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Reputable telephone SIM card for use in several European countries

A few years ago, a European friend gave us an old unlocked GSM cellphone to use on a trip overseas. Its SIM card was for their particular country and worked fine to make calls to their country...and once in their country to call locally or international.

We are now planning a trip to 7 European countries and I have been trying to determine which "international" SIM card to buy. I have seen several on eBay and other places on the internet, but want to know if anyone has had good/bad experiences with a particular vendor or company.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
4555 posts

For the past three years now, I've used an international SIM from United Mobile, based in Germany (www.united-mobile.com). Incoming calls in dozens of countries, including Europe, are free, and outgoing calls are 29 cents Euro per minute. Same price for your calls back to the U-S and Canada. You have to use the system once every nine months, I believe, or recharge, to maintain your credits. We usually travel to Europe twice a year, so that's easy enough to do....or you can use an unlocked GSM phone that works in the U-S to make one call in the nine-month period...that'll cost 1.29 Euro. The numbers they're offering now are mobile numbers in Jersey, UK....so people calling you would incur those costs.

Posted by
31465 posts

Paolo, you could also look at www.cellularabroad.com as they offer "international" SIMS. One thought that occurred to me, is how "old" the cellphone is? Hopefully it's compatible with current GSM technology. Also, the battery may need replacement, as these have a finite lifespan.

Good luck!

Posted by
1449 posts

You need to ask yourself how many calls you'll need to make before you buy a SIM. In a single country they're a good deal, but the multi-country ones tend to have high rates if you're not in that country.

The one an earlier poster mentioned is a "callback" type of company. You dial the number, then the phone disconnects and calls you back in a few seconds to complete your call. It looks like it has good rates, and I can see a few scenarios in which it would be useful. For example, if you each get a phone and are going different ways on some days, you can cheaply keep in touch and coordinate. But unless you travel enough to add money at least every 9 mos (25E minimum) then your account will expire.

I'm going on a shorter trip and can use my own AT&T cell from home at $1.29/min. Costing it out with the calls I think I'll make it might only save me a few dollars to get the int'l sim and then I'd have the hassle of giving everyone my new number, they'd pay to call me, etc. I decided against the int'l SIM.

Posted by
1568 posts

This is the phone I will purchase before my trip to Israel this fall.

It is a one time charge either $49/$99 for lifetime..works in 150-170 countries.

http://www.mobalrental.com/

Posted by
35 posts

Hi Everyone, thanks for your responses. I'll check the websites you gave me. :-)

The phone is really for emergency uses or calls like "please don't give away our room...we'll arrive at the hotel in two hours."

Ken, it's a Nokia 3330....dual-band phone...works fine in Europe, which is only where we would be using it. We were recently given a new battery, so we are covered with that.

Posted by
9363 posts

JB -- I love the Mobal phone, but you might want to check the rates to Israel. They are pricey compared to other locations. I was going to loan my phone to my sister for her trip, but she found a cheaper option for Israel.

Posted by
31465 posts

Paolo,

Thanks for the info on the phone handset. Again, have a look at Cellular Abroad to see if that might work for you? The SIM is $59 and it appears that incoming calls are free in many cases, with outgoing calls priced at $0.90 (+$0.25 if the call is directed to another cell phone). I believe the number is registered in the U.K., which means anyone calling you from home will pay long distance.

Happy travels!