rent vs buy a mobile phone for use in europe

I’ve got a trip coming up that will take me to the Netherlands, Belgium and perhaps the UK. My CDMA Sprint phone obviously won’t work there, so it looks like I have a few options:

A. Rent a phone with one sim card and deal with the roaming when I leave the Netherlands.

B. Rent a phone with several sim cards so I can switch for each country.

C. Buy an unlocked GSM phone here with several different sim cards (or buy the phone as a package with the sim cards).

Have anyone used any of these online cell phone rental outfits? When you change sim cards, does your phone number change? My wife and I will be traveling together for part of the time and then go off to different countries, so we want to make sure we can contact each other.

Thanks in advance for the advice.


Hey, I saw this post regarding using an SIP client on an Android phone:

Anybody here tried this?


When you rent a phone, usually, they have only one SIM that will work all the places you will go, dont stress yourself with extra SIM or anything, just rent a phone, and be done with it. Because they have this special services, you wont be dealing with roaming fees either. I used this company in the past, never had a problem
good luck! :smiley:

Cool, thanks. I was looking for someone who had a good experience with one of these companies… A lot of those websites are kinda cheesy and you never know who’s running them. :wink:


Buy a cheapo phone mate, they usually run for about £40 on pay as you go.

Don’t you know someone with an old GSM phone you can borrow for a week?

I do the pay-as-you go top-ups in the UK and it’s only about £10-15 a month, with internet

I’m guessing you are right about it not working but…

Double check your phone as it might be able to work on another frequency. When I bought my cell (nothing special LG. Cingular) years ago I was told it would not work outside the US. I was in Australia, for s&gs I looked through the phone’s menus (Connections → Change frequency) and there was an option to change to a European frequency (1800). Changed it, it picked up a national carrier and worked fine with no additional phone costs.

If you happen to have an unlocked US iPhone, they seem to work without any frequency shift… though they might be an exception

Ask around for an old unlocked quad band phone. I have one you could have. Then it will be like £10 for a sim and then top it up ( put money on it). Skype phone is super duper cheap and has okay us eBay resale.

Thanks Stephe, I’ll probably rent a pair of phones for me and my wife so we can stay in touch while we head off on different excursions (I’ll be touring with a group of journalists and she might head off to London to visit a friend).