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katzen (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 16:32

My husband and I will be traveling in Germany, Switzerland and France this summer. I currently have a Cingular phone (company phone) that does not have International capabilities. I am looking into getting an upgrade to a quad phone (900/1800) ..... or do I even need to get a phone with 900/1800? I've been reading on Fodors as well as this great site as to how to go about having cell phone coveage while in Europe and it's very confusing to me. We don't need to be on the phone daily (i.e. for work). Our purpose for having the phone is to keep in touch with family back home ... touch base and in case of emergencies. We are hopping from hotel to hotel so we won't be staying in 1 place the whole time. I've read about using different sim cards, international phone cards, pre-paid phone cards from Sams club and I'm overwhelmed. Can anyone point me in a very direct, easy direction? I'd appreciate any help I could get. :wacko:
   
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Przemolog (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 16:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by katzen
My husband and I will be traveling in Germany, Switzerland and France this summer. I currently have a Cingular phone (company phone) that does not have International capabilities.* I am looking into getting an upgrade to a quad phone (900/1800) ..... or do I even need to get a phone with 900/1800?
If you need a cell phone in Europe (in most of the world, in fact ), it must support GSM 900 or GSM 900/1800 bands.
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 16:59

PLEASE take a good supply of US calling cards with you OR purchase some locally. Calls can be made toll free from hotel rooms (check, however, sometimes they also
bill for toll free calls) using these calling cards AND the cost is usually less than with
a cell phone.

You WILL need an unlocked GSM phone with at least 900, best 900 & 1800 for Europe. I have bought ALL my phones on Ebay. You could go with a quad band,
but that is not NECESSARY for Europe.

Leave the CINGULAR SIM out of the phone or leave the CURRENT phone in your
car or at home or with whomever takes you to airport in USA and picks you up. See below on SMS from that phone if it stays in the US.

IF you choose the european cell phone, I would recommend one of the international cards, UM, 09, travelsim, etc. You are travelling in multiple countries. If you go this route, make sure you have a high enough balance to cover anticpated costs BEFORE leaving.

Realize there is NO perfect solution. The trade-off is IF YOU CHOOSE FREE INBOUND, the calling party will probably have to pay more to reach you. One antidote is to have them send you an SMS to your european phone and request you call them. You might also consider Callbackworld if you go free inbound.

YACKIE (new) gives you a US number so you are easy to reach, BUT you will pay to receive calls. If you are cheap like me and don't expect many incoming calls, I'd go with the free inbound. If you have money to burn then this does not matter - if you or family will not be travelling soon again, then also look at the entry price. Why invest a bundle?

Bon voyage!

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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katzen (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 16:59

Thanks Przemolog. I'm afraid I phrased that wrong. I do understand that in order to make calls from Europe back to the US I will need a phone that supports GSM 900 or GSM 900/1800 bands. I was more or less wondering if there were other avenues to take (i.e. the prepaid phone card from Sams Club and such places that I've read about) that would make it easier as opposed to upgrading to a 900/1800 band phone for the sole purpose of our trip. I'm looking for an easy, cheap, no-fuss way to keep in touch (maybe twice a week) with family back home as well as being able to receive call in case of emergencies ... if a solution even exists. Thanks
   
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MATHA531 (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:02

Assuming you are on cingular, the easiest is simply to call them and activate international roaming...you keep the same number, people can reach you and you will pay $1.29/minute to make and receive calls. If it is truly simply for emergencies and to touch base quickly and you will not be making very many or very lengthy calls, this is the easiest.

You will have to make sure your phone has international capabilities...at the very least you need a phone with either 900 or 1800 frequencies....you'll be okay in the big cities...better is a phone with both 900 and 1800....unfortunately cingular sells tri bands geared to its service and if you've been reading all the stuff, the United States in its usual contrary minded way uses different frequencies than most of the rest of the world...Cingular uses both 850 and 1900 in the USA so their tri band phones only have room for one of the world frequencies which in this case would be 1800 leaving you without 900 service which could be detrimental in many parts of the world but not the big cities in Europe for the most part.

Now next up the ladder, you can buy a cheap European dual band (900/1800) either on ebay, or from internet stores or when you arrive in Europe for around $50 US...the phone has to be unlocked ( if bought on the web it probably is but you have to make sure it is dual band (900/1800)) or you can buy a worldwide tri band (900/1800/1900) which would be a little more expensive.

But if you're going in that direction, the next step for the 3 countries would be to buy an international sim card say from www.united-mobile.com.

It depends on whether this is a one time only trip or whether you're serious about having mobile phone coverage while traveling in Europe.
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by katzen
... I was more or less wondering if there were other avenues to take (i.e. the prepaid phone card from Sams Club and such places that I've read about) that would make it easier as opposed to ...
The prepaid card will allow you to call out. If you have US voicemail @ home or work or on your Cingular phone, that would allow people to call YOU. Albeit not directly.

Watch the ATT cards. I happen to need to use the * key to enter my Verizon home mailbox. On ATT, that is the sign for a new call. SOLUTION: MCI or other card.

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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katzen (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:05

Thank you Stan for the feedback!! We don't have the money to burn and there is a slight chance we will be making another short trip in December to Germany/Italy but other than that .. we don't travel for work or leisure abroad too often (only when the purse strings permit). I'm questioning is it worth purchasing a new phone with sim card and such .. or just purchase the prepaid phone cards from the local walmart, sams club in the U.S. That may be beneficial to us but if someone had to reach us in case of an emergency .. that might be a bit tough since we are hotel hopping every 2 nights. I guess it really is a coin toss. Thank you for the help. I am going to have my husband review the thread and this site as I've officially put him in charge of the cell phone issue.
   
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katzen (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:06

Thank you Stan. We keep posting at the same time ..
   
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by MATHA531
Assuming you are on cingular, the easiest is simply to call them and activate international roaming...you keep the same number, people can reach you and you will pay $1.29/minute to make and receive calls. If it is truly simply for emergencies and to touch base quickly and you will not be making very many or very lengthy calls, this is the easiest.
I think the current phone was unsuitable.

You are correct about the easiest solution BUT, I am always skeptical. People may be calling that CINGULAR # to reach them and even if they don't answer, they may incur charges. At least it is so with T-MO. Could be a sizeable bill. COULD BE.

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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katzen (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2006, 17:15

Matha531, thank you for the information. I am on Cingular through my company but have the Samsung SGH-x497 (tri-dual mode) phone which does not have international capabilities. I'm currently having my HR person price out an upgrade, which has the international capabilities. I'm reading here dual and tri band .. where did I come up with quad band ... does this exist? Shoot, I've been inquiring about the quad bands (motorola V557, RAZR V3 type phones). The more I read the more I think it's easier for me to get an upgrade and pay the 1.29 (or .99 a minute I've also read .. if I sign up for international service per month).
At this point in time this is a one type trip .. a slight chance we will be going again in December for a week ... This is my first time back to Europe in 10 years .. if that gives you any inkling of how often I go. Thank you again!
   
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