Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cell phones in Europe

by Julie

One of our family members will be traveling to Europe this year and we've just started doing our homework on cell phone coverage abroad. When my husband and I went there a couple of years ago, I called my cell provider ahead of time and had no trouble with texts and calls. Because I'm not super rich, I didn't make very many calls, mind you, but I was able to and that's all I cared about. I needed to know that I could, in case of emergency, you understand.

This time, because our family member will be spending more time there than we did, it may make sense to buy a new phone as soon as she arrives. Apparently, Europeans aren't saddled with two-year contracts. They rely on pay-as-you-go telephones.

But I'm a nervous Norvis. I'm sure these phones are great for inter-continental calls, but can they be  used to call the U.S.? To call me? I'll want to have contact beyond email and Skype.

I figured I'd pose this question to all you smart people who have far more experience than I do. What do you know about European cell phone coverage?
Any insights or suggestions to offer?



Anonymous said...

As a uk resident i can tell you now it will cost an absolute fortune to call the U.S from a cell phone. Just use your own cell for emergencies and use payphones for longer chats.

Aurian said...

I live in Holland, and we do have two year contracts with free phones, but you can also walk into a shop, and buy a phone with a prepaid phone card. You can buy those cards at a lot of shops, supermarket, cigarette shop, and update your account with 10 or 20 euro. And when the amount is getting low, you get a sms warning. Some you can also update online. But I think calling abroad will always be very expensive, but you don't need a contract to buy a cheap and easy phone.
You need a fan in the country he/she will be going to, to help out :)

Unknown said...

Discussion was good and I agree with the comments made by resident of Holland and U.K this is good idea in extension of mobile towers........

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks so much for the input. I imagine the day will come when calling to different continents doesn't cost ridiculous sums of money. Not there yet, though.

I appreciate the info!!!

Unknown said...

When my sister went to GBritain a couple of years ago we discovered because we are both on AT&T , she could text and email me at no expense. She has a contract and I do pay-as- you-go. We did not try calling so I don't know about that. I looked on their website but couldn't find any info on that, but the free -text - email between customers wasn't advertised back then either.

Anonymous said...

I studied abroad and it is definitely a must that your family member get a prepaid local phone for calling within the country if they will be there long. However, for calling home my best option was my smart phone. You can get skype like apps on it and as long as they are near wireless it will be inexpensive (or free) to talk to you. They will have to be near wireless but calling from local cell phones or calling cards gets expensive. I don't know where they are going but in London they have a cloud network almost everywhere within the city and it is free. They just have to sign up for it from their computer when at a hotspot for it. They should be able to use this network on their smart phone too for using their skype like apps.