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Using an iPhone in Turkey

Am taking the Rick Steve's Best of Turkey in 13 days tour starting Oct 15 and am looking for advice/suggestions on the best way to use my iphone (AT&T carrier) to make phone calls to a landline in the US (need to keep in touch with my elderly mom). TIA

Posted by
3389 posts

Sign up for AT&T international plan for time you are abroad or download What’sApp, an app that you can use to place voice calls.

Posted by
3696 posts

You should be able to use one of AT&T's international roaming plans. They have a $10/day plan (only charged days you use the phone) and a $60/month plan that gives you 1GB of data, which should be enough for 13 days if you usually use WiFi. That plan charges you 35 cents/minute for calls, though.

To save the per-minute fee and talk for free as long as you want, you can install and use Google Hangouts to make free calls to US phone numbers, even when just on WiFi, without using AT&T at all. You can call even landlines. The other person doesn't need Hangouts - obviously they can't install it on a landline.

Try Hangouts before you leave to understand how it works. Call your mom with it once. FYI, sometimes you have to add a +1 to the front of US phone numbers when calling them from overseas.

AT&T may also support the WiFi Calling feature on your phone, so you can make and receive free calls to/from the US while on WiFi.

Posted by
3940 posts

Plans can vary, but with ATT I believe the basic offering is the Day Pass, basically $10 per day, only for the days you use data or phone/text. There is also the ATT Passport, for $60 you can get a 30 day package, 1 GB of data, texts, but the calls are ~0.35 per minute.

If you only need call and text, then you can also just use international roaming, I think it is about $1.25 a minute, not sure what texts are. Keep in mind, I do not believe you are charged for incoming calls and texts, so having her call you might be an option as well.

Posted by
1040 posts

Hi Nancy,
I'm booked on this tour also! My friend and I arrive on Oct. 11 and will stay in the tour hotel and hope to get over jet lag and do some sightseeing that will not be included on the tour. Depending on when you arrive, we may meet you before the tour. When do you arrive?
I will be bringing my iPhone as well but will have Verizon Travel Pass which has worked well for me on other European trips. Verizon charges $10/day for each 24 hour-period that I use the phone but email and texts are activated as well as calling of course.
This is exciting to meet someone on the forum before the tour.

Posted by
10119 posts

" Keep in mind, I do not believe you are charged for incoming calls and texts, so having her call you might be an option as well."

Check the terms of the EXACT AT&T plan you are using carefully.

Calls are definitely charged per minute, whether incoming or outgoing, unless you have them included (such as on the $10 per day plan).

Texts can sometimes come out of your allotment of domestic texts, so they can be free. In any event, they are definitely cheaper than calls. So, she can text you, and you can call her back for free using Google Hangouts. Note that when you call from Google Hangouts, it comes through as "private call," so alert people that it's a real call, not a scammer or spammer!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks to you all for the speedy replies! I truly appreciate it. And Judy B., hello! We arrive the evening of the 13th and will be staying in the tour hotel as well. You'll be a seasoned Istanbul traveller by then. Looking forward to meeting you!

Posted by
1374 posts

I have AT&T and used the Passport option on all of my trips. To clarify a point above, you are charged for incoming calls if you answer them. I get a lot of spam phone calls and let those go to voice mail (and yes, you're charged to collect your voice mail). Note that if you use iMessage on your iPhone and are not connected to wifi (that is, you use the cellular network), it uses data and counts toward the data allowance (same is true for Google Hangouts). Regular texts are free under the Passport plan and you can send images too.

Here's the AT&T page with details https://www.att.com/offers/international-plans/passport.html There is a FAQ linked on that page. If you think you'll be calling home a lot or spending a long time on the phone, you might want to look in to Skype - it's much cheaper for regular phone calls.

Posted by
1040 posts

It’s so nice to meet you, Nancy! I look forward to seeing you in Istanbul.

Posted by
1040 posts

Nancy,
I'm sending you a private message regarding Istanbul.
Judy