International phone service

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Aug 9, 2017
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#1
I do not use a cell phone in the US- but would like to have access to communications when I travel internationally- for emergencies primarily. I am looking for recommendations for a source for a phone and pay as you go usage
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#2
Freedompop's Global SIM is pretty good. $10 upfront, you get either 100 or 200 minutes free every month across a wide range of countries.
 
Aug 9, 2017
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#4
OK- but I don't have a phone to put a SIM in- even if i knew how to do it. I am looking, I think, to buy a phone relatively cheap, just to have and then pay only if I use it.
 

Neil Maley

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#5
OK- but I don't have a phone to put a SIM in- even if i knew how to do it. I am looking, I think, to buy a phone relatively cheap, just to have and then pay only if I use it.
I am not aware of a phone you can own and only pay if you use it.

You can rent a phone to use internationally when you travel.

Take a look at http://www.onesimcard.com/international-phone-rental/

Or do a Google search for international cell
phone rentals.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
You can buy an unlocked GSM phone triband or quadband. The SIM card is a small (size of an average thumbnail) card that slips into a slot -- fairly easy to do.

You are looking at a pay as you go service. the problem with many is that the credits expire after a certain period -- a use it or lose it. In the US tmobile has some of the longest lasting credits available -- that was when I looked last year for foreign friends visiting the US. They bought a GSM flip phone to use here and not run up roaming charges.
In Europe one can buy pay as you go SIM card and recharge it.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#8
I am very happy with my Mobal phone which I bought probably ten years ago. I paid $100 for domestic and international calling. You can also get just international, that would have been $50. The phone is yours; you pay $1.50 per minute's use, or $1/minute in the UK. There are no other charges. It also is an excellent alarm clock! I don't think I've used it more than a few times, but it is very comforting to have it in case of an emergency.
 
#10
I can't stress enough to get an unlocked GSM phone for European service as @Christina H has suggested. That's the type used by AT&T and T-Mobile. CDMA phones such as those made for Verizon and Sprint have far fewer networks overseas. You can buy a good used or older model phone on eBay with a lot of features for very little money and then pick up a refillable SIM card in advance or at your destination. My US T-Moble phone automatically provides overseas service with unlimited free data and international calls from Europe for 25 cents a minute but that would involve a monthly service plan and it appears that you don't want to get involved in one.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#11
I can't stress enough to get an unlocked GSM phone for European service as @Christina H has suggested. That's the type used by AT&T and T-Mobile. CDMA phones such as those made for Verizon and Sprint have far fewer networks overseas. You can buy a good used or older model phone on eBay with a lot of features for very little money and then pick up a refillable SIM card in advance or at your destination. My US T-Moble phone automatically provides overseas service with unlimited free data and international calls from Europe for 25 cents a minute but that would involve a monthly service plan and it appears that you don't want to get involved in one.
The CDMA/GSM split is largely a thing of the past. The vast majority of handsets deployed by Verizon and Sprint in the past 3-4 years work just as well in Europe as in the US. Interestingly, for the iPhone 7, the Verizon/Sprint version works in MORE places than the AT&T/T-Mobile version, which doesn't have the radios necessary to work in China.
 
#13
The CDMA/GSM split is largely a thing of the past. The vast majority of handsets deployed by Verizon and Sprint in the past 3-4 years work just as well in Europe as in the US. Interestingly, for the iPhone 7, the Verizon/Sprint version works in MORE places than the AT&T/T-Mobile version, which doesn't have the radios necessary to work in China.
You may be right, but I was just reading this article from PC Mag in my doctor's waiting room the other day.

https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp

The last paragraph stuck with me.
 
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Jul 27, 2016
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#14
You may be right, but I was just reading this article from PC Mag in my doctor's waiting room the other day.

https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp

The last paragraph stuck with me.
At this point, the bigger issue (to the extent there is one) is that not all phones designed for GSM carriers will also fully work on historically CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint). If you're a European, and take your phone to the US, you might not be able to roam in very rural areas where Verizon is the only available network. If you're a US customer of any of the four major carriers, and you've bought your phone in the last 3-4 years, you are extremely unlikely to have any issues using it in Europe.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#15
I think that we've gone way off track here. ewkcpa wants an international phone for emergencies. S/he does not want to deal with SIM cards or roaming or any of the things that most cell phone users take for granted. Just a phone that will work internationally if s/he has an emergency.

Turn the thing on, make sure you can make a call, turn it off and pack it away. Don't waste money on something you don't need. I understand this because I use a cell phone in the US very occasionally and never internationally ... unless there's an emergency. I've probably used my Mobal 8 times in 15 years. I did lend it to my SIL once because her father was quite ill when she went to Italy. It was very comforting for her to have it, and she used it a great deal. Some of us have little interest in the 'constant connection' mentality which is popular right now. But we want to communicate if we really have to. OTOH, I could be completely wrong here.