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      06-24-2013, 09:01 PM   #1
CJR926
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Munich Airport and Cellphones

Hi all,
My brother is traveling to Germany for 3 weeks on an exchange program and will be flying through Munich. When he arrives, he wants to get a cell phone that he can use to communicate with fellow exchange students and some of our relatives.
We have AT&T here in the US so I looked for prepaid sims which were easy to come by, but my brothers iPhone is not up for unlocking yet, so that option is out.
The next option I considered for him was a prepaid phone on one of the networks over there. He could use this for placing simple phone calls and use his iPhone on wifi for everything else. The problem with this is I can't seem to find any definitive pricing or options on the web.

So, I figured this would be the place to come since everyone doing an ED generally comes through Munich airport and I figured a good portion of you have bought some sort of cell phone over there.

It would be much appreciated if I could get some feedback as to where in the airport to buy a disposable phone, how much it costs, and what the plans include. I have considered an AT&T international plan, but want to see how much a disposable phone and plan would cost.

Cheers
Chris
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      06-25-2013, 12:56 AM   #2
Genro757
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Hey man...shoot me a PM...I might be able to help you out...I'm stationed here in Germany...and have been here since 2006
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      06-25-2013, 12:14 PM   #3
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You can use those unlock services for $25-$30 that are available through the web. I did it last month before going to Germany. I just bought the local SIM card.
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      06-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #4
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I would not buy ATT international plan, b/c they're expensive as shit.

Voice:
If all you need is a phone just for calls, you need a phone that's an unlocked international quad-band GSM phone. If you don't have quad-band phone, you need a GSM phone that covers 900 or 1800 MHz. Most GSM phones you buy here in the US has 1800 MHZ covered.

Internet:
For internet access in Germany and boarder Europe, you need a phone that covers UMTS 2100. So you need your phone to also support "UMTS 2100" or "UMTS Band 1".

You can find all GSM and UMTS spec data on the back of the box.

Here are all the European networks you can use, just make sure you get one with UMTS 2100 coverage, which is pretty much all providers in Europe:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UMTS_networks
In Germany, all German sim providers would work (T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 Telefonica, E-Plus)

In Italy, you're covered across the board with all providers.

If you're going to France, depending on your US phone, I'm not 100% sure whether you'll get 3G, as I'm not sure if you need a dual channel 900/2100 or just 2100 is sufficient. Some US phones don't carry UMTS 900 or Band 8, but the iphone5 and 4S do, so if you're using iPhone5, you're good to go in France.


Notes:
Based on the specs of the iPhone 5 and iPhone4S, you're covered for both voice and 3G data across Europe.
You won't get LTE connections however, the world is on completely different bands than USA.

Last edited by mdosu; 06-28-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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      06-28-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
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^updated my last post, as I was doing some extensive research on this (for my trip to Asia), hope this is helpful!
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      06-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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I am currently in the UK though I imagine similar offerings can be found in Germany. We use Virgin Mobile where you can buy a basic phone for less than £20. These are pre-paid phones you can top up and the initial requirement is a minimum £10 top up. Calling rates are very reasonable and no monthly contract. Simply recycle the phone or retain for future use if you think you'll return. This is for a basic Nokia/Samsung type phone.

You can also get more advanced phones with Internet access but I don't use those so can't speak to rates etc...
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      06-28-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscarrol View Post
I am currently in the UK though I imagine similar offerings can be found in Germany. We use Virgin Mobile where you can buy a basic phone for less than £20. These are pre-paid phones you can top up and the initial requirement is a minimum £10 top up. Calling rates are very reasonable and no monthly contract. Simply recycle the phone or retain for future use if you think you'll return. This is for a basic Nokia/Samsung type phone.

You can also get more advanced phones with Internet access but I don't use those so can't speak to rates etc...
yep, Virgin Mobile is a MVNO that's on the T-Mobile and Orange GSM network in UK. So one could use a GSM quad band and UTMS 2100 phone from USA on Virgin Mobile's network for full voice and internet coverage

personally, I prefer to have data access with my phone, others like you are perfectly okay with just voice.
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