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Phone service in Europe?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Looking for guidance about smart phone service in the alps. I hope to get to Austria, Switzerland or Italy for skiing. Being thrifty I hope someone can suggest a way to have phone access for a week or so and not have it cost a fortune.

I read that using your regular phone as a "forwarding phone" and leaving it at home and having a euro-compatible phone with you is a good solution.

Anyone have suggestions? I was thinking of skiing both Austria and Italy at some point. My Verizon phone is useless in Europe. I think there might be US-Euro compatible phones but I don't think Verizon has that as an option.
post #2 of 5

What I just did in October in Austria worked out very well! Just before my trip I installed the Vonage App on my iPhone and started a Vonage account with $10 loaded into it via credit card. Then when I arrived in Europe I left my iPhone in Airplane mode but with WiFi turned on for the whole week. Using the hotel WiFi I was able to call the US through Vonage (VOIP) from Europe as much as I wanted to for free, plus use FaceTime and do email on WiFi as much as I wanted to for free. WiFi is your friend and all SmartPhones can use it, and it is pretty widely available in Europe - check with your hotel. If it's not available at your hotel then I would look into renting a phone with a package for the week.


I'm an ATT subscriber and my iPhone will work in Europe, but for anyone thinking of doing that be warned that if you take your US phone out of Airplane mode it will register on the local cellular network and start doing data sessions (email/SMS/virtual-voicemail) and will be generating roaming charges even though you think you're not using it. The extent of the roaming charges is very unpredictable, and in my experience can range from a modest $10 for a brief 5 minutes, to over $3000 for a few days as recently experienced by one of my friends in Chile.

post #3 of 5
I am pretty sure Verizon service and phones are global now...things changed, check with Verizon if your phone and plan are compatible. Can also switch to T-Mobile, not only its global, but T-Mobile has free 2G international data roaming and free SMS. Check rates because calls are affordable too ....used to be like $1.20 per minute, but I think its only 20 cents now.

Oh yeah, T-Mobile also has WiFi calling feature, pretty much if you are on WiFi all calls in and out are 100% free.

And don't use public phones in airport or hotel, those are there to SCAM you smile.gif

As far as expensive roaming charges, that's only if you turn data roaming ON. (Verizon, ATT, etc) its free on T-Mobile as I said before.
Edited by Kolyan2k - 12/23/13 at 5:14pm
post #4 of 5
Verizon has global phones they will lend you to use for a trip. We did that, thinking we'd only need it for a few calls or emergencies. Turned out there was a real emergency involving a trip to the hospital, so needless to say we should have bought a bigger minutes package. I would try that Vonage option if I did it again. Or Skype.
post #5 of 5

I head to Europe once a month.  I have Verizon, and just subscribe to their "international" plan for data. It's $25 per 100 MB I believe.  


For calls, it's $2.00/minute I believe.  I try to not use my phone for calls unless absolutely necessary.  Instead, use Skype or Viber.


Texts are $0.50 for messages sent, and $0.05 for messages received.


When you arrive in Europe, change your phone's settings to "Global" vs. LTE and it will find a service.  


Here's a Verizon link to find out more:



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