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Sim card or international calling plan for study abroad

My son will be in Budapest this fall for a study abroad program. He has an iphone and our carrier is Verizon. Everyone in our family has Viber, so we know we can communicate when we all have wifi access. He wants to be sure he can communicate with his friends in Hungary, make local calls, and call home in an emergency when he may not have wifi. We can purchase an international calling plan from Verizon for $40/month. I don't know how data is figured into that or if we need an international data plan - something I need to look into. Do you have any suggestions as to whether we just do the international calling plan with Verizon or a Sim card? How will they be different? Advantages and disadvantages to each? Thanks for your help!

Posted by
13744 posts

My daughter just spent a semester in Germany and the phone wasn't that big an issue. We have the TMobile international plan and that sufficed. Free texts, free data, 20 cent/minute phone calls. But if there was ever a situation that warranted getting a SIM, i guess this could be it. The most common phone store in Budapest appears to be Telekom which is T-Mobile in Hungary. I had one of their SIM cards many years ago before the TMobile international plan became so easy. Unless your phone is unlocked you will need to buy a new phone to go with it (or have your phone unlocked). Really, i would see how a TMobile or Verison international plan works and it it becomes a problem then she can go down to the store. When we are in town, between Webcalling, and Skype and the number of wifi locations around town we rarely use real phone time.

Posted by
274 posts

Thank you, James! I'm checking out what T-Mobile can do for me with him switching from Verizon over to them. It'll be interesting to see if it's worth it. I'm learning more as I'm reading articles from other folks so now I have a different question. Since wifi messaging and calling seems to work about the same as Viber, I guess that means I really don't need Viber. If he gets a SIM card, can he still use free wifi or Viber messaging and calling to/from the U.S. or does that no longer work since he will have a Hungarian phone number?