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Consumer Cellular in Europe?

Old 04-28-22, 10:00 PM
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Antoine Zurfluh
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Consumer Cellular in Europe?

I fly to Germany in a few days from the US. I use Consumer Cellular here. Does anyone have experience using Consumer Cellular in Europe?

CC website says I can activate international roaming and use like normal for 10-40/minute/text/MB of data (depending on country). That sounds expensive.

Can I buy a SIM card out there with minutes/MB on it? What would be a good deal on something like that?

I plan to be in Germany, France, Italy. Possibly Spain or Switzerland.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-28-22, 10:08 PM
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MarcusT
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I don't know about Consumer, but you can buy a SIM in Europe and works in all EU countries. The problem is, to find a good price you have to do a contract. The pay as you go contracts are almost as expensive as your over seas plan.
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Old 04-29-22, 07:17 AM
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Consumer Cellular uses either the AT&T network or T-Mobile network. Your SIM card determines which network your phone will use as a CC customer. Consumer Cellular phones will only work outside of the US if they're using the T-Mobile network, and as you noted, it's expensive. CC phones with an AT&T SIM won't work at all outside of the US.

You've got a lot of choices. One easy way is to switch from Consumer Cellular to T-Mobile (not just the SIM, but you must become a T-Mobile customer). T-Mobile gives you free data outside the US, and calls would be a lot cheaper than if you're a CC customer with a T-Mobile SIM. Or, you can get a German SIM & plan upon arrival. Google Fi may be another solution. But if you're leaving in just a few days, you may have to get something upon arrival in Germany.
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Old 04-29-22, 07:29 AM
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Antoine Zurfluh
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm going to call CC and see what network my phone uses and if my phone can be unlocked so I can use a SIM while I'm abroad.

​​​​​
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Old 04-30-22, 08:19 AM
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I do not really know how reliable this website is, but for example it says that my phone that I use on AT&T system in USA will not work on 4G LTE in France, but would work on 2G or 3G. That said, networks are deleting 2G and 3G capability.
https://www.frequencycheck.com/

It was a lot simpler figuring this stuff out when there were only 2G and 3G, then it was just a question of frequencies, but has gotten more complicated.
https://www.worldtimezone.com/4g.html
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Old 04-30-22, 06:42 PM
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In 2018 we flew into Germany and at our first significant town along the Donauradweg, just went into a cell phone store and bought a phone with some minutes for something like 35 to 50 Euro. Worked great.
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Old 05-02-22, 08:54 PM
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Check with T-Mobile and see if they still offer a monthly 'international' plan for Euro-travel. Pre-pandemic they used to charge you $50 USA/month to authorize your phone for the European Deutch Telecom network (who formerly owned T-Mobile); if you're only there for 1-2 months its a great deal as you don't need a new phone (or need to learn its unique functions).
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Old 05-03-22, 01:35 AM
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If you're going to do this often I recommend Google Fi, I keep my US number while living in Germany via Fi
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Old 05-06-22, 01:11 PM
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It's easy to just buy a SIM with reasonable amounts of data on it, and recharge as you go. All options are very reasonably priced compared to US. Might be true that you can get cheaper yet with a short-term monthly plan there, up to you if it's worth the hassle for however long your trip is.

I don't know what brands are common at the moment there, I used "Tre" service on my last 3-month tour around southern Europe in 2017 and had zero problems.

Definitely DON'T do a travel plan with your US-based carrier, that is the most expensive possible option. Swapping SIMs is trivial. The hardest part will be not losing your tiny original SIM.
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Old 05-07-22, 01:46 AM
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Antoine Zurfluh
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
If you're going to do this often I recommend Google Fi, I keep my US number while living in Germany via Fi
I should have started this thread a few weeks ago...

Normally I'm better at getting all my gear and logistics arranged before a big trip. This time- not so much.

I did try to work with Consumer Cellular before I left. I have an AT&t version of their phone which doesn't work in Europe. So after consulting with them I switched in a T-Mobile SIM card. Unfortunately consumer seller doesn't use the T-Mobile network anymore in the US so my phone didn't work before I left. I needed my phone to make all my travel arrangements so I switched back to my original SIM card. This resulted in my phone not working for "up to 72 hours." Major inconvenience! Eventually they gave me a new SIM card so I could register for my flight and all the other things I needed to do. Which resulted in me landing in Germany without any kind of a phone plan.

Jetlagged and disoriented I set off riding in circles for a day, searching for wifi. On the second day I ended up buying a new SIM card and getting a German number with lots of data (good). Sadly I can't text using my US number- sorry all my friends back home- I have fallen off the face of the earth.

Probably should have done Google Fi before I left (G Fi SIM not available once you are in Europe).

Oh well! Thanks for the responses. Ciao!
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Old 05-07-22, 04:40 AM
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Hope this is a highjack of this thread!
We will be going to Denmark for 5+ weeks. Here we use Tracfone and I recently bought a new Motorola phone from them. Recently received a notice saying I could "unlock" this phone which I plan to do.
My question is how do I verify thst it is really unlocked?
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Old 05-08-22, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Antoine Zurfluh View Post
...
Jetlagged and disoriented I set off riding in circles for a day, searching for wifi. ...
If you live in USA and have a USA phone for normal use, I really think that signing up for Google Voice is a great backup plan for a trip to a foreign country.

I have planned on some trips to buy a sim card in a foreign country but it has been low enough on my priority list that I have not done so. Thus, my foreign trips have all been without a working phone plan. Then, my phone became a wifi only device.

With wifi and Google voice, I can make voice phone calls from anywhere in most countries where google functions without restrictions. I have called my credit card companies when my cards stopped working from Budapest and Reykjavik. Even within USA, where both my bike touring partner and I had non-functioning cell phones due to poor cell coverage, I could use my phone to make calls using a restaurant wifi to make lodging reservations or to cancel them.

If I had a data only sim card, I can make cell calls with google voice using the data plan. To check that this will work, I have made calls with my phone using data plan while my wifi was turned off.

The down side, is to receive a call, you phone has to be connected to the internet. So, I tell everyone that if they call me on that particular number that they should leave a message because I typically do not have my phone connected to the internet. I get an e-mail with a recording of their voice mail.

The other downside is that a lot of people assume that if you called them, that the number you called on is a good phone number to call you. I have told a lot of people to call me on a different phone number, but they forget what I told them and call my on my google number instead - but that is a problem without a solution. When I travel, I might not check e-mail for days, thus do not get their voice mail messages in a timely manner.

If you call a foreign country with Google Voice, there is a charge, you need to have some money in your account with Google to make sure that you can make calls if you plan to call to foreign countries. I wanted to make sure my phone and Google Voice were functioning when I arrived in Iceland, I asked the receptionist at the hostel if I could call her to check my phone, she said sure, so I called, she did not think it was me because it had my USA based google voice number on her caller ID, I confirmed that was my call, she answered and we had a short conversation. And later 10 cents was deducted from my account because I made a call to a foreign country.

It has worked well enough for me that getting a foreign sim card has become a low priority for me, even though every trip I plan to get one.

I use an android phone, I assume this works with an apple too but I can't say for sure. My Budapest call to my credit card company, that was when I still used a flip phone, that call was made on my small laptop (or windows based netbook).
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