Charging Cell Phones in Italy

I just purchase a set of plug converters, and it states not to use with electronics. Does anyone know what kind of plug converters I should purhase?

Posted by Karen
Milwaukee, WI, United States
10 posts

Thanks, Steve, maybe they are just being really cautious!

Posted by Patrick, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA
604 posts

By "plug converters" I guess you are talking about what I call "plug adapters" like in the photo below. They just make your American-style flat pronged plugs fit the European-style round sockets. You plug your USA flat prongs into the back of the adapter (extreme left in the photo), then plug the adapter's round prongs into the European round-hole socket.

They don't do any power conversions or anything other than make the one-to-one connection to the socket.

So be sure your appliance is able to accept the European 240 volt input without need for conversion to standard USA 120 volts. It's very likely that your phone charger will not need a converter (from 240v to 120v). It will probably just need the plug adapter, but check the charger to be sure. It should say "Input 110V-240V" or something similar.

Posted by RB
Coraopolis, Pa, USA
602 posts

Karen,

Several years ago I bought an electric converter from Radio Shack and it works great for cell phones and digital cameras. I use it every year when I go to Italy and switzerland.

Buon viaggio,

RB

Posted by Patrick, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA
604 posts

RB: "...electric converter from Radio Shack and it works great for cell phones and digital cameras..."

RB, it's very likely that your cell phone and digital camera don't even need that converter. Read on their chargers. If the charger says something like "Input 110v-240v" then it is already capable of handling the European 240 volts without need for your converter. All you need is a simple plug adapter like in the photo above.

Even 10 years ago all my cell phone and camera chargers were capable of using either USA 110V or European 240V without need for a converter/transformer.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17776 posts

Karen,

There's absolutely no logical reason that the specifications for a Plug Adapter should state "not to use with electronics." This would make more sense if you were speaking of a solid-state Voltage Converter. Could you clarify?

As the others mentioned, you need to check the Input Voltage specifications on the Charger for your cell phone. If these state 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz. then the Charger will work just fine with an inexpensive Plug Adapter such as www.magellans.com/store/Adaptor_Plugs___Converters___Plug_AdaptorsEA351D?Args= (this is the Euro model - different model required for the U.K.).

Also, could you clarify which network your Cellphone is with? If you're with Verizon or Sprint, your phone very likely WON'T work in Europe. If you're with AT&T or T-Mobile, it would be a good idea to verify that your phone is a quad-band model; if it isn't equipped with the two Euro frequencies, it WON'T work in Europe.

Cheers!

Posted by Karen
Milwaukee, WI, United States
10 posts

thanks Ken, I have spent my morning with a magnifying glass in hand, making sure that all my chargers have the120-240 designation. So far, so good, just have a couple of my traveling companions chargers to check. I do have two phones which are both AT+Ts, but I will be purchasing an Italian SIM card, so I am getting ready to call AT+T to get the code to unlock.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17776 posts

Karen,

As Steve mentioned, it's extremely important to ensure that your phones are quad-band models. When I was in Italy in June, I encountered some young visitors from the U.S. that were most puzzled on why their GSM phone wouldn't work. When I checked the settings, it turned out the phone was a dual-band model, with only the North American frequency bands.

If you could provide further details on what brand/model phones you're using, I'll check.

Cheers!

Posted by Jeff
San Francisco, CA, USA
125 posts

Here is an adapter for a great price and Free shipping! Europe to USA Power Adapter

Posted by Karen
Milwaukee, WI, United States
10 posts

Ken, I purchased a new Breeze phone for my boy friend at an AT+T kiosk on Friday, and was assured that it would work, and I own a Razr (sp?) V3 which, according to the ATT website will work. But, if you'd like to reconfirm, that would be great. I'm nervous enough- leaving tomorrow morning-- and don't want any surprises. Thanks!

Posted by Jeff
San Francisco, CA, USA
125 posts

Karen - I'd recomend verifing that your Breeze is indeed unlocked by going to a T-mobile store and having the rep put in a T-Mobile sim card. If the T-mobile sim works, then your Breeze is unlocked and you should not have any problems using an Italy sim card.

Posted by Karen
Milwaukee, WI, United States
10 posts

Jeff, just got off the phone with ATT and they initially refused to provide me with the unlock code. I just bought the phone an extended a two year contract, so they thought that I was going to abandon their service! I spoke quite loudly---as I was hyperventilating and stressing out as I bought the phone ONLY 'cause of the European trip (leaving tomorrow). She spoke with her supervisor and it is now programed as a contact in the phone! Whew!

Posted by Jeff
San Francisco, CA, USA
125 posts

Karen, What do you mean by "now programed as a contact in the phone"? ??? ATT can provide you with the "unlock code", which will be needed to Unlock your phone, when you enter the Unlock sim menu page. Did ATT run you through that? Still recomend trying a T-Mobile sim in your Breeze, otherwise you may be out of luck in Italy.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17776 posts

Karen,

Both the Razr V3 & Breeze phones appear to be quad-band models, so you should be fine with these in Europe. You may have to manually do a "Network Search" when you land, as I'm not sure if either of those models will automatically find available networks. My Motorola V551 has to be set to the new networks manually (but after that it works fine).

I was a bit concerned about your statement regarding the unlock code in that "it is now programed as a contact in the phone". This must be something new as normally unlock codes are simply entered into the phone, and the phone is then "unlocked". There should be no need to "program" these into the contacts list. IMO, it sounds like a load of rubbish!

As someone else suggested, it would be a good idea to verify that the phone is in fact unlocked by trying it with a T-Mobile SIM if possible.

As you're leaving tomorrow, you won't have much time to deal with this. I've never tried, but it's also possible that the vendor that sells you the Italian SIM will be able to unlock the phone.

For future reference, here's two examples of solutions from the internet - www.mobileunlocked.com/HTC/Breeze & www.gsmliberty.net/shop/attcingular-pantech-breeze-imei-unlock-codes-p-2266.html

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by Karen
Milwaukee, WI, United States
10 posts

My statement that the unlock code is programed into my phone actually just means that in addition to writing it down, I put in in as a contact called Unlocked, so that I'd have it in two place. Old fashioned notebook and in the phone. AT told me that when the Italiam SIM was put in, I would be prompted for the code. So, I think I might be ok. I have a long layover in Boston tomorrow, so I may go lookiing for TMobile to check it out. Thanks for this wonderful wealth of information. This Travelers Helpline is fabulous!

Posted by Jeff
San Francisco, CA, USA
125 posts

Karen, When you do enter the unlock code, be sure you enter it correctly. I understand that the phone will only accept a certain # of incorrect unlock codes ( maybe 3? ) and your phone may become unusable???? or at least the sim will be come unusable...not sure of which. When you get back let us know how the phone and sim worked out.