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What is Prepaid Cellular Service? See our rates and packages below

In the United States and Canada most cell phone users subscribe to a contract that lasts typically for 2 or 3 years. The main advantage of having a contract is that you are billed automatically but a huge disadvantage is that if you are unhappy with the service, you are either stuck until your contract expires or you have to pay an early termination fee. The major carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile encourage customers to sign lengthy contracts by subsidizing the price of the handset - a good example of this would be AT&T and Verizon offering the iPhone. The cost of the iPhone, when coupled with a contract, is several hundred dollars cheaper than going direct to an Apple store. In fact, AT&T and Verizon initially lose money on the iPhone but they make up for it by gaining a customer for at least 2 years.

In the past, domestic ‘pay-as-you-go’ cellular service has been expensive and primarily used by customers who do not have the appropriate credit to be able to get a contract. Also, the plans and selections of phones are extremely limited. Presently, there are many pay as you go options that offer plans, including data service, that are comparable or even better than contractual plans. In addition, there is now a vast array of handsets that are available.

In other parts of the world, prepaid service has been the standard and not the exception. In fact, in Europe, approximately 90% of cell phone users have pay as you go service. This has spurned competition; users can easily jump ship if they want to, and they aren’t stuck paying for more minutes than they would use, which also explains the huge concentration of cell phones even 5-10 years ago. As prices have come down in the US, we are catching up although we are still not near to the penetration that one sees in Europe and Asia.

For the international traveler, prepaid service is ideal as there is no long term service commitment and you only need to pay for what you use, and the per-minute rates are just a fraction of what it costs with a U.S. or Canadian carrier. Here is how it works: If you are planning a trip abroad, you can simply purchase a SIM card for your destination country. SIM cards are available at Cellular Abroad, as well as locally at your destination.

There are several noteworthy advantages to getting a SIM card prior to your arrival - the vast majority of the international SIM cards that we carry are specifically designed for the needs of English speaking travelers. Cellular Abroad takes the pain out of buying your SIM card when you arrive by providing English instructions, and in most cases the best available rates that you might miss out on if you try picking up your SIM Card at a local cell phone shop. Another noteworthy advantage is receiving an international phone number prior to your departure so that you can share it with your friends and family, and the peace of mind that comes with having a working phone right as you step off the plane.

As the name implies, prepaid cellular service means that you add call credit to your account and, as you use the service, the credit is consumed. As most people on the planet use pay as you go service, adding call credit is typically extremely easy to do and widely available. Typically, one can go to any convenience store or gas station to purchase additional call credit. As an additional convenience, Cellular Abroad also sells recharge vouchers for a many popular destinations.

In sum, prepaid cellular service is an extremely worthwhile option for the international traveler who wants an easy and affordable solution for staying in touch. In many instances, a SIM card for the country where you will be going will not just save you 50% or even 75% of what it would cost to roam but in many cases even more. It simply does not make sense not to utilize prepaid cellular service for the country to where you will be traveling.

Rate Guide

Per-minute rates for the most popular Study Abroad travel destinations

Country

Calls to
US or Canada

In-country calling

Receiving calls

UK

UNLIMITED

UNLIMITED

FREE!

Italy

$0.44

$0.22

FREE!

Spain

$0.07

$0.12

FREE!

Mexico $0.25 $0.25 $0.25

Germany

$0.12

$0.13

FREE!

France

$0.25

$0.26

FREE!

China

$0.05

$0.05

$0.05

Australia $0.05 $0.15 FREE!

Israel

$0.26

$0.26

FREE!

Phone & SIM Card Packages

Australia


China


France


Germany


Israel


Italy


Mexico


Spain


United Kingdom

Country not listed? Give us a call at 1-800-287-5072 and we will recommend a solution for you!

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