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kevinr (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 08:15

I am travelling from US to Europe this summer and have done some initial research in order to be up and running with mobile service.
I have a Quad Band phone (Motorola V188 w/ T-Mobile service) and have already received an unlock code from my carrier. My quandary is this... I will be arriving in France and spending a week there before reaching my real destination of Germany. All signs point to a German SIM Card (T-Mo's Xtra Click&Go and O2 seem like good ones) although I believe the activation process requires me to be in Germany the first time I insert the card and turn on my phone. Can I activate a German SIM Card from France??
My other options would be to get a French based prepaid card, activate it upon arrival and then pay a little more while in Germany. Or, get an international card. Any recommendations?
Also, if I am able to use the Click&Go service, does anybody know a link where I can get one that is in english? The site I've found is in german which doesn't necessarily pose a problem ordering it, but I gather that all the instructions concerning activation, voicemail, etc would also be in german.

Thanks in advance,
-kevin
   
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 13:23

I would go for an international card ESPECIALLY is you will be travelling to other countries. I cannot imagine you will be JUST in Gemany after the week in France. So many possibilities, you know. You'd be paying a lot more with the French SIM in Germany and other lands.

Now, if you are staying for months and only in Germany, then go for the German card. The ALDI TALK seems to be the best/cheapest GERMAN offer at this time for TALK, but there are 2 new MVNOs starting and they are in the D1 network and may be better. Best may depend on your use of SMS. Others may be cheaper if you plan heavy SMS use.

What attracts you to the Click and Go? Do you have friends on D1 already?

Gute Reise!

Stan


Phones: DASH V3 (3)
Service: US T-MO post paid (2) - US T-MO prepaid (2) - UM+ - TravelSIM DE SIMYO - DE SUNSIM T-Mobile DE
Calling Cards: Onesuite Enjoyprepaid AT&T MCI Mobivox
   
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kevinr (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 18:00

Not necessarily -- don't know what my friends will end up setting up. D1, from what I've read, is one of the more common and I am on T-Mobile in the States. I imagine text messaging will be my most frequent form of use as it is cheaper than me calling someone.
I will actually be in France for 1 week, Germany for 2-1/2 weeks, and back to France for 1/2 week. I anticipate 90% of my cell use in Germany (World Cupping w/ friends) with a few calls back to my family in France and some calls to the US for work.
I guess an International card would be best -- any recommendations for that? What I've found on sites like cellularabroad.com it seems like this is a more expensive option. (Even German SIM cards seemed more expensive on US sites like cellularaborad versus the Click&Go on the German site that links from this site): http://www.t-mobile.de/xtra-clickandgo/tar...15717-_,00.html

Thanks, Stan. Much appreciated.
-kevin
   
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 20:19

I don't think there is any clear answer. HOWEVER, either wait until you are in Germany or France for a local card or purchase one on Ebay --- cheap. There is a person selling D1 cards without any balance for total of $30 shipping included. That is much too high. He seems to keep selling them, however. I don't understand it. Stuff from dealers lioke the one you mention is most often too expensive.

If your German friends want to call YOU in Germany, a German card would be better for them.

If you call back to the US you will not want to do this on your German SIM - about $2 per minute I believe. Your best bet is a calling card and to use a land line phone. ATT, MCI, Enjoyprepaid, Onesuite are all OK. They all have toll free access in France AND Germany.

As you may know, calling foreign cell phones is often more expensive than calling land lines. To German land lines 5 cents / minute is a decent rate; you will be hard-pressed to find a rate to a German cell for < 22 cents / minute.

As for international cards I have a UM card and have been happy with that. In conjuction with callbackworld.com, you can call the US for 14 cents per minute and be reached at that rate from the US. That has a Liechtenstein #. Others seem to favor the Isle of Man products, but you want to make sure you have free inbound in FR and DE.

Stan


Phones: DASH V3 (3)
Service: US T-MO post paid (2) - US T-MO prepaid (2) - UM+ - TravelSIM DE SIMYO - DE SUNSIM T-Mobile DE
Calling Cards: Onesuite Enjoyprepaid AT&T MCI Mobivox
   
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 20:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinr
Not necessarily -- don't know what my friends will end up setting up. D1, from what I've read, is one of the more common and I am on T-Mobile in the States. I imagine text messaging will be my most frequent form of use as it is cheaper than me calling someone.
If you PREFER texty messaging, then you will NOT want the UM card - 49 ecents to send a message.

Look at the German National Operators and see which one has the lowest SMS price. I think it will be Aldi, but I am not sure.


Phones: DASH V3 (3)
Service: US T-MO post paid (2) - US T-MO prepaid (2) - UM+ - TravelSIM DE SIMYO - DE SUNSIM T-Mobile DE
Calling Cards: Onesuite Enjoyprepaid AT&T MCI Mobivox
   
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Triband81 (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2006, 22:25

T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and O2 all charge 19 cents/SMS to each other's networks. ALDI charges 15 cents:

http://www.medionmobile.de/tarif/body.htm
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 25-05-2006, 00:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triband81
T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and O2 all charge 19 cents/SMS to each other's networks. ALDI charges 15 cents:

http://www.medionmobile.de/tarif/body.htm
I think SIMYO and BLAU charge 11 ecents for national (German) SMS. Both charge 16 ecents per TALK minute but are in 1800. I also have SIMYO and coverage in major cities is decent.

One kicker is that you must order SIMYO online and have a German address. I used the address of the hotel and they sent the card and it was easily registered.

There are other cards coming on the scene - May 29 - rewecom and penny martk.

Again, I think the best solution is a combination of calling cards and SIM or SIM(s).
You might be able to pick up a French SIM, too. Then you could always sell them on Ebay once you return. The SIMYO is somewhat problematic for resale, however, as it is registered to you and the transfer is expensive.

Stan


Phones: DASH V3 (3)
Service: US T-MO post paid (2) - US T-MO prepaid (2) - UM+ - TravelSIM DE SIMYO - DE SUNSIM T-Mobile DE
Calling Cards: Onesuite Enjoyprepaid AT&T MCI Mobivox
   
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kevinr (Offline)
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Default 25-05-2006, 06:34

Okay, perhaps I am more confused now -- only because I realize there are more options!
Most likely scenario for me at this point:
A. Buy international SIM card (all of them listed in the "International Cards" section had their pros and cons; I'll just have to figure out the main type of usage I will be doing and pick one). This will allow me to activate my phone right away and send out my number prior to even leaving the States. And I'll have english speaking customer service to help me along the way. I can then use the phone while in France at the beginning of my trip.
B. Buy a calling card. If I need to call back to the States I'll find a land line and use the calling card to avoid the expensive rates.

Two questions remain:
1. Would it even be possible, if I ended up going with a German SIM card, to activate the service upon arrival in France? Further research makes me believe I need to be in Germany the first time I turn on my phone with the German SIM card.
2. How does callbackworld.com work? Is this something I can use from a mobile? I gather from their site that I call a US number, they automatically reroute the call when it is answered so that my carrier treats it as an incoming call? Or something.
3. One of the international SIM card providers said shipping would take between 5-15 days. Does that seem typical? If so, I better do this soon!!

Thanks a ton for all the help. I have no idea how people figured this type of stuff out prior to forums like this. Oh, I'll check out Ebay too.

-kevin
   
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MATHA531 (Offline)
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Default 25-05-2006, 09:54

Last year I bought a vodafone DE sim card and actually inserted it for the first time while I was in the US and it seemed to be active from the moment it went into the phone...no special activation was necessary....I exchanged e mails with them to set the voice prompts (as opposed simply the phone) to English so the phone could be active in France from the moment you get off the plane.

Vodafone DE also is participating in Vodafone Passport (although they use a long German word instead of passport starting with an R)...I was able to activate it from the USA by figuring out from the web site (even though I don't speak a word of German) how to do it...nice thing about Vodafone passport is that you simply pay at 0,75? surcharge (not per minute) on receiving calls so if somebody calls you on the Vodafone DE sim while you are in France and you speak for 20 minutes you only pay 0,75? for the entire call! Calls to Germany while in France are billed at local German rates (with the 0,75? surcharge)...now the Italian web site for Vodafone IT says vodafone passport is scheduled to end on June 1, don't know if that's a local Italian decision or throughout the vodafone system but you can check with them....also you have to be roaming in France on SFR and SFR only to get the vodafone passport rate...but the nice thing is you can top up while in France using SFR vouchers (one of the reasons I desperately needed and got the English voice prompts)

As far as callback world here is how it works. They give you a US direct dial number which you dial in the usual manner (if on say UM that would mean via a callback, you know you dial the number, get a message call barred or something like that and then get a callback)...anyway upon dialing the US number it rings...let it ring once or twice and you hang up. No charge from your sim as the call has not been completed...second later the computer calls you back on the number it is keyed to, in this case your international sim, and you hear a pleasant female voice saying to enter the number you are calling followed by the number sign key(#) now and voila the call goes through. Remember at this point you are receiving presumably in a no roaming zone so there is no charge from the sim. If you are using callback world on united mobile, at present, the charge is 14? US billed in 6 second increments not raised to the highest minute. It is our hope here that unlike others (such as enlinea) this rate will hold...as you are probably aware of many companies have dramatically raised rate to Liechtenstein mobiles for what reason nobody knows (but of course we can all guess)...also callbackworld will give you for free something called pin2dest where they give you a US toll free number which you or any of your friends can dial and then you enter a pin and the call goes through to the mobile it is keyed to (presumably United Mobile) at the stated rate (14?/minute billed in 6 second intervals).

For the most part, at least for me, it has worked well recently but others have reported sporadic problems with united mobile...other international cards like those in the Isle of Man also are possibilities although callback world rates to UK numbers is in the vicinity of 30?/minute but calls to UK mobiles are, of course, probably more likely to be trouble free...then there's O9 in Iceland where enlinea (a competitor of callbackworld) is only charging 10?/minute.

Another problem that has popped up with any of the callback services is sometimes the callback comes so quickly before the system has had a chance to reset the callback is never heard by you but goes into voicemail; CBW has worked to alleviate this problem by delaying the callback and for the most part it works fine on UM; O9 has had this problem on enlinea....a way around this is to trigger the callback with another phone...even if you are roaming say on T Mobile US or Cingular, so what, the triggering call is never completed so youdon't have to pay their absurd roaming charges.

Finally, for some weird reason, even though most of the ld carriers at least in the US have dramatically increased their charges to Liechtenstein mobiles (if the call goes through at all), AT&T on its $1/month international plan, still only charges 11?/minute to call Liechtenstein mobiles and service has been excellent and AT&T connections are very reliable and clear....so, for example, if you are interested in call forwarding to a United Mobile sim from your US landline, if AT&T is your ld carrier, it can be set up. I know my US landline provider is Verizon which does allow international call forwarding (via AT&T) and even allows me to set it up remotely so when I am in Europe, I can have calls forwarded to me from my home US number to my UM mobile for only 11?/minute.

Do remember the situation right now is very much in disorder as the eu is poking its nose into international romaing within Europe and to try to keep from having international roaming rates dismantled completely, companies are rushing out new plans almost daily to try to show how much better the free market of ripping people off is better than eu regulation.

By next summer, there is a chance, there will be no roaming charges at all by European carriers while anyplace in Europe so keep in touch.
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