cell phones in Europe and the Caribbean

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Would appreciate knowing how ITN readers stay connected by cell phone when traveling in Europe and also in the Caribbean. We would like suggestions on which carrier,i.e., AT&T, Verizon, etc. and also what type of phone, IPhone, NOkia. We would like the most economical method and want to avoid exhorbitant roaming charges. We will be going to the Cote D'Azur in France and also St. Maarten in the Caribbean this year so would particularly be interested in those two areas. I have read in ITN about someone using their phone as a GPS in Europe and would also appreciate knowing how to do this.

Probably the easiest way is to purchase from Amazon an Unlocked, Quad Band ie( 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 Mhz) with GSM technology then purchase a SIM card where you are located.

Here is a link with a lot of information.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/cell-phone-europe.htm

I recently bought a unlocked GSM quad band phone from www.telestial.com. It is a dual-sim phone and comes with a international sim that can be used in about 180 countries -- but it is not the cheapest way to call. Since the phone is dual sim, so you can also use the advice Jack Manes gave you and purchase a local sim (for the second spot) and prepay for airtime as you travel from country to country. I've bought local sim cards as low as $1.00 (Vietnam). In an emergency, you can use the Telestial sim, which also works in the US.

This is the phone (not a name brand -- probably made in China. Though everything works OK, I'd buy a name brand if I had to do it over again)):
http://www.telestial.com/promo/econopluspack.php

Another message board member helped me with this - you can search the board for more info. about the Telestial.com service.

My wife and I have tried several ways of using cell phones in Europe and in New Zealand. We have rented phones on arrival, not so cheap, bought pre-paid SIMS cards, not bad. The easiest way for us, with our T-Mobile account, was to have them unlock our phone, multi band, and buy a SIMS card at our destination. You need to get the unlocking code from T-Mobile before you leave for your trip.

Jerry

Article in today's NY Times about unlocking cell phones. This may or may not benefit you on using your phone in Europe or elsewhere. It depends on the technology of your phone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/technology/fcc-urges-a-right-to-unlock...

As recently as last fall my wife and I purchased Samsung Galaxies from T-Mobile. We had no problem in having T-Mobile provide us with an unlocking code for the phones. We have a two year contract. I have no idea what restrictions might be placed on unlocking cell phones by other carriers.