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Using a cell phone in Egypt

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Tucson, Arizona
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Using a cell phone in Egypt

I just got my first cell phone a few months ago. It's an iPhone. I know people travel all over the world with theirs, but can someone explain how that works?? Obviously I can use it here in Muscat, but if I were to take it on my upcoming trip to Egypt, can I use it there, too, or will I be paying exorbitant long-distance rates since it's "based" in Muscat, or what? I thought it might be handy for communicating with the driver or guide or travel agent. If it costs too much to use there, I'll just leave it home.

Please speak slowly and use simple words. This stuff is all very confusing to me!

Cairo
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1. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Azbuceadora, you can get a sim card for any of the three working operators in Egypt for less than 1 $ from any supermarket or kiosk in Cairo & charge it with credit minutes according to your usage. This is the best you can do.

Ahmed

The Scottish Borders
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2. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Hi,

Yes you would be able to use your iphone in Egypt but like you say the charges would be quite high for browsing the internet and making / receiving calls, sending texts. Am unsure about Muscat but it would cost me around £0.50 GBP for every text I send from Egypt back home to the UK - check with your own mobile company what the charges would be.

I take my iphone to Egypt with me but it's been 'unlocked' so not tied to any one particular mobile phone company so I can easily put in an Egyptian Sim and benefit from cheaper rates to call/text home and also drivers/guides etc in Egypt.

If your phone is currently tied into a fixed length contract I imagine it would be fairly difficult to get it unlocked, if so the best way to go IMO would be get a fairly cheap / basic 'pay as you go' mobile, make sure it's 'unlocked' and not tied to any one particular company and when you get to Egypt see about getting a local sim from either 'vodafone' 'mobinil' or 'etisalat'

My Vodafone Egyptian sim cost me 25LE (It's a permanent one as I travel to Luxor a few times a year) but I believe 'Holiday Sims' are 20LE and you need to take your passport with you to get one nowadays, I normally top up by around 50LE which is used for mainly local calls and texts back home, if I run out of credit it's fairly easy to visit the shop and get another top up - staff are generally friendly and will help out.

If you do take your iphone with you remember to turn off both 'data roaming' and 'location services' and that should help not build up high internet charges when abroad.

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Yikes, this sounds too complicated to bother with. I have no idea what a sim is or "unlocked" means. I just thought if there were some glitch like a delayed or canceled flight I could call the travel agent or she could call me; I wasn't planning to use it for the Internet or anything like that. Thanks anyway!

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Hi there!

I have contacted my mobile phone company home before I traveled but be careful because they charged me lots of money.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

If you need to make a phone call because of a cancelled flight or some emergency, I'd say the extra costs might be worth it just to have peace of mind and a feeling of connection. When all the flight problems happened a year ago, those who were on the phone to their airline or travel agent were more successful and had more up to date information than those at the airline desks who weren't getting on the spot info. In a worst case scenario, are you able to afford $100 in extra phone fees to get you out of a bad situation? If so, carry your phone and keep it turned off until you need it.

I think Lindaphillip meant she arranged an international phone option on her mobile and it cost lots of money - and it will.

Tucson, Arizona
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6. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Good point, Qmamma!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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7. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Not sure if UK iphones are different than US iphones, but I have an iphone 3 or 4 (not the newest one) and I was told that it is not an "international" one so it won't work in turkey/egypt where I travelled recently and that there is nowhere to put a sim card and not possible to arrange an international plan. I have no idea how you open the phone to put in a sim card, but maybe mine is just different. Either way, it did appear that mine was getting a signal in egypt becuase it displayed my carrier's name and bars instead of "no service" like it did in Turkey. I never tried to use it though because I didn't need to.

You should definitely check with your carrier to see if it will work and what the charges will be. Sometimes with US carriers, they have to authorize your phone to work overseas and if they don't it won't work and you won't be able to use it in an emergency.

Tucson, Arizona
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8. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

Thanks for the heads up. My carrier is here in Oman.

Bali, Indonesia
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9. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

out of topic, what is the best provider in Egypt? I would like to buy prepaid with data internet. I just stay 2 nights

UK
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10. Re: Using a cell phone in Egypt

If you only need 3G data and no calls, a good option is Vodafone USB Internet 25. The cost of the SIM card is 20LE and you can top it up with 160Mb for 25LE.