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prepaid cell phone, Nextel, or phone card?

Best suggestions for England?


Posted by
32264 posts

Kris, I always travel with my "home" Cell phone, so that method would be my choice. I've used my Phone while "roaming" in England and other parts of Europe with no problems so far.

A bit of clarification is needed though. Were you planning on using a Prepaid Cell Phone from the U.S.? This might not be an option - AFAIK only those on contract plans can roam in Europe. This might have changed recently though, so check with one of the GSM carriers.

If you decide to travel with a Cell Phone, ensure this is a quad-band model, with a "world" Charger.


Posted by
9363 posts

"Best" depends on a lot of things. Most US cellphones don't work in Europe unless they are GSM phones. If they are GSM they must be "unlocked" so that you can purchase a British SIM card once you get there. Some carriers won't unlock them, and some phones don't have replaceable SIM cards. Some carriers offer an internation option (I'm thinking Nextel does), but the price might be prohibitive. Do you intend to use the phone regularly, or just have it for emergencies? How long are you traveling?

Posted by
10344 posts

If you are thinking of using your US cell phone in Europe, best to check with your service provider to confirm that your phone will work in Europe: it needs to be GSM-enabled, tri-band (or quad-band), and on a calling plan that includes international calls.

Posted by
10344 posts

In my previous post, I meant tri-band.

Posted by
59 posts

Cingular or T-Mobile. Travel anywhere in the world with your phone and you have your home number with you. Costs you no more than the calls you make.

With cingular international activation is free. They have a $5.99 discount plan which you can add to your plan and take it off when you get back. It is well worth the money as it saves 50-75% off the std call rates.

Posted by
147 posts

We've tried it two ways. Once in the country, go to a convenience store and you can buy a card really cheap. Sometimes it's in the form of a receipt with a pin number. The other way was to buy a rechargable cell phone off ebay from someone coming back. When you return, sell it on ebay to the next traveler. We didn't use the card too much, but it was cheap and we gave it to a cab driver when we left.

Posted by
32264 posts

Nancy, just to clarify a few points:

"If they are GSM they must be "unlocked" so that you can purchase a British SIM card once you get there"

It's not necessary for GSM phones to be unlocked, unless one wants to use a SIM from another network. I travel using "roaming" without any problems at all.

"Some carriers won't unlock them"

In my experience, most if not all Carriers will unlock their phones, however they usually charge a substantial amount for this, in order to discourage their customers from doing this. There are lots of unlocking options available on the net, in various price ranges depending on the phone.

"some phones don't have replaceable SIM cards"

Yes, that's true. CDMA phones don't use SIM cards, however ALL GSM phones have SIM cards.

Regarding NEXTEL phones, I believe Sprint/Nextel is a CDMA network which means that unless they offer a specific dual-technology phone such as the Motorola A840, their Phones will NOT work in Europe!