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Using Cellular Phones in Greece
If you are heading to the Olympics, you might be tempted to take your US-based cellphone with you. Unfortunately, most US phones won't work over in Greece. Europe (and much of the world) uses GSM-based cellphones. Only newer T-Mobile, Cingular and some ATT Wireless phones use this standard.

Buy or Rent for Greece?

While some cellular companies do offer rentals, you'll be paying hefty rental rates and high per-call costs back to the US. If you plan to stay more than week or two, or plan to travel elsewhere in Europe, you might consider buying a GSM phone.

What You Need to Know

You need to purchase an "unlocked" GSM phone. This means it can work on multiple cellular networks by changing a small SIM chip in the phone. You would buy a SIM chip for Greece with your phone which would give you a Grecian phone number. Usually these SIMs come with some small number of pre-paid minutes, but it's easy enough to drop into your local convenience store while at the Olympics and buy a recharge card. When you scratch off the card and type the special code into your phone, you gain additional minutes.

One great point about cellular coverage in Greece: It's better than most places in the US, and much more convenient that trying to find a payphone for calling back home.

Written July 1, 2004 - go to our home or commerce page
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