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Prepaid Calling card in central Europe

Hi

I am planning a trip of around 20 days in Central Europe ( Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria). I have to select a Prepaid Calling Card to India. I have few doubts.

1) Is there any single card available which will work in all 7 countries above.
2) If not do I have to take a new card in every country.
3) If 2-3 cards can cover all area will be also fine.
4) Since I will be max for 2-3 days in a country, Minimum prepaid charge should be on lower side.

Please suggest suitable plan.

Thanks in Advance
Atul Bhide

Posted by
5636 posts

Since nobody else has any good ideas yet -- do you really NEED to phone home ? We just email every few days to keep in touch, using email at the hotel on our not-data-connected smart phones.

Posted by
7205 posts

Prepaid Phone Cards have been replaced with Mobile Phones that have the capability to call anywhere in the world. Email and Skype make communication almost effortless and mostly free of charge.

Posted by
9363 posts

I don't really call home anymore. I keep a blog, stay connected on Facebook, and I email. Since Europe is ahead of the US timewise, my parents and others at home can wake up to a post or an email written when they were sleeping. I never have to worry about catching someone when they were just headed out to work, or missing my calling window when they were home in the evening.

Posted by
8 posts

There are 2 reasons.

1) During 20 days of our stay we will be hiring a car and traveling, so will not be in wifi range all the time. And in case of emergency we need to have at least one working card with us.
2) Our young daughter will be alone in India and we need to be connected every day from different countries.

And by word Prepaid card I mean the mobile SIM only which will carry the prepaid balance.

Atul

Posted by
11261 posts

"And by word Prepaid card I mean the mobile SIM only which will carry the prepaid balance."

Just to be clear, when people speak of a "prepaid calling card," they are usually talking about a credit-card size card which costs €5, €10, or €20. It gives you a toll-free access number and a code. Using a land line (a pay phone or a hotel room phone, for instance), you dial the number, enter the code, and make your call. The cost of the call is cheap (maybe €0.05 per minute, plus a set up charge of €0.50 per call). When the value on the card is used up, you throw it away.

That's the kind of card Tim (and I) thought you were asking about. These still exist, but almost always only work in the country they are purchased in (there are exceptions).

If you mean a "prepaid SIM card," that's quite different. From now on, you should use the term SIM card or SIM, so you get what you want (if you go to a store asking for a "prepaid phone card," you'll probably get what I described above instead of what you want).

A SIM from any of the countries you listed will work in all the others, but at higher tariffs. And when you use a SIM card in its home country, receiving calls is free; in other countries, it's not. Within the EU, roaming charges are capped, so they can't go too high. Outside the EU, roaming charges can be huge (no regulations). However, since all of your countries are now in the EU, this would only be a problem if you took a day trip elsewhere (say to Bosnia-Herzegovina).

Some other issues to be aware of:

When you change SIM cards, you change phone numbers. Your daughter would need to learn your new phone number each time (you can text it to her cheaply, or e-mail it), and would need to be sure to dial it correctly to get through.

It can be very hard to refill a SIM outside its home country (in the country it's easy). In theory, most SIM operators have websites and you can refill with a credit card. In practice, the sites don't always work, only work with certain cards, etc.

So, what you can do is buy a cheap SIM in your first country. When it runs out of credit, just buy a new one in the country you're now in, and let your daughter know the new number.

One way around some of these issues (but creating other problems), is to use an "International SIM" such as TravelSim or MaxRoam. This way you have one number that doesn't change, and you can refill from anywhere. You can also save it for future trips. The costs per minute are higher, however. And the costs for data are very high (you didn't mention data, but with a local SIM it's much cheaper).

For more information, a great source is the forums on Prepaid GSM. However, they can get very technical - don't be afraid to ask for clarification: http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=22

Here is their list of international SIM cards: http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/international.php

One that isn't on that list is KnowRoaming, which is a sticker you put on your current SIM (requires an unlocked phone). A friend of mine is using this and is pleased, and it has pretty good rates: https://www.knowroaming.com/

And here's the lists of each country's providers and plans (start by learning about the first country you're going to): http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/operators.php

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks a lot Harold for indepth reply

It will help me in selecting the right sim.

Atul

Posted by
518 posts

One way around some of these issues (but creating other problems), is to use an "International SIM" such as TravelSim or MaxRoam. This way you have one number that doesn't change, and you can refill from anywhere. You can also save it for future trips. The costs per minute are higher, however. And the costs for data are very high (you didn't mention data, but with a local SIM it's much cheaper).

Yes, I have tried this too with good results/experience. The one I used is from OneSim and the number is an Estonia based number. In addition to calls, it also comes with other helpful services, such as a live language translation service, voicemail, and you can even pay extra to have a local number assigned. For example, I am from California, USA. If my family back home wanted to call me on my OneSim chip phone, they'd have to make a long distance call to my Estonian number. However, I can have a local California number assigned to the chip so that my family can call me as if making a local call for them.