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Phone carrier in Europe

jsl91207 8 10 August 7, 2015 at 10:43 AM in Tech & Electronics (2)
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Last Edited by jsl91207 August 7, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Hello,

First of all, thank you for your help/advice in advance.

I will visit France and Spain in October, and I need help/advices on phone with data and voice.

I am with sprint currently, and it looks the phone that I have does not work as it's CDMA phone.

What will be the best phone and carrier (in terms of price and functionality) that I can purchase for a month usage in Europe?

As for the phone, my guess is that any unlocked phone (with GSM frequecy) will do the trick.

Please share if anyone had good experience with any carrier.

Thanks again.Smilie

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Quote from jsl91207 View Post :

I will visit France and Spain in October, and I need help/advices on phone with data and voice.

I am with sprint currently, and it looks the phone that I have does not work as it's CDMA phone.

What will be the best phone and carrier (in terms of price and functionality) that I can purchase for a month usage in Europe?

As for the phone, my guess is that any unlocked phone (with GSM frequecy) will do the trick.
You are correct that CDMA phones (Sprint/Verizon) will not work overseas, but any cheap GSM phone will. The trick is the GSM phone HAS to be unlocked or the SIM card will not be recognized.


Two immediate options come to mind:


1) Get a cheap GSM phone in the US and get a disposable SIM card - if you are in France, Orange and Vodaphone are the two biggest. Both have options to pick up at airport or deliver to your US address:


http://store.orange.com/us/travel...rd-276120/


Lycannobile is also a good choice


2) You can sign up for T-Mobile service and receive free data/text internationally. Calling IS extra, but if you just need data/GPS, this is a great option. Keep in mind that speeds are very slow, but it is no additional cost to their regular monthly fee


People have different definitions of cheap phones, but ZenFone 2 or Allcatel Idol 3 seem to be two popular models for under $200. For even cheaper, look for BLU phones which you can get <$100. Check SD threads and you will find recent deals on all 3 phones


Hope this helps! Smartphones do make travelling A LOT easier than even 10 years ago...
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Thank you very much, megakimcheelove.
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Any unlocked gsm phone, or a locked gsm phone with international roaming will work
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So I goto France twice a year for work. And everytime I just open up a Tmobile postpaid tablet plan. I activate it with my Nexus tablet and pop it into my old iphone 4S when I am in France. I link that with Google Voice and I basically have unlimited calling and texting back home
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Quote from pennywaltz View Post :
So I goto France twice a year for work. And everytime I just open up a Tmobile postpaid tablet plan. I activate it with my Nexus tablet and pop it into my old iphone 4S when I am in France. I link that with Google Voice and I basically have unlimited calling and texting back home

I just looked up their tablet plans- the fine print says-

Quote from TMOBILE website :
Coverage not available in some areas; we are not responsible for the performance of our roaming partners' networks.

Standard speeds approx. 128 Kbps. No tethering.

Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network...Service may be terminated or restricted for excessive roaming or misuse.

Is that accurate? Because if so that seems like a horrible solution for anyone who wants a useful data connection.
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Quote from Knightshade View Post :
I just looked up their tablet plans- the fine print says-




Is that accurate? Because if so that seems like a horrible solution for anyone who wants a useful data connection.

I had decent coverage in Lyon, France.. Also when I was in Canada (Toronto and Montreal), Spain, Italy and Mexico. look at their map
http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-...aming.html and type in the country and see what service they offer. You want to get the simple choice plan
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Quote from pennywaltz View Post :
I had decent coverage in Lyon, France.. Also when I was in Canada (Toronto and Montreal), Spain, Italy and Mexico. look at their map
http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-...aming.html and type in the country and see what service they offer. You want to get the simple choice plan

Not asking about coverage- I'm asking about speed.


By default, T-Mobile caps foreign roaming data rates at a very, very slow 128kbps (the equivalent of what 2G networks used to deliver a few years ago).

It's probably ok for checking email, and it's probably ok for a decent quality VOIP call (though not at the same time)... but I'd expect a painful wait if you're trying to do some google maps stuff or anything involving video.


It's probably still the best option if you don't need much better than dial-up speeds, but if you need anything approaching a fast connection that's not gonna do the job.
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Quote from Knightshade View Post :
Not asking about coverage- I'm asking about speed.

By default, T-Mobile caps foreign roaming data rates at a very, very slow 128kbps (the equivalent of what 2G networks used to deliver a few years ago).

It's probably still the best option if you don't need much better than dial-up speeds, but if you need anything approaching a fast connection that's not gonna do the job.

Correct, the speeds are much slower (though I did get about 1.5 mbps on recent trips to Spain and Hungary). I think the key functionality is texting and GPS and saving any surfing for wi-fi connection.
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Quote from Knightshade View Post :
Not asking about coverage- I'm asking about speed.


By default, T-Mobile caps foreign roaming data rates at a very, very slow 128kbps (the equivalent of what 2G networks used to deliver a few years ago).

It's probably ok for checking email, and it's probably ok for a decent quality VOIP call (though not at the same time)... but I'd expect a painful wait if you're trying to do some google maps stuff or anything involving video.


It's probably still the best option if you don't need much better than dial-up speeds, but if you need anything approaching a fast connection that's not gonna do the job.
Sorry I read through this quickly. I had 3G speeds in France...since I was using my unlocked iphone 4S.. (it doesn't support LTE). so it was fine for me for VOIP Calls. I actually haven't been in a country where I received 2G speeds
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Quote from pennywaltz View Post :
Sorry I read through this quickly. I had 3G speeds in France...since I was using my unlocked iphone 4S.. (it doesn't support LTE). so it was fine for me for VOIP Calls. I actually haven't been in a country where I received 2G speeds

That matches my experience using T-Mobile in Spain and Hungary - probably equivalent to 3G speeds here in the States. So not great, but much better than 128kbps
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Quote from pennywaltz View Post :
Sorry I read through this quickly. I had 3G speeds in France...since I was using my unlocked iphone 4S.. (it doesn't support LTE). so it was fine for me for VOIP Calls. I actually haven't been in a country where I received 2G speeds

DId you actually do any speed tests or are you just going by the phone saying "3G" in the corner?

because every story I can find where they tested the tmobile deal (all over europe including France) got 2G speeds, not 3G.

http://www.androidcentral.com/tes...-much-more

Quote :
T-Mobile serves up free roaming (read: international) data if you're on a Simple Choice plan. But you're limited to 2G speeds
http://www.pcworld.com/article/21...aming.html

Quote :
In all three countries, I ran tests using Ookla's Speedtest app. I'd invariably get a download speed of around 0.13Mbps and an upload speed of around 0.12Mbps--just as T-Mobile had said.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/12/...data-test/

Quote :
T-Mobile (the only U.S. carrier who offers this kind of service) caps data rates at a very, very slow 128kbps




Now, all that said- they also all say the speed is "good enough" for most use that doesn't involve video as long as you don't mind waiting for stuff to load.... so it actually has me seriously considering this option for my next trip, despite my initial horror at the idea of using 2G speed for data.



I can use wifi when I'm stationary and want to just knock around on the web- the mobile data need is mainly for things like email, google maps or local transit info... which apparently work fine at those speeds albeit may require some patience.
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Quick follow up- If I did want to do this I'd select the $20 simple choice plan for bringing my own tablet?

Do I actually need to use a tablet to "activate" it in the US first or can I just do that using my iphone?

I don't have a tablet because I can't figure out any use for one (I've had a couple and always got rid of em... anything serious I wanted a "real" PC for, anything casual my phone was more convenient)


I could probably borrow use of one for a few minutes if I had to but it'd be nice if I could just put the SIM they send me into the phone and have it work for data straightaway.
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