need advice on using cellphone outside US

Discussion in 'Community' started by janey, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #1
    I'm guessing there are a few people here that might know something about this...
    I'm taking a half month trip to the British Isles in February, and I need a cellphone and answers to miscellaneous stuff regarding cellphone use in that area.

    The cellphone that I've already sorta decided I wanted, not specifically for this trip but in general, is the Treo 650, but I'm open to tri/quadband GSM phone suggestions. The only two features I'm looking for are bluetooth and a camera.

    So on the matter of actually making/receiving calls and cost...
    My regular provider is Cingular. Not really interested in switching to Verizon or anything. So how do I make international calls from the UK without being slammed with exorbitant prices? Do I just rent a phone or something there? Do I buy a prepaid SIM card? Or do I just sign up for international roaming and pay that $1.20/minute for calls from Western Europe, or whatever they charge?
    And GPRS would be nice, even with the 3 cents or whatever it is per kb.

    I'd be using it maybe once or twice a day at the most, to call family and ibookin' and perhaps to check email and chat for a bit on AIM. Soooo yeah...any advice before I just go out and do whatever?

    edit: it'll be a trip through england, scotland, wales and ireland, iirc. so something that wont be too much of a hassle would be nice.
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #2
    Telestial offers a plan you might be interested in. You buy a sim card and then prepaid minutes. I'm looking at something similar for my trip across the pond a year from now. The key is to buy a phone that is unlocked! This seems to offer the most flexibility at the cheapest cost from what I've been able to find on the net.

    Incoming calls are free no matter where they originate. SMS and data transmission are extra. Let us know what you decide on and what works for you while you're there.
     
  3. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #3
    I don't know what Cingular's policy is on traveling with your phone, but T-Mobile will always unlock your phone if you're going to travel. I'm not sure about prices though. I suppose you could go with their pay-as-you-go service if you're going to a country where they operate.
     
  4. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #4
    Or, this company will send you a cell phone to use worldwide....

    TravelCell. My parents have used them before. They send you the phone, you use it, you send it back.
     
  5. janey thread starter macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #5
    yeh, someone linked me to the same exact website. seems like the best thing to do right now. Don't think unlocking phones is a big deal.

    And what I was looking for was something like that...dont want to deal with the hassle of renting, would much rather prefer using my own phone.

    Well, I'll look around a bit more I suppose..

    thanks for the replies :)
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #6
    Isn't that Telestial offer the same as getting a pre-paid SIM card from Orange/Vodafone/Virgin/etc when in the UK?? It's such a simple thing to do. Not sure about Telestial, or what the cost difference is between them and any of the big mobile companies in England, but worst comes to worst, go to England, find a mobile centre of any company, sign up for a SIM card, walk out in 15 minutes with a UK phone number.

    I have a Pre-paid account with Orange when I was living there. 2 years later I go back, and the 74p that was still on my account was still usable!! It never expires, so I didn't even have to put 10 quid onto my account just to make a few calls! That wouldn't be possible in Canada. :eek:
     
  7. ibookin' macrumors 65816

    ibookin'

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    Why didn't you ask me? I'm a big-time cell phone nerd, so I would be able to answer that question easily.

    Basically, you have two cost-effective options:

    -Get International Roaming on your current Cingular account (costs $1.20 a minute, your current V60 will work fine, as it is triband)

    -Get a prepaid SIM when you get there. Per-minute charges are much less, your current V60 will also work, since it is unlocked. I have verified this personally, as an AT&T SIM worked in your phone when I tried it.

    Some things:

    International Roaming will allow people to call you on your usual US number, meaning they won't have to pay long distance charges. You will, of course, have to pay long distance for calling European numbers.

    Either way, GPRS is going to be really expensive. I would suggest foregoing GPRS on that trip. Rely on WiFi instead. I hear it's quite prevalent in the UK.

    If you get a Prepaid SIM, the rates will vary. Before you go, spend some time looking at the various companies and compare. The big ones are Vodafone, Orange, and O2. Prepaid is much more popular over there than it is here, so you'll find a lot to choose from.

    Here is my personal suggestion:

    Activate International Roaming on your Cingular account for emergencies. For day to day talking (i.e. talking to me :D), get a Vonage account and load the softphone software (yes, they have a Mac version) onto your computer. Instant US number with unlimited calling wherever you are, provided there is broadband. You could probably check if you're going to be staying near an area with broadband before you go.

    And make sure to have fun on your trip, too. :)
     
  8. janey thread starter macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #8
    okay how bout this for starters josh
    1) dont have much alone time to go buy SIM cards.
    2) that v60 doesnt work...sorta.
    3) Thing is, I dont know if I want to take a laptop with me.
    4) Dont want to spend too much money
    5) We'd be moving around a lot. I mean the last 4 or 5 days in London wouldnt be a problem, but the 10 or so days before that would, for wifi, et cetera.
     
  9. ibookin' macrumors 65816

    ibookin'

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #9
    It doesn't take long. I've gotten prepaid accounts galore and none of them took more than 15 minutes to get. I assume you're going to have some kind of free time for shopping and such. Buy it then.

    Get another phone. One with the GSM 900 and 1800 bands is preferable, since it will work on all the GSM networks in Europe. The Sony Ericsson T610, while not known as the paragon of reception, supports those frequencies and can be had very cheaply on eBay (around $80-100 or so). Its cousin, the T616, only supports GSM 1800, so if you get the 616 make sure the mobile network you're running on is GSM 1800.

    Then don't. It's probably not a good idea anyway. I was just suggesting Vonage as a way of making the calls much cheaper than they would be with a cell phone. On your original post it sounded as if you wanted to make more than a few calls.

    A prepaid SIM will not cost much. Probably the equivalent of $20 or so. International Roaming is quite expensive unless you use the phone very sparingly.

    That may be true, but GPRS net access is going to cost you a pretty penny. For a good experience, it also requires you to either get a PDA phone or carry a laptop with you. The Treo 600 is a good choice in this matter, as it is a quad-band device.
     
  10. janey thread starter macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #10
    wont have 15 minutes for the first few days.
    why do you think i said i wanted the treo 650?
    ahhhhhh withdrawl!!!1111 hehe. yeah. i dunno. id call my parents every other day or so..et cetera
    Shrug. Yeah youre probably right..
    Yes yes, read above about the treo 650. it'll only be for a bit, until i can find a place to check email and stuff..
     
  11. ibookin' macrumors 65816

    ibookin'

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #11
    The Treo 650 is not out yet, and when it does come out, it will probably be on CDMA (specifically Sprint *cringe*) first. You may not be able to find a GSM one for a while, and when you do it will be very expensive. Think the $600-700 range. The 600 is a much better value at around $350 now. It'll be even cheaper when the 650 finally does come out.
     
  12. janey thread starter macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
  13. oreo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #13
    Here in the UK, pay as you go is massive, you can't won't find many stores not selling pay as you go phones or the sim cards. The cost isn't that bad either most go between £40-£150 depending on model.

    When I was in the US, I just sent text messages to people back in the UK, just cause it works out so cheap to do that compared to chatting on a phone.

    There are a few wifi sites here in the but only in the built up areas. McDonalds seems to have it, I noticed. I have no idea about cost but it's bound to be expensive being it's the uk.
     
  14. applemacdude macrumors 68040

    applemacdude

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Location:
    Over The Rainbow
    #14

    I hope that have a nice trip Jane.....
     

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