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Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Fairfax, VA
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Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Hi all. I've searched and read everything I can find but I'm still confused. Will be in Paris, London and Dublin for 3 weeks in December. I've borrowed two unlocked basic mobile phones (voice only) and want to get an International SIM before we leave. I'd like it to at least have a US number, as there are 3 elderly Grandmother's that will want to call. We'll also need to call the landlords in Paris and London on arrival, but otherwise I don't anticipate making many calls. Can anyone suggest something? I'm so confused!

Thanks!

(XPost from Paris Forum, but no one has responded)

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1. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

I would think again about getting it before you leave.

The sim cards you can get in London (if that is your first stop) are likely to be a much better value, and still cover all that area.

*do not get it from a vending machine at the airport--go to a brick and mortar store, like Carphone Warehouse*

Pretty sure assigning one phone an American number will still bring about massive roaming charges.

Are the grandmothers conversant with skype, e-mail or other forms of communication?

You might also address this question on the Travel Gadgets and Gear forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12530-Travel_G…

Edited: 01 October 2013, 16:45
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2. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

I would think the only way to get a SIM card with a US number is to buy it in the US, which may be why you are having difficulty getting helpful replies in the Paris and London forums. It's not difficult to call a UK number from the US, even for an elderly grandmother. You just dial 01144 and then the number.

There are 2 advantages to using a UK/French/Irish SIM rather than a US SIM:

1) incoming calls/texts are not charged to the recipient, so you would not pay to receive calls from home (or anywhere else)

2) The EU sets caps on roaming rates for EU SIM cards within the EU. So there would be caps on call charges fro using a UK SIM in France or vice versa.

In the UK, going into a store like Carphone Warehouse or Phones 4U would allow you to talk to a salesperson about what SIM card would be best for you given your proposed use (balance of US/local calls etc.)

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Fairfax, VA
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3. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Thanks for responding! To clarify, the grandmothers are all in their late 80's, so trying to make things as easy as possible for them. Of course we'll call them too, but, you know how grandma's are :).

What I am looking for is one international SIM - voice only- that would work in all three countries and that I can get before we leave. We're flying to Paris 1st, with a 3 or 4 hour layover at LHR. We'll be in Paris 9 days, London 6 days and Dublin 5 days.

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4. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Check out O2's International Favourites (…o2.co.uk/pl/…253842) with their Call Me facility. You get a, for example, US number that comes through to your UK mobile.

As above, roaming charges when the phone is out of the UK.

London, United...
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5. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

My elderly grandmothers (89 and 95) have managed to phone me occasionally over my 16 years in the UK. The only problem is when they forget about the time difference or think it goes the other way and phone in the middle of the night. I think there is something desperately wrong, but it turns out they just want to chat.

The product in post 4 looks like a great one, but I wonder whether it is available on PAYG SIMs. Without a UK credit history, you will find it nigh on impossible to get a monthly contract phone in the UK.

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6. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Amazes me how many people stay in touch when away on holiday, how on earth did we cope before the internet and mobile phones?!

A SIM purchased in the. UK would only really be any good in the UK, you would have to pay roaming charges in Ireland and France. Have you looked in to your network provider back home, some of them offer bolt-ons or let you pay a small charge to use your existing allowance when overseas.

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Fairfax, VA
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7. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

I know it may seem silly to some, but they are beloved old ladies and I want to do this for them. My personal cell is Virgin Mobile US, so the handset won't work in Europe. That's why I'm trying to investigate an International or World voice only SIM for the phones my friend has kindly lent to us.

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8. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

Downhill, I didn't pay any extra roaming fees on my UK phone when I was in Italy or France or Spain. The rate was slightly higher, but that was it. I used a cheap, pay as you go sim card.

It can be surprisingly inexpensive to call the UK from the US from a *land line.* My good friend tells me that she is charged .08 cents a minute without any sort of plan to call me in the UK. This is not the case when using a cell or mobile phone.

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naperville, illinois
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9. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

By no means do I know all the techie / geek stuff about SIM cards, etc. BUT - let me throw out to you a few of the things we have done in the past ....

We have an unlocked mobile phone we purchased in Australia. IF we decide to use this in Europe - we go to a mobile phone store in the country we are in, buy a SIM card for that country. We once tried putting in a SIM card from the US into it - but it didn't work. SO - take your borrowed phone to a mobile phone service store and see if they will let you try a SIM card and if it will work.... giving you a US number (does that make sense?)

When we had an international phone number, I would then call my family member, and give them the complete string of numbers they had to dial. (011 + 44 +.......) I use http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/index.php as a reference on how to dial,etc. Is that a possibility for you - to call your grandmothers and give them the string?

We have also gone online to purchase SIM cards for China (I wanted to have the cell phone up and running as soon as I landed) and for Russia (same thing). So, perhaps goggle International SIM cards, or similar wording, and see if there is one that might meet your needs. The SIM card is sent to you, with your phone number. THEN you can write down the string of numbers for your grandmothers. The last time I did this - for Russia, the number was actually an Estonian phone number (go figure!) but it was the cheapest rate - and it allowed me to use the SIM card everywhere - it just had different rates for whereever I was calling from. This method may not be the least expensive compared to other methods, but, it gave me what I needed - a mobile phone number that was up and running immediately (this was all before my mobile phone carrier came out with their international dialing plans).

Again, I don't know if any of these options are still viable/workable for you..... but it might give you an idea of how else to proceed.

Good Luck!

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Illinois
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10. Re: Need voice only SIM for France, GB and Ireland. Help please

I do what imwmn913 does and write down the number including the extra to call the UK. I bought a Lebara SIM at a Carphone Warehouse in the UK and used it in France and it worked fine. I think the roaming fees to call the US were pretty high though. They weren't that high to call within the EU. IIRC, incoming calls were free. I also use Skype. You have to pay to call a phone but it't not that expensive.

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