How to Use a Cellular Phone in Europe

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How to Use a Cellular Phone in Europe. Going to Europe? Before you tuck your cellular phone into your bag or briefcase, realize that it's not likely to operate abroad unless you use the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), which is not the same system used in the United States. Not to worry. There are plenty of options that will keep you talking no matter where you go in Europe.

Things You'll Need

  • Cellular Phone Accessories
  • Cellular Phone Handsfree Car Kits
  • Cellular Phone Headsets
  • Cellular Phones

Consider renting a GSM phone in the United States. Many companies will ship a phone to you before your departure date, which means you'll be set up and ready to make or receive calls when you arrive in Europe. This can save you a lot of hassle. You return the phone when you get back.

Look for a good deal. Examine all packages, specials and limited-time offers to find the best way to save money. Business travelers can often find some great rates.

Think about buying a GSM phone, which is sometimes less expensive than renting one, especially if you're a frequent overseas traveler and heavy phone user. Take a good look at all your rental charges and compare them to the sale price - you may come out ahead by buying rather than renting.

Check with your European car rental company. Some offer cell phones as part of the car rental package, which means you might be able to save some money.

Contact a cellular phone provider in Europe if you have not made arrangements before you go. Companies such as 1+2 Telecom, AT&T International Wireless and Omnipoint provide cellular phones for international use.

Try to rent from a company that provides 24-hour customer service so you can get help immediately if you have a problem with the phone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cell phone rental prices vary widely depending on the model of phone, the extra features you need, the number of calls you make and the length of time that you have the phone. Expect to pay a daily, weekly or monthly rental rate and a connection fee in addition to the cost of your phone calls.
  • If you absolutely need to keep your regular U.S. business or home phone number on your cellular phone, tell your provider and make sure your Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card will accommodate that number.
  • Buying a SIM card in Europe will save you a great deal of money, but usually means you will have a European phone number for your cell phone.
  • No matter where you rent your phone, check to be sure that the provider service covers all of the countries in which you'll be traveling. Give the provider the list and have it check for coverage. Look for another provider if you aren't satisfied.

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