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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All,

I need to figure out my cell service for my ED trip in two weeks. I currently have Verizon on a CDMA phone, so that won***8217;t work. The wife and I will be leaving our kids at home with family, so we will be making at least one phone call a day back to the states. I have done a bunch of searching and it seems like my best two options are:

1. Buy a cheap, unlocked GSM phone on Ebay ($25) and buy a Sim card from CellularAbroad for $69 ($12 credit with $0.12 rates to US).

2. Stop at the phone Kiosk at the Munich airport and buy a pre-pay Vodafone for 29 euros.

The Vodafone definitely looks like the better deal, but I can***8217;t find any information on rates. Assuming a 15 minute per day phone call home for a week, a typical $0.99 per minute rate to the US could end up being costly.

Does anyone know the Vodafone rates, or have any other good ideas for me?

Thanks!
 

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Don't be a left lane hog
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Anyone do an ED with an iPhone using data and cell phone service? Just curious to see if anyone has come back with like a $3000 cell phone bill.
 

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All Wheel Drive = Heaven
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I'm trying to find info on the same. I've come accross the following site:

http://www.eplus.de/handys/1/1_0/1_0_berater.asp

Anybody used them? Is there anything better out there?
Here is the problem with E-Plus: They operate only on 1800 MHz, which is great in major cities, but just doesn't have the coverage of the 900 MHz systems in more rural areas and on the Autobahnen. (Vodaphone and T-mobile are the only two carriers operating at 900 MHz in Germany.) For competitive reasons, the carriers do not allow customers of the other systems in the same country to roam on their network. So... you'll have to decide if the coverage "deficit" is worth it.
 

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Check this company out. My company used them a few times with good success:

http://www.brightroam.com/

You could get a plan, which allows them to bill you after the fact rather than prepaying for minutes. You can also pay for service with them that allows you to have a US number for people to call for the duration of the trip (forwards to your EU number).

I recall a few posts of people actually offering to share SIMs after their trips...

Any unlocked phone (preferably quad band could be purchased relatively cheap nowadays).

Did not use iPhone (was not out yet) in EU last year, but we used my wife's Cingular 8525 PDA. The bill wasn't terrible, but her company picked it up anyway...:p

I would not use GPRS data with iPhone in Europe, as it could get expensive (if I recall correctly, it's something like $.10 per KB transfered...). Use WiFi where possible, it's a lot more affordable and considerably faster.

Good luck!
 

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einauslander
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I have used EPlus in the past. They have decent coverage in Germany. I used it mostly in Frankfurt, Munich, Nurburgring, Koblenz and Kaiserslautern without any real dead spots.

Best Part is that incoming calls are free. So you can tell folks to call your German ePlus mobile number. Depending on plan in use or if you use Vonage this could be a very cheap if not a free call for them.

- another option I have used:

Checkout GPhone dot com
If you don't mind using landlines, they have toll free numbers in most countries and connect you to the US for less than 15cents a min depending on where you are.

Just make sure your hotel doesn't have a per call fee to dial a local toll free number - some hotels do. Depending on the hotel this can be as much as a couple of euros per call.

I use the Gphone GlobalPostPaid plan which allows me to dial a local toll free number in Germany to get a US dial tone - I then dial the US phone number I want to connect to. I think they bill to my credit card at the end of the month for all the usage.

I know they have expanded their offers and also have some cell plans now.

YMMV

PS: Leaving tomorrow for ED pickup on Monday - if you ask questions re this post I may not be able to respond.
 

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Last time we went to Europe (last year)ook my cell and made a request to Cingular for the coverage to Europe too. Boy, did that turn out expensive.

But normally in my travels overseas, I think the best (cheapest) is to buy pre-paid phone cards. We did that in London. These were cheap, and you can use it almost anywhere.

The vodaphone option you suggested also seems good.
 

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Use an unlock GSM world phone (quad band) from AT&T or T-Mobile and just buy the SIM card over there. It is a lot cheaper, Get the SIM card for the country you are staying. Remember the getting a SIM card from Germany will be roaming if you make a call while you are in Austria.
 

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I'm also on Verizon. Here's the plan for my ED:

1) Buy this http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-ph...)+-+GoPhone®+(Pay+As+You+Go)&q_sku=sku1140001

2) Unlock:
First with different carrier SIM in phone at WRONG CARD screen ENTER on the keypad
*2767*3855# (wait 10-15 seconds) phone will reboot(restart)
When phone completes reboot ENTER
*7465625*638*00000000*00000000#
NEXT ENTER
#7465625*638*00000000#
AND THEN *#7465625# to check the locks....all locks are inactive...these are all the locks...
network lock - inactive
subset lock - inactive
sp lock - inactive
cp lock - inactive
sim lock - inactive
activa lock - inactive
phone lock - inactive
auto network - inactive
auto subset lock - inactive
auto sp lock - inactive
auto cp lock - inactive

3) Buy a prepaid sim + minutes from either Vodafone or Deutch Telecom.
 

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Do you know if this phone works with the Bluetooth support in BMW Assist?
Couldn't tell you as I have neither the phone nor the car yet. But since it has bluetooth, I'm assuming it should interface with the car.

Also note that the phone will arrive activated by AT&T. DON'T MAKE ANY CALLS WITH IT. Don't even hit the send button unless you feel like donating money to AT&T. Find a buddy with T-Mobile, stick his SIM card in the phone, then perform the unlock sequence.
 

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Does anyone (business calls exempted, of course) skip taking the cell phone and use Skype instead? We're already taking the laptop anyway and Skype's rates to call to a landline don't seem to be outrageous. I was hoping to leave the cell behind (you know - a **real** vacation!!). The laptop is to upload pictures to - and checkin here, of course!
 

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Does anyone (business calls exempted, of course) skip taking the cell phone and use Skype instead? We're already taking the laptop anyway and Skype's rates to call to a landline don't seem to be outrageous. I was hoping to leave the cell behind (you know - a **real** vacation!!). The laptop is to upload pictures to - and checkin here, of course!
To get the full BMW experience of course! Imagine that while zipping down the Autobahn at 150 mph you start to get a bit drowsy. No problem. Pull up the local hotels in the nav and start calling down the list inquiring about vacancy via integrated bluetooth. :roundel:
 

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Does anyone (business calls exempted, of course) skip taking the cell phone and use Skype instead? We're already taking the laptop anyway and Skype's rates to call to a landline don't seem to be outrageous. I was hoping to leave the cell behind (you know - a **real** vacation!!). The laptop is to upload pictures to - and checkin here, of course!
Used Skype last year successfully in EU. Hard to beat $.02 per minute of Skype out (calls from Germany to US land line). Paid $10 for some minutes credit (I think it's the cheapest package), and most of it remained in the account after our return from EU.

Still felt that cell phone was needed...
 

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Does anyone (business calls exempted, of course) skip taking the cell phone and use Skype instead? We're already taking the laptop anyway and Skype's rates to call to a landline don't seem to be outrageous. I was hoping to leave the cell behind (you know - a **real** vacation!!). The laptop is to upload pictures to - and checkin here, of course!
Skype works well for what it does, but I have been in at least two different situations over the past few years when I needed a cellphone:
  1. I flew into Frankfurt, but fog at the destination grounded my connecting flight. LH re-routed me onto the train at about 7 am. However, people were planning to meet me at Leipzig airport several hours later. I hoped they would know about the cancelled flight, but I didn't want to call that early to tell them which train station I would be coming into. Skype would not have worked from the train.
  2. I have used T-mobile's WiFi service in Germany, but you had to log in with a credit card. They insisted on sending the password back to my phone via SMS. Therefore, no phone, no WiFi.

So, I always activate international roaming on my AT&T mobile, even if it is not my preferred communications device.
 

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einauslander
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Use an unlock GSM world phone (quad band) from AT&T or T-Mobile and just buy the SIM card over there. It is a lot cheaper, Get the SIM card for the country you are staying. Remember the getting a SIM card from Germany will be roaming if you make a call while you are in Austria.
Agree. I would add that for US users, most carriers (TMobile for sure) will send you UNLOCK instructions if you have been a customer with them for at least 6 months.

I have unlocked all four TMobile branded blackberry phones I have owned (72xx, 8100, 8320) by calling TMobile customer service over the two years. If you are already familiar with a certain phone, why go thru the aggravation of learning the operations of another device.
 

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Use an unlock GSM world phone (quad band) from AT&T or T-Mobile and just buy the SIM card over there. It is a lot cheaper, Get the SIM card for the country you are staying. Remember the getting a SIM card from Germany will be roaming if you make a call while you are in Austria.
This is the easy way. It's worked very well for me in the UK and Germany. But for a few days before I picked up the SD, I just used roaming on Cingular (before it migrated back to AT&T this year). It wasn't that expensive for just a few inbound calls and convenient for those here in the USA since they just dialed my regular number.
 
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