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General International calling approach

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Mikenk, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Mikenk

    Mikenk Member
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    I travel on business internationally, primarily to Europe. Having phone access is really nice; calls through cell service international rates are too high and getting local sim cards not all that convenient - and confusing to me. Here is my current plan which seems like it will work - but the devil is in the details. Am I missing something? - usually find that I am.

    1: I downloaded the Talkatone app and got a unique google phone number. Calls to / from USA numbers are free with Wifi or using data - does not use cell service.

    2: I can use Google international rates for international calls.

    3: For $30 through AT&T, I can get 120MB data for international travel - no cell minutes. At the AT&T store, we tested using talkatone. A one minute call used .56MB of data that translates to 214 minutes for the 30 bucks.

    That seems to say that for the $30, I can effectively use my google voice number as my international phone and get about 214 minutes of calls. Is this seem workable or am I missing something? The AT&T geeks at the store thought it would work. Local sim cards might be cheaper but for me is a pain.

    Thoughts?
    Mike
     

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  2. GTWalling

    GTWalling Android Expert
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    How long are you going to be in Europe? How many minutes a month do you currently use?
    Do you plan on using the Internet any while you are there. What about E-Mail, SMS or MMS? You can stop yourself from sending, but data is used if they send to you.
     
  3. Mikenk

    Mikenk Member
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    i generally go 4 or 5 times a year for about a week each time. I will not normally use any data. My hotel will always have wifi for emails / internet which is the only place I will need it. I normally use skype in the hotel for calls to family and business associates - but that can be hit or miss.

    I would like to have the ability to use the phone regardless whether wifi is available or when skype is inconvenient. I would also like to have the ability to call local numbers in Europe while there. My wife often travels with me; it would be nice to be able to call each other while there. The 200 or so minutes will work fine - if it will work.

    I usually just turn off data when traveling. My thought is I would just do the same with talkatone - just turn it on when I want to call. Any calls to me would bounce to Google voicemail to be returned later from my hotel.

    Mike
     
  4. qball1525

    qball1525 Lurker
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    U can use a service call rebtel. They also have an app.
     
  5. phlojo

    phlojo Well-Known Member
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    There are many programs that you can use for VoIP calling. (Yahoo Messenger, Skype... all these work as well.) I find the call quality pretty poor, but hey it's (almost) free.

    A local SIM usually works well, especially if you want calls between your wife and yourself. You get 2 SIMs and if they are in the same network you can get some pretty good deals. It's less convenient in the way that others have to call your new foreign number, which entails (1) you communicating to everyone who has to call you your new number and (2) them calling international to get to you, but at no cost to you (receiving calls is usually free; in Europe minutes count only if you are the one initiating the call). I don't really see where the pain is...
     
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  6. javamann

    javamann Android Enthusiast
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    Sounds good Phlojo. Four of us are going to visit Paris and the countryside of England in September and I expect we'll go the Sim way. I wonder, will the same company handle calls in England as well as France; and with companies would that be?

    JM
     
  7. javamann

    javamann Android Enthusiast
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    Hey...haven't received an answer to my last post of April 30th :-(. Still would like a response. We're leaving for europe in a couple of week and we'd like to know which carriers would be good for our trip.
     
  8. phlojo

    phlojo Well-Known Member
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    If you buy SIMs in France they will have French numbers. While in France, the calls between these numbers are local. If you travel with those SIMs to England, those numbers will still be French, which means that you will be roaming. Any calls that you make to England will be at international roaming rates. Calls among the French SIMs in England would also be expensive because they would be calls to France as roaming from England.

    Personally, I don't know of any "international" prepaid SIM you can get. (It doesn't mean that there aren't any.) There are some plans that are more friendly to [frequent] travelers, but those are usually part of a plan, or an option you can attach to a plan.

    Here's what I would do: take the first country that you travel to (England or France) and find out what kind of prepaid options are available. Check with those companies (look at their websites) and see if there are any international/roaming/travel options that you can get.

    Happy travels!
     
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  9. javamann

    javamann Android Enthusiast
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    Gee, thx Phlojo for ur informative response. Haven't checked yet, but I wonder if a combo of skype and calling from wireless stations only plus a Verizon roaming plan might not be better than buying two different Sims.
     
  10. phlojo

    phlojo Well-Known Member
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    I just did a quick search on the web (i.e. ONE search) and here is some of the stuff that I found:

    International SIM Card for Europe, Asia, 200 Global Countries
    Passport Europe SIM card - The Best SIM card for Europe
    International SIM Cards from $5 | International Cell Phones from $19

    I haven't actually read what they say, but it might be worth a few minutes of your time.

    FYI: I've traveled quite a bit with my wife and managed quite well with our regular numbers. If you try plan everything ahead of time (meet at a particular place at a particular time), have back-ups (if lost, go to spot X, or head for the hotel), you know, the way people did before cell phones existed ;) it works pretty well. We would just text when necessary (it's cheaper than calling).

    What would work well in your situation is email, because it's free if you have a connection. When the other person reaches a hotspot he/she can check the email and respond. If there's something fairly urgent (but not urgent in the true sense of the word), then text. If really urgent, call. You should be fine with that. Every McDonald's has free wifi and lots of other businesses do as well.
     
  11. javamann

    javamann Android Enthusiast
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    Gee Phlojo...I feel like I'm getting personal service from across the sea :). can't thank you enough. What you suggest seems like a perfect solution. I'm thinking using something like Skype in Paris and then getting a Sim for the 3 weeks in UK. Never used Skype before but I always like trying something new to keep up with the young fellas!

    JM
     

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