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Which cell phone

I will be going to England and Italy in late April, and I was wondering if I only use wi-fi on my own phone could there be any charges from Verizon?

Posted by
5645 posts

No Verizon charges if you keep the phone in airplane mode then turn on WiFi the whole time.

What a shame, though, not to have the full use of your phone. Most Verizon phones are still unlocked, FYI (Verizon is starting to lock new ones again for a limited amount of time), and you could buy a SIM in the UK and probably use the same SIM with no roaming charges in Italy.

Posted by
5697 posts

After Andrew H's advice, I got a Vodafone NL SIM for a trip to France and Germany last year -- popped it in and bought a low-cost data/ calls /texts plan for the month. Will be using it again next month.

Posted by
613 posts

EU & USA cell phone systems are incompatible. Call your provider to see what's what. If your phone isn't useful, check out one sim.

Posted by
824 posts

"EU & USA cell phone systems are incompatible. Call your provider to see what's what. If your phone isn't useful, check out one sim."

Too simplistic of an answer.

Most EU countries have GSM cell networks while Verizon, Sprint and several others in the USA use CDMA cell technology. In the USA, AT&T and T-Mobile operate GSM networks. However, many modern smart phones, including most late-model iPhones, have both technologies built in. Popping a GSM SIM card in an iPhone (and some other smart phones) disables the CDMA SIM and enables the GSM transceiver to function.

Another option, if you travel internationally frequently, is to purchase a travel phone. You can either get a cheap/used unlocked GSM smartphone and purchase pre-paid SIM cards in the countries you visit or buy a Google-fi phone which works in over 200 countries and has call/data/text rates as competitive as most pre-paid plans. The benefits of getting a Google-fi phone is that calls to/from the USA are free where ever you're at and you know the phone number ahead of time.

Posted by
8026 posts

Or just use WhatsApp. I believe it’s still free.

Prior to departing upload to your phone and make certain all the family members you wish to stay in touch with do the same.

I always use it when I’m abroad AND when I return home. iPhone 7 on Verizon.

This morning Was texting folks in the U.K. Sharing photos of today’s LA Marathon.

Research and see if you think it will work for you.

Posted by
2676 posts

Your solution has much to do with what you want your phone to do. In my case I want a variety of people in the US-relatives, friends, investment advisors, etc.-to be able to reach me at any time on my cell phone number. Any solution which involves a SIM (new telephone number) or a travel phone and having to notify many people of that number, is a non-starter for me. Therefore I go the expensive route, getting a Verizon international calling plan while I’m overseas. There are several and you can read about them here:

Posted by
1874 posts

We had AT&T plan so we could use our phone if necessary. However, 99% of the time we just used the Wi-Fi network.

Posted by
44 posts

If I use my At&t iphone and Whatsapp, must I pay a different rate while in Italy for calls and texts in Italy. What about texting to USA on my regular home plan with AT&T ? Would it be extra charges from Europe (Roaming etc)?

Posted by
37 posts

Easy to get a SIM for UK if you have an unlocked phone such as any iPhone after 5S.
I used giffgaff when we were in UK. They will send a SIM to your home in USA for free. You activate it here online and then buy a package, goodybags. Worked like a charm on my unlocked iPhone. I think they are on O2 network. My son was a student at Oxford and that's what the kids were using.

Posted by
117 posts

I ended up using Whatsapp while I had wifi in England and Italy. That worked out fine. I did need to turn on cellular one night because I used Uber for a ride from Luton all the way to Heathrow and I had to step away from the free wifi in the Luton airport to contact the Uber driver. I did not even see a charge from my phone company for that.

Posted by
884 posts

As work2travel said, T-Mobile phones work in Europe.

.We used it all over Ireland last year and will be taking on a Budapest to Amsterdam cruise soon. We'd been Verizon customers for 15+ years then they were going to charge my husband a $30 upgrade fee when he went to buy an new phone - full price not discounted. The rep at Costco informed him T-Mobile's coverage was getting close to Verizon's, they had a plan that saved us at least $15 a month and we'd get a two for one deal on new phones. Have noticed no loss of coverage including an extensive camping trip across the west. After a year, no regrets.

In Ireland we had free text and data. Calls are 20 cents a minute. So far have avoided the later.

Posted by
1 posts

So Alan, if I open a 24 hour Travel Pass on Verizon, all of my phone's functions will be available to me?

If anyone is interested, there is another free App you can use called LINE to keep in touch with family. This is useful, since you can just have the immediate people you may need to contact on there, instead of using your normal way of communicating, freeing you of extraneous stuff to do during your trip.


Posted by
32050 posts

"EU & USA cell phone systems are incompatible."

That's no longer the case. The previous incompatibility between GSM and CDMA phones has faded into history, although there are still several smaller networks in the U.S. that use CDMA2000. The major networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) which use LTE should work just fine in Europe.

Most phones these days operate using LTE / 4G technology and the phones are configured by the manufacturer to have the necessary frequencies for use in different networks. For example, a smartphone designed for use in North America will have a slightly different configuration than one sold in Europe. The basic choice for travellers is either to use a roaming plan with their home network or buy a local SIM on a PAYG plan (that requires an unlocked phone).

To answer your original question, if you place the phone in Airplane mode but turn the Wi-Fi back on, you shouldn't (in theory) receive any charges from Verizon since the phone wouldn't be able to sign onto the network. If you do enable the phone for voice, text or data, the situation changes. Keep in mind that smartphones conduct activities in the "background" such as checking E-mail or whatever, and that will use data. Even with a roaming plan, I normally leave cellular data switched "Off" when I'm in Wi-Fi areas so that I minimize the amount of data I'm using.

You might check with Verizon on the costs of their roaming plans. For a short holiday, it may be just as easy to use one of their roaming plans.