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Lost a cell phone. Need to buy a new one in France

All right, so one of us is down a cell phone and it would be nice to have a new one for him since our trip is long.

TMobile is our carrier. Can’t find a TMobile store in Paris…am I missing one?

Our next city is Stuttgart. I see a TMobile store there.

What are our options? Can we just go to the Apple Store in Saint Germain and buy an iPhone there? Will it need a SIM from T-Mobile to work? Would we fare better if we waited for the TMobile store in Stuttgart?

Help is appreciated. I’m looking for a phone that will work right away, with minimal hoops to jump through.

He does not need to make calls with it. It’s really just for texting. We can also just use WhatsApp for texting and don’t truly need access to the TMobile network for regular texting, although we would not mind that.

We’re happy to just buy a new iPhone here if it will be something that we can easily keep in use in the US as his old phone was a 5(!!!!) and ready for replacement.

Posted by
5687 posts

There are no T-Mobile stores in Europe (actually, there is "T-Mobile" in Europe, but even though it's the same parent company, it's not the same company.). You need a T-Mobile US SIM card to make anyone phone work with your T-Mobile phone number. You can't get one of those in Europe.

However, you might be able to buy a phone in Europe and obtain an eSIM from T-Mobile, without getting a physical SIM card for it. Here is more info. Contact T-Mobile US support for help. Just make sure any phone you buy in Europe will work in in the US (a new iPhone should work at home in the US even though it will be the European version).

Looks like you can call T-Mobile support internationally by dialing +1-505-998-3793 (free call, if you have access to another phone).

There may be other ways to contact T-Mobile support without calling them, but if you can call, that is probably the easiest.

Posted by
207 posts

You need to be aware that iphones sold in US are not exactly the same than iphones sold in other regions. The difference is the support of some 5G and LTE frequency bands.
Refer to

Standard voice and 5G/LTE data services will work as expected but that differences will impact advanced features like “Extended Range LTE/5G” and “Ultra Capacity 5G” promoted by T-Mobile US.
It means that your “European” iPhone will not support that features once back in US. I can’t say, how relevant they are.

Whatever phone you decide for, if it supports eSIM you should be able to get it from your provider as mentioned by Andrew H. Otherwise, you could go for a prepaid data SIM card for the time of your travel.

Posted by
7012 posts

Valerie, one other thought - if he's just using it for texting, what about getting an iPad mini and just using the wifi (or tethering to your phone) for texting, etc.? if his previous iPhone was backed up to the cloud, he could use that to transfer data to the iPad. I realize it's more cumbersome to bring along, but they're pretty small and that way you could wait and get him a phone once you're back home.

Posted by
2651 posts

Thanks, all! I somehow thought the technology of acquiring a phone might be more than we can handle.

We are just going to wait it out and do the trip with one phone.

@Mardee...we do have a mini with us for him but it's bigger than our teeny bag for day use:)

Posted by
857 posts

T Mobile's parent company is Deutsch Telekom. They have a partner w Orange in France, I believe.

If you have twitter, TFORCE is a GREAT resource (@tmobilehelp) and can point you in the right direction, too.

Posted by
11485 posts

Valerie, we have purchased unlocked phones in Europe and then bought a US SIM when we returned to the US. Our European phones worked fine here as well. Your just cash out of pocket, of course. No contract.

Posted by
14249 posts

Well, Valerie, no tech suggestions from me as you know how low my tech skills are, lol. Just wanted to send you a mental hug for support, lol. And an eyeroll....😬🙄💕

Posted by
5687 posts

Buying an unlocked phone and getting a prepaid SIM in Europe is easy (well, easier in some countries than others).

The hard part is getting that phone connected to your T-Mobile phone number - that's really what I was addressing.

If the phone has been lost/stolen, I would have already contacted T-Mobile anyway to have the number blocked. If I lose my Android, I have the ability to login to it remotely and lock it or even wipe it to protect my privacy. I'm sure you can do something similar with an Apple phone.

Posted by
2651 posts

Thank you all. We’re just going to wait it out. It’s only a month - how many times could I lose track of Ron in a month?? LOL.

Hi Pam!!!!!!!

Posted by
4927 posts

How many times would you like to "lose track" of him? Now you have an excuse! 🤣🤣

Posted by
14249 posts

"how many times could I lose track of Ron in a month?? LOL"

"How many times would you like to "lose track" of him? Now you have an excuse!"

Both hilarious comments! Valerie, I don't suppose you have any Airtags you can slip in his pocket?

Posted by
648 posts

Pam: Your comment,
“ Valerie, I don't suppose you have any Airtags you can slip in his pocket?”
Probably said in jest, but really, an excellent low-cost solution to keeping track of each other.
Yet another reason to buy Air tags!