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Can I use a Samsung phone bought in Rome in 2013?

Back in 2013 my cell phone provider told me my particular cell phone could not be used in Europe. I followed RS forum posters' suggestions & bought a simple flip-phone ($60 + $20 SIM card) to receive calls from spouse back in AZ while I was on RS Sicily and Basque tours. My calls TO the US would cost more than his calls to Italy & quickly use up my available contract minutes. So, to spare (extend) my contract minutes for his calls to me, I called him using an international phone card with very inexpensive minutes.

Anyway...end of trip, SIM card had neglible time left; I was advised to discard it, remove & keep the battery and buy a new SIM card when ready to use the phone again.

Now booked for Southern Italy tour. Hate to throw away the phone. Can I buy a new SIM to use this phone again just to stay in touch with home every day, maybe use within Italy as well?
Would appreciate easy, practical, economical solution, besides discarding this phone and buying another only to discard it when I return. Simple, not-too-technical or expensive solution?

Posted by
5473 posts

Sure - if the phone worked over there before, it will work again. Put the battery back in and charge it again now (good idea to do that every few months) and make sure it can still hold a charge. I wouldn't leave the battery out for two years or you may not be able to charge it again if the charge gets too low.

If you wind up buying another phone in the future, consider buying an Android (smart phone) next time. Even cheap Android phones will work over there, but to use a local SIM card it must be unlocked. However, one benefit of a smart phone is that it can also use WiFi at hotels, etc. and you can make calls home for free with Google Hangouts - or cheap calls with Skype.

My Android phone cost only $30 on sale. I use it in the US with my T-Mobile service here, and after just a short period of use I was able to get it unlocked (by T-Mobile) so I could use other SIM cards in it.

Posted by
31819 posts


Yes, you should be able to reuse the phone on this trip with a new SIM card, as most (all?) European phones are sold unlocked. You can buy a SIM card from one of the Italian networks (TIM, Wind, etc.) or use a SIM from one of the travel phone firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Telestial, Mobal or EuroBuzz.

It's likely that the previous SIM card has expired, which is common if they're not used for set period of time. One other thing to check is the battery. Be sure to give it a charge prior to the trip.

Posted by
30282 posts

By no means are all phones sold in Europe unlocked on initial sale, but that is the case on many PAYG (pay as you go) phones and all "sim free" phones which need a sim but are sold without one so you can get the sim you want.

Posted by
47 posts

Hi, all. Just want to say thanks for responding to my question.
Anyone else out there, I'd welcome any additional hints and direction.
Re: Android phone, I've heard this before, but not sure I can use it with my Sprint service. Will look into it. But right now, want to keep-it-simple with my little red phone from Rome Airport. THANKS!

Posted by
5473 posts

You can certainly get Android phones with your Sprint service in the US. And the new ones tend to have GSM capabilities so they will work in Europe, too - just buy a SIM card when you get over there in whatever country you are in and use it in your Android. Get back to the US and use it as your Sprint cell phone again.

Someday - think about this kind of upgrade.