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Smart phone in Europe

We are going to NW Europe. We have an Apple 4S smart phone. We do not want to make calls or use data. We want to take pictures and send emails when we are in a wifi zone. Is this possible without expense? What do I have to do to my setting so I do not get any charges? Thanks
Chuck

Posted by
9110 posts

Turn Cellular Data OFF. Don't mess with anything else.

Posted by
32244 posts

Chuck, I'm assuming your iPhone 4S is with a network that will work in Europe? Verizon 4S phones can be configured for use in GSM areas, but I'm not sure about Sprint? As you don't want to make or receive calls, I'd suggest putting the phone in "Airplane Mode" and then switching ONLY the Wi-Fi "on" when you need it. If you only turn the Cellular data "off", anyone that dials your home number will reach you in Europe (assuming your phone will operate there) and YOU will pay for each incoming call. Billing is usually incremented "per minute", so if a call is 1M:01S, you'll be billed for two minutes. You may want to touch base with the C.S. people at your cell network, as they may have some suggestions. Cheers!

Posted by
995 posts

You learn something new every day! With us it is the opposite - the caller gets charged, not the receiver...

Posted by
32244 posts

Chuck, Which cell network are you with? Another option you might consider...... Subscribe to a voice or text travel plan - this brings the roaming costs down to a reasonable level for occasional use (usually about $1 per minute). However, leave Cellular Data switched "off" and leave Airplane mode in it's normal state. For this method to work, you'd have to INSIST that your usual contacts NOT call you when you're travelling! If you're used to getting a lot of calls on your Cell, the roaming costs can add up quickly. It's also darn annoying to be awakened by calls in the wee hours of the morning from some inconsiderate moron that forgot to check the time difference. You could also call forward all calls to voice mail, and just use text, which is about the cheapest method. If a relative has a health issue, tell them to send a text. I find that better than E-mail, as it's more of a "real time" communications method. I receive messages quickly, rather than when I might get around to checking my E-mail. Again, you may want to speak with the C.S. folks at your cell network for an explanation of the best options. Cheers!

Posted by
32244 posts

@Jim, In the example I used above, the caller would simply be making a local call in their usual area code. There would typically be no charge if the call was made from a land line. Someone calling from another cell phone would be charged according to the terms of their cellular plan. Most people these days have plans which allow a set number of local calls each month for a set price (at least here in Canada). In the above scenario with an incoming call, the cellular network would "search & find" the phone and transfer the call to where ever the phone is. When a phone is switched on in a new area, it "registers" with the network within a minute or two and will establish service if it's "allowed" to. The network therefore always knows where the phone is. Billing, call duration and other details would be recorded by the visited network, who would then bill the user's home network in accordance with the Transferred Account Procedure and whatever agreements they've negotiated. The home network then bills the user in accordance with the terms of their plan (with a suitable mark-up of course). I've travelled with a cell phone since about 2004 both in North America and Europe, so I've experienced the way the system has worked in my case. Cheers!

Posted by
9110 posts

I have two problems with Ken's method. 1. It kills the phone so nobody can contact you. You could just tell people not to call you unless it's really important. If you get an unwanted call, it'll stiff you two bucks a minute (if you're not on an international voice plan). You can get rid of them easily in that amount of time. Auntie Louise could die while you're gone and you might want to know about it right away. 2. Dorking with the Airplane Mode involves turning it on, then turning on something else. When you're done you have to back out and the potential exists to screw up. Somewhat of an example: I turned international data on for a projected minute of use in Schiphol a while back, then started sprinting for the gate. Since I didn't switch it back off, I was in international data roaming until we got above the antennae. What should have been a two or three buck planned expense was a hundred dollar surprise.

Posted by
5697 posts

Re Ed's objection to not getting calls -- we just told family and friends to EMAIL with any urgent issues and checked emails daily using wi-fi spots.

Posted by
545 posts

We just did this last Spring in Germany with the same phone. Go into "Settings" and switch Airplane Mode to "ON." Don't change that setting until you are back in the US. I also went to "General" and switched "Cellular" to "Off." WiFi was frequently available and more than adequate for reading and sending emails and checking for travel information on the internet. We also took and emailed photos. There were no expenses and no data was used against our account.

Posted by
796 posts

Yes, i just use airplane mode,When on the plane. I think I did turn cellular data off, then used wi fi. I had no surprises in charges after the trip. Others have made good suggestions. I have used the compass a few times when lost with a cheap hotel map! Worked well, so I did carry it with me when out & about during the day.

Posted by
1626 posts

My husband and I took our 4s iphones to Europe and mostly just used wifi at our hotels. We are with Verizon so I called Verizon customer service and signed my husband's phone up for the $25 data plan for 100MB, as a just in case. But Verizon walked us through how to turn the data off, use wi-fi and still receive calls and texts. If you use airplane mode I believe that turns everything off, not just data. We received a couple inbound calls (from numbers we didn't recognize) and chose not to answer them, so no roaming charges. As it turned out, I'm glad we'd signed up for the data, as our Garmin GPS "lost" Europe and we needed google maps the last day we had the rental car.

Posted by
9363 posts

I just turn airplane mode on (which shuts off everything), then turn on wifi. Worked perfectly all over the UK and Spain.