Roaming charges on cell phones abroad can be exorbitantly priced if you use your home network. You may find a very high cell phone bill upon your return – even just for sending and receiving SMS text messages. Be sure to disable “data roaming” on your phone. Even if you visit a website for just a brief period your provider often charges you the maximum megabyte usage which is often around 13 euro.
The way to avoid these roaming charges is to unlock your phone or use a phone that is already unlocked. Often phone shops will be able to unlock it for you while abroad. You can then purchase a local SIM card in the country you are in. This will be much cheaper than paying the roaming charges to your home provider.
Public phones in most countries in Europe require a phone card.
There are some phones in Europe that accept coins but the majority are run on a phone card. You can purchase these at any “tabacs” or “tabachi” stores, or most super markets. The “tabac(hi)” is a store that sells a variety of things such as newspapers, cigarettes, books, gum, and phone cards. They are a very common store in towns. One note about phone cards especially ones from France is they have a collector value. Many of the older French phone cards are worth much more then there original price. Some are printed in limited quantity and like other collectibles such as coins and baseball cards, the value increases dramatically. Some phone cards are interesting because they have pictures of local towns or other sights and attractions. I bought several inexpensive phone cards just for these pictures!
Most of the phone cards will have a creased corner. This will need to be bent and removed before you can use the card. This is something that if not done (personal experience) will cause you much anguish and frustration when trying to use the phone. When entering the card into the thin slot in the phone – insert the card with the long rectangular strip facing up.
To call someone who lives outside of Europe you would dial “00” which is the international access code, and then add the country code of the country you are trying to call (again in the United States this code is “1”), and lastly type in the area code and the local number. Note: the rate is extremely expensive for calling overseas from a public telephone in Europe. You can change phone cards in the middle of a phone call but it gets a bit confusing. If you know you are going to be making a long distance phone call to another country using a public telephone you may want to purchase a more expensive phone card, which contains more minutes.
If you are not sure of a country code, from a public phone dial “12” to talk to the operator. Also visit: www.gsma.com/gsma-europe for more information. The following chart lists several common “country codes”.
Often iPhones that are unlocked will not connect to a local network with a local SIM Card. These phones require an extra card called a GEV Card. This is a super tiny card that is placed under your SIM card in your phone. The GEV Card then allows you to use the Iphone locally. Many phone shops sell GEV cards; they are inexpensive.
|Andorra 376||Australia 61||Canada 1|
|England 44||Germany 49||Hong Kong 852|
|India 91||Ireland 353||Japan 81|
|New Zealand 64||Singapore 65||South Africa 27|
|United States 1|