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Need advice on world wide cell phone usage


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My wife and I plan on traveling to several countries in Europe this year and we need ma smart phone that can be used every where..

We will be going to San Diego this week  and will buy a smart phone at Best Buy. We wanted to ,buy the phone in the U. S. so we could communicate with the employee and get all of our questions answered since we are very smart phone stupid.

We plan on buying a factory unlocked phone so we are not tied to one  service provider and will buy sim cards in each country. However, we will also want to be able to use the phone here in Ajijic. So, my questions are: can we just add pesos to this phone at telcel like we do with our telcel phone now ? Also, do you have any knowledge about who is the best world wide service provider ? I have heard that TMobile is good for internationalusage in 100 countries.

Any advice on this subject will be very much appreciated as we know virtually nothing about smart phones !

Thanks

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I just switched to t-mobile $100 dollars per month 2 phones unlimited data talk text. Can be used in Mexico. I travel to chapala 2 times a year that's why I switched. 

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57 minutes ago, tomgates said:

I think you need a GSM phone so buy an unlocked phone that is AT&T compatible. 

Tom is right on. Get a GSM phone. You probably only need one SIM for most of Europe but if you Google something like cheap phone plans for visitors to Europe you should get all the info you need. Your GSM phone will work on Telcel when you are in Mexico.

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Not sure what your needs as far as talk time, data volume, text messages, etc. but here is what I am doing to have one phone that I can use seamlessly in the U.S. and Mexico as well as the ability to visit other countries.

I bought this phone on Amazon that allows you to have two SIM cards active at the same time -

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D1J9RI2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It isn't cheap but it is a great phone and works perfectly for my purposes. I have the T-Mobile account that others have mentioned that allows unlimited talk & data in around 100 countries. So my "primary" number is an unlimited U.S. number that I can use pretty much anywhere. For the second SIM I went to Telcel here in Ajijic and got a new card for my Mexican account - the Telcel Amigo plan which is pay as you go.

As I mentioned both SIMS are active and both can make and receive calls at all times.

My wife has just the T-Mobile plan on her phone and can use it in the U.S. and Mexico (and Europe) with no additional per minute charges or roaming fees. The only issue - and it is pretty minor - is that if someone calls her from a Mexican phone they are making an international call.

Sounds like any GSM phone can handle the T-Mobile plan and an unlocked phone would let you switch SIM cards if you ever wanted to. And an unlocked dual SIM phone like mine gives a little more flexibility. Just depends on your needs and how much it makes sense for you to spend for your situation.

Post any questions here or PM me.

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When I have the TelCel sim card in, the phone hooks up to TelCel with my TelCel phone number. When I put the T-Mobile sim in, it hooks up to Moviestar here and obviously T-Mobile in the US with my US phone number. 

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By whatever signal the phone is receiving. You can have 2 Telcel Sims and thus 2 separate numbers or a US and a Mexico SIM. You can also set which SIM to use for outgoing calls.

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11 hours ago, Mainecoons said:

How do these phones know which sim to use in a given situation?

 

 

The Dual SIM phone lets you tell it which sim is primary 1 or 2. for making calls. You also specify which sim for data or both for data. You may need a phone with dual standby. The Dual standby lets you make calls on your cheaper plan but receive on both or whichever number the call comes in on. We have the Mexico ATT as primary SIM but I have to have a US tel as well so we have T-Mobile as well. Most dual sim phones are not generally sold in the USA so Ebay is the best answer. The GSM bands for ATT and T-mobile are 700, 1900, 2100. You will find in Europe T-mobile is the cheaper roaming. T-Mobile was owned by Duetsch TelCom and it's EU agreements give T-Mobile good roam rated. Text messages there are very inexpensive. 

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13 hours ago, REC said:

Not sure what your needs as far as talk time, data volume, text messages, etc. but here is what I am doing to have one phone that I can use seamlessly in the U.S. and Mexico as well as the ability to visit other countries.

I bought this phone on Amazon that allows you to have two SIM cards active at the same time -

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D1J9RI2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It isn't cheap but it is a great phone and works perfectly for my purposes. I have the T-Mobile account that others have mentioned that allows unlimited talk & data in around 100 countries. So my "primary" number is an unlimited U.S. number that I can use pretty much anywhere. For the second SIM I went to Telcel here in Ajijic and got a new card for my Mexican account - the Telcel Amigo plan which is pay as you go.

As I mentioned both SIMS are active and both can make and receive calls at all times.

My wife has just the T-Mobile plan on her phone and can use it in the U.S. and Mexico (and Europe) with no additional per minute charges or roaming fees. The only issue - and it is pretty minor - is that if someone calls her from a Mexican phone they are making an international call.

Sounds like any GSM phone can handle the T-Mobile plan and an unlocked phone would let you switch SIM cards if you ever wanted to. And an unlocked dual SIM phone like mine gives a little more flexibility. Just depends on your needs and how much it makes sense for you to spend for your situation.

Post any questions here or PM me.

I have a Mexico ATT (MovieStar) account and a USA T-mobile account.  The real problem is that a SIM card is one phone number. The perfect situation would be for ATT to port a USA DID to my Mexico phone number. In other words make a USA phone number to enter their system and send it to my Mexican ATT telephone SIM or number. I tried Google Voice thinking I could forward a USA tel number to my Mexico phone but they won't do an international forward. I think lots of these problems will dissappear in a few years.

*DID is a phone number stands for direct inward dialing.

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I switched our VOIP service to OOMA a few months ago. Perfect for us and all we pay are the local taxes on our Houston number, less than $5/mo. Even on that plan we can both have their app on our phones and make unlimited calls to the US. If I wanted to be able to receive calls on our cells I would have to go to their upper plan attached an extra $20. But the app has the voicemail on it so I can just return any call I miss.

Great call quality, excellent support and did I mention cheap?

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18 hours ago, twelveoaks said:

My wife and I plan on traveling to several countries in Europe this year and we need ma smart phone that can be used every where..

We will be going to San Diego this week  and will buy a smart phone at Best Buy. We wanted to ,buy the phone in the U. S. so we could communicate with the employee and get all of our questions answered since we are very smart phone stupid.

We plan on buying a factory unlocked phone so we are not tied to one  service provider and will buy sim cards in each country. However, we will also want to be able to use the phone here in Ajijic. So, my questions are: can we just add pesos to this phone at telcel like we do with our telcel phone now ? Also, do you have any knowledge about who is the best world wide service provider ? I have heard that TMobile is good for internationalusage in 100 countries.

Any advice on this subject will be very much appreciated as we know virtually nothing about smart phones !

Thanks

An unlocked GSM phone is required, NOT CDMA. You have the choice of purchasing individual SIM cards for each country you visit and purchase time as required, or:

International SIM Card Comparison: Which One Should You Pick?

https://toomanyadapters.com/international-sim-card-comparison/?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C3478818254

You could also choose to use WHATSAPP at free WiFi locations and call people in this fashion.

Have a great trip!

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$100 US per month?  My Telcel is $199 Pesos, unlimited calls to/within Mexico, USA, and Canada.

For the OP:  Just about any phone will do what you want.  Just be sure you know how to open it to change the SIM card,  BTW,  all of Europe and most of Asia is GSM but you'll need a tri-band phone.

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I apologize if this is a stupid question, but I want to be clear about this (REC's) dual-sim, simultaneously active phone setup. Would one be able to receive a call on the US sim here in MX from the US as a local call to the US caller at any time, and vice versa for the MX sim when in the US?

In other words, would I be connected locally (at least as far as the caller was concerned) from either country at all times?

Thanks.

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Econ Man - That is correct - both SIM cards are active all the time and both can send and receive calls at all times. You generally set one of the cards for "data" and for me that is my U.S./T-Mobile plan even when I am in Mexico.

To add another layer to this I have a Vonage line with a U.S. number in my home in Ajijic. With Vonage you can set a feature to forward calls to another number if you don't answer the Vonage line - and that can be a cell phone. Vonage also has a feature called "simulring" - when a call comes in on the Vonage line it also rings simultaneously on the other phone you have set up. That is what I do.

So for U.S. callers they can directly dial my U.S. cell number. OR they can dial my U.S. Vonage number and I can answer the call on my Vonage line or my U.S. cell phone number.

For callers in Mexico they can directly call my Mexican cell number.

Definitely not the cheapest way to go but my set up completely meets my needs. Everything is completely seamless, I don't have to remember to change anything in Vonage, I don't have to switch SIM cards, etc. Everything is completely seamless everywhere I have been. There are definitely cheaper ways to be connected but this configuration works for me. I still have a consulting business and a few employees in the U.S. so this lets me spend more time here and to travel pretty much anywhere I want to go without any "gaps".

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Reread this post, good info BTW, and am thinking of getting a smart phone when I return to the US. I will stay with Verizon as I have have never had a problem with them, and worked there many years ago for a short time. I am going to use an APP called Hotspot, or something similar, to be able to connect my computer to the internet as I travel in my RV. I really have a difficult time trying to read email etc on the smaller phone screens. Will I be able to use this APP in Mexico to connect to the internet? I used to buy a Telcel USB drive for internet service but last year I finally got a Telmex line which has been wonderful. They built a cell phone tower one lot from me which gives me high speed internet connection. The phone service has been a bit more iffy. I'm going to end the Telmex service when I leave as it is cheaper to have new service installed instead of paying in advance for service I am not using. Did that last year, paid for 5 months but didn't return for 6 months. This year I will be gone for 7-8 months or longer. That would be $3200 minimum, a new install is only $1300. But, I was told I probably won't be able to get internet service again as there is a waiting list. I'll run all this by a Verizon store rep when I decide to do it but sometimes they don't know everything but let you think they do. Thanks, Ron

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