Have you ever found yourself feeling embarrassed when traveling overseas because you had to borrow other people’s phones? I certainly have! Every time I would go back to Prague, I’d have to borrow my sister’s phone so that I wouldn’t have to pay international roaming charges. Coming from a place where I was on Facebook, email, Internet and IM pretty much the entire day, I was feeling very disconnected and frankly, lost.
When I got my new HTC Sensation from T-Mobile, I was thrilled! I traveled back to Prague, turned my phone on and wuala! I was immediately connected to the local T-Mobil tower. My connection with the world worked like magic. I was Facebooking away every single day, posting pictures and stories about my visit in Prague and having a great time doing so. When I returned home, I opened my mail and found an invoice from T-Mobil for the amount of $1,500!!! You can only imagine the words that were coming out of my mouth! I called T-Mobil’s Customer Care immediately and pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges. Long story short, many long minutes on the phone with all kinds of T-Mobil Supervisors later, I won my case. I was found “not guilty” and T-Mobil dropped all the roaming charges. I am sure you are wondering how was that even possible? Well, a couple of years back, when you turned your phone on, you did not have to read and acknowledge a warning pop up explaining the roaming charges you were about to incur. It was T-Mobil’s the lack of transparency that got me out of that mess. I heard that I was not the only one dealing with this issue which propmpted T-Mobil to make some changes. Today, if you travel anywhere outside of your coverage area, you will recieved a pop up warning informing you about the roaming charges you are about to incur and it is your responsibility to either accept them or decline them and lose your coverage. I am glad this change has been implemented as I wouldn’t want anyne to experience what I had gone through. I will also add, that since T-Mobil took care of me and made me feel like a valued customer, I became a loyal customer and have been for almost 10 years now.
My experience made me much more aware of all the pop ups I receive from my provider. It also forced me to do a research about how to best use my cell phone when I travel to Prague or anywhere else in the world. I found some great information and I am happy to share it with you.
The solution is pre- paid SIM card. A prepaid SIM card for the Czech Republic with an international cell phone seems to be the most convenient and economical solution.
- No contract. No commitment.
- Pre-paid service – you only spend what you paid for.
- All incoming calls while in the Czech Republic are FREE.
- Full transparency – rates for local and international outgoing calls and text messages are listed on the card.
The Czech SIM card, provided by O2/Eurotel, requires a SIM unlocked GSM 900 compatible international cell phone. You must call your provider to unlock your cell phone first and to check its compatibility. If your cell phone does not meet the criteria, you will be able to purchase a cheap phone once you get to Prague in the local T-Mobile – CZ stores. Some places even rent phones.
Unlocking your cell phone can be tricky as most providers don’t seem to be inclined to do so. Use your best negotiation skills and I am sure you will be successful! Remember to plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time as the request to unlock your phone takes up to 14 days to process.
Once you know you are able to have your cell phone unlocked, find out if your provider offers a service suspension benefit to their subscribers (T-Mobil does for just $10). This is a great way to save money while you are away as your service is temporarily suspended and you don’t get a bill for that pay period . Instead, you will just pay the suspension fee. When I travel to Prague, I now save $100 on average just by taking advantage of this benefit.
Purchasing and swapping your SIM card when you arrive to Prague is very easy.
- Purchase your new SIM card right at the airport in any newsstand kiosk.
- Your new Czech phone number will be listed on the purchased Czech SIM card. The number will begin with +420
- Remove your old SIM card and insert the Czech SIM card into your phone.
- Turn on your cell phone.
- Enter the PIN code listed on the SIM card.
- Start calling.
Making calls is super easy!
- Your friends and family will be able to reach you in Prague by dialing 011 followed by the country code 420 and then your new Czech number
- To make outgoing calls to oversees, simply dial 00, followed by the country code and phone number.
- Customer service for your Czech SIM card is available 24 hours by dialing 1188 directly from your phone.
Lastly, make sure you have a correct electricity adapter (220 Volts AC/50Hz) packed for your trip to Prague! If you don’t have one, you can always buy one at the aiport or in Prague.
However, if you travel smart and plan in advance, you will get yours for a faction of the price at Accessory Geeks!