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Mobal.com Int'l Phone Services

Timeshare Von

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Has anyone used them? I had a phone through them back in 2006 for my work, but never had to use it.

You basically purchase a phone that can be used throughout the world (their lowest tier phone can't be used in the USA however). Once you have your phone (it has a UK phone number), you can use it as you need to and only pay as you go. It does mean that people calling me from home (the USA) will need to make an Int'l long distance call, which should keep down the calls to emergencies only (they can use email for non-urgent issues).

Calls for instance for our upcoming trip to Ireland . . . within (in or out bound) Ireland $1.25/minute and to the USA $1.50. Free incoming text messages and $ .80 for outbound texts.

Clearly the per minute charge is much higher than what you can get using an unlocked phone and buying a SIM card for the country being visited. But if you're only going to make (or receive) limited calls, you are not out anything more than the $29/$69 phone unit. Like I said, I had one for our trip to the UK in 2006 and never used it. My company only spent money on the phone, which could be saved and used in the future if desired.

I'm pretty impressed with their concept and pricing, seriously considering the purchase. Would love to hear from anyone who uses Mobal.com for their international travel communications.

Von
 

persia

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Why would you pay for inbound calls, that's the responsibility of the caller not the receiver?

Even on Skype calls to UK mobiles are 30 US cents a minute. Skype to Skype are free. Nettalk or MagicJack calls to the US are free through their apps. Renting a mobile phone for the UK in the US is a bad deal. ALways.


Has anyone used them? I had a phone through them back in 2006 for my work, but never had to use it.

You basically purchase a phone that can be used throughout the world (their lowest tier phone can't be used in the USA however). Once you have your phone (it has a UK phone number), you can use it as you need to and only pay as you go. It does mean that people calling me from home (the USA) will need to make an Int'l long distance call, which should keep down the calls to emergencies only (they can use email for non-urgent issues).

Calls for instance for our upcoming trip to Ireland . . . within (in or out bound) Ireland $1.25/minute and to the USA $1.50. Free incoming text messages and $ .80 for outbound texts.

Clearly the per minute charge is much higher than what you can get using an unlocked phone and buying a SIM card for the country being visited. But if you're only going to make (or receive) limited calls, you are not out anything more than the $29/$69 phone unit. Like I said, I had one for our trip to the UK in 2006 and never used it. My company only spent money on the phone, which could be saved and used in the future if desired.

I'm pretty impressed with their concept and pricing, seriously considering the purchase. Would love to hear from anyone who uses Mobal.com for their international travel communications.

Von
 

Timeshare Von

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Frankly, I really don't expect ANY incoming calls . . . who knows, maybe we will not give out the number to anyone. Also this is not a phone rental program, I would be buying the phone unit (basic unit is $29) and that's my only obligation to them if I never use the phone (which is mine to keep forever).

You can't use Skype or Magic Jack when you're out touring the countryside, in the middle of nowhere in a car. Both are also dependent on having reliable internet service, which may or maynot be possible at some of the locations where we're staying.

Some of the places we're staying charge for calls to others in Ireland. If hotel phone charges there are anything like what we see here in the US, I'm guessing $1.25/minute could be a bargain.

Largely, having a mobile phone (particularly for this trip) is for emergency use . . . traveling in an unknown area with my elderly MIL. It just seems like a very prudent and inexpensive insurance.
 

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Can't speak to using Mobal but I have used an unlocked quad-band in Aruba and just get local SIM ....calls then run 40 cents a minute to US. I was going to take it with me to Spain and Morocco this past fall but decided to bite the bullet and just use my ATT IPhone. I wasn't planning on spending lots of time on phone but wanted convenience of knowing someone could call me in an emergency ( we boarded our pet). I used it several times for actual calls to guides but mostly used it ALOT to text friends back home and send pics. In fact I was worried I used it too much. It increased my monthly bill by $30 for the 3 weeks we were overseas.....far less than buying a local SIM card and less hassle. I used hotel Wifi for data usage. Since this was a good experience I won't be bothering with the unlocked phone and local SIM for Aruba this year and I'll just use my phone. Texts are 50 cents.

Had no problem with wifi in either Spain or Morocco.....including in Merzouga on the edge of the sand dunes.....most of the rest of the world relies solely on cells and wifi. In fact I was surprised that I had better signals in Morocco than I have in parts of Texas!
 
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dougp26364

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We used their service several years ago before we had phones with international sims cards. The service worked fine when it was needed. No charges unless a call has been made/recieved. It's a pretty simple service and works well if you need something for emergancy phone calls. It's not something I'd use for everyday calls or to chat with family back home.
 

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When we traveled to the UK a few years ago, T-mobile had a deal where you bought a SIM card for 5 pounds, and it had 5 pounds worth of time on it. We put it in our unlocked GSM phone and it worked fine. I think I still have it.

Vodaphone, at least, has a similar deal in Ireland. http://www.vodafone.ie/df/sim-only/ ... calls within Ireland AND to the US are 15 eurocents a minute. I think the SIM costs 10 euros.

If you think you might find it convenient to make dinner reservations (err, I mean "bookings") while out and about, and you have or can borrow an unlocked GSM phone, and you're only going to one country, this is probably less expensive. But if you might go elsewhere in the future, the Mobal deal is good. There are other similar companies; Google a little.
 

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We have had our mobal phone for several years and have had no problems, other than the cost. It works quite well and gets a good signal. Have used it in Ireland, England and France and, as you said, when using for emergencies only, it's fine. Even has voicemail. What I like is that you can keep the same phone number from trip to trip.
 

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We purchased one last year and tried to use it in Italy in May. It never worked! We could never get a signal in the countryside...not once...while we could get a signal on our cell phone that had been enabled (Verizon). As a last ditch effort, we tried at the Rome airport, and were able to get service. When we returned home, I requested to return their phone and they credited the full amount, and told us to keep the phone, gratis. It wasn't worth returning it.
 

Timeshare Von

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Thanks

I appreciate all of the feedback. It's unfortunate that the phone didn't work for you Ouaifer, but good to know they made good on the refund to you.

For a $29 (+ $10 s/h), it seems to be a low risk proposition so we've gone ahead and ordered one. You also get a snazzy electrical power adaptor kit with the phone as a freebie bonus.

We travel overseas so infrequently that having this for very limited use seems to be the best for our circumstances and needs.
 

WinniWoman

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I am going to use them when I go to Scotland in June. I decided it was the simplest and least expensive way to deal with the phone thing. The only reason we want a phone is for emergencies or to make reservations, etc. Don't plan on receiving calls either. There is a post back in 2008 regarding this plan. Seems decent.

Let us know how it works for you. I will not be ordering one until the time gets closer.

Any recommendations on GPS? We don't have Europe maps in our GPS. I heard they are expensive through the car rental companies? Will just an ordinary road map do?
 
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persia

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But why would you pay for incoming calls? It makes no sense. The total cost of an incoming call is normally born by the caller as they pay a premium to call a mobile number. If these people are charging you for incoming calls they are thieves.
 

Timeshare Von

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I am going to use them when I go to Scotland in June. I decided it was the simplest and least expensive way to deal with the phone thing. The only reason we want a phone is for emergencies or to make reservations, etc. Don't plan on receiving calls either. There is a post back in 2008 regarding this plan. Seems decent.

Let us know how it works for you. I will not be ordering one until the time gets closer.

Any recommendations on GPS? We don't have Europe maps in our GPS. I heard they are expensive through the car rental companies? Will just an ordinary road map do?

Will certainly follow-up here in May when we return.

As for the GPS, we bought a Garmin for around $165 back in October or November and love it so far. We had to obtain the Ireland map package download, which I think my DH said was about $70. The rental for 15 days would have cost us around $140 so we felt that we should just bite the bullet and buy the Garmin since we had been talking about getting one for months.

When we were in the UK (England and Scotland) back in 2006, we were fine with just using map Mapquest was very accurate to get us from the airport to the T/S, from T/S to T/S and then from the last T/S to the airport again. We also used Mapquest to get us from the T/S to a B&B near London, and that was perfect too.

For us, because we had been told that many areas in Irish only have their road signs in Irish, we were a bit concerned about reading and deciphering maps although I'm not sure if hearing the Garmin lady in Gaelic will be much better :)
 

WinniWoman

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Wow! $70 does seem like a lot of money for a GPS map, but then again, we have never downloaded one. If that's the case, and if renting one is so expensive, I think we will do the map quest thing before we leave and take a road map. (The resort we are staying in only has Wi-Fi in it's cafe, so we decided it wasn't worth it to take the laptop.Very annoying.....)

(PS Persia -I was always under the impression that when you received incoming calls on any cell phone, you were charged unless the caller's cell phone was in your network (like Verizon to Verizon, etc. Anyhow - who acres? the global phone has no monthly service charges or contract. We are not expecting to receive or make any calls anyway - it's just for emergencies)
 

Timeshare Von

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Wow! $70 does seem like a lot of money for a GPS map, but then again, we have never downloaded one. If that's the case, and if renting one is so expensive, I think we will do the map quest thing before we leave and take a road map. (The resort we are staying in only has Wi-Fi in it's cafe, so we decided it wasn't worth it to take the laptop.Very annoying.....)

(PS Persia -I was always under the impression that when you received incoming calls on any cell phone, you were charged unless the caller's cell phone was in your network (like Verizon to Verizon, etc. Anyhow - who acres? the global phone has no monthly service charges or contract. We are not expecting to receive or make any calls anyway - it's just for emergencies)

Yep, I agree on the cost. I think you'll be fine in the UK however, if you choose not to get the GPS map package for there.

And yes, my home cell phone charges my plan for incoming calls if calls are from outside of the Sprint network . . . and I'm charged real money if I exceed my plan's bundled number of minutes.

I believe for emergencies and on the ground reservations or contacting others in Ireland to confirm things, the $1.25 is a minimal amount of money.
 

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The US and Canada are unique in that they put mobile phones in the same area code as landline, so you can't tell whether the number you are calling is mobile or not. Europe (we're talking UK here) and most other places I know of put mobile phones in their own area code.

In the UK geographic area codes are prefixed by 01 and 02. Mobile phone are 07. So whenever you dial an 07 number you KNOW it's mobile and you KNOW you are going to pay extra for it. Callers are only charged for calls that they originate, which of course makes sense, I mean why would I have to pay to have you call me?

So basically if you are dealing with a mobile phone company and you are outside North America and that mobile phone company wants to charge you for incoming calls, they are a thief.
 

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I have that phone and I like it. I used it in France to make dinner reservations. I gave the # to family for emergencies, no one ever called. All I paid was a few dollars for the calls I made in France. I plan on taking it again this summer when I do a Baltic cruise. I leave it turned on while I am on land only.
 

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Great to know! I think this is defintely the way to go for me.


I have that phone and I like it. I used it in France to make dinner reservations. I gave the # to family for emergencies, no one ever called. All I paid was a few dollars for the calls I made in France. I plan on taking it again this summer when I do a Baltic cruise. I leave it turned on while I am on land only.
 

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Hi Persia

The Mobal phones have UK numbers on them, which means that you get free incoming calls when using it in the UK. When you're outside the UK, the phone is roaming, which means that incoming call charges apply.

The same goes for the majority of other countries in the world. Most of them charge for incoming calls while roaming outside of their own network.

Countries like America that charge for incoming calls on the home network are in the minority.

K
 

Timeshare Von

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Update - Now Home

We got a Mobal.com phone for our trip to Ireland and it went really well. We used it only for calls necessary during our trip with accommodations, tours, etc. In total, we made five calls and received one incoming. With the 10% discount for a referral/purchase, we only used $3.89 of airtime which was charged to our account.

The call quality was good, utilizing the existing wireless network in Ireland. We did not have coverage in very remote areas, but when we needed the phone, it was reliable.
 

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Any recommendations on GPS? We don't have Europe maps in our GPS. I heard they are expensive through the car rental companies? Will just an ordinary road map do?

I just bought this Garmin for our upcoming trip to Scotland in August:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6671760

It just arrived, so I haven't even tried it in the US yet. It's a refurb, and hence very inexpensive. But Garmin's policy on map updates applies to refurbs, too. That is, one free map update within 60 days of purchase. I plan to do my update tonight when I get home from work.

-Bob
 

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I'm considering buying a UK phone from these guys for my upcoming trip:

http://www.mobiles.co.uk/pay-as-you-go-mobile-phones.html

Seems too good to be true. Phones for under 10 GBP, with pay-as-you-go rates of about 25p per minute. Seems like a good investment. I wonder, though, if I should delay buying it until just before I go. Do the pre-paid minutes on the PAYG plan expire, as they do in the US? I guess I should write in to ask; I haven't thought about it for a while, but this thread brought this issue back into my mind.

-Bob
 

JudyH

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I have the Mobal.com phone. I used it two years ago in France without any problems, and only got charged for the few calls I made. I only had free wifi access at the beginning and end of the trip, so not much chance to check email. We had ill, elderly parents and it gave us all peace of mind knowing they could reach us in case of real emergency.

Von, remember to keep the phone charged. It says charge every few months. I let it go for about 9 months, and when I just charged it this week, it took a long time to light up and show it was receiving a charge. I will use it this summer on a Baltic cruise, so I hope the phone works.

Its much easier than getting a SIM card when on a cruise to many countries.
 

Timeshare Von

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We got a Mobal.com phone for our trip to Ireland and it went really well. We used it only for calls necessary during our trip with accommodations, tours, etc. In total, we made five calls and received one incoming. With the 10% discount for a referral/purchase, we only used $3.89 of airtime which was charged to our account.

The call quality was good, utilizing the existing wireless network in Ireland. We did not have coverage in very remote areas, but when we needed the phone, it was reliable.

Correction as I didn't realize the first billing I had received was for the first couple/few days. The total spent was $15 on nine calls.

Judy, thanks for the reminder/info on keeping the phone charged. My DH said the same purpose would be served by removing the battery while the phone's in storage.
 

JudyH

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But doesn't the battery go down even if its out of the phone?
 
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