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Purchasing cell phone in Europe

We will be in Europe for a month visiting Italy, France and London. Is it possible to purchase a cell over there that can be used in all three countries? I use a "clam shell" Trac phone here. Yes, I'm not glued to the phone, and thus lack a lot of tech know how, but I do realize it is sometimes useful to be able to call hotels, museums, etc. Any suggestions?

Posted by
31271 posts


Yes, it is absolutely possible to buy a phone there that will work in all three countries. However, you'll deplete your time more quickly once you leave the country where the phone was purchased. Which country will you be starting in?

You could also buy a quad-band, unlocked GSM phone off E-Bay or Amazon, and then just buy a SIM when you get to Europe.

Another option would be to buy a phone with SIM from one of the travel phone firms such as iRoam, Cellular Abroad, Telestial or Mobal as that will provide you with a working phone as soon as you step off the plane. Their rates will be consistent across all the countries you're visiting.

Posted by
6562 posts

I just took my AT&T GSM phone and switched it over to a U.S. T Mobile $50 worldwide unlimited text and data plan. Voice calls are $.20 per minute. When I got home, I cancelled the service since there is no contract.
The service is seamless with U.S. cellphone service. Only problem was that our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter kept using her mother's cell phone to call Mimi in Budapest where it was 3:30 a.m.

Posted by
823 posts

Caveat on the T-Mobile recommendations, the "free" unlimited international data roaming is at 2G (128Kbps) speeds... At that data rate, you'll need unlimited TIME to load a web page.

Posted by
1455 posts

I disagree, as I just came back from Germany and Egypt using my Tmobile.
I actually was on 3G and even 4G in Germany, as it piggy backs off the local carrier. Never had an issue with the Tmobile SIM.

BTW: Have you tried using Tmobile? Or are you guessing?