But, here are a few tips to make it easier:
1. Mobile Phones 101* = The standard mobile phone network in Europe (and most of the world) is called GSM. Within this network, different regions run on different bands. The U.S. uses 2 bands and most of Europe uses 2 different bands. A GSM U.S. phone that’s tri-band or quad-band operates on both US bands, plus one or both European bands (so it works in the U.S. and abroad). *source Rick Steves “Europe Through the Back Door”
2. If you have a tri-band or quad-band phone, you can contact your provider and ask about international data/voice plans. Most providers offer a temporary international solution. Also, check to see if you have corporate discounts. My international plan (unlimited data but roaming charges for phone calls) is less than $60/month with AT&T.
3. Global Cell Phone Rental for Verizon Customers: If you would like to take a cell phone abroad and you are a Verizon Customer, Verizon offers a rental service for global phones for travelers who will be out of the country for 21 days or less (Global Travel Program). Service costs vary. The global value plan is put into effect when the phone is activated, and the plan is pro-rated, so the user is only charged from the day the phone is activated until the day the phone is deactivated; thus, the user may end up paying less than the $4.99 for the month of the global value plan. It typically takes two business days to receive the phone via FedEx (signature required) delivery and users can activate the phone by calling Verizon or by going to a local Verizon store. Additionally, the Verizon customer can keep his or her current phone number. To arrange for a phone rental, Verizon customers should call Verizon Customer Service and ask to speak to the Global Services department about Global phone rental. If you aren’t sure whether to rent a phone or add service to your smart phone, Verizon has a pretty comprehensive page on their Global Services with a Trip Planner to help you decide on the type of service you will need based upon travel type (cruise vs. land) and country.
i. How to keep data charges predictable when traveling abroad
ii. World Packages
i. International Roaming