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How can others reach me in Europe?

How can others reach me in Europe?

Old Jan 5, 05, 1:48 am
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Question How can others reach me in Europe?

I will be going to Europe (UK, France, Ireland) for 2 months in May. I need to leave an emergency contact number for people in U.S. (my mother is very elderly and not in good health). I will not be on a fixed itinerary. What is the least expensive way to do this? Cell phone? Pager? My cell phone with Verizon is not equipped for Europe. Verizon wants $2.99 per day, $180 for 60 days, to rent me a phone I can use in Europe, might as well buy the thing. Obviously, I'm not up to speed at all on Europe, so would appreciate your advice.
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Old Jan 5, 05, 2:53 am
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The best for you is to get a phone as soon as you get to Europe, that is a SIM card.

You have two options: Either you buy or organize a new phone in the US before departing, Tri-band, preferrably. Some companies offer you the phone if you extend your contract by one or more years.

As soon as you reach Europe, get either prepaid SIM Card or a one year package and switch the SIM Card. You can then send SMS to everyone with your new phone number and reduce the costs dramatically.

Second option is to get a phone in Europe and either prepaid minutes or a package. Make sure you get a tri-band so as to be able to use your phone when back in the US.

Some links:

http://www.findspot.com/pay-as-you-g...es-england.htm

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/...ile_phones.htm
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Old Jan 5, 05, 3:24 am
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Your best bet is to pick up an *UNLOCKED* Triband GSM phone with a 110/220V power supply in the states (most Sony Ericsson phones work well for this--find them on eBay) and a Virgin Mobile SIM in the United Kingdon. While in the UK, inbound calls are free, I believe it's 40p for outbound to the US and roaming in the EU is 99p inbound or outbound. The SIM costs 10 and includes 5 of credit. It can be purchased at any of the six trillion mobile phone stores on the High Street or at The Link in T3 in LHR.

Timothy
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Old Jan 5, 05, 10:05 am
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If you're going to call the States a lot from the UK (and possibly elsewhere in Europe, I don't know), pick up a calling card at any convenience store. Then you can call a local number in the UK (much less expensive than calling the States) plus a few p/min. on the card. I get the cheapest card, usually 5, at the start of a trip and have never used one up. Most expire after 60-90 days, so you can't save one for your next trip unless you go there frequently, but you can give it to a friend before you leave.

(I know calling the US isn't your primary reason for wanting the phone, but once you have it, you might want to use it for that too.)
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Old Jan 5, 05, 10:20 am
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Are you going to be making regular calls back and forth, or do you just want a phone number that someone could reach you at if they needed you?

If it's the second, this is what I do: I have an unlocked Sony Ericsson T68m, and T-Mobile service, with the international calling activated. This is just my regular phone that I use at home, but it's a tri-band, so it also works internationally- although the international calling rates are horrendous. If someone needs me when I'm in Europe or Australia, they can call my cellphone, but I've made sure they understand that it's for emergencies only. However, I can send & receive text messages for free from it no matter where I am, so I use that or email (just my yahoo account, checked from a wifi hotspot or an internet cafe) for day-to-day communications.

If you want to talk more regularly on the phone, follow the good advice above on calling cards.

Last edited by wck4; Jan 5, 05 at 10:23 am
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Old Jan 5, 05, 11:57 am
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(1) Buy a new phone from one of the "Little India" stores in Chicago (Ghandi Appliances, Bombay Electronics, others). Call, don't use their web sites, and ask for the cheapest dual or tri-band UNLOCKED GSM phone. Dual band will work throughout Europe, and tri-band will add the U.S. Be sure that you can charge the phone in any country (you may need additional plugs/adapters). Discuss the details with them. You want CHEAP, no camera, no PDA, etc., etc. (I have a Motorola cheap/basic, and it's just fine).

(2) As others have said, buy a sim card from Virgin Mobile in the UK. If you already have a UK address, you can order it from their web site for UK delivery.

(3) Set up calling card service with www.iconnecthere.com. I've used them for about four years now. They're the only one I've found with NO monthly fee, and NO expiration date. I've used them to/from UK, Scotland, and Hong Kong. They also provide voip service, etc., if you want to try that too, but I just use their calling card.


I've done all of the above, and it all works. Rates you seen others quote in this thread seem accurate. Good advice here!

Last edited by SoManyMiles-SoLittleTime; Jan 5, 05 at 2:31 pm Reason: Spelling!
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Old Jan 5, 05, 1:49 pm
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I do the same thing WCK4 does, I have a unlocked T68 that I use overseas on AT&T. I pop my SIM out of my us phone and I'm all set to go. Verizon makes that a bit different since they don't really offer GSM over here, but you can just pick up a SIM once you land and pop it in and let people here know your number.

I also recommend getting a calling card, it's way less exensive then some other options are.
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Old Jan 5, 05, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by wck4
However, I can send & receive text messages for free from it no matter where I am, so I use that or email (just my yahoo account, checked from a wifi hotspot or an internet cafe) for day-to-day communications.
Just FYI, T-Mobile charges 35 cents to send a text message when you're roaming in Europe. Received SMS's will still come out of your bucket, or 5 cents if your bucket's empty.

http://www.t-mobile.com/international/textmessaging.asp
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Old Jan 5, 05, 7:58 pm
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You may also sign up for a "Follow-Me" toll free number, if you decide to go the cellphone route while in Europe (I would also echo everyone's recommendation to get a local SIM card to dramatically save on calling). The way it works, you basically sign up for a toll free number, fly to Europe, purchase a cellphone (and/or a local SIM card - whichever you prefer), log on to their website and change the destination number of your toll free number to your new European cellphone number (remember to add a 011 in front of the country code, area code and number). This way, your mother would not have to rack up charges for calling internationally and you won't have to rack up charges receiving calls on your U.S. phone number while roaming in Europe. Remember, incoming calls on cellphones in most European countries are free so you may buy a prepaid SIM card with the lowest denomination. (around 15-20 Euros)

I use a company called TelCan (www.telcan.net) that charges around 6.5c/min for incoming calls. No minimum charge and the monthly is only $2, billable to a credit card of your choice. I've been pretty happy with it. There are other companies as well but I had no experience with them.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jan 5, 05, 9:28 pm
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Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions.

I am guessing that there is about a 10% chance that I would receive one inbound call in the two months I will be in Europe. That call might trigger 3-5 outbound calls to the U.S., which could easily be made with phonecards. The inbound call would almost certainly mean scrapping the balance of the trip and returning to the U.S. as quickly as possible. 90% chance it never rings, and I enjoy my trip.

I would only need to give the number to a couple of people. They would know not to call it unless it were a true emergency.

Still looks like $100 + for a 10% chance of one call. I was hoping for something less expensive, maybe a paging service?

Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Old Jan 6, 05, 9:13 am
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Take your cell phone and let people instant message you. In most cases they can send an email to [email protected] or something like that and you'll get a text message in Europe. AT&T plans get free text messaging so that's what I had people do while I was in Mexico. I've never been to Europe, so someone please verify this.
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Old Jan 7, 05, 10:52 am
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mobile

Originally Posted by Jamester
You may also sign up for a "Follow-Me" toll free number, if you decide to go the cellphone route while in Europe (I would also echo everyone's recommendation to get a local SIM card to dramatically save on calling). The way it works, you basically sign up for a toll free number, fly to Europe, purchase a cellphone (and/or a local SIM card - whichever you prefer), log on to their website and change the destination number of your toll free number to your new European cellphone number (remember to add a 011 in front of the country code, area code and number). This way, your mother would not have to rack up charges for calling internationally and you won't have to rack up charges receiving calls on your U.S. phone number while roaming in Europe. Remember, incoming calls on cellphones in most European countries are free so you may buy a prepaid SIM card with the lowest denomination. (around 15-20 Euros)

I use a company called TelCan (www.telcan.net) that charges around 6.5c/min for incoming calls. No minimum charge and the monthly is only $2, billable to a credit card of your choice. I've been pretty happy with it. There are other companies as well but I had no experience with them.

Hope this helps!
Jamester

is that the same price for mobile calls to, so calls from the 800 number to a mobile / handy number in europe?
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Old Jan 7, 05, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by gemac
Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions.

I am guessing that there is about a 10% chance that I would receive one inbound call in the two months I will be in Europe. That call might trigger 3-5 outbound calls to the U.S., which could easily be made with phonecards. The inbound call would almost certainly mean scrapping the balance of the trip and returning to the U.S. as quickly as possible. 90% chance it never rings, and I enjoy my trip.

I would only need to give the number to a couple of people. They would know not to call it unless it were a true emergency.

Still looks like $100 + for a 10% chance of one call. I was hoping for something less expensive, maybe a paging service?

Thanks again for the suggestions.

so, I use my onesuite account for such a service. Essentially, I put my friends on my onesuite account as authenticated users. Meaning, they simply dial the 7 digit onesuite number in their area, and then they dial a 2 digit number to ring to me. I make sure that in my onesuite account, I change the destination number of that 2 digit number to my cell phone, whichever country I am in, or hotel, or friends house, or appartment. That way, they just dial xxx-xxxx, wait, and the xx and boom they are ringing to me.

Onesuite is a debit based LD provider in the US. No monthly fees, other than 10$ to startup. Account activation is immediate, balance can be topped off online, over the phone, whatever. You can always use up the balance from home when you get back, US calls are .024$ a minute US, and .035$ to europe.
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Old Jan 7, 05, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by percussionking
[email protected] or something like that
As a side note, the correct format for AT&T Wireless is [email protected]. For European cell, consult your provider user guide.

To send an SMS to anyone with a U.S. cellphone, one can also go to http://mobile.yahoo.com/sms/sendsms, which has a nice interface to send text message to any U.S. cell provider from your PC. You won't even need to know what your destination cell provider is (I assume Yahoo! will try sending to every single one of them!)

Thx
Jamester
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Old Jan 7, 05, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nmenaker
is that the same price for mobile calls to, so calls from the 800 number to a mobile / handy number in europe?
Telcan.net does have a tiered pricing for forwarding to cell. As an example, when I was in Germany, calls forwarded to a Frankfurt landline is 6.5c/min, to a Germany cell is 27.5c/min - regardless of provider. Check their website as there is a price list posted.

Hope this helps!
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