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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
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I'm leaving the States for Europe tomorrow, and I still haven't sorted out exactly what I'm doing in terms of a phone over there. I just cancelled my phone that I used here in the states...its only dual-band I believe, so it's not of any use for my trip right?

I also have another phone which was given to me recently by my uncle who lived in the Czech Republic for a couple of years. I believe this phone is unlocked and just needs a SIM card to work.

The other thing is that I'm going to be in Germany for the first two months of my trip, then travelling through Europe for the next month, and finally spending about 4 months in the U.K.

Any advice on the best course of action here? My tentative plan right now is to wait until I get to Germany and then try to pick up a pre-paid SIM card there. I have no clue where or how to get a card over there though, or if this is even the best idea. Please let me know what you guys think!
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:47 PM   #2
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I'll let the others answer your questions, because I can't. But I was wondering why you would need a phone while travelling. Will you be working ?
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:53 PM   #3
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Yeah I'm going to be working while in Germany and then doing a semester abroad at the University of Birmingham, so the phone would primarily be for communicating with friends I made while in Europe and possibly for calls from home depending on the cost.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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If you're going to be anywhere more than, say, a month or so, I'd say it's best to get a pre-paid SIM card for that country. Usually, about $50 will get you through a month of regular use with no problems on most plans.

As for the phone itself, that Czech phone should be good. Dual-band could possibly work in Europe, as long as it's GSM, has a SIM card slot, and the frequencies are supported by European carriers. Otherwise, there are plenty of cheap, unlocked GSM tri-band phones available on eBay, or you could always buy one with your pre-paid card in whatever country at a reasonable price.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:18 PM   #5
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Where (in general) is the best place to pick up one of these SIM cards? Would I be able to get one at a major train station in Germany?

Also how does text messaging tend to work with the pre-paid SIM cards? Will I be able to text locally and/or internationally? I also heard a lot of these SIM cards have free incoming calls, is that true?

Thanks for the info!
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:26 AM   #6
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You'll find mobile vendors at some large train stations, but if you leave the stations, you'll find that stores are everywhere... Vodafone, T-mobile, etc. are like Starbucks. If you don't trip over a store selling their stuff, you're in the middle of nowhere

As far as texting, international, etc. - it depends on the plan. Simply tell the folks at the shop/counter what you need, and they usually have a decent plan that fits. SMS messaging is so popular overseas, that it's an integral part of most plans now.
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Old 06-14-2006, 09:15 AM   #7
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I only have experience with Vodafone but their one of the biggest mobile companys in Europe with coverage in every country. You can buy sims for about $50 like Omisan said and I'd say your American phone will work here my Irish phone worked over there anyway and it was a fairly cheep phone.

They also sell phones in video rental shops, any home aplience store, you may even come across them in regular shops.

If you do go for Vodafone get it with passport, this means when you go to another country in Europe you'll pay the local call charges in that country I think there is a connection fee though.

Hopefully all that will change soon as the EU are forcing the phone companys to standardise call charges and remove roaming charges when traveling around Europe.
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:23 AM   #8
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I know in Asia that a lot of prepaid sims offer free texting even to international numbers, both incoming and outgoing as long as you have talk time left. That is HUGE money saver. Not sure if Europe is the same but keep an eye out for that if you txt a lot.

I would say there is only a 1% chance your dual frequency US phone would work in Europe. The two GSM frequencies used here in the U.S. are both different than European frequencies (of which there are two also). So, a tri-mode phone purchased in the U.S. usually has both US frequencies and one of the Europe frequencies, which means it will work some places, but not others. A quad mode has both European and both American and so is the best option for global coverage. A phone from Czech Rep probably is likely at least dual mode for Europe so you should be good to go with that. Enjoy the trip and consider shopping around a bit for your SIM card if there are several shops nearby to compare.
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:46 PM   #9
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one thing is to consider is your adaptor for the battery charger...dont forget we have 3 pin plugs here in the UK.

Personally i would stick to o2 in the UK check out their website

www.o2.co.uk
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:13 PM   #10
 
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yer 02 all the way,vodafone are very good also...but better 02
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:23 AM   #11
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I am in germany now, I haven't picked up the SIM card yet, probably tomorrow, but I thought I'd follow up.

The students here said O2 is probably the best too, and because its cheaper to call within your own network its probably best to go with the most popular carrier. I didn't get much help from them about SMS and international rates, but I'll ask at the shop as suggested.

And yeah...finding the shops was no problem...they are definitely all over the place a la Starbucks.
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