Where can I buy a cheap unlocked 900/1800 GSM mobile phone in Manhattan?
April 24, 2009 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy a cheap unlocked GSM 900/1800 mobile phone (one that will work in Europe with prepaid SIM cards) in Manhattan? I'm looking to spend less than $50, if such a thing is possible.
posted by enoent to Shopping (12 answers total)
The cheapest I've found (but didn't buy) were at J&R. They had some for $49.
posted by Zambrano at 8:47 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks! I had seen those at J&R (from advice of an AskMeFi post a couple years ago) but was hoping there might be a cheaper option nowadays.
posted by enoent at 8:54 AM on April 24, 2009

I have purchased a couple from them for the same purpose. I've found Nokia and Samsung are the best. Motorola the worst.
posted by Zambrano at 9:03 AM on April 24, 2009

Do J&R really sell dual band phones that won't work in the US?
posted by smackfu at 9:08 AM on April 24, 2009

How soon do you need it? callineurope.com has a $29 phone (dual band, won't work in the US), and SIM cards to go with. They're in Greenwich CT (quick shipping), and also really close to the MTA station (but don't know if it's an office or store-front - they may not take callers).
posted by devbrain at 9:59 AM on April 24, 2009

Response by poster: J&R only sells phones that will work in the US, from what I can gather. I should have specified that I was looking for something that would at least operate on 900/1800 frequencies, so that it would work in Europe -- it's fine if it does more than this.
posted by enoent at 10:27 AM on April 24, 2009

Personally, I just bought an unlocked Nokia 1209 from Vodafone Australia for $50 (AU$69). I just walked into a Vodafone store and asked for the cheapest unlocked phone they had.

I know Australia isn't Europe, but the same would probably work for you and it was easier than buying one before my trip. They also gave me the SIM for free with my initial $20 recharge.
posted by smackfu at 10:35 AM on April 24, 2009

Just get one when you arrive. Even if you're flying to, say, Warsaw, and not London, you can ask at your hotel for an electronics shop where they'll sell phones (they will be everywhere) and a translation of what you want (or just go to the [for example] Nokia Europe site and scroll down to their cheapest phones.

The cheapest dual-band Nokia (the 1200 - calls, texts, alarm clock, good battery life, and that's kind of it...) I've seen here is about 100 zł, which today is a bit less than $30. That's in MediaMarkt, which is like Best Buy.

Where are you first landing? We'll be able to give you more local info that way.
posted by mdonley at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I always get these off ebay. You can get an old model for under 20$ and some pretty nice phones for under $50
posted by Salamandrous at 9:32 AM on April 25, 2009

Response by poster: We've just arrived in Berlin now, but also planning to travel to Amsterdam and Paris.
posted by enoent at 3:37 AM on April 27, 2009

The absolute cheapest new mobile phone that I've been able to find in Spain is an LG KP100 locked to Vodafone. It cost 19 euros which included a SIM card and a few euros of talk time.

I was able to get the phone unlocked at a local cell phone shop for another 20 euros, which took 3 days. That puts the total cost in US dollars at the time of this post at $58.
posted by srf21c at 10:25 AM on September 11, 2009

Also this is just for comparison's sake, but MASMovil now offers unlocked Samsung E1120 for 39 euros.


So far that is the cheapest unlocked new GSM phone that I've been able to find in Spain. You may get better prices in other countries as supposedly Spain has the highest mobile phone costs in Europe. I have a feeling that they're talking primarily about calling rates, but it may include handsets as well.
posted by srf21c at 5:16 AM on September 15, 2009

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