Telephone

Can anyone out there recommend a cheap pay as you go phone for using in Europe, or would it be a different one for every
country. Where we could obtain one Thank you again

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2826 posts

Usually, a pay as you go phone bought for one European country will roam in others. However, once you start roaming, the rates go up. The EU caps how high roaming charges can be, but outside the EU (Switzerland, Norway, etc), the rates can skyrocket. There are also plans that are designed to be used in multiple countries (Ken has often posted about these). A great resource for information about phone plans is http://www.prepaidgsm.net/. Their Forums are good places to ask questions (beware these discussions can get very technical, so don't be afraid to ask for clarification). You'll also see tabs on top of the home page for National Operators (which will tell you about options available in each country) and International Cards (the ones designed to work all over). If you use Rogers in Canada, your current phone may work in Europe; if you get it unlocked, you can then put in a new SIM card (either of a national operator or an international one). If you don't already have a suitable phone, you can buy one here on EBay or from other retailers, or can buy one in Europe. If you say which countries you are visiting, what your current Canadian carrier and phone are, and how you plan to use the phone (emergencies only? Calls to Canada? Calls within Europe? Are texts OK? Will you be needing data or just voice/text?), we can give more information.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9098 posts

Cheap, pay-as-you-go Vodafones (about €30 or less) are widely available in Europe. You can buy them at any electronics or media store. I bought one in Germany, and I can report that it works in locations as varied as northern Sweden and Norway to northern Italy (and probably beyond). However, as the last poster noted, if you leave the country where you purchased the phone, your minutes get chewed up much more rapidly.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Pamela, As Harold mentioned, it would be really helpful to have more information, including whether you currently have a phone and which network you're with, and also some idea on your criteria for "cheap". The "main" three networks (Rogers, Telus, Bell) all use GSM phones. The two cheapest options..... > Buy an inexpensive PAYG phone in the first country you travel in. > Use a phone and/or SIM from one of the "travel phone" firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Call In Europe, Telestial, Mobal, EuroBuzz, Tru-Phone or others. There are pros & cons with each option. You could also buy an inexpensive unlocked quad-band GSM phone from E-Bay, and use it either with a European SIM or a SIM from one of the travel phone firms. There are Motorola V-551 flip phones currently listed for about $35. I used one of those for years, and found it to be reliable and good quality. If you obtain a phone here, you will of course have to ensure that the Charger is designed for multi-voltage operation, and pack along Plug Adaptors specific to the countries you'll be visiting. Cheers!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2461 posts

I bought a TIM phone in Italy in 2011 for less than €30, plus additional minutes and I still use it. Higher rates for ou-of-country calls but still worth it.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7188 posts

There are at least a few companies in Europe that sell cheap pay as you go options - Vodaphone and Orange come to mind. Each phone will have the cheapest rates in the country you bought it in - so the question of which is "best" depends on how you plan to travel. If you are spending short times in a variety of countries, it may be best to buy a phone with a SIM card that offers the same rate for all the countries. If you stay in one country long enough to use up a SIM card, you're probably going to be best off buying a cheap phone when you arrive, use up the SIM before you leave the country, then pick up another SIM card (for the same phone you already have) when you get to your next destination. Either way, I really liked using my Ipod touch with Skype (and earbuds with a built in microphone) for calls home to the US. I had to use Wifi to make the calls - but that's available at almost every hotel as well as McDonald's, Starbucks, and a big variety of other bars and cafes around Europe.