as the cost per minute, so I have my Europe phone (a very basic one) and put a different SIM card in each time I get to a new country. I generally try to use up the value before I leave one country and don't worry about keeping the SIM card active afterward (just get a new one next time) unless I know I'll be back soon. Another thought for your girlfriend and you staying in touch before you've settled into some low cost cell phones - If you both have an Ipod touch you can use Facetime or Skype to get in touch when you both have wifi. Wifi is widely available in Europe so you just have to pick a call time and make sure you're available.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7176 posts

One other thought. As far as I know, you only get charged minutes for making calls with Europe cell phones. You can always receive calls at no cost.

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
877 posts

Americans need to forget all our notions of the perils of roaming when we are discussing using a phone number issued in Europe. It just isn't the same as roaming on a U.S. phone account. Rates are capped by law and regulation and the rates were just reduced again July 1st. The EU has stated its plan is to move to a point where the cost is no different regardless whether one is in the home country or in another EU country. Now roaming on a U.S. carrier is a completely different story. Those costs can be brutal.