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Mobile Roaming: Cheapest Calls When You're Abroad

edited 20 March 2012 at 12:50PM in Mobiles
1.3K replies 325.6K views
MSE_ArchnaMSE_Archna Former MSE
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MSE Staff
edited 20 March 2012 at 12:50PM in Mobiles
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Read the old Roaming discussion for more info.

Thanks for your help,
MSE Becca
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  • reduxredux Forumite
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    Although the previous discussion thread has been closed, it's still well worth reading for more detail than Martin can go into in an article of this size.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=231354

    Although the EU measures are at last driving down ordinary contract roaming costs, there are still much cheaper options, especially using separate callback with either local or global roaming SIMs.

    As well as the Eurotariff, the other options available here should also mention O2's My Europe Extra. For £10 a month, one at a time or renewable and not forced to be in phase with the monthly bill, or £60 a year on business contracts, or [I've read elsewhere] perhaps even free on an offer from the Retentions team, outgoing calls from and to over 30 European countries are 25p a minute, incoming calls free. There is also a Chosen Country - Spain option that is similar for £5 a month. Then perhaps use the free incoming calls with a cheaper callback option ...


    As Martin suggests, getting a local SIM is cheaper in the country itself than the extra convenience of buying one here in advance. But the other thing to note about this is that this will give more choice, from all networks rather than just the one chosen by the UK reseller.

    For instance, in many countries there are virtual operator (eg like Virgin here in T-mobile) SIMs that have some much cheaper options than the main networks which constitute the bulk of those local SIMs resold here, and some of these have especially cheap for diect-dialled international calls, whilst others would be well suited to callthrough such as calling cards or similar. As Martin suggests, look on PrepaidGSM for more details. Some SIMs can be ordered online with a UK credit card, though perhaps delivered only to an address in their home country.

    For the USA in particular, I think that getting SIMs locally is rather better value than Oneroam or 0044's reselling and tariff mark-up of Jolt from BeyondWireless - 10 to 17 cents versus 19 pence

    I'm not sure that Martin has quite expanded enough on explanation of the global SIMs available, with detail of what countries these are from, like Liechtenstein, Isle of Man, Monaco, Iceland, Estonia, Jersey. Increasingly common here, several of those mentioned are Isle of Man rebrands of an operation named CallKey, and these vary in terms and tariffs from one reseller to another, particularly in top-up and renewal conditions, so some attention needs to be paid if you are only travelling abroad once or twice a year - read the old thread for more on this.


    For people wanting a cheap way for their friends to call them on the foreign SIM, as well as researching the MSE Callchecker, it's worth looking into call forwarding, particularly from several VoIP (voice over internet) providers.

    It's interesting to see that for the first time Martin recommends a callback company. There are plenty of providers, which ranges of tariffs and trigger methods - trigger numbers, wap/grps, sms and others. Vyke has been good value for some time, but there are recently some options that are cheaper, particularly from the Betamax VoIP providers, so that both call forwarding to the chosen SIM and outgoing calls from it may be made for tariffs in single eurocent or penny figures (which of course beats even UK contract tariffs for use at home)
  • co_co_2co_co_2 Forumite
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    How about someone making plain English for me regarding phones abroad? I`m simple!! How do I know if my phone is blocked? Recently I used it from Venice to phone home.But,if I go to India next month will it work? How do I find out before travelling?
    And would someone clever tell me how to get the free texts
    I have followed Martins info, but still get confused,I`m on Orange
    Corrie Dragonfly Thank you to everyone for this site, but especially Martin,He does a brilliant job!
  • espressoespresso Forumite
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    co_co wrote: »
    How about someone making plain English for me regarding phones abroad? I`m simple!! How do I know if my phone is blocked? Recently I used it from Venice to phone home.But,if I go to India next month will it work? How do I find out before travelling?
    And would someone clever tell me how to get the free texts
    I have followed Martins info, but still get confused,I`m on Orange
    Corrie Dragonfly Thank you to everyone for this site, but especially Martin,He does a brilliant job!

    How about starting on the Orange website for information about using your mobile abroad. See here
    :doh: Blue text on this forum usually signifies hyperlinks, so click on them!..:wall:
  • reduxredux Forumite
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    co_co wrote: »
    How about someone making plain English for me regarding phones abroad? I`m simple!! How do I know if my phone is blocked? Recently I used it from Venice to phone home.But,if I go to India next month will it work? How do I find out before travelling?
    On unlocking - borrow a friend's SIM card on another network and try it in your phone. It may work fine, or it may ask for a subsidy or unlock code. There are a couple of pinned threads at the top of the board about this - some Nokias are the easiest, with a code that people here can calculate for you, while some phones will need a local dealer or market stall to do it with cables and so on.

    For India, you'd be much better off getting a local SIM card. Calls to the UK are the equivalent of a few pence a minute. I think Hutch has some of the cheapest int'l rates, but you can find more details at the PrepaidGSM site Martin mentioned

    http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/india.html
  • mark1024mark1024 Forumite
    174 posts
    I heard about the EU legislated price cuts for roaming and phoned my provider, 3, last week to check the rates were coming down. The operator I spoke with could not confirm any price reductions and could only reel off the old exorbitant rates of something like 75p/min. He said the reductions were not 'finalised'
    There was also nothing on their website about the expected 25p rate.

    In the end I went out and purchased a Story telecom card for an an ancient Nokia and will use that when away in Spain next week. The phone is on their 'not recommended' list but actually seems to work fine ; one just needs to prefix a dialled number with a code which instigates a call fast call back. I believe their rates were about 40 cents/min. I'll post my experiences when we return from Spain.
  • reduxredux Forumite
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    mark1024 wrote: »
    I heard about the EU legislated price cuts for roaming and phoned my provider, 3, last week to check the rates were coming down. The operator I spoke with could not confirm any price reductions and could only reel off the old exorbitant rates of something like 75p/min. He said the reductions were not 'finalised'
    There was also nothing on their website about the expected 25p rate.

    That is surprising, as it was announced some time ago. It is now linked from the front page of their website

    http://three.co.uk/personal/help_support_/network_coverage_/going_abroad_/abroadineurope.omp

    For Spain, it's also worth looking at O2's Chosen Country - Spain option, available on both contract and pay-as-you-go. For a £5 a month fee, incoming calls are free, outgoing 25p a minute. And using a separate callback service would save on outgoing call rates
  • mark1024mark1024 Forumite
    174 posts
    Oh well - wasn't there when I looked ! Still slightly cheaper when Story telecom I hope..
  • hello,

    I have a sim4travel sim card and used to use the enlinea callback service to get my calls fro pennies but they have since stopped allowing these sims to use their service.

    Does anyone know of another service I could piggyback onto this sim card to keep my call prices down?
  • reduxredux Forumite
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    desjazz wrote: »
    hello,

    I have a sim4travel sim card and used to use the enlinea callback service to get my calls fro pennies but they have since stopped allowing these sims to use their service.

    Does anyone know of another service I could piggyback onto this sim card to keep my call prices down?

    It seems that bulk carrier rates for Liechtenstein mobiles have been heading upwards for a while, and I've mainly been using an Isle of Man numbered SIM instead.

    United Mobile, the firm whose SIMs that Sim4travel are reselling, recently (late July) launched a new SIM with a Jersey mobile number, and made free changeover upgrades available.

    I was slightly surprised, reading your post, to assume that you hadn't heard of this, but I now see that the Sim4travel website says this will be available for their customers from 10 September.

    With the UM direct-sold product (but I have no idea whether this will also apply to yours), it's possible to keep both SIMs running, by not switching all of the credit, which may help people who spot one or two differences in roaming coverage or tariffs.

    Here is a thread discussing the UM+ SIM, with some useful info, but it turns into too much fuss about whether the numbers come from UK mobile inclusive minutes - after all the FL mobiles never did

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=512617

    Going back to your callback query - almost all cheap calls firms and many callback providers providers count Jersey and Isle of Man mobiles as the same tariffs as UK mobiles.
  • i am on orange pay as you go
    i will need to use phone when i am in spain to phone friends who will also be in spain but are on mobiles using irish mobile networks

    how do i get cheap rate calls to and from friends while we are all away in spain ?
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