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AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

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California
posts: 17
reviews: 4
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

I am traveling international for the frist time October 2nd and i just recently bought a Samsung which I am still getting familiar with. It's my understanding you can get these phones unlocked and buy a SIM card in Italy with minutes and data plans..is this a simple process? I have the TA app on my phone and I planned on using it for maps and tourism info and I kind of want to have my phone in case of emergencies back home in the states...does anyone know if this can be done on a Samsung? Also it seems like the SIM cards are best bought in Euros and not on a card, is this correct?? I hate to say it but this phone is practially my go to lifeline and I really want to be able to use it freely. Also I have a 2 hour layover in Paris, will my phone work there?

Scranton...
posts: 249
reviews: 24
1. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Sorry to say, but if you purchased it recently from AT&T, they probably will not unlock it for you. My S2 was a year old, and I still couldn't get them to provide me with an unlock code, and had to pay a third party to do the unlock. There are several operators on the internet providing unlock codes...it's a grey area as far as legality.

If you are able to get it unlocked, you can purchase a TIM SIM in Italy for a very reasonable price, and you can add on low cost data services. (500Mb per week at 6€... see tim.it/internet/…timxsmartphone-4g )

If you can't get it unlocked, you'll be stuck with AT&T International Calling, which is somewhat more expensive. More importantly, AT&T International Data service is ridiculously costly....you would go broke if you used it to any great extent.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,130
reviews: 22
2. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

If you think you might be doing more international traveling, you might want to buy a cheap unlocked GSM Android phone. You can find these new in the $100 range on Amazon or EBay. It won't have all the bells and whistles, and it may have a slightly older version of Android, but it will work with all the things you want to do. Then you can buy the TIM SIM card when you get to Italy. You could activate the AT&T international calling plan for your Galaxy, in case someone at home needs to get in touch with you, but, as MrZukini says, keep the data services turned off!

I use an even cheaper data plan for my Android phone; the TIM x Smartphone plan costs only 3 euros a week, and gives you 250 mb of data. It's always been sufficient for me, for checking email, mapping, and light-to-medium internet browsing. It probably wouldn't be enough for lots of videos or uploading lots of large photos.

I suggest you ask for the TIM International option when you get the SIM card. It's free to activate, and would allow you to call the US at reasonable rates (20 cents a minute plus a 16-cent connection charge) if you should need to call somebody back in an emergency.

If your stopover in Paris is after you leave Italy, you should activate another option, TIM in Viaggio Full, when you get the SIM card. This would allow you to make calls to the US or elsewhere in Europe for 16 cents a minute (plus a 16-cent connection charge) and if you use data services, it will charge you 3 euros for 25 mb per day. It charges you only on the days you actually use data services, so if you find a wifi connection at the airport, you won't pay the 3 euros. This option also is free to activate.

If your stopover is on the way to Italy, I would just try to find a wifi connection. If you want to make calls, use Skype on your phone. (Do get Skype and try it out before you leave home.)

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,130
reviews: 22
3. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

If yours is a new phone, I wouldn't pay for a third-party unlocking, as it will void your warranty. It won't hurt to try asking AT&T if you can unlock it temporarily for a trip.

Another thing you can do with Skype is get an online US phone number. I believe this costs $20 for three months. Then you can give that number to friends and relatives who might want to call you while you're in Italy. This will cost them the same as a normal call to that area code in the US; you get a choice of area codes. Then, when you get your Italian SIM card, you can log into Skype and set up call forwarding (let's say on the third ring) to your Italian phone. If you keep yourself logged into Skype on your phone, and answer the call before it's forwarded, these calls will cost you nothing. Otherwise, if they get forwarded, they'll cost 30 cents a minute, which is the normal Skype cost for a call from the US to an Italian cell phone.

I have this setup, and like the fact that I can be reached wherever in the world I am. My only problem has been teaching my elderly aunt and little granddaughter in the US that there's a 6-hour time difference...

California
posts: 17
reviews: 4
4. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Well I have the Skype app I guess I should start playing with it. Thanks guys, my dad has a funny habit of calling me throughout the day even when he knows I'm on trips and my mom likes me to call her anytime I land although I'm a very capable adult, guess it's just a motherly thing! :) If I can't unlock my phone I obviously can't replace the SIM, so I'm assuming I'll need a data package from AT&T to be able to access the app's services correct? I suppose I can have it added on to my plan and just use my husbands phone as our primary phone while there so we're both not eating up data sharing our adventures..

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,130
reviews: 22
5. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

The AT&T data plan is really ridiculously expensive. They charge $30 for 120mb, which is not a great amount. From TIM, I can get 300 mb for €3, which is about $4.

If you'll be using the AT&T international calling plan, you probably wouldn't want to use Skype for calls. AT&T charges $1 per minute for calls received in Europe if you get their $30 package. If you pay by the call, it's $1.50 per minute.

If you get the cheapest calling plan and the cheapest data plan, you'll already have paid $60. If you think you'll be traveling outside the US in the future, it would probably pay you to buy a cheap unlocked phone as I explained above.

You might also want to look into Google Voice. It's similar to Skype. I don't know much about it, because it's only available to US Google customers.

Scranton...
posts: 249
reviews: 24
6. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Natalie, unless you're able to unlock your phone & get a cheap data plan (or obtain a phone with a TIM SIM in some other manner), you would only want to use Skype when you have access to WiFi. Using it with AT&T data overseas is way too costly. That means it would be most useful for outbound calls, since you won't always be logged on for inbound calls.

Bvlenci, I don't believe Google Voice would be useful in this particular case. While you can make cheap international calls with it from the USA, it doesn't really provide for cost effective calls when you're traveling outside the USA. Essentially, you would need to call your own (US based) Google Voice number as a portal to make a call, so you would be paying AT&T's Italy to US rate for the duration of the call PLUS any Google Voice charges.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,130
reviews: 22
7. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Thanks, I wasn't sure how it would work.

California
posts: 17
reviews: 4
8. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Thanks guys. Maybe I should've kept my old iPhone from when I upgraded and just unlocked that one. Hmm I have plenty of time to still find an unlocked phone. Our I guess I will look into that TIM stuff see if I can get a go phone type thing, just really wish I couldve used my trusty TA app!

California
posts: 17
reviews: 4
9. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

Thanks guys. Maybe I should've kept my old iPhone from when I upgraded and just unlocked that one. Hmm I have plenty of time to still find an unlocked phone. Our I guess I will look into that TIM stuff see if I can get a go phone type thing, just really wish I couldve used my trusty TA app!

New York
posts: 1,812
reviews: 28
10. Re: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 in Italy

I just bought a phone at AT&T this past week. They will unlock the iphone after 2 years and the galaxy after 6 months. To get either of them unlocked sooner you need to have someone else do it. I was not told having it unlocked would void the warranty, but I guess I need to check that out myself to confirm either way because I bought the iphone and assumed I could get it unlocked.