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wco81 (Offline)
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Default Germany and France - 17-06-2007, 15:44

Never purchased any SIMs in Europe. Going to Berlin and Nice for a week each at the beginning of July.

Looked at the rate pages on prepaidgsm.net for national SIMs for each country and for the international SIMs.

The info. raises a lot of questions still:

1. Some SIMs in some countries are activated instantly but in others it takes time? So it's advisable to purchase in advance before leaving the US but better deals are available in-country?

I was hoping to pick up something at the airport but that may not be the best option?

2. The per-minute charges, especially from the main network operators and especially in France, aren't that great? Not as bad as Europe roaming costs from US carriers, which can be 99 cents a minute but the French national operators are charging around 60 euro cents per minute?

Some international SIMs aren't that much more expensive if at all?

Meanwhile, MVNOs using those same networks often undercharge the main network operators?

3. Roaming between countries is way expensive, like around 2 euros a minute? EU is trying to change that but does that apply to prepaid SIMs or only to people with monthly plans?

4. What is CSD?

5. I have an unlocked Nokia E61i, which has a QWERTY keyboard, quadband and supposedly WCDMA 2100.

Some SIMs offer UMTS but they list voice and data calls? The UMTS voice rates seem higher than the regular voice rates (even though 3G supposedly has lower operating costs)?

Data rates seem prohibitive, like several cents for a few kiloBYTE as well as per-minute connection charges? A web page can load several hundred kBs so you could be paying several euros just to load a web page? Is that right or am I missing something? GPRS isn't any cheaper either.

I had heard that some UK plans have flat fee for 3G data and assumed European plans might be similar but it seems if they offer data at all on prepaid plans, it's always metered for data and often for connection time.

If I could have done some 3G surfing occasionally and paid say 10 euros each week, it might be worth trying out, since in the US, my phone doesn't support the 3G data bands. But it sounds really prohibitive just to sample even a little bit.

Anyone find things any different as far as UMTS data?

Regarding the overall strategy for 2 countries for 2 weeks, it seems picking up a MVNO of E-Plus and then whatever the cheapest in France would be the best idea. I'm more likely to return to France before the SIM and credits expire. Don't anticipate having to recharge so getting the cheapest SIM seems to be an idea and just letting them expire.

The international SIMs may be of value to Americans going to several countries but wouldn't people trying to call you from a French phone have to pay a lot to call a UK or Lichtenstein number? Maybe they see that country code and doesn't bother making the call, instead expect you to call back?
   
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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default 17-06-2007, 16:08

That's a lot of information. I'd question if you'd use the phone enough in one week to justify the local SIM, particularly when the international SIMs have such good rates. It depends on how much you plan to use the phone in each country.
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wco81 (Offline)
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Default 17-06-2007, 16:22

Sorry, it is a lot of info. but the prepaidgsm info. was overwhelming to me too.

Yeah I don't expect to use it a lot, just something to have. Some services ask you for a mobile number, like a hotel I was trying to reserve. Wonder if they would have called an overseas mobile number though.

So an international SIM might be good but looking at the rates listed here, it looks like you can get a national SIM for 20 Euros or less while the international SIMs are at least twice that? So it seems like buying two national SIMs would be about the same as getting one international SIM.

Plus, UMTS isn't available on international SIMs if I'm not mistaken? Maybe surfing on UMTS is too much to really be something I should even consider though.
   
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Default 17-06-2007, 21:08

Let's try to answer to all the questions...

1) I think both German and French sim cards are activated at once when you buy them in the shops.

2) French prepaid cards are expensive, but billing is per second and MVNOs have usually cheaper rates

3) Usually it's cheaper among EU countries, about 1eur/min, anyway it's no sense to buy an European card for roaming...

4) It's the "old-style" way to make data calls calling an internet provider with your phone at 9,6Kbps... Most EU carriers offer at least GPRS to prepaid customers so you won't need CSD.

5) Voice calls always have the same rates with GSM or UMTS, it really doesn't change. Videocalls are usually more expensive, but I suppose you won't do any.
Data calls are expensive (not in Germany with some MVNOs) but there are sometimes some good offers.


Working Prepaids: IT: Wind, Vodafone IT, UNO Mobile; SM: Prima; UK: 3, Virgin; INT: TravelSIM, Truphone.
Deceased Prepaids: CZ: Oskar, Eurotel; SK: Orange; DE: E-Plus, Aldi, Simyo; GE: Geocell; AM: Armentel; PL: Heyah, Plus; LT: Tele2; LV: Amigo; EE: Elisa; UA: Kyivstar; NZ: Vodafone; INT: UM, UM+, ICQSim.
GSM/3G Phones: Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim
   
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wco81 (Offline)
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Default 17-06-2007, 22:29

I was thinking of getting Aldi Talk (medionmobile.de). The site doesn't have English pages so it seems the only way to buy is once I'm in Germany.

On the billing, I'm confused by the terminology. In the Germany pages, they talk about billing and have notations like 1/1 or 60/30. But in the France pages, they refer to a "Debiting Method" which I assume is the same thing?

And I'm guessing that 60/60 denotes billing per second? So if you do have a 75 second call, you get billed for 75 seconds, not 2 minutes?

I see that you collect a lot of country and international SIMs. Which works better for you? What did you think of E-Plus or Aldi? They're the cheapest around but perhaps their network wasn't up to snuff? Have you sed a prepaid in France?

Finally, are there any reasonable postpaid plans for UMTS at all? Lot of people are saying the iPhone won't fly in Europe without 3G. Yet if the UMTS charges for prepaid is indicative of UMTS pricing, can anyone be using a lot of data on the go?
   
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snaimon (Offline)
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Default 17-06-2007, 23:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
I was thinking of getting Aldi Talk (medionmobile.de). The site doesn't have English pages so it seems the only way to buy is once I'm in Germany.

On the billing, I'm confused by the terminology. In the Germany pages, they talk about billing and have notations like 1/1 or 60/30. But in the France pages, they refer to a "Debiting Method" which I assume is the same thing?

And I'm guessing that 60/60 denotes billing per second? So if you do have a 75 second call, you get billed for 75 seconds, not 2 minutes?
Aldi Talk. Yes, only there and in Aldi stores.
Debiting same as billing. The first # is for the first minute and is in seconds. The second # is for subsequent minutes and also in seconds.
So with 60/60 the 75 second call is indeed billed as 2 minutes.

You can buy SIMYO or SUNSIM, among others, online in advance SHIPPED TO A GERMAN address like a hotel. You will know your # in advance.

If there will be more trips to other locations, the international SIM may be better IN THE LONG RUN (meaning next trips). I think the local SIMs may be the way to go if it will be just this once or just this once for quite some time. Of course I don't believe any of the internationals have UMTS service yet.

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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Gryphone (Offline)
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Default 18-06-2007, 00:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
I was hoping to pick up something at the airport but that may not be the best option?
Usually you don't get cards with good tariffs at airports.

Quote:
Some international SIMs aren't that much more expensive if at all?
Correct. You could even consider using a German D2 Callya card in France, you'd have to pay "only" 0,29€/minute plus 0,75€ per call.

Quote:
3. Roaming between countries is way expensive, like around 2 euros a minute? EU is trying to change that but does that apply to prepaid SIMs or only to people with monthly plans?
The EU is changing that for prepaid cards too, however the regulation will take another two to six weeks, so it might not help you yet.

Quote:
If I could have done some 3G surfing occasionally and paid say 10 euros each week, it might be worth trying out, since in the US, my phone doesn't support the 3G data bands. But it sounds really prohibitive just to sample even a little bit.

Anyone find things any different as far as UMTS data?
At least for Germany you could either use Simyo/Blau/Aldi with 0,24€/MB or Websessions with a Callya card for 2€/10€/15€ you get a flatrate for 15min/2h/24h, the third one even works in some either countries (including France).


Active Prepaid SIMs: United Mobile; (RC) China Mobile; (USA) TYo; (D) Loop, Callya, Simyo; (A) Klax; (I) Wind; (B) Ay Yildiz
Former Prepaid SIMs: (RC) IF; (D) Free&Easy, Xtra; (A) Yesss; (UK) Pay&Go; (E) Movistar; (IS) Frelsi
Mobiles in use: Sagem my101X, Siemens M50, Nokia 6800, Siemens M65, Motorola E770, Samsung SGH-Z500, Nokia 9500
Previous Mobiles: Nokia 5130, Motorola V3688, Sagem myX-1, Siemens M55, NEC e313, SonyEricsson T200, Motorola V980, Siemens C45, Motorola V600
   
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andy (Offline)
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Default 18-06-2007, 23:40

For France, I think I'd use Voipcheap sms callback with whichever one has the cheapest int'l sms tariff (to Isle of Man).

Germany, either the same or Sunsim + VC callthrough, or Blauworld.

A German VC account would do for sms for both countries and the German callthrough, once both numbers are added to your profile
   
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wco81 (Offline)
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Default 19-06-2007, 00:43

Is Voicecheap listed under the UK SIMs?

So you have people send SMS to you and then you call back? I'm completely new at prepaid overseas SIMs.

Actually, I didn't see the point of SMS until I saw some of the prepaid tariffs for voice vs. SMS. Texts used to be free and then operators started charging per message as it became so popular. So I was inclined to be skeptical of SMS but I see it can be more economical than voice calls.
   
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andy (Offline)
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Default 19-06-2007, 01:52

No, it's a VoIP provider.

Apart from services you'd use to make calls over the internet, they have others such as callthrough access numbers in some countries, much like a calling card account, or a callback service, which triggers an incoming call that then connects to the destination, thus avoiding the SIM's higher outgoing call rates. A call between a French mobile and USA would cost 9 eurocents a minute

http://www.voipcheap.com/en/newsflash.html#news0
   
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