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phones

Where do you recommend obtaining a phone and sim card? to have for 12 days in Italy

Posted by
1127 posts

You can easy make calls from calling booths at internet cafes. If you will be renting a car or people need to be able to reach you then buy a phone. Basic phones are about 50 euro.

Posted by
32231 posts

Becky,

It would help to know if you presently hava a Cell Phone, which network it's with and which model handset. If you're presently with T-Mobile or AT&T (Cingular), it's definetely easier to travel in Europe.

A few other options:

Buy a "pre-owned", unlocked, quad-band GSM Phone off E-Bay (as with anything on E-Bay, be a bit careful). You can then buy a PAYG SIM whe you arrive in Italy, or buy a SIM from Cellular Abroad or Mobal (be sure to familiarize yourself with the rates though!).

Rent a phone from Cellular Abroad or whereever. Again, be sure to be fully aware of the rates.

Buy an inexpensive PAYG Phone when you arrive in Italy. There are Cell Phone shops all over the place, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one.

It's quite inexpensive to use text for communicating with those back home. If you keep the voice calls to a minimum, it will save a lot of money.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
21 posts

yes. we need to be able to have people reach (or have the ability to reach us)while we are over in Italy.

Posted by
206 posts

We recently returned form Italy. Before we went, we bought a Modal phone, which comes ready to use in Europe with a UK number. It was a little strange that we couldn't try out the phone before we left (doesn't work in the US), but we could give the number to people here to reach us in case of emergency. The phone worked fine in Italy. As others have discussed, the per minute charge is higher than some other options, but if you are not going to use it much, its fine. It looks like in two weeks our total minute charge was $21.00, and we paid $20 for the phone. You register your credit card number with the Modal website, and the minutes get charged to your card. And the phone is ours for the next trip (hopefully soon!), and besides we figure we can share it in the meantime with friends and family who are traveling.

Posted by
127 posts

[again: i was in rome, florence, and naples]
after trying to use one of those phone cards repeatedly, w/ a lot of frustration, and making one collect call[donot:i got home w. a bill for 44.00/6min.call]..i discovered "skype"..this is a web site, most internet cafes have it, and provide headphones. sign up cost is 10.00, and you can dial anywhere to america for pennies! literally! believe it or not: it was a LOT easier finding an internet cafe then a pay phone.

Posted by
25 posts

I bought a T-Mobile quad-band phone and loaded pre-paid minutes on it. It came with a SIM card in it. It cost $45 on the website and was free to ship. So far so good. I can't help being nervous about using it for the first time while we're over there - but I felt safer buying one in the US. T-Mobile is one of the only carriers that use the GSM system. I'm such a wimp and bought a pre-paid phone card to bring along too! Good luck.

Posted by
84 posts

I got a phone and an Italy SIM card from www.telestial.com....and I plan to use it over there. For future trips, I'll just replace the SIM card with one from whichever country I am visiting.

Mobal.com has outrageous rates, but I suppose it's probably the most economical if you don't plan to use it much.

Posted by
9 posts

Verizon has a phone that they will rent you for 3.00 per day, free if you are currently a good customer. Then all you need do is pay for useage 1.49 per min. and return it at the end of your trip.

Posted by
32231 posts

Kelly,

Just to clarify, the largest Cellular network in the U.S. (AT&T / Cingular) also uses GSM technology.

One other point, did you buy a "Pay-As-You-Go" Phone? You might want to check with T-Mobile on whether this will work in Europe, as some N.A. carriers aren't set-up for that yet (only contract customers have the option of roaming AFAIK). Also, how do you top up your minutes when needed?

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks everyone. This is great help.
I appreciate all the information. Becky

Posted by
531 posts

I have AT&T/Cingular and a quad-band phone which I requested to have 'unlocked' as we travel to the Caribbean for an extended period of time each year. I purchase a local SIM card in the country we visit and take out my US one. Local phone calls then cost me $.19 per minute and calls to the US are $.40 per minute which is a lot less than the $1.99 AT&T charges. I check my US voicemail while away for any calls from family/friends rather than giving them a different number to reach me and they do not get charged for an overseas call. When I return I take out the foreign SIM and replace with my AT&T SIM and there is no disruption of service or surprise charges. When I return to the Caribbean I put the SIM back in with the same local number and reload it with prepaid minutes and I'm good to go!

Posted by
25 posts

Ken--forgot about Cingular/AT&T! I did buy a pay-as-you-go phone and now you have me scared that it won't roam over there! I will be calling them today to find out. It SAID it was a quad-band world phone. You sign up with T-Mobile's website and put in your credit card number. You can refill by internet or on the phone directly.

Posted by
32231 posts

Kelly,

If you have a quad-band "world phone", you should have no trouble travelling with it in Europe. It sounds like T-Mobile is now offering PAYG service in Europe, which I'm sure will be helpful for those not on a contract plan. I'm not sure if my cell network (Rogers) offers the same thing? I'm on a contract plan, and never have a problem travelling with my phone (V551).

When you arrive in Europe, your phone might indicate "no service". You will likely need to manually do a "network search" so that it can "find" the new network. As you travel around Italy, you'll probably find that you'll get a few "welcome" messages, and also your phone will switch networks every so often (usually based on the strongest signal).

I usually use text most of the time to keep in touch with family at home, with occasional short voice calls if necessary. This helps to keep the cost down.

Happy travels!

Posted by
1 posts

I am travling to Germany than Italy for 3 weeks. Would like to get a cell phone but I do not know much about them just need to beable to dial the number I need to reach. Would it be better to rent one in USA from some place like Planetfone or rent / buy one overseas. What happens to the cost if I rent/ buy a phone in Germany then call a phone number in Italy or home from Italy.
Thanks,
Rebecca

Posted by
32231 posts

rebecca,

It would help to know if you presently have a Cell phone and which network this is with?

If you don't have a Phone, you might check with your local T-Mobile shop for a quad-band Phone. I'm not too familiar with the U.S. cell phone plans, but others here have indicated that it's possible to buy a PAYG Phone for use overseas, and the cost seems fairly reasonable. I believe you can pre-arrange to top this up with your credit card or from the Phone.

Cheers!

Posted by
32231 posts

Kelly,

I had a brief look at the T-Mobile website, and if I interpreted their terms of service correctly, ONLY contract customers have the option of "world roaming". They specified that prepaid (PAYG?) customers were not eligible. I suspect that same situation exists with AT&T / Cingular?

I'm on a contract plan with my cell network, and roaming with my phone is completely effortless. I get to use the same number, and the calls find me wherever I happen to be. I should mention that I only give my number to a very small group of family members and close friends, so as not to receive frivolous calls while I'm roaming (at very expensive rates). I use text most of the time for routine messages, and this is very cheap!

Good luck finding a solution that works for you!