Cellphone service when traveling to Europe/Africa.
April 29, 2010 12:21 PM   Subscribe

My friend will be traveling through Europe for a month and then Africa for another month, but needs help with getting a cell phone. . .

I know there have been several posts on this in the past for traveling to Europe, but I felt that the Africa element adds a twist that warrants a new question. Sorry if this bothers anyone :)

My friend will be staying in Florence, Italy for 1 month starting in June. She currently has a Blackberry Pearl from At&t (USA model 8100). If she has to get a phone she would really like to have it shipped to her in the US prior to leaving on the trip, though if it can be picked up at the airport (she is flying into Rome), that would be acceptable. It will mostly be used for calls to her friends cell phone, who is also in Italy, and maybe receiving calls from the US. The cheapest solution would be the most preferred option. I know she could go into a store and purchase a pre-paid, but she really wants to avoid having to do that.

Then in July, a different friend will be traveling to Africa... specifically Ghana (city ACCRA), and would love to have cell service. I know even less about cell service in Africa and if Ghana even provides for it, but I would really feel safer if she had something in case she needed to make an emergency call.

Thank you very much for all your help! If you need more information from me, please let me know.
posted by mephesta to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
Prepaid is the best option in each location, given the % of subscribers who use it. for eg, Italy is Europe's largest prepaid market with over 70% penetration. Also their more likely to sms each other than call, just fyi. Its not like it is in the US and far easier to get and use.

Also makes carrying a basic open phone like an entry level nokia easier especially for places like Ghana where by default your friend will find charging stations and parts should the need ever arise. They could even buy one there and leave it behind for under USD 20 used.
posted by infini at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2010

1. Buy an unlocked quadband phone, preferably Nokia.
2. Get an US number (or wherever she is from) here: www.voip.ms
3 Buy a prepaid SIM card in the country where she is staying.
4. Always forward the VOIP.MS number to your current SIM
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:36 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

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