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Cell Phones


Is it best to rent a cell phone in Ireland or from the states?

We have Verizon and our phones will not work over in Ireland. Verizon has a rental program where we can rent two phones for a pretty good price and return them after we get back. The rates are $ .99 a minute.

Any and all thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

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These earlier posts pretty much covers your question: 

http://ireland.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=65127&p=3&topicID=37925170

http://ireland.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=65127&p=3&topicID=35674204


http://ireland.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=65127&p=3&topicID=15510063

http://ireland.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=65127&p=3&topicID=10741104

 biggrin They are listed in decending order by age so the TOP post is the most recent.  biggrin

Tesco, O2 and Vodaphone sell cheap, basic phones for under 20 Euro.  Rates are cheap for Pay As You Go.  They will ONLY work in Ireland, though.  If you plan to travel outside the US often, it would be to your advantage to buy an "UNLOCKED" GSM Quad-Band phone (available on EBay, Amazon and through Best Buy and Fry's.

Bob

-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 7th of February 2011 12:33:21 PM

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Thanks. Appreciate the advice and I'll check the links. Lord bless.

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The cheap 20 euro type phones will work throughout Europe not just Ireland. I swear by Tesco mobile who operate on the O2 network but also have an agreement with Hutchinson 3g giving 2cent calls to many long distance countries.

http://www.tescomobile.ie/

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I heard back from someone who bought a Tesco phone and couldn't call the USA. I think they probably didn't know how to dial it!

Michele

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Michele:  That "+" before the number seems to getcha, everytime!  hmm


CORRECTION to my earlier Post:

Actually, Tony is correct -- I 'misspoke'  biggrin biggrin

When I said they would 'only work in Ireland', what I MEANT was AT THE QUOTED RATES.  While the phones WILL work throughout Europe, you would be Roaming on an Irish SIM at the prevailing rates.

With an UNLOCKED phone, you have the option of purchasing a Local SIM for whatever country you are in at the time ....

Hope this helps, rather than confuses ... confuse confuse

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Tuesday 8th of February 2011 01:58:17 PM

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Dear Bob, et al...

I am a Special Education teacher, and I am wondering if I am learning disabled, or just plain old.biggrin

I cannot, for the life of me, understand this cell phone business.  I will keep attempting to decipher, and I will ask specific questions when I figure out what to ask!


Marie


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Marie


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European mobile (cell) phones work on a different frequency/Bandwidth than American networks. So for Europe you need a phone which will work on the network available in individual countries which as a continent share a similar Bandwidth. Having a handset you then also need a "sim" card which stores individual data and your personal phone number. These sim cards are individual to each network provider and can be used in a handset either provided by the network provider or one which has been Unlocked to take a sim by any provider.  If a sim card remains unused for a period of 6 months the network provider is legally allowed to reassign the number and block usage of that sim card.

Most Irish network providers have at least 2 price bands for "domestic" (usually on the Island of Ireland) and "overseas" calls, other charges are made for Text messages and "Roaming" (using the phone outside the normal geographical area or making a call using the service of another network provider)

There are other anomalies such as data usage and browsing. These should not be of concern on a simple pay as you go holiday communication type device.

I hope this clarifies rather than confuses.

-- Edited by tony2phones on Wednesday 9th of February 2011 06:12:52 AM

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This has been a helpful post for another (international) cell phone dummyconfuse.

Let see if I understand this correctly. I have a cell phone, which I purchased in Ireland 17 months ago. After 6 months of non-activity, I understand that it more than likely has been "locked" which means that the sim card has expired and the associated number possibly given to someone else . I assume that this sim card is a "throw-away" item, correct?

So now I need to buy a new sim card....and decide if I want one that is only base to base  in Ireland...for less money/minute, or buy the sim card that has the additional option of calling back to the USA as well, costing more per minute for all calls....am I right so far? It appears that the now defunct sim card I have from 02-3G was not an economical plan.....so; what brand or company do I go to this time, for a good deal?

We arrive in Dublin on Sunday March 27. Will this sim card be available on a Sunday, or do we need to wait till Monday, or can this sim card be purchased here in the states before we go?

I could say this almost gives me as bad a head ache as thinking about rental carsfurious.....but that would be an exaggerationbiggrin!

Any help or suggestions would be welcomesmile.

Thanks Dan

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I so much appreciate all the good responses to this post! I'm glad it's been helpful to others as it has been to me. I think we are going to go with Tesco. I talked with them and it seems that even though we will be buying their phones, it will be cheaper in the long run than the Verizon rental we had planned. We will either leave the phones with friends in Ireland or save them for possible future usage for a couple of our kids who hope to go to Ireland someday. Even if that doesn't work out because of technology changes, it's still worth it for us.

Thanks again everyone for your kind responses!

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A sim which has not been used for over 6 months would be a throw away item. Tesco mobile use O2 & 3rd Generation networks at a fraction of the cost 20c (which is effectively 10c due to the double credit scheme) for island of Ireland calls and 2c for USA calls (these being per minute rates and have a nominal minimum cost of 10c). sim cards are available at Tesco stores which are open until about 7pm on Sundays or you could have one delivered to your Hotel in the Dublin area (There could be a minimum order cost for this and I would recomend that you also purchase a E10 top up at the same time).

http://www.tescomobile.ie/

-- Edited by tony2phones on Thursday 10th of February 2011 08:45:15 AM

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One last question: about getting the phone "unlocked".   Is that a different process altogether, or is throwing you obsolete sim card away and inserting a new one considered getting it unlocked?

It turns out that I have as much Bohemian blood in me as I do Irish, and as my Mother jokingly says: Maybe this "Scandahooviak" will understand it sooner or later!biggrin

Thanks....Dan

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A cell phone is 'Locked' to a particular carrier's SIM via a code.  The carrier ( Tesco, AT&T, Vodaphone, etc.) does this so that you can only use 'Their' phone with THEIR service.

They get away with this (here in the US, at least) because they sell you the phone for less than it costs.  That's why they require two year Contracts and charge HEFTY early cancellation Fees ...

So, the phone is 'Locked' to the carrier, but NOT a particular SIM card.  If your phone is 'Locked' to Tesco, it will only work with a Tesco SIM -- but it doesn't care WHICH Tesco SIM

If you bought your phone from Tesco, ( as I think I remember) you can just insert a new Tesco SIM and be up and running, Good As New.

An UNLOCKED phone will work with ANY SIM card -- it is not 'Locked' to a particular carrier.  You would only "need" to have your phone UNLOCKED if you wanted to use it with SIMs from Multiple carriers.

FYI :  The Sim card is usually installed under the battary.  It looks like a smaller, thinner version of an SD Memory card as are used in most digital cameras.  If you go to Tesco the clerk can probably install the new SIM in under 20 seconds ... biggrin

Does that help???

Bob

-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Thursday 10th of February 2011 11:32:55 PM

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Tesco do sell unlocked phones from about E50 which will take a sim from any European operator. I don't know about the US but having a phone unlocked in Ireland or the UK usually costs under E15 but with budget phones @ E20 is it worth it?

Please dont think that Tesco is the only option there are other operators who are worth considering depending on your needs. Meteor for example do like to like free calls (3 also offer this) so if there is a large group who want to go their separate ways but keep in touch these might be options. The Irish Post office has started offering phones on the Vodafone network and of course the more expensive O2 option. I have never used Vodafone because they are expensive and signal quality is bad up here on the slieve. my view of expensive is based on using "pay as you go" not signing a long contract which us natives might do.

If you do have needs for data access, skype or any other than basic call accommodation  and call home then pop into a branch of the Carphonewarehouse who will give advice on which operator to go with.

http://www.carphonewarehouse.ie/aspx/Homepage.aspx

now I am complicating things confuse

-- Edited by tony2phones on Friday 11th of February 2011 05:01:05 AM

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Roy


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Each time I have visited Ireland, I have thought of getting a pay as you go phone but haven't. This year I think I will go to Tesco and purchase one. My wife and sister in law can use it oon their return trip in August, my sister in law can use it on her solo future trips, as will we on future trips.

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Tony,

As I will be traversing a wide gambit of locations, from Dublin to Cork, Doolin to the Sliabh Liag, the Causeway to Armagh, do you think the Tesco phone would be the best option?

My Sprint service here says they will work there. However, they also told me I would have a cheap rate for calls made from Ireland and in to my phone would be the same as home rates. I was rather surprised by a $700+ bill a month after I got home in 2009. So, I am considering a pay-as-you-go phone this time.

Slan Beo,

Bit

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The best network in Ireland is the O2 network which Tesco use under licence at half the price for calls on the Island of Ireland. They also have licence to operate on the Hutchinson 3G network which is has the benefit of really cheap overseas calls plus use of transmitters servicing the Rural Broadband Scheme which gives the best rural signal strength. You will have a sim with an 08* number which is the republic mobile prefix (07* is the UK mobile prefix) but you would have no roaming charges whilst on the Island and no nasty bills when you get home

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I do appreciate all the input on this topic. As for where I got my cell phone: I walked into a cell phone shop on main street of Castlebar after my wife fell and broke her shoulder. Our trip insurance company requested that we provide a contact number where we would be reached for the rest of our trip. We elected to get a cell phone, since we had to re-arrange our B&B reservations around Dr. appointments, and we were not sure where we would be...it all depended on how she felt and her tolerance for  continued travel.  As a result....the cell phone.

The cell phone shop was: O2.  If I remember right it was a pay-as-you-go plan, and I bought the phone for around 49 Euros which included a certain amount of minutes. With the insurance company calls, it was quickly used up, and I topped it up with another 10 or 20 Euros, to the best of my recollection. I think I did this over the phone with my cc number when the time was about to run out, probably with a voice prompt. It was still working when we left Ireland so didn't use  up all the minutes. So, I am guessing that if... it is now locked, it would be locked by O2.  It was not the best scenerio for buying a cell phone, as I was in a kind of a fog after the accident. 

I submitted an email to the O2 customer service web sight regarding this phone about 4-5 days ago. So far no reply. My next step would probably be to call the O2 telephone number for customer service.

Any further advice is welcome.

Dan

-- Edited by murphy on Friday 11th of February 2011 09:56:38 PM

-- Edited by murphy on Friday 11th of February 2011 09:57:10 PM

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I hope your wife has recovered after the accident my stepfather has a steel shoulder after a fall in Wales some years back not nice and causes fun at Airport security. Anyway as to the phone, my guess would be that if you will have lost any remaining credit if the phone has been inactive for over 6 months. @ E50 I am guessing it would just be a single band phone however if it is a dual or Quad band then you could try turning it on and see if you can connect to a local network by doing a network search. If you can connect to a network try dialling your home number. if the phone rings then you have still got service at this point, Picking up your phone would probably use any remaining credit but keep you active for another 6 months. If the sim card is dead then you have the options of simply purchasing another 02 sim on arrival or requesting the Unlock code from 02 you would need to provide serial number and PuK information to do this or take the phone into a cell phone shop and have them unlock the phone (at a cost?) then you can use the phone in any EU state with any local operators card.

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Roy


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I thought a pay as you go phone stays active. I'll have to look more into this before making a decision. My sister in law usually goes home over Christmas, so maybe I could have her keep it active that way if necessary.

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Roy


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Thanks Tony, I did turn the phone on and it showed no service after dialing my home number, so most likely is a single band. Still waiting to hear from 02. In the mean time I will check with the electronics shop, who is my local Verizon cell phone hardware provider, to see if they have the capability to unlock it. I know my basic Verizon cell phone is not compatible for a sim card from Ireland....I had already checked on that before we went last time.

Can't seem to find a serial number on this phone, as such, however there is a rather lengthy IMEI number located under the battery along with a CODE number. Will take all the info with me to the electronics shop and see what they can help me figure out. I keep thinking I should just throw this phone away and like you say, start over with a new one, esp if it is only 20Euros, depending on what it would cost to get this one unlocked. I would like to have the flex. to be able to use anybody's sim card.

Since there are 2 couples going this time, and we will spend about a week going in different directions, a cell phone might come in handy in case of an emergency, possible bus/train schedule changes etc. In fact, 2 cell phones might even be advisable, so will check with the other couple to see if one of their cell phones might be take an Ireland sim card.

Dan

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ttt

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A 10 euro top up now gets Free Tesco to Tesco calls so if there are two parties going their seperate ways they can keep in touch for nothing if they both have Tesco sim's in their phones.

Meteor another of the good Irish providers have now scrapped roaming rates within Europe. This means that if you purchase an Irish sim from them you can use it throughout Europe at the same per minute cost without paying the extra loading.



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Here's a link to Tesco Mobile.

http://www.tescomobile.ie/



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A follow up to previous post about my cell phone questions.  We did finally hear from 02 including getting an unlock code.    Went to Ireland in March, and it worked.   I was able to purchase a 10 Euro sim card from Tesco.  They had a "double minutes" promotion on which was great....we had 4 people making calls back to the US and we talked a long time on 10 Euros.  Did run down to 2 or 3 Euors,  and then it wouldn't work until we did another 10 Euro top-up.

I think that if I notify Tesco within 6 months of the purcase of this sim card and every 6 months thereafter, I can keep the account active, thereby preserving my sim card and the remaining minutes for the next trip!

Was handy to have a cell phone....phone booth phones are getting as scarce as hen's teeth! and I think pre-paid phone cards are in a by-gone era.  For what it is worth, I see on the net, that India just closed the last typewriter factory in the world!

Dan

 

 



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I am currently in Ireland and as you can see below, I asked just this.  Go to Tesco, buy a phone for 20 euro, get 10 euro credit and they will add 10 free.  The rate for US is 2 cents a minute.  I have used the phone to call home every day since May 6th and I still have 10 euro credit left on it.  I am leaving it here with my Dubliner friend so that she can call me on it for 2 cents a minute!  Great deal, great little phone, no worries.

That said, since I had an Irish number, my family was not able to call me, due to the plan they have.  Worked out PERFECTLY.wink



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Sure you could even call me for free Tesco to Tesco which is great if there is a group in two cars or just wandering in separate directions. Glad you're enjoying yourself.

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Roy


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I have never used a mobile phone on my previos trips to Ireland, and had only one occasion where I felt it would have really helped. That said, this year I will be buying a phone from Tesco, and sending it with my wife when she returns in August so she can call me on my birthday.

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Good plan Roy. Double use for the phone.

Michele

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Wow, as if I'm not confused enough about just planning our itinerary. Now to think of phone usage too.

We were only thinking of using a phone to call ahead for B&B reservations, or cancellations, or in the even of an emergency. (Remember, we're not very confident about driving narrow coastal roads "on the wrong side of the". Have been reading about phone cards, but not sure how that would work since we're staying mainly at B&B's. Thus we'd have to look for a pay phone. I'm not sure about Ireland but I can't remember the last time I saw a pay phone as I was driving around in the US. And we'd still need to have change for all the calls. So as I've been reading here, most travelers opt to buy a phone for these uses after arriving in Ireland.

In the past when we traveled out of the US, we ordered a "global Phone" which would do nothing other than allow us to call while out of the country. I haven't looked into what that would cost now, but in the past year or so Verison has stopped offering reasonable data plans while in our country, let alone when out of the US. This may be a really silly question, but have any travelers from the US just used iPad or iPhone with Verison while in Ireland.

Thanks in advance for asking a goofy question as this topic has been covered, I just can't figure out what anyone meant. Since English has over all become he universal accepted language, wouldn't it be great if cell phone companies around manor countries would get together as well???????

Sue


PS: Michele, I apologize if this topic was covered in your book. My husband is on a trip and took it with him.

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