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cell phones in paris (europe)

chicago
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cell phones in paris (europe)

We are thinking we'd like to bring a phone..is it feasible to have a phone in europe that can be used for calls to and from the US?

It's difficult to get accurate and knowledgeable info about this from the wireless companies. Can someone tell me what they know about it?

Thanks

Northeast US
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1. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

Depending on the type of phone you have as well as your plan it could be very feasible. But, it will be very expensive. When I went to Paris in January I was thinking about bringing and using my phone but they wanted about $1.99/minute for calls to the US. In my opinion you are better off stopping in a tabac and purchasing a phone card. Public phones are all over--you'll have no problem finding one.

On the other hand if your cell phone company can give you a good rate---go for it.

Something else you could try is www.penny-talk.com. It's a prepaid calling card that allows you to call anywhere in the US for 0.01 a minute. It's worth looking in to.

Bon chance et bon voyage!

chicago, il
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2. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

I have a quad band motorola phone with service from Cingular Wireless. When I land in Paris my phone automatically switches over to the SFR French cellular network. Here's what you need to know. Your friends and family will be able to contact you by dialing your regular phone number. However it will cost you $1.59 per minute to receive their calls. For them it is like making a local call, no long distance charges on their end. To call home you will need to dial 001 + area code + telephone number. Again you are looking at $1.59 per minute. To place a call within France all you need to do is dial the 10 digit phone number, no international codes are needed. This too will cost $1.59 per minute. From my past experience, the call quality has been excellent, very clear, no static or echos..

Another option is to purchase a SIM card at a wireless phone store in Paris. The SIM cards run about 55 euros and generally start you off with 10-15 minutes of talk time. The phone will be switched over to the French network and you will have a 10 digit telephone number starting with 06. You can purchase top off cards at any phone store or tabac for additional minutes. Just remember to keep your original SIM card in safe keeping, because that is the brain of your phone and it is expensive to replace, about $100.

I don't know if it is more important for you to receive calls from home or to be able to make local calls within France. I provided you with both options to help you make your decision. If all else fails, France has a very efficient system of pay telephones. They are located on almost every corner in Paris and are cheap to use.

Montreal, QC
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for Nice
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3. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

To add to the previous post, in order to use a SIM card ffrom a French cellular phone company your GSM phone has to be unlocked.

The cost of a SIM card by SFR is 30 euros and refills start at 15 euros. Cost of local calls are 0.55 euro a minute while calls from France to USA or Canada are 0.70 euro a minute.

SFR cards have to be refilled every 6 months if you don not want to lose your phone number and buy a new SIM card to replace the one that has expired. Oramge (another company) has a period of 8 months before cancelling a SIM card.

I still have to check it out but I was told by a SFR store manager that I can refill my card from North America. But since I go to France every 6 months I refill the day of my return and I my mind is free for the next 6 months. Upon returning to France I refill on arrival and voilà le tour est joué.

YellowSubmarine
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4. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

I am going to get riiing SIM (yes, 3 i's) for our trip. It will give us the same number for all our journey. However, you can get a french SIM a bit cheaper, if that is the only place you will be. I will also use a call-back service to dial out with (for any calls back to states I need to do). This allows you to call a service, let it ring, then hang up. The computer you call calls you back and gives you a dial-tone, and you then call. It is treated as an incoming call by the SIM service you are on, so it is free. The charges by the call-back service are minimal (don't remember then exactly, but they were good.) You can learn what I learned at the following url:

www.telestial.com/prepaid_sim_cards.htm

Go to the bottom of the page for the Riiing service, or look at the french SIM on that link. You can click on the Return-Call Service link to see that call-back servic. Seems like a decent option, to me.

Mike

YellowSubmarine
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5. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

p.s. Forgot to mention, you must have an unlocked GSM phone, tri- or quad-band (or at least the bands to use there) for this to work, but you can get those. I got a motorola 635 for this.

Mike

chicago
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6. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

Wow great info, We will actually be in Amsterdam for a week as well so I'm not sure if that changes things. We currently have a sprint plan butI need a new one anyway soI'll lokk into the "unlocked". the riiing thing sounds interesting so I'll look into that too.

I love this forum.

Florida
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7. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

We bought a phone from Mobal and used it for about 10 calls, which ranged between $1.25-$1.50/minute. No contract, no monthly fees, just the per-minute charged to your credit card. Cheaper than buying a SIM and topping up, since we used it for a minimal nbr of calls. Some phones come 'unlocked' or you can find the codes on the internet.

http://www.mobalrental.com

Dual-band, Europe freqs only $49

Tri-band - not sure which freqs, $99

YellowSubmarine
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8. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

oiseau - both cingular and tmobile use the GSM system/convention/whatever here in the states, so getting an unlocked GSM phone will allow you to use their service here, if they have a decent plan in your area. That way your GSM phone won't go to waste.

missouri
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9. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

What about renting a cell phone for a week, rather than using the Sim card? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

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10. Re: cell phones in paris (europe)

We rented a phone last couple of trips. The last time, three years ago, something was wrong with the charger. The hotel recommended we go to FUSAC to buy one, but we didn't have time. If I remember properly, my husband talked to the cell phone company we rented from and must have gotten some sort of credit, but I am not sure. All in all it was frustrating and useless. Plus we had to send the phone via FedEx (package was provided) upon our return to the States.

Nowadays we bring our own cell phones (quad band) and pay per minue via our long distance carrier as our plan has the int'l. roaming included already. Many people say this is highly expensive, but we prefer it this way. Also I bought a phone card in Paris just to call from my hotel room. It was alot cheaper than using the cell phone which generally was used for emergency type of calls anyway.