Using ATT GoPhones in Mexico and Beyond

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I just came back from Cabo. Before going, I researched options for calling the States from Mexico. People suggested buying a Mexican prepaid cell phone after arriving in Mexico. This seemed like an unreliable option since I might need to make calls immediately after I land. I found out that ATT GoPhones will work in Mexico, and the rates seemed to be about the same as the Mexican prepaids.

I bought the cheapest GoPhone I could find, and I signed up for the pay per minute plan since I’d be charged a flat per minute rate anyway in Mexico. Once I arrived and started using the phone, I realized the rates were even better than advertised on ATT’s website. I was charged 25 cents a minute to call both US and Mexican numbers (the website quotes $0.99/min). This was perfect for checking on my family, making reservations, and as an emergency phone. Texts were 25 cents to send and 20 cents to receive. I even had 3G, but I didn’t really use it.

I wanted to know if anyone has better ideas for calling from Mexico? Has anyone tried any other US prepaid phones in Mexico?

Also, does anyone have experience using GoPhones in Europe? Do you know the rates?

Thanks

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I got two GoPhone SIM cards for two phones for free; no activation charges either.

DarthEnol (Oct. 08, 2012 @ 5:54p) |

How? Where?

shank (Oct. 08, 2012 @ 6:29p) |

I walked into an AT&T corporate store in Cambridge, MA, told them I wanted to set up GoPhone service for two lines (incl... (more)

DarthEnol (Oct. 08, 2012 @ 8:02p) |


Phone card would be a few cents a minute. Granted not as portable as a cell phone, but cheap or Skype

I have had a GoPhone for years, and while they don't advertise this, the phone works making/receiving calls in Canada as well. I don't remember, but the rates was not unreasonable for a per-minute rate (I think it was ~$0.39 per minute). The funny thing is that if you read the ATT websites and ask ATT, they'll tell you the GoPhone explicitly do not work outside of USA/Mexico.

Voice calls made or received while roaming in the Gulf of Mexico will be charged $0.99 per minute. Does not mention rates elsewhere.

International roaming in countries outside of Mexico or Canada is currently unavailable.

shank said:   Voice calls made or received while roaming in the Gulf of Mexico will be charged $0.99 per minute. Does not mention rates elsewhere.

International roaming in countries outside of Mexico or Canada is currently unavailable.


That is what ATT states, but I was billed 25 cents a minute in Mexico. I know it states that GoPhones won't work in any other countries, but regular ATT customers can roam in Europe and beyond. So ATT has worked out some deal with foreign cell providers. I wouldn't be surprised if GoPhones "magically" work in Europe.

Have you used magic jack? It is a good option if you want to travel and make calls to Us only. Several family members live in Mexico, so every time I go to Mexico I give one, we activate it and it will give you a Us phone number. People is able to call from anywhere to Us land lines as well as cellphones for $40 a year. When the service expires you can not dial but you still can receive calls for about 3 months extra.

Here is what I found from ATT web site:

Roaming in Mexico & Canada

Now you can use your GoPhone service when you travel to Mexico and Canada!

No additional services are required to roam in these countries — all GoPhone customers are automatically enrolled and eligible. Roaming charges are as follows:
Roaming Call or Data Type Cost
Local & Long Distance calls (Inbound and Outbound) 25˘ per minute (Mexico)
39˘ per minute (Canada)
Text Messaging 25˘ per message sent
20˘ per message received
Picture Messaging $1.30 per message sent
25˘ per message received
Data 1.95˘ per KB

To reach customer service when roaming in Mexico or Canada, dial 611 or + 1 (408) 962-1025. View roaming coverage in Mexico & Canada.

I know some people need to check up on family and friends or business, but myself the first thing I do is turn OFF my phone when I get on the plane and don't turn it back on until I get back home. I leave my trip plan with family in case something tragic happens. Granted, I have my phone to use if an emergency did come up. Green for looking OP! Who knows, some day I might actually need that option.

freddyfoster said:   shank said:   Voice calls made or received while roaming in the Gulf of Mexico will be charged $0.99 per minute. Does not mention rates elsewhere.

International roaming in countries outside of Mexico or Canada is currently unavailable.


That is what ATT states, but I was billed 25 cents a minute in Mexico. I know it states that GoPhones won't work in any other countries, but regular ATT customers can roam in Europe and beyond. So ATT has worked out some deal with foreign cell providers. I wouldn't be surprised if GoPhones "magically" work in Europe.


I hope my GoPhone "magically" works in Europe next month...I can't see why it wouldn't. I do have Talkatone installed on my phone, so as long as I have wifi access I can talk and text for free. I'll update the thread with my experiences.

freddyfoster said:   shank said:   Voice calls made or received while roaming in the Gulf of Mexico will be charged $0.99 per minute. Does not mention rates elsewhere.

International roaming in countries outside of Mexico or Canada is currently unavailable.


That is what ATT states, but I was billed 25 cents a minute in Mexico. I know it states that GoPhones won't work in any other countries, but regular ATT customers can roam in Europe and beyond. So ATT has worked out some deal with foreign cell providers. I wouldn't be surprised if GoPhones "magically" work in Europe.


I doubt AT&T's prepaid service works in Europe. Also the cheap AT&T prepaid phones are GSM dual band for North American use. At a minimum you'll need a quad band. Different frequency ranges there.

UPDATE: My sister just got back from Italy and her AT&T GoPhone, an LG Encore, did NOT work. The phone is a quad-band model. It is locked as well.

http://www.amazon.com/LG-Encore-Prepaid-GoPhone-AT/dp/B005KMELNK

So, it looks like the options are:

1. Use a wifi calling app.
2. Buy a prepaid SIM card for the country you're traveling to and use that (for an unlocked phone).
3. Convert over to an AT&T post-paid account.

Am I missing any options?

DarthEnol said:   UPDATE: My sister just got back from Italy and her AT&T GoPhone, an LG Encore, did NOT work. The phone is a quad-band model. It is locked as well.

http://www.amazon.com/LG-Encore-Prepaid-GoPhone-AT/dp/B005KMELNK

So, it looks like the options are:

1. Use a wifi calling app.
2. Buy a prepaid SIM card for the country you're traveling to and use that (for an unlocked phone).
3. Convert over to an AT&T post-paid account.

Am I missing any options?
Depends, do you mean just options for a mobile phone?

Lots of options for other forms of comunication (Skype/VOIP, landline, etc.).

jaimelobo said:   DarthEnol said:   UPDATE: My sister just got back from Italy and her AT&T GoPhone, an LG Encore, did NOT work. The phone is a quad-band model. It is locked as well.

http://www.amazon.com/LG-Encore-Prepaid-GoPhone-AT/dp/B005KMELNK

So, it looks like the options are:

1. Use a wifi calling app.
2. Buy a prepaid SIM card for the country you're traveling to and use that (for an unlocked phone).
3. Convert over to an AT&T post-paid account.

Am I missing any options?
Depends, do you mean just options for a mobile phone?

Lots of options for other forms of comunication (Skype/VOIP, landline, etc.).


Yes, I'm thinking just options for a mobile phone...just the ability to make a few (3-4 quick calls or texts over a 2 week trip).

DarthEnol said:   jaimelobo said:   DarthEnol said:   UPDATE: My sister just got back from Italy and her AT&T GoPhone, an LG Encore, did NOT work. The phone is a quad-band model. It is locked as well.

http://www.amazon.com/LG-Encore-Prepaid-GoPhone-AT/dp/B005KMELNK

So, it looks like the options are:

1. Use a wifi calling app.
2. Buy a prepaid SIM card for the country you're traveling to and use that (for an unlocked phone).
3. Convert over to an AT&T post-paid account.

Am I missing any options?
Depends, do you mean just options for a mobile phone?

Lots of options for other forms of comunication (Skype/VOIP, landline, etc.).
Yes, I'm thinking just options for a mobile phone...just the ability to make a few (3-4 quick calls or texts over a 2 week trip).
There used to be some rental options as well (haven't checked lately); you could rent a phone (usually included some talk credit) for a week/month/etc. As I recal, rates weren't that great, more of an option for the "ease of use" factor.

If you never were going to use the phone again, might be an option to compare vs buying one (if you are) and sim card(s). Probably still cheaper for a FW'er to find a deal on a phone/card, then sell the phone after to recoup some cost.

burgerwars said:   

I doubt AT&T's prepaid service works in Europe. Also the cheap AT&T prepaid phones are GSM dual band for North American use. At a minimum you'll need a quad band. Different frequency ranges there.


Actually, their cheapest phones are quad-band. Most of the time, the dual vs quad band comes down to how a company markets their phone rather than the price. Here are the four cheapest from ATT right now:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/AT-T-GoPhone-Samsung-A157-Black/207423...
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/packages/att-z331-gophone-refur...
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/packages/att-u2800a-gophone-pac...
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/packages/att-z221-gophone-packa...

All are quad band.



Thanks for the update, DarthEnol! That's a shame that the gophones don't work in Europe. The U2800a listed above can at least be unlocked easily via eBay. That would let you throw in a European sim. I would still feel more comfortable having a phone that I can use no matter which country I landed in (without paying through the nose).

@jaimelobo and @freddyfoster: I just bought a Galaxy Nexus phone from Google, so it's unlocked. I could look into renting or buying an Italian (I'm traveling to Italy) pre-paid SIM or go with wifi calling/texting.

If the wifi angle doesn't work (I have Talkatone and it works fine here in the USA), maybe I'll just hit up an internet cafe and send an email or two.

DarthEnol said:   @jaimelobo and @freddyfoster: I just bought a Galaxy Nexus phone from Google, so it's unlocked. I could look into renting or buying an Italian (I'm traveling to Italy) pre-paid SIM or go with wifi calling/texting.

If the wifi angle doesn't work (I have Talkatone and it works fine here in the USA), maybe I'll just hit up an internet cafe and send an email or two.
If you already have the phone, then you should be fine with a single sim for much of Europe. Last time I was over (couple of Summers back), I bought an eKit card her, came with a U.S. and U.K. number (so folks here just called a Boston number to reach me). Seems like it was $25 with $10 of credit and could be recharged via web. I found better deals for it on fleaBay than buying directly from their site. At the time, it seemed like a decent deal, not sure if there is something better now.

I just used it with an older LG Razr clone, so just voice/text. It worked fine everywhere for my occasional calling except Croatia.

Agree, when you can find WiFi, that would be the best option. Although, I used Skype on my notebook and it seemed to be hit or miss on the quality (fine in the U.S. however)

jaimelobo said:   DarthEnol said:   @jaimelobo and @freddyfoster: I just bought a Galaxy Nexus phone from Google, so it's unlocked. I could look into renting or buying an Italian (I'm traveling to Italy) pre-paid SIM or go with wifi calling/texting.

If the wifi angle doesn't work (I have Talkatone and it works fine here in the USA), maybe I'll just hit up an internet cafe and send an email or two.
If you already have the phone, then you should be fine with a single sim for much of Europe. Last time I was over (couple of Summers back), I bought an eKit card her, came with a U.S. and U.K. number (so folks here just called a Boston number to reach me). Seems like it was $25 with $10 of credit and could be recharged via web. I found better deals for it on fleaBay than buying directly from their site. At the time, it seemed like a decent deal, not sure if there is something better now.

I just used it with an older LG Razr clone, so just voice/text. It worked fine everywhere for my occasional calling except Croatia.

Agree, when you can find WiFi, that would be the best option. Although, I used Skype on my notebook and it seemed to be hit or miss on the quality (fine in the U.S. however)


Reviews on Amazon for Ekit are TERRIBLE - unable to make calls in England, France.

shank said:   jaimelobo said:   DarthEnol said:   @jaimelobo and @freddyfoster: I just bought a Galaxy Nexus phone from Google, so it's unlocked. I could look into renting or buying an Italian (I'm traveling to Italy) pre-paid SIM or go with wifi calling/texting.

If the wifi angle doesn't work (I have Talkatone and it works fine here in the USA), maybe I'll just hit up an internet cafe and send an email or two.
If you already have the phone, then you should be fine with a single sim for much of Europe. Last time I was over (couple of Summers back), I bought an eKit card her, came with a U.S. and U.K. number (so folks here just called a Boston number to reach me). Seems like it was $25 with $10 of credit and could be recharged via web. I found better deals for it on fleaBay than buying directly from their site. At the time, it seemed like a decent deal, not sure if there is something better now.

I just used it with an older LG Razr clone, so just voice/text. It worked fine everywhere for my occasional calling except Croatia.

Agree, when you can find WiFi, that would be the best option. Although, I used Skype on my notebook and it seemed to be hit or miss on the quality (fine in the U.S. however)
Reviews on Amazon for Ekit are TERRIBLE - unable to make calls in England, France.
Granted, my experience is one data point and, as I mentioned, I didn’t use it extensively, but it worked like a champ for me in France, Italy, and Slovenia. We had several fairly long calls back to the U.S. and few within France, the connections were better than when my sister in Wisconsin calls on Verizon.

The eKit product I used was this "Passport" card Reviewed Here - it has a 4-1/2 star rating from 89 reviews.

There other eKit sims listed -- they sell a variety of products geared toward different market segments. I saw one of the others listed with 13 reviews that were mixed. Even with that card, several people didn't understand or read the rates correctly (one assumed because they got a U.S. number, the calls would be free when they were called in the U.S.), several seem to be reviews for phone/sim combos that they sell, and one of the 2* reviews came back later and said that they left their review before acutally using the card and would have given 4*'s if they could change their review.

The eKit option looks promising, but again, for the very few messages (voice and/or text) I plan on sending, I'll stick with the wifi option.

We visit Mexico periodically, I would like to try a Gophone SIM, rather than a local prepaid for our next trip (December) for an existing, unlocked phone. SIM alone sells for <$5 shipped on fleabay, wondering if the gophones on the ATT website include any airtime, or better off getting just the SIM.

Suggestions?

shank said:   We visit Mexico periodically, I would like to try a Gophone SIM, rather than a local prepaid for our next trip (December) for an existing, unlocked phone. SIM alone sells for <$5 shipped on fleabay, wondering if the gophones on the ATT website include any airtime, or better off getting just the SIM.

Suggestions?


Unless it specifically states that it comes with airtime, it does not. From time to time they will have promotions like that with airtime included. If you already have an unlocked phone, just get the sim. Be careful with eBay though. They will sometimes sell you deactivated/stolen sims. If you go into an ATT store, they will give you a gophone sim for free or at most a $'s.

I have used EKit in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia, and Costa Rica without any problems...

Update:

I bought a Vodafone SIM (25 Euros) for local (Italy) unlimited calling and texting and used Talkatone (Wifi) for free calling and texting to the US - no problems at all.

freddyfoster said:   If you go into an ATT store, they will give you a gophone sim for free or at most a $'s.

ATT store would only give a GoPhone SIM card if I paid $25 to activate it

I got two GoPhone SIM cards for two phones for free; no activation charges either.

DarthEnol said:   I got two GoPhone SIM cards for two phones for free; no activation charges either.

How? Where?

shank said:   DarthEnol said:   I got two GoPhone SIM cards for two phones for free; no activation charges either.

How? Where?


I walked into an AT&T corporate store in Cambridge, MA, told them I wanted to set up GoPhone service for two lines (including porting over one number from TMO) and it was done. Took about 25 minutes and the only thing I paid for was my rate plans (and applicable tax) for both lines. No SIM card charges; no activation fees.



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