We get calls all the time from parents inquiring about cell phone services for their study abroad students. Many parents come in with the notion of renting a phone, but it’s always cheaper to purchase a phone if your student is going to be gone for a whole semester. The first thing I always hear is that they want them to have a phone as a safety issue and the second is that they need it to be affordable.
The safety question always boils down to can the phone dial out internationally and is there coverage? Our phones give a local number in the country the student is living in and allow both local and international calls to be made or received. As they are local phones, they work everywhere the locals themselves have coverage. Europe has excellent cell phone coverage and most every nation has complete cell saturation.
When we get to the affordable part, parents are often surprised at the unlimited free incoming offer and the low outgoing rates, especially the outgoing international rates, but these are local services and the rates are what the in-country residents are paying. The best part about the rates for the parents is that all our services are prepaid. This means their kids have to be honest about their minutes and add them as they go. There is no way for them to rack up a huge overseas phone bill. More minutes can be purchased through us online or in country at most any convenient store.
After I give all this info and mention the free ground shipping and that yes the phone comes included with the international charger and adaptors, parents wonder about the rates when their student travel out of their host country on the weekends or on holidays to see another country. In this case I always recommend that they get an additional multi-country SIM card that can be switched out in the back of the phone. This SIM will give them coverage everywhere and will allow them escape the roaming rates of their local SIM, which, just like when you take your US phone out of the US, starts to price gouge you with roaming rates. For study abroad parents or students who mention their University we usually have a discount for adding the multi-country SIM. Just ask us!