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I am planning to purchase a new personal cell phone soon (my dog chewed up my current one). First off, I am not a tech person, but I can use the basic to intermediate functions of a computer and cell phone without difficulty. I would like to purchase a cell phone in the US that has international capability, as we are planning trips to Amsterdam and Ireland this year. We live in Virginia and I will be chosing between phones offered by Verizon and A T & T. I do not want or need a Blackberry. Is it possible to purchase a phone in the US that will work in Europe?? I have read about SIM cards. Are they inserted in the US??
My goal is to purchase my phone here, have it set up properly, and work without additional adjustments once I reach Europe. I would like to know if anyone knows if this is possible before I venture out to the cell phone store. After I return I would like to have the international capabilities disabled until our next trip. Any suggested brands.?? I am really not interested in renting a phone,
Thanks for suggestions and advice.
Sue Millirons

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Since there have not been any replies to my message, I will answer it myself. I visited my local A T & T store today and found out that all their phones are either tri-mode, or quad mode phones, and they will all operate in Europe. All one has to do is activate "International Roaming" (with a phone call) at a cost of $4.99 or $5.99 per month-I can't remember which she said, and then pay the per minute charge of from $.99 to $1.29 per minute. You can activate the international roaming for just the time you will be traveling-it does not have to be for the life of the contract. She assured me my phone would work as soon as I stepped off the plane in Europe, without having to do anything else, if the International Roaming had been activated. I purchased an LG quad mode/ban phone-for $29.00 after the rebate. I was already planning to change cell phone service and buy a new phone anyway, and was prepared to sign a two year contract...The monthly costs is about what I was previously paying for my current service. Though the phone does way more that I want-takes picture, checks email, and local news, and has bluetooth capabilities.
The sales girl seemed puzzled that I didn't want text messaging. I didn't have the heart to tell her I didn't know how, and didn't know anyone who would want to receive my text messages anyway.!!!
I have done this several times (actually my son makes the arrangements for me - I am NOT a techie) and it does work quickly but not the instant you get off the plane. Takes about 60 seconds. Have your phone open and you can watch it change over. Remember it is still a US # so you'll need to use the access codes as from the US. To call home you can use your phone book.
Thank you so very much for your reply. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was reading these messages on the Cafe anymore. It's nice to know it really does work like they tell you in the A T and T store-and the clerk there told me to be sure and have their international customer service number in case I had problems using the phone while traveling. Thanks again, Sue
I have been traveling to Europe for years with my AT&T quad bandand have never had any trouble.
All the international roaming charge the sales person was talking about gives you is cheaper rates
TO CALL the country you have signed up for.
All you need to tell them is to open your account for international roaming, mine has been turned on for years
there is no need to turn it off because it doesn't cost anything.

In case they did not tell you to call back to the states from the EU it is easiest to use the + symble before your number
(ie +1Area code phone number) no spaces between any of them) the + is usually entered by HOLDING DOWN the 0 key for 2-3 seconds then it will show up on your screen.

If you are going to dial numbers from your directory you will have to put the +1 in before dialing

In addition to the per minute charges for your call all EU carriers charge a roaming fee that is seperate from AT&T.

If you go to the att.com site and go tothe pages about intl roaming thay have a little pocket guide you can print out.

Make sure that you phone charger is 120-240 volt, and you will probably need a plug adapter to plug it in.
If your adapter is good for the 120-240v then all you need is the adapter. I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRY TO CHARGE
ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICE THROUGH A VOLTAGE ADAPTER THAT IS SEPERATE FROM THE ONE YOU GOT WITH YOUR DEVICE.

Hope this answers you questions
Thank you for your insights. It's nice to hear from someone who has actually used their own phone in Europe. It's interesting you should mention the voltage converter. I just went to Radio Shack last week, and took my phone charger with me-and was told I needed a plug adapter AND a voltage converter. I had a feeling that they guy really didn't know what he was selling me-I even checked with a sales clerk at A T and T, and was again told I needed both. I have since learned that this was incorrect, as you have also confirmed. I am beginning to wonder if there is anywhere those of us who have limited tech knowledge can go to receive correct information?? I feel as if I am at the mercy of uninformed sales people.
Thanks again-I haven't called yet about activating International Roaming, and I may have some more questions.
Since I obviously misunderstood about the cost per minute which you said is to call to Europe-do you know what the total cost (including international roaming and the per minute charges) would be to call FROM or WITHIN Europe . Just an estimate would suffice.
Sue
You can look at your phones charger and somewhere you should see something that looks like either

input 120 c or 120-240 v, if it says 120-240 it can be used with just an inexpensive plug adapter overseas.
If not, go tosomeplace like Best-Buy or someplace that sells additional chargers for you phone, and by on, usually $20-30 for one that says 120-240v That way you always have one for traveling.

The link below will answer some of your questions about rates. The World Traveler plan is probably what the AT&T sales person was talking about. it is $5.99 and gives you a discounted rate on calls.l If you are going to be making a lot of calls or long calls back it may be worth it - you will still be paying the local company access charges with either option. Also, sometimes it takes a little bit of time for the internatinal billing to make it back to AT&T ( the call records are started in the country you are calling from) so if you get the World Traveler package You might want to leave it on for an extra month tobe sure all the calls get billed at the discounted rate.

Most EU countries are $1.29 without the Traveler plan and $.99 with

"http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/international/roaming/international-roaming.jsp"

Hope this helps
If you are renting a car, your car charger should be fine. Just remember to take it out when you return the car.

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