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Do US cell phones ring different to the person calling when you are in Europe?

When traveling outside of the US does your phone ring sound different to the person calling you? I know you need an international plan for the phone to work but I am wondering if there is a way to keep the fact that I am out of the country between me and my phone carrier?

Posted by
3803 posts

That is an interesting question. We have TMobile's international plan on our phones. I swear that the ring that I hear sounds different when I call my husband and he is out of the country and I am in the US. He says that when I am out of the country and he calls me, he hears no difference. Maybe it varies by carrier or maybe it varies by country because I am usually in Europe when he is calling me from the US and he is usually in Asia, Australia, or South America when I call him from the US. But then again, he only recognizes four hair colors (grey, red, blonde and brown) and says that salmon is a fish not a color and why not say orange so he might not be the most observant person for these kinds of details.

Posted by
1452 posts

My Edward D Jones guy was able to tell that I was in Mexico based on the ring tone, but he's pretty sharp

Posted by
15726 posts

It depends on where you are. In some countries the ring has an accent.

Posted by
5687 posts

Remember that US mobile providers do not actually have phone service in Europe. (Even T-Mobile is not technically the same company as the per-country T-Mobile's you find there.) They are all roaming on a partner; in France, your Verizon phone is roaming on Orange or something. So it wouldn't surprise me if the ring DOES sound different to the person calling.

Posted by
32273 posts

The ringback tone is generated by the switching network in each country based on their standards, so that's what the caller will usually hear. I've found when calling numbers in England that the distinctive double ring is heard, which duplicates the cadence of the ringer on the phone. I've never heard of any method that could be used to alter the ringback tone, although there certainly could be one.

One possibility might be to use a SIM other than that of your home network, such as one from iRoam - . If you get the free Canadian or U.S. number, the caller should hear a normal North American ringback tone. A few points to note however.....

  • your phone would have to be unlocked in order to accept a SIM from a different network.
  • you may not be able to get a large data allotment with these SIM's.

If their plans don't offer adequate data, you could use one of their inexpensive phones for voice & text, and use your smartphone in Airplane Mode with WiFi enabled for E-maiil and web browsing. Give them a call to see if this might work for you.

Posted by
11294 posts

Yes, when I call someone on their US cell phone, and they are abroad but I didn't know it, I often can tell they are not in the US the second I hear the ring.

I don't know if there's a way around this.