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The Travel Forum
Planning a trip or have a great travel story? Need travel tips or want to share your experiences (and photos)? Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the Bimmerfest Travel Forum is your best resource on the Web.

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  #1  
Old 07-29-2014, 11:50 AM
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exl_ent_v6 exl_ent_v6 is offline
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Using my AT&T iPhone (US) while in Europe

hey guys,

out of curiosity for those who have been to Europe - how would I go about using my personal iPhone for the lowest prices? I hear that you can just buy a sim card but what about data and stuff? I don't really talk on my phone but text and use data frequently. Thoughts? i don't really want a burner phone i want to use mine but don't want to pay a fortune for data/texting.
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2014, 06:17 PM
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It's likely that your AT&T iPhone is SIM locked to AT&T. So the first thing you need to do is get it SIM Unlocked.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2014, 07:24 AM
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exl_ent_v6 exl_ent_v6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Me530 View Post
It's likely that your AT&T iPhone is SIM locked to AT&T. So the first thing you need to do is get it SIM Unlocked.
Yeah the phone is currently locked, but I've had experience with AT&T unlocking phones in the past so it shouldn't be a problem.

Just a note - SIMs are network specific, so you actually unlock the phone and put a SIM in for whatever network you want to use that is compatible. That's what I'm trying to figure out, do I just buy a new SIM for a prepaid network? Not sure what's suggested in Europe.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2014, 11:06 AM
gesoffen gesoffen is offline
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I've gone both ways and usually make my decision based on a few factors:
1) Expected availability of wifi along my various stays/points of interest
1a) can I rely on VoIP services and iMessage for voice/text communication.
2) How much I'm relying on voice/data availability in-between potential wifi hotspots (e.g. is my itinerary already relatively fixed so I can preplan stays or is it open and I need to make plans/reservations on the move)
3) How accessible do I need to be to those back here at home or friends/relatives in Europe

If wifi availability is decent and I'm not relying too heavily on European's contacting me or needing to use a lot of data on the run, I usually opt to stick with my US SIM and pre-pay a data roaming plan (see ATT's website/app for pricing info). This has the added benefit of retaining your US number in case folks at home need to contact you.

I also have pay as you go voice and data plans through T-mobile that we reload on trips to Germany. Its not the cheapest but rates aren't too bad. When I signed up our latest account for my Dad, I added a data plan. I think the account activation was around €30 but included 1GB of free data usage. Each additional 1GB of usage was €10.

A few things to keep in mind:
- most voice/MMS rates are asymmetric (more for out going than incoming and as well as more for landlines than to other mobile numbers)
- voice/MMS rates are typically higher for calls to out of plan origin country*
- voice/MMS/data rates are typically higher if you are roaming to another EU country other than the plan origin country*
* - recent proposed laws are trying to address these issues and make the rates a bit flatter through out the EU. I'm not sure were they are with passing or implementing these laws.

Bottom line - if you don't spend a lot of your time in one given European country and won't make repeat trips back to the same country, its probably easiest to pay your ATT international roaming rates/data plans and just keep track of usage to make sure you don't go over. Once EU laws flatten the roaming rates in the EU, this requires reconsideration.
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2014, 06:35 AM
323power 323power is offline
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I'm going to give http://www.keepgo.com/ a try on this ED. My iPhone is unlocked, but their plans don't support hotspot, so it's useless if I need to use my laptop. I'll rent their MiFi so we have no issues both phones, iPad, and two laptops have no issue.

They also offer plans for locked AT&T phones. Far better deal than AT&T's international plans.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2014, 01:07 PM
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Not sure if this helps or not, but I always keep my "last" iPhone and unlocked for international trips.

On a recent business trip to the UK, 20 quid got me 2G of data, 400 min and 4k texts. That's like...5 minutes of talking if I'd used my AT&T iPhone or 3 cute cat pictures.

You can get similar deals in other parts of Europe if you have an unlocked phone handy.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:06 PM
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Within the last few days, it was officially signed in to law that unlocking your phone is now legal once again. I don't think it forces your carrier to do anything, but nothing prevents SIM unlocking anymore.

I used my AT&T phone in Germany. I bought the $30 phone call package for 30 minutes, but I should have just paid the $1.50/minute based on the amount of calling I actually did. They also offer data plans. I went with the 200 MB plan for $60. I'm going to submit these expenses through work, so the costs didn't bother me. It was easy to do, and I was able to seamlessly use my phone while in Germany. I did use WiFi whenever I could though, and turned off auto-sync and data when not directly in use.
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  #8  
Old 10-21-2014, 09:13 AM
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My German friend gave me a brick phone (any GSM phone will work) loaded with minutes from LIDL grocery store. For internet, I use it at McDonalds (McD responds by sending an access code to your phone) free 2 hours/day, hotels, Audi tour/museum, hostels, or at Starbucks, free 24/7. I conduct my personal business using my laptop via the internet. Simplicity is very important to me.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 10-21-2014 at 09:17 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2015, 07:26 PM
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Use US T-Mobile. Incoming and outgoing calls are 20 cents a min and SMS is completely free (incoming and outgoing)
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2015, 06:55 PM
skilletbgm skilletbgm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Me530 View Post
It's likely that your AT&T iPhone is SIM locked to AT&T. So the first thing you need to do is get it SIM Unlocked.
If I remember correctly, it's SIM locked to AT&T (CONUS). The phone should be unlocked to non-US SIM cards while OCONUS.

The last time I was over, I just paid the AT&T international data plan for 1GB of data or something. I used google voice exclusively -- hard forwarded my number so it only rang the gVoice service. Worked fine for me....my problem was I used Facebook a bit much, uploading photos...chewed through the data allowance pretty quickly.
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  #11  
Old 10-25-2015, 09:11 AM
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AggieKnight AggieKnight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sampatel1 View Post
Use US T-Mobile. Incoming and outgoing calls are 20 cents a min and SMS is completely free (incoming and outgoing)
At least to us, the important thing is data in Europe. During my last business trip to England, I picked up a SIM for free from EE and paid 10 quid for the equivalent of unlimited data.

On the trip I just returned from in the Aegean (3 weeks), $8 (25 lira) got me 2G of data and unlimited voice/text. Definitely helped me get around the Grand Bazaar and not get lost in the many streets of Istanbul.
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