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Using a phone in France

I have a tracfone. I want to be able to call my travel partner, should we get separated or another number in France if necessary. She has an iPhone. Do not need to make or receive calls from US. What is the best solution?

Posted by
2136 posts

Who is her carrier?

We have Verizon and signed up for their International Plan. You can receive calls for free, but if you call, it starts a 24 hour meter that costs $10.00. After that, until you call again, the meter (and charges) end.

I hope someone will chime in on your tracfone.

Posted by
1858 posts

Tracfones are basically burner phones you can buy at Target and other retail outlets.

Posted by
3 posts

Don't worry about calling. It's very pricey. Just send texts. Make sure your carrier will support texts in France. Not sure if a trac phone will be useful in France. You can probably buy something like a trac phone in the airport and use that. You need to check if your phone will work in France.

Posted by
11294 posts

Be careful not to mix up two different things - phone network (carrier) and phone model.

The US networks are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Tracfone is a "virtual operator," meaning they do not have their own network, but lease time on other networks. The Tracfone system does not roam abroad, meaning your Tracfone - regardless of which model it is, and which network it uses in the US - will only work on Wi-Fi when abroad. So, you cannot make or receive standard calls or texts with Tracfone.

If your Tracfone is unlocked and if it has the right frequencies, it can work abroad, on a foreign network. To do this, you would buy a French SIM card and insert it into your phone. You would then have a French phone number and phone plan.

An iPhone is a model of phone, which is available for multiple networks and virtual operators. It has the technology to work abroad. Whether it will or not, and at what cost, depends on the US network it's with, and the exact terms of that plan. If using the US network abroad is too expensive or not possible, and if the phone is unlocked (some iPhones are, some aren't), you can buy a French SIM for it.

So, tell us more, and we can offer some options. Did you buy your phone from Tracfone or from someone else, and EXACTLY which model and phone do you have? What network is your travel partner using in the US? Are texts OK, or do you want or need to make calls? Will you also be wanting or needing internet when you are away from Wi-Fi? The answers to these questions will help determine the best answer for you.

Yes, it is confusing and complicated. Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" solution.

Posted by
32244 posts


It would help to know which network your TracPhone is configured for? If your phone uses AT&T or T-Mobile, it should theoretically work in Europe, although TracPhone may not allow international roaming. If your phone uses Verizon or Sprint, it will not work in Europe as it uses older CDMA technology. You'll have to check with your carrier.

As your travel partner uses an iPhone, that's an easier option. Which network is the phone used on? Your travel partner should check with her network regarding international roaming. Using text messaging and the occasional voice call to numbers within France with the iPhone shouldn't be too expensive.

Have you ever thought of upgrading your phone?