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Possible trip to Germany, stay

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    #16
    I have a really silly (and weird) question:

    I assume that my cheap cellphone (not a smartphone, but a dirt-cheap Tracfone that I buy minutes for because I use it very little; there is very poor cellular signal quality here) would not work if I go to Germany. If I did visit Germany and I wanted an iPhone on a temporary contract while I'm there (say, a month or two), do such arrangements exist? Where do I go (in USA or Germany?) to look for such offerings?
    Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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      #17
      Originally posted by MtnMan View Post
      If I did visit Germany and I wanted an iPhone on a temporary contract while I'm there (say, a month or two), do such arrangements exist?
      I happen to know (because I recently made the switch) that you get unlimited texts and data on a U.S.-issued T-Mobile phone when abroad (in qualifying countries - Germany is one). Calls would be $.20/minute. International Plans | Traveling Abroad without Roaming Fees | T-Mobile The catch is that you'd have to buy your phone outright (or pay it off in monthly installments over two years).
      kindness is contagious.

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        #18
        So, a five-minute phone call would cost an additional $1.00, a 15-minute call would cost $3.00, or a 60-minute call would cost $12.00? Does it cost the same for calls point-to-point within Germany, as well as calls from Germany to the US?
        Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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          #19
          How much does the T-Mobile phone cost outright? How much does cost on installments?
          Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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            #20
            Your math looks right to me. I'm fairly certain that rate applies for calls within Germany; I bet T-Mobile customer service could tell you whether or not the rate also applies for calls from Germany to the U.S.

            It looks like T-Mobile only currently sells the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, which are $500 and $600, respectively. If you paid for it in installments, you'd divide that cost over 24 months - there's no interest charge. You're not signed in to a T-Mobile contract, but if you cancel your service before the phone is paid off, you'll then owe the balance of the phone. You could also buy a T-Mobile compatible iPhone second-hand and have it activated with a T-Mobile SIM card... on second thought, you could probably get the iPhone second-hand and get a SIM card once you get to Germany, bypassing the need for a U.S. account.

            The basic plan - unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S. - is $50/month for one line. (Note that high-speed data slows after using 1gb. But I don't think you'll get high-speed data abroad, anyway. I, personally, never exceed my high-speed data limits because I connect to wifi whenever I can.)
            kindness is contagious.

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              #21
              Do you need to keep your U.S. phone number or are you willing to get a German phone number?

              Does Tracphone use CDMA or GSM? (GSM is what's used in Europe)

              If it is GSM, is the phone unlocked or can it be unlocked?

              If it is unlocked, or can be, you could probably take it to Germany and get a local SIM card.

              For calls back to the U.S., especially for a long stay, a T-Mobile account isn't worth it. If you have either a computer of a smartphone, set up an account with Skype. It will cost you pennies to call back to the U.S. (And if one computer calls another it's free.)

              For local calls, get yourself a cheap unlocked phone in Germany and buy a pay-as-you-go Sim card. (If your tracphone doesn't work.)

              Using Cell Phones in Germany
              Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

              Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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                #22
                Seconding the Skype thing.

                Also, when we were in Europe this past month, DH set up a Google Voice account and forwarded all mobile calls to that account, so that we wouldn't get expensive calls while we were traveling. He would then use Skype to check the messages on the Google Voice account when we were within WiFi range.

                He also set up a Global Messaging addendum to our (AT&T) plan so we could send up to fifty texts per phone. (I don't know what it was if you went over the limit of 50, but we didn't hit the max.) Just an alternative to setting up a full-fledged account over there. (We had thought we might buy a phone while there, but with the above solutions, DH was able to conduct the work he needed to get done, checking in once or twice a day. YMMV, of course. )

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                  #23
                  I forgot to mention Google Voice. (Thanks Haraya.) I forward my calls to them as well. You can set it up to send you an email every time you get a voicemail.
                  Last edited by Frank II; 08-31-2014, 06:51 PM.
                  Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

                  Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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                    #24
                    I'm thinking of the iPhone route (tentatively, of course) because my dirt-cheap open-face cellphone from Tracfone is a piece of junk that I only use when I have to; I'm in hill country where cellular signal quality is spotty anyway, so I typically don't care around here. It's just a cheap way to get cellular phone access when I need it.

                    If I went to Germany, on the other hand, I would want a smartphone to keep in contact and to check on messages (I currently NEVER use text messaging) and e-mail.
                    Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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                      #25
                      The new Iphone will be introduced in a little over a week. That means earlier versions will go down in price.

                      My suggestion would be to get an unlocked iphone, buy a local German sim card when you get there for the best local rates, and then when you return you can either buy a pay as you go sim for the iphone or go back to your Tracfone.

                      Even if you have spotty service where you live, you can still use just about everything on the iphone, except the call feature, via wifi. In fact, rather than use up your data minutes on your sim card, wait to check email and messages until you can connect to wifi.

                      You might also want to look at Android phones. They can do just about everything the iphone can, some more and less, and you really don't need a computer to load music, videos, books, etc. Just load direct.
                      Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers.

                      Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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                        #26
                        An unlocked smartphone with a local SIM is a great option - I do that on trips to the US. TBH my iPhone is primarily a PDA with cellular data, as I don't make many voice calls.


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        Collections:
                        Work EDC: SE + S19
                        Leisure: SCBs, FJN, Swift, lots of YSSs
                        Travel: WF + Pilot or SA, with SE/SCB
                        General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
                        Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
                        Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by daisy View Post
                          How exciting! whereabouts in Germany would you be visiting?

                          We visited Berlin and Dresden (with a daytrip to Leipzig) in May this year... absolutely loved it (we were on holiday).
                          My uncle and his wife (she is a native of Germany) live in Zweibrucken. I think my uncle works for the Army in Folda.
                          Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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