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Cell Phone Update-FYI

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san mateo, ca
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Cell Phone Update-FYI

I was looking for a cell phone for use when I go to Rome and searched on forum; people recommended Verizon rental and I wanted to let you know that the cost of the rental has increased and the plans were expensive. I need to call home and the .99 charge per minute in addition to paying for the phone and plan was a bit steep.

I found this company telestial on line where I can buy a cheap phone and an international sim card that allows me to call home for .29 a minute! They will ship the phone to you before you leave (no searching for TIM store once you arrive) and will help you with the card- make sure it works, etc..Much cheaper than using your phone w/international call plan AND cheaper than the verizon rental.

If anyone has experience with these people- it would be great to hear- they look legit- I am going to give them a go- thought I would pass this on...

United States
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1. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

Telestial has been recommended many times on the forums. You can do a search using *Telestial* in the little search box.

I've used a TIM SIM from Telestial which I bought in 2007 with no problems. If you can wait until you get to Italy, you can buy the same SIM (TIM or Vodafone) for less money and a lower per minute rate. Make sure your phone will work with the European system ( tri/quad band GSM, unlocked).

TAB

Edited: 20 April 2012, 20:25
san mateo, ca
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2. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

Thanks- maybe what I can do is just get the phone on the cheap plan and buy the SIM with the extra minutes when I get there for less- I need a phone when I land to call my ride.. I had searched on cell phones and most posts discussed the Verizon rental, which as I mentioned has upped their fees.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

just checked out the telestial site, as I am trying to figure out my cell situation as well. I see a package that is 19.99, but I am wondering if that includes the actual phone ---> and I am seeing rates of $0.99 not $0.29 +++ the phone is dual band ----> shouldn't it be tri or quad to call the states? Also, I think the phone is $69.99?

http://www.telestial.com/promo/packlite.php

www.telestial.com/view_product.php…

san mateo, ca
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4. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

You are on the right track- you can buy the Pak Lite package for 19.99 which comes with an actual phone & 5 minutes of calling and then you buy a global SIM passport plus card (it is listed under: international sim card) which has the .29 a minute. I spoke to the rep and he said, I could use that card in the phone; and if I called when I got the package he would transfer the 5 minutes over to me. I know I can get cheaper in italy- but I am sort of technically inept so I feel better having it all done before I go...and someone to call. But be clear I have not ordered this yet- so I cannot vouch for this- though when I looked them on here on the forum, the only down side was the additional cost vs. buying in Italia- also it seems they have resolved the US number issue, as you can get a US number

Pittsburgh...
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5. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

I am not presenting an argument for Verizon..just a few more facts about Teslestial. To get the .29 rate you would need to buy the Passport Plus World SIM card for 29.99. For that you would recieve $10.00 airtime credit. Which translates into maybe 25 minutes of talk time. Besides the .29 minute rate..there is a .35 connection fee (so your first minute costs you .64. There is also a .19 surcharge to recieve calls on your US #. I guess you get two #s, a US # and a UK#.

To add minutes to your SIM card can be done in increments of $30, $50, $100. If you fail to use all your minutes....after so many months (?) they expire. So to sum it up....cost of Pak Light Package...$19 plus cost of SIM card $29.95, Plus cost of lowest incremental minute add-on $30.00 totals about $79.00. For that you probably have about 2 hours of talk time.

I agree the Verizon is super expensive at .99 minute. There is no cost to rent phone...but you must pay $19.95 for the FEDEX shipping of phone and pre-paid return. To get the equal 2 hour talk time would cost you $120.00. plus the 19.95. So the comparison on minute by minute certainly seems to favor Teslestial.

I am still trying to figure out the most cost effective solution. We have always used the phone cards purchased in Tobacco stores for 5 euro which gives you anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of talk time. Since we are doing more driving this trip...I wanted to have a cell phone in case of any car trouble. I don't intend to make many calls using the cell phone. So a solution might be the Verizon Plan at 19.95 to have a phone in case of emergencies and the phone card to make calls back to the US to family at 5 euro ($6.50). And then I may look to buy a cheaper cell phone and SIM card package in Italy if it makes economical sense.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

I am thinking I should buy a pay as you go phone when I get to Rome (minutes can be refilled in most Tobacco shops) since I will only need it to make calls in Rome

Anyone know where I can get a cheap phone like this in Rome?

United States
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7. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

The phone providers, TIM, WIND, Vodafone, all have a cheap phone + SIM which they offer. You can go into any of their stores or check online for the current offers. They change frequently as to which carrier would offer the best rate at any given time. You will need to bring your passport with you to register.

TAB

San Jose, California
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8. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

If you have a cellphone that is GSM 900/1800 compatible and is unlocked or can be unlocked you can simply buy a SIM card and pay much less for calls.

If you buy ahead of your trip, I do recommend Telestial but have a look here for Italy SIMs: http://www.telestial.com/sim_bridge.php?ID=IT

These rates are at .15 per call. Incoming are free.

If you wait until you get to Italy you can purchase a SIM card at a TIM, Vodafone, WIND or Tre store. These will be much cheaper. i.e. For 10 euros, you can buy a TIM SIM and get 5 euros of minutes. However the downside is that there is no longer (somebody correct me here if this has changed) a store at the FCO airport right at arrivals (it has closed). The only one I believe, is upstairs beyond security. So you would have to locate one in your travels (however, they seem to be everywhere)

Top-ups to add minutes start at 10 euros not 30 as the previous poster mentioned. The SIM card is what expires after 10 or 12 months of non-usage. This is so phone numbers are not "held hostage" and not being used. So in essence, your minutes would expire when your SIM card expires for non-use.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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9. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

You can get a cheap phone at Termini station, where there is a TIM store in the main concourse at the train level. Last year they were selling phones for €25. The SIM card, as mentioned above is €10, which includes €5 of initial credit. This should be the cheapest option for nearly everybody. For those who will be making frequent calls home, or long calls home, a phone card of the type mentioned by PGHguy can be used along with the cell phone, or instead of it, if your only calls will be calls to home.

TIM and Vodafone are both widely used companies, with good coverage nearly everywhere. I would be less willing to recommend some of the others, because I know people who have had coverage problems with them.

san mateo, ca
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10. Re: Cell Phone Update-FYI

Thanks for all this helpful information; I need a phone that works when I land, so I may just go with the 19.99 lite pack and buy the add on minutes as discussed here. I am a novice at this; so when I buy say a $10 card it gives me a certain amount of minutes for what I am assuming is local and less for international? Is it pretty easy to add on? Thanks