What is the best way to phone from Amsterdam & Sweden? I heard you can now purchase a discardable phone with minutes only costing .20 per minute.
Hi George, I don't know about the phone; my understanding is the minutes might be cheap but you have to buy the phone or have one that works and buy a card. Check the conversations on General Europe, but in the last 10 years I've bought prepaid phone cards in each country and dialed direct. It was as easy as knowing that our country code is 1. I talked to my husband from Florence for about 10 cents a minute from a public phone. Easy, quick (sold everywhere!) and I had a little souvenir to take home. People were offering to "take them off my hands" but I did]'t give them as I was afraid they might be scamming tourists by selling empty cards for a "reduced" price.
If you use cingular (now ATT) as your cell phone carrier in the US, you are using a GSM network phone which is required for all of Europe. Cingular can extend your phone roaming and call coverage for all of Europe at a reasonable rate. I did this in 2006 and made calls using my own cell phone from London, geneva, and Paris.
Ditto on cingular - used it in germany last year (almost better reception than at home!) While its not "cheap" it is easy and convenient. Its .99 or 1.29 per min (dep on if you take their 5.99 plan= cheaper - i didnt). Just dont make 1/2 hour phone calls too many times or you get a sizeable bill when you get home... but whatever! It worked - and it was great for making next-stop hotel RSVPs from anyplace. If you need to "phone home" for more than 10 min - go to a Post office or buy a calling card, or sled keep it short and send a long email from the cafe/hotel! cheers!
This cell phone nonsense has been beaten to death. Cingular/AT&T is evil in that they won't unlock your phones for you. T-Mobile will if you have a 3 month or older account in good standing. Unlocking means you can buy a prepaid cell phone card overseas, and get FAR better per minute rates than AT&T and T-Mobile's roaming rates. Plus you have a local phone number.
Otherwise, you can buy standard prepaid calling cards at TI's, travelex desks in airports and at many newsstands. You can then make inexpensive calls home or locally from payphones or other landline phones.
I have a phone from Mobal.com. You buy the phone for $49 and it comes with a permanent phone number, international SIM card (140 countries) and all adaptors for various parts of the world. You pay no monthly fee, don't have to purchase phone cards or find a phone booth, don't have to switch SIM cards as you change countries. All calls are billed to your credit card. My parents are borrowing it now and just called me from Finland. The reception was as clear as if they called from their house a couple of miles away. I'll be taking it next week to Spain, and then my sisters will be taking it to Ireland. And Rick Steves recommends it!
Mobal's per minute rate is expensive. $1.25 per minute incoming or local calls and $1.50 to call the US from most of western Europe? Text messages 80 cents? Yuck. If you're going to one or two countries, get one card in country, and roam with that in the 2nd country. Far cheaper. Try passport or explorer SIM cards (yes, they sell phones if you need one). Global use like Mobal (90+ countries). Incoming calls usually free, incoming text usually free, and outbound rates are 30 to 90 cents for most of Europe. Incoming, if charged, is just as inexpensive.
buy local prepaid calling cards and use a phone booth. cell phones are far too expensive. Amsterdam is tough and expensive for phone cards though(still less than cell phone). they have long distance cards that work only long distance and local cards that work only local.