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Old 05-04-2015, 06:18 PM   #21
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Thanks. I prefer to buy my SIMs locally and will go with whatever is convenient and has the features I want. I make the shopkeeper get my device up and running and have them dial in any codes that turn on key features.
I just figured you could snag a random 13 year old off the street and conscript them to help you with the phone.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:29 PM   #22
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I just figured you could snag a random 13 year old off the street and conscript them to help you with the phone.
In Paris he'd probably just run off with it! LOL!
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:50 PM   #23
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In Paris he'd probably just run off with it! LOL!
Oh, I have a good travel story about this. In Montevideo, Uruguay a few years ago we were sitting in the old downtown area on a bench. A bunch of 13 year olds walked up very close and very aggressively and asked us what time it was, assuming I would pull out a cell phone to check the time. I didn't have a cell phone back then, so I pulled out an old beat up $10 timex watch I found on the ground 10 years earlier that was missing the bands (my "pocketwatch").

They looked so disappointed when they realized I didn't have a sweet phone they could steal.

Now that I have a phone, it's going to be "No se" time all the time.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:52 PM   #24
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Updating this old thread because I'm shopping for a phone again.

Checking wikipedia, I think that Europe (or at least Spain) uses GSM 900 and 1800, UMTS 900 and 2100, and "LTE" 800, 1800, 2600. I hope I got that right! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...f_Europe#Spain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_frequency_bands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UMTS_frequency_bands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-UTRA...nel_bandwidths

Blu has some smart phone models in the $40 to $80 range, but the reviews on Amazon look horrific (reliability, usability).

eBay has some no-name phones with European frequencies in the $75-$100 range that beat the specs of the Blu phones, but no data on reliability. They do have brand-new Android OS's installed. And then there's the cheap versions of brand name phones, like the Moto E (but watch out, some have the US frequencies, and you'd be stuck on 2G if you got the US version ...see quote below). These are in the $65 to $120 range, depending on new vs used, first gen vs second gen.

Quote:
Moto-E 2nd Gen

US GSM (XT1511): GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)
Global GSM (XT1505): GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
I still haven't bought one, but thought I'd put this information up, so, if you're shopping for a cheap way to have a smart phone in Europe, you'd have a starting point.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:29 PM   #25
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As far as I know, my current T-Mobile phone will work in 150+ countries, without modification or changing the SIM card.

I may incur extra fees, but I am not even sure about that.

Update: "Unlimited international data coverage and texting are included with a qualifying Simple Choice Plan at no extra charge. It’s just 20 cents per minute for calls to mobile devices and landlines."
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:50 PM   #26
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I used my US version of Nexus 5 phone in Europe all summer. I use it in CDMA mode at home, and used GSM/Sims in Europe. At home it says LTE, in europe it said HSPA. I didn't notice slow data - it was plenty for what I used it for. (Used wifi at our rental apartments - but used maps/transportation apps when out sightseeing, and also on transfer days on the train.)

I have a friend who did the same thing with the MotoG on her trip recently.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:29 PM   #27
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When I buy an iPhone, instead of selling or trading in my old one, I keep it.

I sometimes want a local phone number in Europe, and it's trivial to buy a prepaid SIM and pop it in the older phone. For €20-30, I can get all the talk, texts, and data I'm likely to need for a couple of weeks over there.

Meanwhile, I buy one of the Passport programs from AT&T so I can roam freely with my regular US phone.

iPhones are small enough that it's no bother to carry a second one, and by setting up a distinctive ring tone on each there's no confusion.

Eventually, when I decide to buy a newer iPhone, I keep the just previous model and sell the older one I've been using for travel.

I've been doing this for many years, and have never had a problem. Typically, it takes 5-10 minutes to buy a prepaid SIM and set up the phone in any European country I've visited.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:52 PM   #28
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Quote:
Nexus 5:

(D820) North America: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19 (UMTS 2100/1900/1700/850/900/800)
LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41 (2100, 1900, 1700, 850, 2600, 800, 1900, 850, 2500)

(D821) Rest of World: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
The both versions of the phone cover European 2G and 3G just fine, so my theory matches your first-hand experience. In 4G, it's missing LTE 3, 7, 8, 20 (1800, 2600, 900, 800), which are the European 4G frequencies. But one probably doesn't really need 4G.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:04 PM   #29
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As far as I know, my current T-Mobile phone will work in 150+ countries, without modification or changing the SIM card.

I may incur extra fees, but I am not even sure about that.

Update: "Unlimited international data coverage and texting are included with a qualifying Simple Choice Plan at no extra charge. It’s just 20 cents per minute for calls to mobile devices and landlines."
Exactly! T-mobile phones work very well.

We took a US-purchased T-Mobile SIM in an unlocked Verizon iPhone 5 (that is how they come - always unlocked) and it worked great in Europe 2014 - totally seamless and hassle free switching across several countries. We just paid for 1 month of America Simple Choice plan coverage - actually a wee bit over, they prorated the partial 2nd month.

The next year (2015) we switched to T-Mobile buying a new iPhone 6 that has all the US T-Mobile bands as well as Europe.

IMO - that has been the easiest solution. Way better then trying to get SIMs in different countries. We've done the latter several times and it's such a pain. Actually - it's not so bad if you only visit one country. It's more of a pain when you visit more than one.

It's really nice knowing your phone# before you leave for Europe even if it is a US number.

I took a Blu dumb phone one year, bought a cheap SIM. It was OK - but we are much happier using our iPhones either with Europe SIM or even better - T-mobile SIM.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:05 PM   #30
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The both versions of the phone cover European 2G and 3G just fine, so my theory matches your first-hand experience. In 4G, it's missing LTE 3, 7, 8, 20 (1800, 2600, 900, 800), which are the European 4G frequencies. But one probably doesn't really need 4G.
It depends. We used mostly 4G for data when out running around - looking at GPS maps on the phone, getting emails and notifications.

T-mobile allows unlimited data overseas - but it's usually the slow data and is often 4G. This is good enough for being out and about. Anything requiring higher bandwidth we would use hotel WiFi.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:10 PM   #31
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The both versions of the phone cover European 2G and 3G just fine, so my theory matches your first-hand experience. In 4G, it's missing LTE 3, 7, 8, 20 (1800, 2600, 900, 800), which are the European 4G frequencies. But one probably doesn't really need 4G.
Yep - I got 3G in Europe with my nexus 5 d820. DH is due for a new-to-him phone soon (he's got an ancient nexus S)...He doesn't use data much so I might get him a used (or cheap new) d821... so then if we *needed* faster data in europe we could get it.

I wasn't streaming video or anything - and the 3G worked fast for maps, directions, etc.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:10 PM   #32
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I just bought a new first-gen global GSM Moto E ($83 to my door in 2 days). It has the European 3G (900 and 2100) frequencies. It was 25% cheaper than the second-gen global GSM which would have blown my $75 maximum budget. Yes, I spent more than I intended...isn't that always the way it happens?

Quote:

Moto E (1st gen)

Global GSM Model:

GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:02 PM   #33
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We were in Ukraine over the holidays visiting the in-laws. As it happens they are just rolling out 3G there and are using Band1 2100 mhz. I had to scramble at the last minute to come up with a suitable phone that we could set up as a wifi hotspot for a week. I happened to find an HTC s710 from China Telecom that fit the bill for $9 delivered on ebay. I played with it for one night at home and it worked fine but the next day the usb port broke. So i figured out that an HTC Sensation that i had never got working properly had the correct band. Its problem was that the digitizer exhibited ghost touches and was almost uncontrollable. We ended up getting that one to work fine for what we needed it for and provided superb wifi (in HSPA).

Data was cheap there as the major telcoms are fighting for market share in 3G. We paid about $10 for 16 GB of data.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:25 PM   #34
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We were given a Blu dumb phone and $100 worth of airtime when we did the rally to Mongolia. It worked fine and we mostly used it to keep up with other teams. Wifi was very widespread in hostels, restaurants, and one memorable town in Russia, Kemerova, where every public space had wifi!
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:08 AM   #35
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Is T mobile the only one that sells SIM card in USA for travel in Europe? I have Verizon as my carrier.


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Old 02-13-2016, 12:54 AM   #36
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Is T mobile the only one that sells SIM card in USA for travel in Europe? I have Verizon as my carrier.
Verizon does have international roaming. Not sure you'd want to pay their expensive roaming charges, though.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:56 AM   #37
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Verizon does have international roaming. Not sure you'd want to pay their expensive roaming charges, though.
You can get a Moto E Global GSM for $66 on Amazon then buy a chip when you get there for maybe $20 that will have enough data, voice and SMS for a week (if you're not too liberal with data...I think that's about 1GB). Allocate the cost of the phone over a few trips and you're getting pretty cheap...probably way cheaper than US international roaming. And you might want to check your phone's frequencies...you might only get 2G which would be painful looking something up on the web without wifi.
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:09 AM   #38
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Exactly! T-mobile phones work very well.
I might switch to T-Mobil as our primary phone just for the free international roaming. I'm not sure how well it will work for us because T-Mobil specifically says their included international coverage is only intended for occasional use . . . which isn't our situation. But I might test them on that.

It hasn't been a huge priority because we've found that having constant data and cell coverage while traveling isn't really necessary anymore. We don't even buy SIM cards everywhere we go because we just don't need them with our Android phone.

Google maps has a pretty awesome "offline" feature now which is almost as good as when connected to the interwebs. Same thing with Google translate. Translate actually works faster when not using data. I'm constantly switching to Airplane mode so I can use it offline it's that much better.

And with a Skype account we have phone service anywhere in the world we have wifi. I think we pay something like $50 per year for unlimited calls to the U.S. (from anywhere) and a dedicated U.S. number with voicemail. Local calls and/or international calls are super cheap too. I put $10 credit on my account two years ago and I still have like $8 left.

No messaging with Skype, though, but there are plenty of other apps for that.
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:10 AM   #39
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Anybody use the global sim cards?

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhone...avel-sim-cards

Probably more expensive than a local sim, but you don't have the hassle of having to change for each different country.
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:29 AM   #40
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Anybody use the global sim cards?

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhone...avel-sim-cards

Probably more expensive than a local sim, but you don't have the hassle of having to change for each different country.
Those do seem more expensive, probably because there's a third-party, and you are considered "roaming".

Considering the trouble of getting another SIM when you go into the next country, I wonder if one carrier covers more than one country if it would work. For instance, "Orange" covers both Spain and France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...tors_of_Europe
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