Cell Phone for Overseas Ops

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by cadetmom100, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    Does anyone have experience with the best way to handle a cadet's cell phone while overseas on Ops assignments? My son is headed to Italy, and I am pretty sure that even if calls to home are limited, he is not planning to be out of touch with the GF for the three weeks! My carrier has a "decent" international plan that we can add for the month he is gone, but of course it requries an "upgraded" phone so am wonderinging what others have done, recommend, do not recommend etc. Thanks in advance for the help
     
  2. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    You may want to rent a phone...try internationalcellular.com or cellularabroad.com.
     
  3. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    What a great idea! Thanks for the recommendation! I gave a these sights a quick look, and am sure that I can find something that will work.
     
  4. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    overseas cell phone

    Your other option is to buy a sim card in Italy and install it in his phone. This will give him an Italian phone number and call plan which may or may not be cheaper......you'd have to check.

    If he is going to use his own phone, make sure it is a quad-band GSM phone or it won't work in Europe. CDMA phones common in the US won't work in Europe.
     
  5. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    Completely off topic, but does the academy send him overthere during summer vacation?
     
  6. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    cellphone usage

    And IF he has an Iphone or other smartphone, make sure the data is turned off, or purchase a data plan. There are lots of cases of kids running up hundreds of dollars in data bills without realizing it, (texting pictures, downloading maps, facebook, etc...)
     
  7. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    Generally speaking, ops does not replace summer leave - so no, you'll still have your summer vacation, so to speak.
     
  8. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    Going to sound stupid here ... what do you mean on the iPhone to turn off data or buy a data plan? My cadet has a data plan on her iPhone at USAFA. She's doing an exchange semester next fall & I'm thinking about her phone use while overseas for that semester. Are you saying it will be different/cost more/not work at all? I checked the rates & know how the phone calls themselves are going to work but you caught me off guard with the data comment. I assumed the data would be the same as here & that she'd still have email etc on her phone ... sounds like I have to figure that part out next!
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Cough Cough..... Mike's opinion. Tell your son/daughter (cadet) to go to europe for 3 weeks and enjoy themselves. Tell them to FORGET about home. When they get to their base, tell them to email you when they get a chance to let you know they made it in one piece. Tell them to forget about family, girl friends, boy friends, the academy, etc... I have no intention of turning on an international plan for my son when he goes to England this summer. I want him to enjoy himself. That means forgetting about back here.

    But hey, that's my opinion. I spent 21 years living/working in 14 different countries. Part of military life is to LET THEM GO ON THEIR OWN. But that's just me. Mike....
     
  10. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    Well, she's actually going as an exchange cadet for the whole semester - not just 3 weeks. She's done several Olmsteads & never called home from them - 3 weeks is not the issue. However, being there for the semester & going to the host country's military college as a student & living in their dorms, she'll need a phone to communicate with her new acquaintances in the country (as well as maybe home - though email will likely suffice for that). On a prior language immersion program she purchased a "cheap" phone with pre-paid minutes which worked great for communicating with other cadets in the program (they were housed in different "host" families so coordinating meet up times/places etc really benefited from the phones).

    For the full semester the pre-paid option turns out to be more expensive than the other options with the iPhone. My question is really the data issue since the prior poster commented on it - it lead me to wonder about data costs & if texts and emails will be something to be concerned about. I'm sure she's probably already thought of that part as well, I was just wondering.
     
  11. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    What the previous poster has described by inserting the SIM card of another carrier in a smartphone will only work if you have the phone unlocked (enabling it to be not carrier-specific), and in the case of the iPhone, it is called jailbreaking. If your iPhone has already been jailbroken, then great - your new European SIM will work, and there's an option on the iPhone to turn off any data usage, so you'll avoid data charges. With data turned off, you will not be able to access the web or any other feature that involves the little circle on the upper left of the iPhone to spin. But there are a some exceptions with a few apps that allow data transfer for the particular app without incurring charges.

    However, if your iPhone is has not been jailbroken, I wouldn't recommend it. It violates the contracts you have signed with AT&T as well as Apple. Therefore, if caught, not only will AT&T cancel your contract and fine you but your warranty with Apple expires as well.
     
  12. Suecam

    Suecam New Member

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    I have experience! I used a rental phone, with a local line, it was not for Italy, I went to the UK, but the company I rented for have for Europe, it´s called http://www.phonerentalusa.com/index.php, try it!:shake:
     
  13. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    Iphone data

    First of all, I did place the post before I knew we were discussing an Iphone, and I personally don't recommend "jailbreaking" the phone to unlock the phone for a sim card..that voids all sorts of things! It is fairly easy to do if you own a non-iphone however (and that might end up being a good option.....buy a non-smart phone on ebay and leave the iphone at home).

    Concerning data, in the US, AT&T requires that you sign up for both a phone plan and an unlimited data plan if you are using the Iphone. The phone plans vary in price, but the unlimited data plan is about $30 per month.

    If you roam in Europe, most plans (including many of AT&T's international plans) ONLY cover phone calls, not data. You need to purchase a separate, and pricey data plan for use over there, or make sure your iphone data is turned off.

    Some good articles can be read at
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-10329801-263.html
    http://ipod.about.com/od/internationaliphone/qt/iph_data_roam.htm

    or just google iphone data overseas.

    It can get VERY (i.e. over $1000) expensive to use data overseas if you don't get a roaming data plan.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I have a crazy cadet going to Brazil and don't know what to do about a phone for him. I'm leaning towards Mike's solution: just go and let me know when you make it back. But it's Brazil, not England, or Italia. :eek3:
     
  15. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    You could also consider Skype. Fairly inexpensive and you could video chat.
     
  16. cgammafa

    cgammafa New Member

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    Cadet Phones Overseas - Suggestions

    I travel internationally for a living and also go to both Brazil and Europe frequently and use an Iphone. Unless it is an emergency, do not turn on roaming, 3G , data, and other radio functions except for WIFI...it could cost you thousands of $$. I wouldn't even recommend payting the $30 per month for international calling on the iphone because you will pay a couple of dollars per minute on top of that monthly charge!

    Load the FREE Skype app on your iphone and set up a skype out account by putting a nominal amount like $10-20 on their Skype out account using a credit card. You can also have it automatically "top back up" when it gets low on minutes. They can then use the iphone like a cell phone to call you on any phone in the US for about 2 cents a minute... All they have to do is find a free wifi hotspot ..and they are at many hotels cafes, etc. If they have a cable connection to their hotel or apartment and no wifi, get a $50 travel router on Amazon.com and create their own hotspot for their iphone or computer. IF you need to call your cadet, use Skype-out on your computer or iphone to call the phone at their apartment or hotel etc. The skype phone quality from overseas is usually better than a regular phone line! If they don't have an iphone or equivalent, just load the skype software on their laptop and use a headset or built-in mic.

    If you try this method of communicating, you will save yourself $$$$$.

    Good Luck
     
  17. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    This has been a very helpful thread for me; I have a son heading to the UK also. Does anyone know anything about planetfone? AAA rents them.
     
  18. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    I am glad I ran across this discussion. I am going to Italy as well this summer
     

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