4 week vacation in France + US iPhone 4: best option?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by gauchogolfer, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    In September I'm spending 3.5 weeks in France and several days in Spain. I have a new iPhone 4 with AT&T in the US. Are there any good options for using my phone while I'm there? Any reputable places to get prepaid SIM cards from? Will AT&T unlock my iPhone for this trip?

    Thanks for the help.
  2. bndoarn macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2008
    I was wondering this as well because I'm going to Spain for 3 months sometime in the future and I did some research and the best thing I found was international plans from AT&T.

    Add $5.99 per month for international calling. I'm guessing you keep the same amount of minutes you have now.

    Tiered data plans starting at $24.99 per month for 20MB to $199.99 per month for 200MB (this is not a typo, it's outrageous).

    $10 per month for 50 text messages.

    So I guess calling doesn't seem that bad but data and text messages are insane.

  3. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    AT&T, it's shareholders, and it's subsidiaries would much rather you use International Roaming and it's associate rates.

    Have a nice day.
  4. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Very true. You probably have zero chance of an unlock.
  5. iWantiPhone macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I wouldn't suggest paying the outrageous prices AT&T wants you to pay. Get an unlocked phone for cheap and use pre-paid SIMs. You can also get a plan for international texting and pay per text for any text sent to the US. I've experienced several hour delays using SMS though.
  6. JackSpearo macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I go back and forth between USA and Spain often.

    I jail broke my 3g and I now have movistar... It's sooo cheap and I just swapped out the SIM card...

    if you take your AT&T sim card, make sure you add the world traveler plan, it will let you call back home for about a dollar a minute... Which is better than if you don't add the plan, then it will be between 2-3 dollars per minute...

    texts are 50 cents... but you can receive them all day long on your AT&T sim and it's free (well part of your monthly allotted texts)...

    When I go abroad and don't use my spanish SIM (like for example, if I'm in Germany, I just text message people back home, and give them a heads up that they can text me for free (for them and me), but it costs me 50 cents per text, so I usually only text if it's really important...)

    hope that helps...
  7. insidmal macrumors 6502


    Jun 24, 2010
    calling cards, that's what I did when I went to europe, what do you need your phone for on vacation anyway? it's vacation for crying out loud
  8. gauchogolfer thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    I will be making hotel arrangements once I get there, so it'd be nice to have a phone. Plus, it's nice to have one while driving, in case anything happens.

    Thanks for the ideas, I did go to the ATT website. Voice seems like it's easy enough, but wow is data expensive. Sounds like I need to make sure and call to disable international data roaming before I go.
  9. makefunnyfaces macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2010
    West Virginia
    AT&T has several International Voice plans, but they are all a ripoff. When I go on vacation abroad, I: buy a calling card, turn off all network settings (except WiFi), & buy a 100 International text plan from AT&T. Usually my bill is around $180.00 a month. If I travel internationally (for a week - two weeks) it's usually around $220.00 for two months, & that's when using my phone carefree.
  10. makefunnyfaces macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2010
    West Virginia
    All you've got to do to avoid the data charges is turn Data Roaming OFF. You can use WiFi for free. For instance, I visited the Apple Store in the Louvre, & just mooched Internet off of them until I left.
  11. camperdown9 macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2008
    London, England & Chatillon-Sur-Seine, France

    To use your iPhone with a local sim you will need to get it unlocked and I don't think At&t will help with that. You could look at jail breaking and unlocking.

    Buying a local pre paid sim is not as easy in France as it is in say the UK. In France the retailer is required to see your passport or drivers licence and also a bank statement or bill showing an address in France. There are of course ways round this, I mean you could ask a French friend to buy you a sim or if you ask in an independent mobile phone store they may not ask too many questions. However if you go into an Orange or SFR store etc thats what you will be asked for.

    Who are you going to be calling? If you are mainly going to be calling the States then I would forget trying to get a French sim and look at one of the pre paid calling card options. Ok friends and family from the States can't call you but you can call them for under $0.02 per min. So much better value than a mobile.

    If you are staying with people rather than say in a hotel, they may be happy for you to use their landline phone for calls within France or even within Europe. Broadband, cable TV and phone packages are common here and most include unlimited anytime calls to French telephone numbers excluding mobile and some even extend this to cover unlimited calls to anywhere in Europe.

    If you want to use your iPhone for the internet and email then you will find that free wifi easily available.

  12. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Your only options at this point are:

    1) Buy prepaid Int'l minutes/data from ATT at a ballbuster price
    2) Don't buy prepaid minutes, use phone as-if you are in the U.S. and witness your wallet being castrated after you read your bill when you get back
    3) Leave your iP4 at home, or at least put it in airplane mode and go buy an unlocked burner phone and when you get to France and Spain buy prepaid SIM cards.

    ATT WILL NOT unlock your iPhone for any reason, even if your toddler's life depends on it. And there is no publicly available iP4 unlock right now -- it does exist apparently, but not being shared just yet. Check w/ the hacking forum.
  13. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    +1 you don't have any more realistic options. You could sell the locked AT&T phone and buy a unlocked iPhone 4 at the Louvre store in Paris :D
    then you could use the unlocked when you're back in the States as well :)
  14. evillageprowler macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2007
    NJ, USA
    Will AT&T unlock your iPhone 3G after you activated your 4G? That'll be my situation soon. I know I can just unlock my 3G iPhone using a paid software, but wondering if anyone knows what AT&T is willing to do.
  15. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    See this.

  16. paulyras macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2006
    NOOOOO! Do not make that assumption. You will have a VERY uncomfortable moment when you open your bill.

    Here's what I typically do... Get an intl roaming data package if you want to check email. If you turn off push, 50mb should be ok for a month. Forget about major web browsing. Even so, I would turn off data roaming when you don't need it.

    As for calling, if you can live with outgoing only and only when connected to wifi, use skype. I'd say 90+% of the calls I made were perfect with the others only showing a bit of garble. If someone calls you, offer to call them back.

    It's not a free approach, but will at least stem the financial bleeding.
  17. gauchogolfer thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.
    I still have my original iPhone 2G, maybe unlocking that is the best way to go? Seems like I could then get a SIM to use it only as a phone, saving the iPhone 4 for Wifi only.
  18. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    You can use the original iPhone for wifi. No need to bring iP4 as well.
  19. xyz1534 macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2010
    Completely Agree

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