Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

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Rem
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Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Rem » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:50 pm

I wasn't sure where to post this as it's a travel question not a language one so I apologise if it's in the wrong place, but I thought some of you might of had experience with this and could maybe give me some advice about how you handled mobile phone usage when visiting other countries.

The obvious thing to do would be to go to the shop where I have my current contract and ask them what they suggest. Unfortunately I tried that today and...erm...they were..."unhelpful" to say the least. The only thing that they could suggest was prohibitively expensive for me over the course of a year.

I use my phone everyday especially for internet access.

I'm pretty much clueless about mobile phones and contracts (I'd never even had a touchscreen phone until I started Uni) and, frankly, if I'd known before what little I know now then I wouldn't have signed into the contract that I have. Unfortunately, now I'm stuck with it. :(

I'm assuming (hoping) that it's possible to get a short term contract while I'm away. Maybe a sim only option that will allow me to use my current phone but not have to worry about excessive charges from the UK company?

I know I'd still have to pay for my UK contract, but as long as I remove that sim from my phone and don't use it while I'm abroad then there shouldn't be any extra fees to worry about? (seriously I'm a technological noob here, I have no idea)

At least there's always Skype for calling home. ;)
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby MmeFleiss » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:06 pm

=If I plan on staying somewhere for at least a week I usually buy a prepaid phone plan after I get there. Whether you need to buy a phone or use the one you already own depends on whether your phone is unlocked or not.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Elenia » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:38 pm

My dad had my sim suspended when I was in France (which was actually a crappy deal, as it meant I couldn't use my phone on visits home. He still had to pay, I think). Many of my friends got sim only deals with what seemed like ease, although I can't say for certain how easy it was because I didn't do it myself. I'm sure you should be able to get a year long contract. I had a friend who did her year abroad in Germany, I'll ask her what she did about a phone if you'd like.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Arnaud » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:36 pm

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Last edited by Arnaud on Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Rem » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:10 am

Elenia wrote:My dad had my sim suspended when I was in France (which was actually a crappy deal, as it meant I couldn't use my phone on visits home. He still had to pay, I think).


Yeah, that does seem like a bit of a raw deal. I looked into suspending mine but the company I'm with (well the guy in the shop) said that it wasn't possible at all. I'll still need something when I'm visiting the UK anyway so I guess it's not a complete loss, but paying for something for the whole year when I'll probably only be using it for a few weeks is a pain. :(

The really annoying thing is that I did mention that I would be going away for a year before I entered the contract and I was told that there were options for travelling. Unfortunately, even though I was very specific about the fact that I would be gone for a YEAR, the 'options' seem to be geared more towards holidaymakers and short term travellers and they work out prohibitively expensive in the long run.

Elenia wrote:I had a friend who did her year abroad in Germany, I'll ask her what she did about a phone if you'd like.

That would be great if you could. :)

Arnaud wrote:Which country, for how long, what quantity of data do you need ?


My year is split between Germany (first half) and China (second half). I'll be spending approximately 6 months in each country. I have 1GB data on my current contract.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby sfuqua » Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:07 am

I know nothing about phones and plans in Germany an China, but I have been extremely pleased about T-Mobile's performance while traveling. I've had unlimited data (extremely slow in the Philippines), unlimited texts and $.20 a minute calling anywhere in all three counties I've been in, Philippines, UAE, and ireland. When we landed in Ireland for instance, I got a text welcoming me to Ireland and announcing my data, txt, and voice setup.

T-Mobile has no contract.

As I understand T-Mobile is owned by a German company.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby tiia » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:36 am

At least for Germany you should just buy a SIM card when arriving. Since you'll be here only for 6 months anything else than prepaid is not an option. (I'm not sure whether any company would actually give you anything else.) It's also what all the exchange students here do.
There are a lot of really cheap SIM cards available and usually you can book some weekly or monthly packages for internet access etc. on these cards.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Elenia » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:58 am

Okay, my friend said that all contracts had to be for two years minimum, so she got what I imagine was a pay as you go sim from either aldi or lidl as it was cheaper (she can't remember which she went with, but it was probably Aldi). This was coming up to three years ago now, so things might have changed since, but I hope that helps.

EDIT: Another friend studying in a different area DID have a contract with O2, and nothing was mentioned about it needing to be two years long. Looking on the German O2 website, I see only 24 month and 1 month contracts, but it is probably worth going in and talking to the people in shop when you arrive.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby garyb » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:30 am

I've always gone for the pre-paid package option rather than a contract, at home and abroad. When I spent a couple of weeks in Italy a few years ago, I got a SIM card that was 10 euros per month with free activation for 1GB of data and hundreds of calls and texts - more than I was ever going to need, and much cheaper than using my UK one abroad, especially for data. It's worth doing your research before you go so you know what to look for when you arrive. After my trip I cancelled the monthly package, and on subsequent trips I just used it as normal pay-as-you-go. Unfortunately it then got deactivated because I didn't use it for over a year.

In some countries like the UK, you can just walk into a shop and buy a pre-paid SIM, but in others like Italy you need to show identity and fill out forms, so it can be more difficult. Especially if you happen to get a very unfriendly salesman like I did ;). But you can just give the address of your hotel or guest house.

Alternatively, I think Three do (or used to do) a contract where you can use your data allowance in other EU countries, which could be a good option if you travel to mainland Europe a lot.
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Re: Getting a mobile phone contract in another country?

Postby Olekander » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:18 pm

Oh God, don't remind me.

In China it's been a real b**t hurt. Not only have I not had a working phone for the whole six months I've been here, I've had to continue paying fifty quid a month for my EE phone for absolutely no reason at all. I finally managed to cancel it today but cost me a hundred quid and that's only for ending it a month early. + about 20 quid for the cost of the phonecall to cancel it . Ye, fuming basically.

Annyyyyyway.
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