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HELP ME!!! USD$1400 a month in cell usage on T-Mobile!!

HELP ME!!! USD$1400 a month in cell usage on T-Mobile!!

Old Jan 7, 05, 6:07 pm
  #1  
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HELP ME!!! USD$1400 a month in cell usage on T-Mobile!!

I need some help from you savvy ones out there. I use my phone, and not excessively, when I travel. Be it in Russia, Italy, the Indian Ocean or the Amazon in Brazil.

My T-Mobile statement hovers around $1400 a month and was wondering if any one out there knows of something more economical!!

Before someone tells me to get a SIM card for that country, I can't go down that route because I literally city hop from country to country and it gets confusing and complicated (people can't get a hold of me).

Thanks in advance.

UG
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Old Jan 7, 05, 6:16 pm
  #2  
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Making that many calls, in that many places without getting "local" sim cards simply can't be made much cheaper.

Only solutions would be to talk less and do more by email...

You could also get a list of roaming charges per country and see if any US carriers are cheaper, or specific networks in that country when roaming.
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Old Jan 7, 05, 6:25 pm
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Can you use SMS in place of some of your calls while travelling?
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Old Jan 7, 05, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by UrbaneGent
I need some help from you savvy ones out there. I use my phone, and not excessively, when I travel. Be it in Russia, Italy, the Indian Ocean or the Amazon in Brazil.

My T-Mobile statement hovers around $1400 a month and was wondering if any one out there knows of something more economical!!

Before someone tells me to get a SIM card for that country, I can't go down that route because I literally city hop from country to country and it gets confusing and complicated (people can't get a hold of me).

Thanks in advance.

UG
with the far-of places you visit and your level of usage, there are some satelite providers that could offer competitive rates. i dont remember the names off-hand, but a web search should provide them easily enough
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Old Jan 7, 05, 6:30 pm
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Way out of my league (thank goodness ) but if you're mainly taking incoming calls maybe you should at least consider a satellite phone:

http://www.telestial.com/satellite_phone_purchase.htm
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Old Jan 7, 05, 9:14 pm
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Get a second unlocked GSM phone and use local SIM cards or even a local calling card of some kind to make outgoing calls. It's a LOT cheaper. You can then still answer your current phone with your well-known number wherever you happen to be and call people back via the cheaper method if/when you wish.
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Old Jan 7, 05, 11:13 pm
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Sounds like you're making a lot of international calls. Get a prepaid calling card in each country. Pay the local call rate to use it from your mobile, plus whatever very low rate the card has for calling wherever.

I've done it from the UK. Compared to calling the States on my O2 mobile, I've saved a bundle. Can't think of any reason it wouldn't work elsewhere, since prepaid calling cards are a well-nigh universal concept.
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Old Jan 7, 05, 11:59 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Fredd
Way out of my league (thank goodness ) but if you're mainly taking incoming calls maybe you should at least consider a satellite phone:

http://www.telestial.com/satellite_phone_purchase.htm
Being an Iridium user myself I don't think a satellite phone is a good alternative to a good old cellphone. 2 issues come to mind; coverage and battery life.

Just because it works worldwide doesn't make it usable, having to step outside and extend an antenna just to make a call isn't always practical, at the very best you might get some coverage near a window...
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Old Jan 8, 05, 2:57 am
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Two options to consider. One is an toll free number in the states that will forward to your prepaid number in each country. This would require you to set the forwarding number whenever you switched SIMS but would be transparent to the people calling you. They would call the same toll free number. Second would bt the use of a Hopmobile or some other international prepay. Check the rates for the countries you are in and see if it isnt cheaper than roaming. Also, these are not mutually exclusive solutions. For instance you can get a US toll free number and forward your Tmobile to it while it is set to go to a prepaid. If you move to a country without a prepaid or cant switch the toll free forwarding number you could just cancel forwarding and your calls would come to your Tmobile phone. That would allow you to save a lot of money when you could forward the calls. Or perhaps even forward to the Hopmobile if you couldnt get a local or forward to it through the toll free number.

You could also use a call back system or calling card for calls you originate which would save some money. It would be worth it to get a second phone with a local sim for this.

Here are two threads describing using the Telcan system for the toll free number and call back in more detail. I use it and am happy with it although I think there may be cheaper rates from other companies.


http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...+%2Bforwarding



http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...n&pagenumber=2

Note that one of the threads starts talking about using it in Japan where a TMobile phone wont work and you would have to set up the forwarding before you leave. In GSM countries that isnt necessary as you can change forwarding on your TMobile phone anytime since the phone works there.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 10:23 am
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I use technology called SIP using a SIP switch from a company called Applico Security Inc (www.applicosecurity.com). This is how it works. I have sim cards from local countries I visit and use Nokia phone wich has CDMA/GSM.

If you call my US number, our office switch forwards the call to the country I am in (our office there) and then PSTN GW in local office dials me locally so it becaomes a local call.

I can use the same system for video conference (multi-party too) using my laptop and I make calls from my Smartphone using WiFi client over SIP.

PM me if you need more details.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 10:38 am
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Some suggestions

Having an unlocked phone and using local SIMs is the best way, but there may be other options.

Are you calling lots of different people? You may try using Vonage (www.vonage.com), a VOIP. You would have to carry the box with you, but calls made from anywhere in the world would be as if you made them from back in the US. You would need to have broadband access and you could carry a small conventional phone. It might save you a bundle, though it would be a little inconvenient. Another provider is Skype (www.skype.com). That requires software and a headset, but you do not need a box or a phone. It does require a broadband connection.

I know ATT and Cingular have international roaming, but it is still expensive in comparison to using local SIMs. T-Mobile will unlock your phone for free as long as you have had it a few months with them, so you can try using local SIMs. Could you have a small file with the SIMs organized in it? Or else, you could just buy them in small denominations and dispose of them once you leave the country. I think it would be easiest to have a small organizer and just have the SIMs for each country with you.

If another carrier has much better rates, you can switch and port your number over. Even if it entails breaking your contract, the fee is so small in comparison to your monthly bill, in the end you will end up ahead.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 11:52 am
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I think getting local prepaid SIM cards and then forwarding your US number to a forwarding service is the cheapest!

I have prepaid SIM cards from everywhere. Then I have a US 800 number that forwards to wherever I am in the world (log onto your account on the net to enter the number to forward to.) I use Telcan for 800 forwarding service.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 12:07 pm
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prepaid or internet

I use mostly prepaid sims, with a call back providor call debitalk.com

They are cheap, no fees and can easily be accessed over the internet.

For lots of calls, I normally take my vonage router with me, put it in my appartment there and simply use that. That is also the same number I have in the states, so people calling simply get that device. I have internet in the appartment, and have a small wireless router SMC that I use everywhere. So, once I get to a friends, hotel, office or the appartment, I am connected and all calls come straight to me.

I used to use SKYPE a bit more, and have actually used it when roaming about on wifi. I took a call a few months ago on my pocketpc, in a starbucks in Germany.

These are all no cost, low cost, or VERY low cost alternatives.

I also setup my voicemail, but turn OFF my ATT phone when in Europe. I have the voice mail setup to email me when there is a new VM. That email goes to my european SIM card, to alert me of a new VM. Which i immediatly pickup using a european SIM and my call back service. Then, I just return the call.

Everyone who knows me, get a small excel file that has my contact information, itin, number to reach me at, etc. For the most privelaged contacts, they get a single number to call in the states, that routes straight to whatever phone I point it to, so the cost to them in zero.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by mrakant
I use technology called SIP using a SIP switch from a company called Applico Security Inc (www.applicosecurity.com). This is how it works. I have sim cards from local countries I visit and use Nokia phone wich has CDMA/GSM.

If you call my US number, our office switch forwards the call to the country I am in (our office there) and then PSTN GW in local office dials me locally so it becaomes a local call.

I can use the same system for video conference (multi-party too) using my laptop and I make calls from my Smartphone using WiFi client over SIP.

PM me if you need more details.
That solution is fine for incoming calles, but doesn't provide a decent solution for outgoing calls.
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Old Jan 8, 05, 7:33 pm
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UrbaneGent,

Have you been a T-Mobile customer a long time? Are you still on their pre-"World Class" international roaming plan? I was until I moved and cancelled the service 18 months ago. The earlier rate plan varied drastically in price between different carriers in the same country. Basically, T-Mobile will let you roam on any carrier but the range of prices can be astounding.

In Russia, specifically, I remember rates ranging from $1.20 to $8.99/minute depending on time of day and carrier.

If you have the old pricing plan (and it is better...really) check the T-Mobile web site for rates and manually set your handset to the cheapest carrier in each country. Also make a note of when the cheapest time is. If the people calling you are in the US or Asia, chances are they can/will call when the incoming rates are low. If price is a serious issue, disable auto-forward to voicemail (you pay both incoming and international back to the US rates when someone gets sent to voicemail) and turn off your phone during peak times.

If you are on the "World Class" plan, well, buck up. You might look at a Swisscom SIM for when you are in Europe, and set your T-Mobile number to forward to that number when you are out of range in the US. Lord knows it's cheaper, and is designed to roam all over Europe. Another one from Starhub or Sunday in Asia and you're all set.

Last edited by alanw; Jan 8, 05 at 7:36 pm
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