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Iwill be traveling to Italy, Greece and Turkey in October. I read one place that you could take a phone and purchase a SIM card and pre-paid minutes. But then I read elsewhere that generally the cell service provided in one country is only good in that country not the region. If that is true that would mean buying a SIM card and minutes in each country. Does anyone know what the best way to obtain cell service is in these countries? Also, do you recommend one provider over another?
I use Verizon with a International Blackberry phone. I call verizon and tell them the specific dates I will be in a specific country and they adjust the phone for that country. Then when I return home on the date I tell them, the phone switches back to USA...
I only did it for one country.
I will suggest you a vodafone int'l cell line, registered in Greece, with the additional passport on it. While in Greece, incoming calls are free, outgoing to the US/CAN at 0,10 Euros per min., to other destinations pls read www.vodafone.gr. While in Italy incoming calls 0,13 Euros per min., outgoing 0,48 if within Europe. Calls to USA 1,7 Euros per minute. In Turkey incoming 0.95 Euros per minute and to the USA 2,1 per min. All above cheaper with VODAFONE PASSPORT. Pls read the site. T your disposal for more help,
licenced tourguide (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Unfortunately the situation is vexed. Any trans-regional sim cards you can get you would purchase in the States, but the rates are not much better than roaming. If you want local call charges you need to get individual sim cards in each country. However, in some countries you can't just buy one over the counter. They want identification that shows you live in that country. One of the best ways to stay in touch is via skype. Wherever you have a wifi connection that you can hook into you can use skype - free calls to other skype users, and reasonably cheap calls to phones if you have skype credit. You can also get a skype number, which means that no matter where you are friends can call you on a local US number and it does not cost you anything to receive the calls. There are special skype phones, but if you can use it on your laptop too, just means you may not be available all the time. You can even get call forwarding, which send the call to any fixed or mobile number you choose. But it does cost you some of your skype credit.
As George suggests, vodafone has perhaps the most comprehensive network and some of the best deals for international communications.
Step one get an unblocked phone compatible with the European system (I think G3 works). Buy a cheap prepaid here ($10-$40) and have it unblocked for $10-$25.
When you get to Italy, buy a Tim card (SIM card everywhere else) for about $10-$15 (includes minutes) It comes with an Italian number.
When you go to Greece, buy a Greek SIM card. Do the same in any other country. Skype is also a great solution for outgoing calls.
All incoming are then free, outgoing $0.20-0.35/minute.