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Rent a Phone~~anyone?

Discussion in 'Non-Diving Related Stuff' started by Natasha, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. Natasha

    Natasha Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Chicagoan living in Texas
    11,609
    17
    I'm loooking into renting a phone for my upcoming Europe trip.
    Has anyone done this?

    Seems to be quite a lot of services out there. Can anyone say some are better then others?

    I would like to be able to call home, and rent two phones so when I am apart from my group I can call them while in each country.

    Thanks!
     
  2. El Orans

    El Orans ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Netherlands
    16,452
    43
    Vodafone is reliable.
     
  3. RonDawg

    RonDawg Contributor

    974
    3
    I am a frequent renter with Hertz, and they offer a program whereby the phone rental is free with a European car rental...you only pay for actual usage, the price of which varies by country. Last time I did this (2004) it was about $1 per minute in the UK.

    Also check with your own mobile service provider here in the US. If you have T-Mobile, you can roam on European T-Mobile networks (assuming you have a compatible phone) as long as you sign up for their WorldClass service, which is free, you only pay for the minutes used (again this varies by country). T-Mobile also has roaming agreements in countries where they do not operate (i.e. in Australia their agreement is with Optus). Cingular/AT&T also has something similar.

    Verizon and Sprint/Nextel have agreements as well, but you will need to rent a handset as their phones aren't compatible with the GSM networks found in Europe.
     
  4. Paco II

    Paco II Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    583
    17
    One option is to use a network-unlocked GSM phone and a prepaid SIM chip. It is very easy to get a prepaid SIM in most european countries. They almost all include free incoming calls (from anywhere), as well as free incoming SMS. Rates are also pretty good. Plus you get a phone number. This method can be a little expensive if you are planning to make lots of calls. But if you are planning to just receive lots of calls, or want to give people a way to get a hold of you, it's great!
     
  5. The Logic Theorist

    The Logic Theorist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: NE Washington DC
    250
    0
    There are also services that give you a free SIM card that's pay as you go, so you don't end up with minutes left over in some country you'll never visit again. That's the route I chose.

    I have one of these cards:

    http://www.mobalrental.com/gsm/sim.asp

    And I unlocked my work Blackberry to use it.

    Your phone needs to be at least dual band GSM for this to work, and depending on the country you'll be in you may need the full out quad band GSM phone. That mobal site I linked sells a quad band GSM phone (that you keep) for $99. If you don't know if you're phone is GSM I'm sure someone in this thread can tell you.
     
  6. Paco II

    Paco II Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    583
    17
    I looked at that site, and the rates are expensive. To compare, I chose Israel to see what the prices were, and this is what I got:

    Incoming calls: $1.95/min
    National calls: $1.95/min
    Calls to the USA & Canada: $3.95/min
    Calls to the UK: $3.95/min
    Calls to other countries: $5.95/min
    SMS text messages: $0.80/message

    With a prepaid Israeli SIM, incoming calls would all be free, national calls would be roughly $.20/min, calls to the US are roughly $.80/min. SMS are roughly $.20. (those prices might be slightly out of date).

    Mobalrental's rates are so much more. Why do you use them?

     
  7. Paco II

    Paco II Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    583
    17
    Also checked England and got:

    Incoming calls:
    $0.00/min
    National calls:
    $1.25/min
    Calls to the USA & Canada:
    $1.50/min
    Calls to the UK:
    $1.25/min
    Calls to other countries:
    $2.95/min
    SMS text messages:
    $0.80/message

    Even England is pricey. At least incoming is free, but outgoing national calls are very expensive. I believe a local prepaid SIM would be much cheaper.
     
  8. The Logic Theorist

    The Logic Theorist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: NE Washington DC
    250
    0
    Because I'm only paying for what I use, and when I travel that's not much. I go on vacation to get away from phones/email/everything, and my phone is really just for emergencies.

    There's no way I'd go through even the cheapest prepaid SIM, and I worked out my expected usage and I come out ahead with Mobal. For example, I didn't use my phone at all in Belize. Not once. Had I bought a prepaid SIM for Belize, I'd have a prepaid SIM that I'll never use. Total waste of money.

    If you're someone that uses a phone a lot on vacation, you may want to go the prepaid route. I just wanted to suggest the alternative.
     
  9. Natasha

    Natasha Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Chicagoan living in Texas
    11,609
    17
    I've heard people have had trouble in Rome. And that is where I will be needing the phone the most.
    I will be in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Egypt and Spain on this trip.

    I'm on Verizon in Texas~~which sucks..but it's a friends and family thing so it makes sense for all of us.

    I don't expect tons of calls. I just want to be able to make a few back to the states, and some from phone to phone while in Roma, if possible.
     
  10. The Logic Theorist

    The Logic Theorist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: NE Washington DC
    250
    0
    All Verizon phones are CDMA, which only works on their network and so only works in the US. I have Verizon for my personal phone (my Blackberry is for work) so I have the same problem.

    So, you'd need to either buy a cheap GSM phone somewhere and get an international SIM for it, or rent.
     

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