Disposable Phone

Do the disposable phones work in several countries, i.e., Germany/Czech Rep./Italy;/France/Switzerland? Where do you buy them and how much do they cost?

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
676 posts

I realise disposable was just a figure of speech, but if you don't want your cheap mobile after you leave Europe, there are charities that would be happy to take it for recycling for use in Africa

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8724 posts

Judy, I've seen references before about disposable phones. I'm not having a go at you, but the term disposable bothers me. I want to understand. When people speak of disposable phones do they actually mean use it and then throw it away? We recycle or reuse almost everything these days and very little; actually very very little waste goes to landfill. Are they really thrown away?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8724 posts

Not funny James. Stupid answer to serious question.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
396 posts

Yes Judy they will work in all over Europe - just remember that once you leave the country in which you purchased the phone you will be roaming so get those rates before you buy. Calling to/from the US will be International calling at a higher rate. You can buy them from about $30 and up. Also for most phones purchased any customer support will be in the language of the country where you purchase. Nigel - the cheap price is why they are called disposable - doesn't mean one has to throw it away - it can also be recycled with other electronics.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1328 posts

hi, there was someone makaing or going to make an inexpensive cell phone with out any grapics disply, only an digital LCD disply, you remember those? anyway, i have not seen nor heard of anything in a while. back to your question. You can buy unlocked, quadband, GSM cell phones for little money over there. they WONT BE APPLE or the latest/greatest phones either! i used a web site/store located in the UK for reference so i dont know about whats available in those countries you are heading to. happy trails.

Posted by Judy
Sparks
33 posts

@Christi, thanks your reply is helpful. I was wanting something for emergency use only. Thanks for all your help.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
396 posts

"I realise disposable was just a figure of speech, but if you don't want your cheap mobile after you leave Europe, there are charities that would be happy to take it for recycling for use in Africa" @Keith - Thanks for the info - that's a great idea.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

You don't have to dispose of it. Since there is not contract and no minutes you can hang onto it for your next trip. Or leave it in your car foremergency backup because it works fine in the US. Mine has been back and forth to Europe 5-6 times.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

I'd like to see a conversation like this about disposing of, and of disposable underwear.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

If you buy a cheap phone in Europe, it will usually be 2 band, so it will not work in the US. Quad band models, which will work in the US, cost more. Phones are sold by the carrier's stores, or in stores selling multiple carriers (like The Phone House in France) or in electronics stores (like MediaMarkt, Saturn and FNAC, all of which operate in several of your listed countries). Prices start at about €20 for a locked 2 band phone. In many countries, the phones are sold "locked," meaning they only work with the SIM card of one carrier. The SIM is the "brain" of the phone, and it determines your phone number and carrier. A phone bought in one European country will work in the others, but you are now roaming, at higher prices. There are caps on roaming charges within the EU; since Switzerland is not EU, the prices for using an EU phone there can skyrocket. Also, refilling a SIM in a country other than the one you bought it in is not always easy. In theory, you can do it online, but I was never able to get it to work with the French provider Mobiho. Someone else posted here that T-Mobile UK's site does not accept US credit cards. My friend has not had trouble with T-Mobile UK refills, but he uses AMEX; maybe it doesn't accept US-issued Visa/Mastercard? continued..

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

continued.. If you buy an unlocked phone, or get your phone unlocked, you can change SIM cards when you change countries. This gives you a new local phone number, and cheaper rates, but of course is a hassle. You can buy an unlocked phone here or there; EBay has lots of people unloading their old "dumbphones," or you or someone you know may have one you can use. If it's a US model, be SURE it's quad band and unlocked, or you won't be able to get it work in Europe. To look at phone plans in various countries, use http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/operators.php. You can also investigate the International Operators tab; these plans cost a bit more than a domestic plan used in its country of purchase, but they can be cheaper than lots of roaming and and easier than SIM-changing.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

Finally, if you really just want something for emergencies, you can consider using a T-Mobile US SIM in a quad-band phone bought in the US. The cost in most European countries is $1.50 per minute to send or receive calls, $0.50 to send a text, and $0.10 to receive a text. If you're using it sparingly, this is certainly easier than buying SIM's abroad, and can even be cheaper. For instance, my T-Mobile German SIM was €10 with €10 of credit; so, even though the SIM is "free," you have to use it, or you're out €10. If you don't use the T-Mobile US SIM in Europe, you can use it up in the US. Who is your current US carrier and what is your current cell phone model? More and more US phones work abroad, at rates similar to the T-Mobile's in the last paragraph. If yours works in Europe, and you only want it for emergencies and occasional use, it is easiest just to use your current phone. When you factor in the cost of buying new phones and new SIM's, it may even be cheaper.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1328 posts

hi again, I bought my phone from the UK and a Tmobile sim and so far have not been able to add mintues to my phone. I tried using the Tmobile web site and my ViSA card, but no go. I also bought a Sim from AMsterdam and i have added minutes via a web site that offers adding minutes thru different providers. But i have only used Tmobile. when i go back to the UK this sept, i will be investigating on other methods of adding minutes to my UK number and i will verify by doing it when im there so i wont have any surprises. Yes, swapping sims can be a pain. But you will have to evaluate that verses paying more for roaming charges. happy trails.

Posted by Angela
Eau Claire, WI, United States
51 posts

@Jeff - Thank you for the suggestion of the eurobuzz phones. I know I am not the person who asked the question, but your suggestion was just the answer we needed as we research our phone options for our upcoming trip because we just learned that our phones will not work in Europe (and of course would have been extremely expensive had they worked!) Thank you!

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
610 posts

Count me as being in the small minority of travelers feeling there is little need to purchase a Euroecentric cell phone to make calls anytime while in Europe. Given the wide availability of WiFi for e-mails and Skype (or similar) calls, why bother? Ah, but in an emergency...in that case, perhaps one of the locals (all seem to be packing) can assist. How on earth did we survive BCPE (before cell phone era)?

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

"How on earth did we survive BCPE (before cell phone era)?" Way back then, there were these things called pay phones in most public places. Airports, train/bus stations, hotels, restaurants, department stores, museums. And actually out on the sidewalks!! in something called a phone booth. I think the mastadons who roamed the Earth back then must have stomped them into extinction. Well, OK. I know, they were killed off by the mobile phone.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3576 posts

Judy's already got it figured out, and Angela may not see this, but we really liked our EuroBuzz phones! Read the site carefully and understand what you're getting.