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  1.    #1  
    I would appreciate any advice from experienced travellers, especially my European friends, regarding travelling to/in Europe with my Treo. Specifically, in September I will be visiting Spain, Italy and Greece. My local carrier (Cingular) will of course be willing to activate international roaming, and then charge me $4.00-$5.00 per minute to call back to the US. I understand that I might be able to get a new SIM card in Europe which would be some kind of prepaid card which would allow me to use the phone and call back to the US at a far better rate. Is this true? Can anyone steer me to the right GSM carrier in Europe? Will this SIM work in multiple EU countries at the same favorable rate? Would I just be better off buying phone cards in Europe and using public phones? I will likely NOT be calling within the EU, just from these countries back to the US.
    Thanks in advance for any useful info.
  2. #2  
    Since Treo's come Unlocked (as far as I know) you should have no problem going to your local tobacco shop or cell phone shop in Europe and buying a PrePaid SIM. This is WAY cheaper then international Roaming with Cingular. (I have VS and I only pay ~75 cents per min for calls back to the US I'm grandfathered into an old plan).

    Anyway, an even CHEAPER way to go would be to buy a pre paid phone card in each of the countries you visit. I went to the Philippines, Italy, France, Spain, and the UK and pre-paid phone cards were the best and by far cheapest option possible. At usually 6-10cents / min you can't beat it! Only problem is you can't get text messages on a pay phone

    Actually, the Philippines was the only country where I bought a PrePaid SIM - because it was really really really cheap and I needed to Text. For every other country I only brought my cell around for emergencies, but it was PrePaid Pay Phone Cards all the way.
  3. sck18's Avatar
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    #3  
    Hmm...
    How do they (read: Voicestream) bill SMS messages in Europe. Specifically, I'm planning a trip to England - I suppose I'd have to turn on Int'l roaming, but they can't bill me per minute if I'm only using SMS (excuse me - PING PONG) messages....
    Unless they hit me with int'l roaming on each SMS, do you think I could use my regular bucket of 500 texts?

    --Steve
  4. #4  
    Hi Steve,

    When roaming internationally, it's a whole different ballgame. When I was in the Philippines, I was charged $0.21 per text. In Italy and Spain, I believe it was $0.17 per text. It really varies on which network you decide to roam on, since they have different fees.

    You will not be able to utilize your 500 ping pong messages since you're roaming on someone else's network, not voicestreams.

    Unfortunately, the Voicestream CSR's don't have a clue about international roaming and thus don't know how much it will cost per text message in a certain country... I basically just held my breath when I opened my billing statement when I returned home

    For more information on this you can go to the alt.cellular.gsm.carriers.voicestream newsgroup.

    Take care
  5. #5  
    I just traveled to the UK and Sweden for a business trip with my Treo on international roam via T-Mobile (aka VoiceStream). I could send and receive mobile to mobile and mobile to email address sms messages. However, I was charged $0.17 to .22 per outgoing/incoming text message. I was also charged .99 for each minute plus $0.26 to .29 for each air minute on the phone. I used the phone very sparily, just a few minutes and mostly did text messaging... for a week's trip it was just $9 additional charges. One thing to watch out for is that purchasing/using SIMS in Europe often do not allow you to send an sms to an email address nor do they give your sim an email address... which is sucky... my company constantly send sms messages via email (from those without a treo or similar device or those that simply use two-way pagers (which are email based devices).) Hope this helps.
  6. sck18's Avatar
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    #6  
    This is really ridiculous. Yes, thank you - your comments "help" a lot, though I'm not really getting the desired outcome :-)

    You would think that one of the 3 VS reps I've called would know something about roaming on their PARENT company over in Europe....

    Is there any reliable way to know ahead of time what the actual cost will be?
  7. #7  
    I am in full agreement. The Rep that I talked to before leaving on my trip was very helpful and told me the exact .26 or .29 charges for the countries I visited. However, He DID NOT TELL me that I'd be charged for each text message.

    You should be able to get the charges from the REP. We have a corporate account with Voicestream (now), and the sales guys do not know *jack* about T-Mobile (VoiceStream parent company) in Europe. It was like I was talking gibberish to them... I knew more than they did...good luck on finding your charges.

    Hey... what headset do you recommend for the Treo?
  8. #8  
    I'm headed to Spain in March 2003 and will not simply use my Treo
    I'd Rather be Diving.......(with my PDA of course)

    Check out my forum @ http://groups.msn.com/PDAPocketPCForum
  9. sck18's Avatar
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    #9  
    See, but I really *want* my treo to work and not be prohibitively expensive :-) That way I already have a calendar / list of phone numbers, vindigo / metro / avantgo, etc, etc....

    AND a phone.....

    I actually use the included headset, which I like a lot due to its compact size. Since I carry the treo around in my pocket, and I want to carry the headset with me, it can't be anything ostentatious or have a large boom mike or anything like that. I find the included one is pretty good and always works, as opposed to one that was supposed to work with nokia 8xxx class phones, which was a complete bust for me.
  10. #10  
    Where is Nigel when you need him?

    Can't you buy a pre-paid sim while you are there? Then again, that would be another number to give out.
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by Felipe
    Where is Nigel when you need him?
    Did you have any particular Nigel in mind, or will I do?

    If the original questioner wants to buy a prepaid/pay as you go SIM card, it's best to get one for each country, since unlike contract SIMs, pre pays are often very limited in terms of which countries and partner networks you can use them on - often it will only be on the networks owned by the same GSM operator.

    Of course, if you do this, you'll have a ton of different numbers to give people. There used to be an operator called MINT which had a flat rate whatever country you were in, whichever network you connected to, but it didn't take off and I'm pretty sure it's not running any more - call charges were cheap if you happened to be roaming in weird places like the US or Uzbekistan, but a bit much for most europeans.

    If you do want to find a local operator, you should take a look at www.gsmworld.com to find ones in the countries you're visiting; with a US Treo, you'll be restricted to using those that have 900MHz networks. Check out their web sites to see about prepay SIMs.

    Alternatively, just check very carefully with your own operator and find out what roaming charges are.

    Some operators now have flat rate roaming options - for example, if I take my Orange phone anywhere in Europe, whatever network I connect to, I'll pay the same to make or receive calls.

    However even with this, there is often a difference on roaming SMS charges; you'll typically be charged your standard SMS charge by your operator, plus a fee by the network on which you're roaming. However, I'm not aware of any european network that will charge you to receive incoming SMS messages.

    Nigel.
  12. #12  
    You are the man Nigel.
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by nwhitfield


    However even with this, there is often a difference on roaming SMS charges; you'll typically be charged your standard SMS charge by your operator, plus a fee by the network on which you're roaming. However, I'm not aware of any european network that will charge you to receive incoming SMS messages.

    Nigel.
    So true! I was not charged for any incoming SMS messages while in the UK, France, Swiss, Italy. In the UK and Italy, my outgoing were covered under my Ping-Pong while the others where $.17 each 160 char.

    Flat rate voice everywhere was only $.99 minute.

    In Ireland I bought a prepaid Eircom sim and it had a number and I could setup SMS via their website, which I did at an Internet cafe easily.

    In all, my bill was $64.00 for 2 1/2 weeks vs. $480 when I rented a phone on a previous similar trip. I'd say that is an improvment.
  14. #14  
    (Sorry for long post, but I hope it's clear and helps you out)

    I just wanted to chime in with my recent experience.

    I took my Treo 180 on my UK/France trip last month and I just got my T-Mobile bill for the trip. I activated International roaming before I went (btw, as some others have posted, GSM in Europe is pretty much 4 bars all the way... must be nice

    My understanding was, I would be charged .99/min for voice calls and that any SMS text messaging would be deducted from my 500 limit (w/ Ping Pong plan).

    I made a few voice calls, but I mainly used it for SMS text messaging. When I got my bill the other day I noticed that every time I SENT a SMS message I was being billed by the local European carrier (it varied by carrier, but anywhere from .18 cents to .23 cents). I was not being charged for INCOMING messages. And these messages were coming under my 'calls' section of the bill and not under the SMS charges.

    I called T-mobile and wanted to get clarification on these charges. After the CS rep talked to her supervisor, she came back and explained that since I was roaming internationally I was being charged by the local carrier for these 'calls' to the SMS Center number in the US. She also explained (which was verified on the bill) that each carrier charges a different rate. I basically had 3 issues with this explanation:

    1. These weren't 'calls', but SMS text messages and should not be charged under my 'calls' area. They should charged to my SMS limit.
    2. Before I left, I read Voicestream's website on international travel and there was no mention of these SMS charges when traveling. Only that I would be charged for voice calls and their corresponding rates.
    3. How do I verify or know that these charges are legitimate. If this is the policy, there should be someplace where I can see what the charges should be. How do I know that I shouldn't be charged .05 per message?

    After I explained this and requested that she produce some literature on this 'policy', she again put me on hold for a few minutes. She then got on and explained that I was correct and that her prior explanation was incorrect. So, she moved all those SMS messages in my 'call' area to my SMS bucket. She then gave me credit for those charges from the European carriers. She also mentioned that they will be putting this policy on their website for future clarification.

    Whew... hope I was clear, but the bottom line is that when traveling abroad with T-Mobile, any SMS messages should be charged to your SMS limit and you should not get charged per outgoing message.
  15. wjs
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    #15  
    I hope someone can offer some suggestions for getting a SIM to use in the UK during a brief visit.

    I've looked at most all the various sites offering country-specific prepaid sims, and what I see is that there are four carriers in the UK to chose from.

    Orange and T-Mobile sims only support 1800 MHz, and so they cannot be used with a Treo (900, 1900 only).

    O2 and Vodafone support 900, but they only seem to offer long-term prepaid sims that include monthly billing.

    What else is there?
    Bill Spencer
  16.    #16  
    I thought I’d give a comprehensive report on my travels with Treo in Europe as a roving US Treo 180 owner, subsequent to my initial queries here.

    Equipment:
    You need to be sure that whatever carrier you choose to use in Europe provides 900 MHz service. Remember that US Treos ship as 900/1900 MHz units, while the rest of the world uses 900/1800 MHz, so if you roam using a US Treo you are dependent on the 900 MHz band alone. Thus, if you buy a prepaid SIM card from a carrier that only has 1800 MHz service, you’re out of luck. I got Handspring to send me a spare SIM door for my Treo, to save pulling the card in and out every time I wanted to switch locally (see below re Roaming). I used a USB charge-HotSync cable (bought from Moonlight/Midnight Tech) and charged/synched through my TiPB G4 laptop. This saved me from carrying along the regular Treo charger (which would have been fine in any event). I am glad I had my laptop along, since I had to do a hard reset and reinstall/sync my data on my Treo to try and fix the speaker (see below).

    As far as locked Treos, I cannot answer for everyone, but Cingular assured me that my Treo was not locked, and indeed it was not.

    Roaming:
    I went ahead and activated international roaming with Cingular (my carrier here in California), not because I intended to pay their US $4-5 per minute rates for calls (inbound and outbound). I did however want the security of having someone back home be able to call and reach me on my ‘home’ number, and also the security of making an outgoing roaming call if my local SIM didn’t work. This is however not a perfect exercise, as Cingular does not have a roaming agreement in every country and with every carrier (e.g. I could not roam/make calls in Tunis, Tunisia). However in both Spain and Italy, if I in fact arrived and was roaming on my Cingular SIM, often as not I would get a very nice SMS message, usually in the local language, but occasionally in English, welcoming me to the local network, and inviting me to make roaming calls.

    Prepaid SIM cards:
    I went to Telestial (www.telestial.com), and bought prepaid SIMs for Spain (Vodaphone Airtel) and Italy (TIM). There is lots of information on their site about rates, plans, coverage, recharge methods, and frequencies. I did not however read the fine print very carefully with respect to what you pay and what you get. Be aware that you will pay US $60-80 for a SIM card, which has only about US $20 of call time (thus you pay a fee for the package and phone number, and for profit to Telestial). I suppose I could have waited until I got to the various countries in question, found an appropriate shop, and bought my SIM cards there, but I wanted the convenience and security. The SIM expires about 9-12 months after it is last used. However overall, the US $ 0.40-0.80 per minute rates for outgoing calls, and the ‘free’ incoming cell calls make them a great deal. The prepaid SIM packages come with all of the local brochures, pocket cards and the like, plus the SIM cards and the PIN numbers (all in the local language). Telestial also sends a letter (in English) explaining how to activate the cards and how to recharge (more below). Some SIM cards just activate the first time you make a call, and some require you to call a particular number and enter your PIN to activate them.

    Service:
    I always had 3-4 bars of signal no matter where I was (well, OK, when the cruise ship was miles offshore, I did lose service). Call quality was always excellent. I was kept informed (usually by voice messages, sometimes by SMS) when my SIM card was running low. The free customer service lines were uniformly helpful, and with some coaxing I could usually get an English speaking operator/service representative on the line to help me when I couldn’t figure out how to do something.

    SMS:
    I essentially never used SMS, so I can’t tell you whether it works internationally and between carriers. It is my understanding that you need to have international roaming activated to use SMS from Cingular to a phone/Treo outside the US. Remember that you will need to use the plus (+) symbol in most cases to get the proper number for an SMS call (similar to international voice dialing-see below).

    Technical problems:
    Interestingly, when I got to Spain, I could not get my Treo 180 to work initially with my Airtel SIM (I couldn’t make an outgoing call and if I dialed a call I would get a double beep). It seems that the local network did not like some Caller ID Blocking settings or Call Waiting settings, and I had to experiment a bit to get the right settings. Also, interestingly, my speaker went out when I went to install my first prepaid SIM in Italy (seems like an odd coincidence given the reports of Treo speaker failures, and I wonder if there was a software/firmware problem that killed my speaker rather than a hardware problem). I did a full reset (soft then hard), and could never get the speaker to work. Thankfully I brought a headset along, and this worked fine. FWIW, I called Handspring customer service on a Wednesday from Italy, and after a 10 minute call, got the tech to ship out a replacement unit to my home under warranty (advance shipment, then return old unit) which was waiting for me upon my return a few days later [I personally have never had anything but the best experience with Handspring customer support]. I did not have any problem with the radio when switching back and forth between SIM cards and carriers/service (as has been reported by others who needed to do a Radio Reset).

    Calling details:
    The only thing to remember is to enter a plus sign (+) in front of numbers you are calling (necessary for out of area calls) to get international calls through (no fooling with 01 or 011 or 001). I went ahead and fixed up a number of speed dials and phone book entries with plus signs to save myself any trouble. Works like a charm.

    Recharging SIM cards:
    We Americans need to take a lesson from our international colleagues on how to run wireless service, with one universal technology standard and lots of coverage, to the way SMS is used, and especially to account management and recharging of account credit. When I needed to add airtime, I had several options. In some countries and with some systems, one could theoretically go to a Bancomat/ATM and transfer funds to your SIM account. However this seemed to require a local bank card/charge card and did not work for me with my US accounts [though I could withdraw cash using my US bank/ATM card]. One could also theoretically use one’s Treo and call a service number and then enter a charge card number and get added airtime. The simplest for me was to go to the local convenience store/tobacco shop or the like. In Spain, they have a kind of credit card terminal that presumably is connected to the Vodaphone/Airtel system. You pay them a flat amount of Euros and the machine prints out a small receipt with a 16-digit number. You then make a call by entering a 3 or 4 digit code with either * or # delimiters, followed by the number you are provided. Place the call, the data is accepted, and almost immediately an SMS arrives telling you your new account balance. In Italy, you buy a recharge card (again, sold in useful increments) and scratch off the spot on the card where the code is printed. You can either make a call and go through a menu to enter the code, or you can compose an SMS message with a short text code followed by the recharge code. You send this SMS to a specific 4 digit number. Your account is credited, and you get an immediate SMS back with the new balance.

    Summary
    The Treo for me was a great world phone. It is too bad that the US does not have it together as does the rest of the world with respect to GSM service, carriers, coverage, account management and the like (I envy my international Treo colleagues). The prepaid SIMs worked well for me. You might find a better value, or choose to buy a true international SIM (though the US $1.00 per minute rates weren’t appealing to me).

    Hope this helps someone in his or her travels.
  17. geny's Avatar
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    #17  
    Very interesting questions and answers.

    I read this long tread and it answered some of my questions but not all.

    Would'nt it be nice to have a triple band Treo, just like the cellular phone Ericsson T39m?

    The main point to my reply here is that I intend to buy a Treo but do not know from which country to buy it from.

    I intend to use the Treo in Australia for the coming two years as I am working here.

    I am a canadian citizen and I am planning to travel outside australia soon, going back to Canada (thus using the Treo there) and other countries for a two months trip.

    The Treo seems to be the best option to buy for me but I wonder if I should order the Treo from Canada , EU or here in Australia. Would that change anything as the phones are (supposedly, according to the replies above) unlocked?

    I own an Ericsson T39m triple band phone and was going to use it while travelling but I want to add the convenience of an organiser to my phone by buying a Treo.

    Can someone tell me if a triple band Treo is coming out soon or if this feature is not necessary to have phone connections around the world?

    Wouldn't that make our travels simpler? Wouldn't that make the prices of our SMS and calls cheaper if it goes through a GSM 900/1800/1900 network just like my actual phone?

    I think the actual Treo 300 does not support GPRS, does it?

    Well, can someone answer each or my questions? Thank you
    Geneviève Gilbert
    Chief Executive Officer
    Kastor Fakto interactive
    www.kastorfakto.com
  18. #18  
    Would'nt it be nice to have a triple band Treo, just like the cellular phone Ericsson T39m?.....
    Can someone tell me if a triple band Treo is coming out soon or if this feature is not necessary to have phone connections around the world?
    I guess it would make it easier. I haven't heard of any plans and don't know if it was a limitation when they designed it or what. But, I think it works fine as a 'world-phone' now.

    I am a canadian citizen and I am planning to travel outside australia soon, going back to Canada (thus using the Treo there) and other countries for a two months trip.
    Hmmmm.. if your planning on using it in Canada, I think your only choice is to get a North American model because it seems that Canadian carriers are only 1900 and if you get an 'International' one, it won't work (900/1800 only). Can someone else verify that?

    Wouldn't that make our travels simpler? Wouldn't that make the prices of our SMS and calls cheaper if it goes through a GSM 900/1800/1900 network just like my actual phone?
    Not sure if having a tri-band phone would reduce the cost of SMS messaging. I would think that once it reaches your carrier, it all depends on their pricing structure and infrastructure to send and price the SMS message. But, I could be wrong

    I think the actual Treo 300 does not support GPRS, does it?
    Now I'm really confused.....Are you thinking about getting a Treo 300? I was assuming from your prior questions you were looking for a 180 or 270 (which are 900/1800 or 900/1900). The 300 works on Sprint PCS network, which is another technology and network altogether. I'm not sure on how it works as a world-phone (my only experience is with a 180). So, as far as supporting GPRS, it wouldn't, because it has it's own 'always on' technology. If you are really interested in getting a 300, I would review the posts in that forum board.

    On a side note, how do you like Melbourne? I've spent sometime there and love the city (no, I didn't have my Treo then ). Guess it's close to summer time down there. Have you gotten down to St. Kilda beach?

    ** Wishin I was in Melbourne **
  19. Q
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    #19  
    The Treo 300 is not a world phone, as most countries do not have CDMA networks.
  20. geny's Avatar
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    #20  
    Long delay to reply to Robertruelan. I was out shopping for the best Tréo!

    Geny lives in St-Kilda, Melbourne, right in front of the beach and is now very close to buy the Treo 270. I haven't seen snow for 2 years, great!

    Those dual-bands 900/1800MHz models can be used in Europe and Asia Pacific only, as there are a lot of restriction on what to sell here in australia (australia is in asia pacific). For exemple, they can't sell a 900/1900 MHz Treo 270 world phone here. A sales person from an organiser shop told me that (Calculator King& organiser King, Park St, Melbourne).

    My desire was to buy a world phone-organiser to use it in Canada while I travel but to use it for work here in australia. It seems that it will be impossible for the moment!

    As to reply to Robertruelan, I LOVE LIVING IN MELBOURNE. It is a little california without the crowd. I must admit, too, without the technology effervescence and the hard-working mates: australians get things done like anyone else, but not at the price of a burn out. 4 millions in Melbourne and still, people smile at you more than any other world cities I have visited. The sun is out now, 32, 33, first days of comfortable surf and sunburns.

    So the Treo is Très très haut in my opinion now. I want to buy it but it is still quite expensive: $1500 AUS ($845 USD). Should I wait for a model to get out in the market that I will be able to use in Canada?

    You know what would be paradise? Having a Tréo that takes pictures and can be used as an MP3 player, too...

    Maybe I should design it. If anyone wants to collaborate with me for that or to offer me a job developing it, send me a line.

    geny@kastorfakto.com
    Geneviève Gilbert
    Chief Executive Officer
    Kastor Fakto interactive
    www.kastorfakto.com
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