Using a US-based cell in Europe

Sobe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 6, 2007
1,791
0
Wash DC suburbs
Hopefully this hasn't been well covered (search didn't turn anything up, but maybe I missed it).

In any case, I am looking to travel to Europe (Iceland, Denmark, and Russia) and I wanted cell service.

Questions:

Is the best way to do this to buy pre-paid SIMs for each country then swap in and out as needed?

What phones are capable of working properly to allow this.

Any other information from people who have done something similar would be greatly appreciated.
 

Sobe

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 6, 2007
1,791
0
Wash DC suburbs
That's not really the issue, but I use an iPhone with AT&T.

I'm not using that phone for this trip.

This is starting from scratch on a new plan, so consider it like no phone at all and starting with nothing.
 

it5five

macrumors 65816
May 31, 2006
1,219
1
New York
I don't claim to be an expert on this, but if you're starting out scratch, just go to the store and get one of those pre-paid phones in the little plastic pack. That way you don't have to sign a contract with anyone, and you can easily swap out the pre-paid SIMS from the different countries you visit.

Someone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

I'm not sure what type of phone you can get. I think it needs to be GSM, but I don't know what else.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,910
2,480
St. Louis, MO
That's not really the issue, but I use an iPhone with AT&T.

I'm not using that phone for this trip.

This is starting from scratch on a new plan, so consider it like no phone at all and starting with nothing.
You didn't say you wanted to use a different phone, I assumed you wanted to use the one you have.

Anyways, what you need is an unlocked GSM phone. Buy a cheap unlocked quadband GSM phone off eBay and take that with you. Just make sure it's quadband so it supports the frequencies of whatever country you're in.

Don't buy the phone once you're over there from the carrier because it's probably going to be locked. If you buy it from Carrier A in Iceland and then want to use it with Carrier B in Denmark, you won't be able to.
 

Mammoth

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2005
938
0
Canada
You didn't say you wanted to use a different phone, I assumed you wanted to use the one you have.

Anyways, what you need is an unlocked GSM phone. Buy a cheap unlocked quadband GSM phone off eBay and take that with you. Just make sure it's quadband so it supports the frequencies of whatever country you're in.

Don't buy the phone once you're over there from the carrier because it's probably going to be locked. If you buy it from Carrier A in Iceland and then want to use it with Carrier B in Denmark, you won't be able to.
There's the kicker. Your phone is on a contract, so it is locked to your provider. Swapping SIMs almost certainly won't work. What you should do is buy an unlocked phone (Quad-band is best as said) and then you can use prepaid SIMs in Europe and all over the world. Plus, come back home and you can pop in your regular SIM and you have 2 phones to use. (But not at once)
If you want a cheap and good phone, check GSMArena, then buy from somewhere like Hi-Mobile.net (I don't work for them but they seem to have the best prices most of the time)
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,910
2,480
St. Louis, MO
There's the kicker. Your phone is on a contract, so it is locked to your provider. Swapping SIMs almost certainly won't work. What you should do is buy an unlocked phone (Quad-band is best as said) and then you can use prepaid SIMs in Europe and all over the world. Plus, come back home and you can pop in your regular SIM and you have 2 phones to use. (But not at once)
If you want a cheap and good phone, check GSMArena, then buy from somewhere like Hi-Mobile.net (I don't work for them but they seem to have the best prices most of the time)

He has an iPhone, so thanks to Apple and AT&T's wonderful lockdown they have on the thing, he couldn't use his own phone anyways and needs a new one. Unless he wants to pay out the arse in international roaming