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Does anyone have a quad band GSM phone model they would recommend? (Or used AT&T International?)

Ideally I'd like a "smartphone" so I can use a bit of data. I plan to do minimal texting and calling, just have the phone for emergencies or to pull up a map if I'm feeling really lost.

I did a preliminary search on ebay and Amazon and saw a model that seemed promising at around $40 but then there reviews weren't so great. Lots of dropped calls, etc.

If I'm looking at $70 or above, I almost think it may be worth just adding on AT&Ts international options?

$30 for 120 MB data
$30 for 30 min calling
$10 for 50 sms text

Not great rates, but would probably cover what I need, without extra hardware.
I would only plan to use it locally, not for calling the US. I plan to FaceTime or iMessage my family over wi-fi.
Thoughts?

Posted by
122 posts

Oh, also, I'm going to Austria and it seems that A1 and TMobile are the major operators there, but both sites are in German and I don't see an option to switch them to English - therefore, I haven't been able to really check out phones/rates/packages on those sites.

Posted by
9110 posts

Keep it simple and stay with what you have. By the time you pay for the phone, then get a card, you're going to be pretty close, anyway. Then you have to use up your new minutes to call everybody and tell them your new number, which is going to take time out of your life as well.

Maps are going to eat your tail on data. Use screenshots loaded from wifi or get non-data-using preloaded map apps - - they'll show you a gps location without using data.

You know that the ATT voice plan just drops you calls to a buck a minute, rather than two dollars per, right ?

Posted by
122 posts

You know that the ATT voice plan just drops you calls to a buck a
minute, rather than two dollars per, right ?

What?

Posted by
9110 posts

Trust me. Both of our phones are on international voice year-round. Hardly anything's ever on a data plan. Thirty bucks gets a dollar a minute, and overages are also at the same price. No plan is two dollars (for Europe) I think, certainly not less.

Posted by
122 posts

Untrustworthy? My, you've taken my confusion so personally!

I didn't know you were comparing it to "rest of the world" calling. I had only been looking at the European chart since that's where I was traveling to.

Posted by
9110 posts

Unless I'm screwed up, the scoop I gave was for the European region.

But I was wrong -- the non-plan rate is $1.50 per.

Posted by
122 posts

Right. The same scoop in my original post. Hence my confusion when you were talking about "dropping from $2 a minute".

Posted by
9110 posts

Summary for voice plan:
Pay thirty dollars, all calls are a dollar but first thirty minutes are paid for by the initial thirty dollars. All subsequent/additional minutes are a dollar a minute.

Have no plan:
All calls are $1.50 per minute.

Two more things:
You have to turn the plan off or it will continue to run forever.
It runs by billing cycle, not by dates used. If your trip spans two cycles, you pay twice.

Posted by
122 posts

Oooh, double billing cycle, now that would be bad! I'll have to double check my dates, but I may have that problem.

Posted by
31467 posts

J.,

Based on what you've posted, it sounds like the easiest and simplest solution (and possibly the cheapest) will be to just get the appropriate add-ons for your AT&T account. The comments from Ed provide a good idea what to expect, something I can't comment on as I don't use AT&T.

If you did want to look at a basic voice & text phone (no data or pulling up maps), you might have a look at the Motorola V-551 on E-Bay. I've always found that to be a reliable phone, although the predictive text entry takes a bit of practice. You could also consider getting a phone from one of the travel phone firms ($30 for the phone and $5 for the SIM).

Posted by
2081 posts

j,

If all you want is a new toy, then just buy one - im an enabler.

as far as maps go, google had updated their google maps app so you can save several maps for "offline" use. There are size/memory restrictions, but worse case, you can save it piecemeal.

from what i have learned is that many of the people in europe text more so since its less expensive. at least thats what i was told from the locals.

happy trails.

Posted by
122 posts

@Dick I would totally go the free phone with with SIM purchase in Austria if I could actually read the web pages and see if that's an option. :) I do have two German women moving to my city to participate in a year long program in August so I may have them look over the sites for me and help me figure out a few options.

@Ray - no, not really. I mean, if I could do a "free" phone when I get there, I would. I really actually don't want to buy a phone the more I think about it, so I also just threw the question on Facebook to see if anyone had a phone I could borrow and a friend said that he has an older unlocked Android phone that he used in Ireland that he'd be willing to loan me if it still works. He also may upgrade before I leave in October and said I could take his current phone if he does that.

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks. I think I'd prefer to use my friend's phone since it's free and just buy a SIM. But if that doesn't work out, I'll keep this all in mind.

Posted by
57 posts

Hi J, I had good luck with T-mobile (good rates and coverage) in years past, but used ATT international plan last year when I upgraded the family to Iphones which were not avaialbe on T-mobile at that time. If you already have ATT then I'd go with their international plan to make things easy. You'd only save money buying a phone in Europe if you are staying there over a month or have an unlocked smartphone that you can buy a SIM for.
A couple things to know about the ATT international plan:
1. If you go over on data or phone calls it automatically renews for another 120MB/30 minutes at the same rate so no risk of a huge bill at a higher rate if you go over.
2. Text messages between Iphones are free and don't count towards the 50 texts for $10. Data does apply so don't send picture messages unless on WiFi.
3. Make sure cellular data is on. This is so that you can text with others you are travelling with and you do not need wifi. Also, don't read emails except on WiFi.

4. Use Skype for making calls both locally and long distance. It was bout 4 cents a minute and otherwise free if on WiFi.
5. Text messages you receive are free except for data. Only texts you send to non-iphones count against the 50
6. It may be different now, but one big problem with ATT plan is that the plan is by the month. So if you are travelling across two different months then they will charge you the fee for each month you want it active. You might be able to negotiate with ATT if its only a couple days in one month and usage most in the following month but I could not get them to budge so I had to go without service for a couple days until June 1 came around.
6. Also, if you have an I[hone put the mail setting to manually fetch email vs. automatically "pushing" updates which will consume data especially if you get lots of emails. By doing this you can upload emails when you are on WiFi only and save data.
I only purchased the $10 text option and phone call option in case someone from home called. I could not count on not getting a call so buying these options was insurance from a larger bill.

3.