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Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Atlanta, Georgia
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Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

OK -- I think I've finally decided what will work best as a cell phone for our nine-day trip to Israel in early Janaury 2011:

Telestial is by far the most expensive (see earlier post, below, for rates).

Even though I have an open GMS phone, I think it's cheaper to rent a phone with SIM card included through Amigo-US, rather than buy a SIM card from IsraelSIMS, using my own phone. Here is why:

IsraelSIM charges $43 for the card with 50 shekels phone credit. Basically, that's a $31 'fee' for the card with $12 left over for phone calls. (Their calls to the US are $.22 / minute; calls within Israel are also $. 22 / minute).

Amigo-US charges $.99 per day for the phone rental, including insurance and getting the Israeli telephone number before leaving the US. For me, that's about $10 for the rental. Since I don't live in one of the cities where there's free pickup of the phone (Atlanta), that will be another $10 for standard delivery. So a total of about $20 ($10 for the rental; $10 for shipping) as the 'fee' (less than IsraelSim, above). (Amigo's calls to the US are $.19 within Israel; $.28 / minute to the US; or, what I am signing up for, $.14/minute to one preferred US telephone number (my husband).

So Amigo offers $11 less of a 'fee' ($31 - $20) and offers cheaper rates (36% cheaper rates to the US if I call only my US-preferred number).

To make this analysis complete, I need but am missing current rates for SIM cards bought locally in Israel from Cellcom, in my case. Can someone provide this information? (At this point, I'm committed to the Amigo rental for Israel, but now I'm curious if it would have been cheaper to wait until getting to Israel.)

For me the peace of mind of having an Israeli cell number that I can give my family and local contacts ahead of time is worth going with Amigo. I love the option too of selecting a preferred-US number with the much cheaper rate of $.14/minute.

Thanks for any comments or corrections to this information. I hope it helps. Thanks too for all the many posts to my questions over the past few weeks! We leave January 4 for Rome for five nights first before arriving in Israel.

Christine

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Correction: I forgot to include the $10 return 'fee' in my analysis above so the 'fee' for Amigo now approaches the 'fee' for Israelsims.com ($30 in my case for Amigo compared to $31 for IsraelSims).

Perhaps the convenience and rates are still worth it, especially if choosing the US-preferreed number option?

Christine

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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2. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

If the price for Israelsims and Amigo are basically the same I would go with Amigo. They have gotten only stellar reviews and are used by many of the regulars on this forum. I had looked at the site before reading this post but didn't know all the "hidden" charges of Israelsims and since my head isn't totally together right now--I didn't write. ( my today flight to Israel was cancelled and I have no idea when I will get a flight)

Boulder, Colorado
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3. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Christine.......................We just returned from Israel and went with Amigo. We had the phone for a month. The phone arrived in Boulder about a week before we were leaving and YES......we were able to give everyone the number.

Returned the phone w/i 2 days of our return with the label and box it came in....and in short order Amigo notified us that they got the phone back.

I don't know the total charges yet....but I'd use them again in a heartbeat!

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Morewierd,

Thank you for this information and for your earlier post on another thread about www.onesuite.com Great information on both counts!

I've ordered my amigo phone today for Israel, am switching to onesuite.com for our calls from the US to Israel and Italy, and am using the Italian hotel's cell phones that they make available to hotel guests for our calls within Italy; I'll buy WIND SIM card for the hotel cell phone.

(I have a GMS-open phone, NewGen, that I bought three years ago from Radio Shack and just got the idea today that maybe I should get a spare battery in case my NewGen battery is on its last legs -- and, guess what? No one, anywhere, even seems to know who NewGen is (gone out of business?) and certainly no batteries can be bought for it!! It's one of those batteries that's integrated into the back of the cell phone itself -- meaning the whole back of the cell phone has to be replaced along with the battery -- a real problem when no one can find the cell phone marketer!!) Anyone with any ideas of how to fix this problem, please let me know.

Christine

5. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

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Removed on: 30 December 2010, 02:05
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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6. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Your first post ever, and with the name "cellphoneguru," and it's to suggest one particular cell phone company? Can you assure us that you have no commercial or personal connection to this company in any way? I certainly don't want to be unwelcoming to the forum, but it is unusual that someone who has never posted on Trip Advisor before comes on to make such a highly specific recommendation.

Rdglady, I am so sorry your trip was delayed and hope that you get out soon! I know this storm has been an awful mess.

Finally, I have used Amigo on three trips and have been highly satisfied. And I have NO connection with the company other than being a satisfied customer.

Douglas Duckett

Edited: 28 December 2010, 21:30
Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

Wow! I just got back from Israel and our phone worked great from the moment we stepped off the plane (and even beforehand and in other countries if we wanted to pay roaming charged).

I limited calls to my 'preferred caller' and paid only $US 0 .14 per minute with free in-coming calls.

I enjoyed the peace of mind of knowing my cell phone number in Israel before I arrived there.

I got my bill today: $56 which included two $10 charges for express mail to send the phone to me and send it back to the provider. If you live in one of their many 'drop-off' locations, you can avoid this extra total cost of $20.

I was very pleased with Amigo and would highly recommend them for cell phone rentals before leaving your country.

Christine in GA

8. Re: Cell phone comparison: Amigo v. Israel Sims v. Telestial

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Removed on: 27 January 2012, 05:44