Customer Sign-Up. I was just

Customer Sign-Up. I was just in the UK and France with Connie. Amazing how the telecommunications business has changed. Basically, in the UK, from Fresh or Virgin Mobile, you can get 9 or 10 pound phone numbers with 5 pounds worth of minutes (that’s 50 minutes). You have to have a universal GSM phone to do this (buy the right one when you sign up with Voicestream, AT&T or Cingular!). Then you either buy a phone card or use IDT’s new Debitalk which is a dial back service. That is you call some magic US number and then it rings you back, so you pay US rates for calls which are much lower particularly in France (where it is $0.13 to call from the US, but more like $0.50 to call from France).
Next time you are out there, I’d advise that you…
1. In the UK, go to a Carphonewarehouse to get a local SIM by looking up on their site where they are. This gives you 10 pence per minute to any toll free number of theirs. From there, you can use either IDT’s Global Call (but this has a 1.49 per month service charge, but from the Uk it is just 10 pence per minute to call to the US). Set your vmail to say, please call the magic UK number you now have.
2. In France, it is a bit trickier, but you need to get on the web before your visit. Find on sfr.fr, the nearest dealer to get your SIM. I’m not clear if they have a SIM only package, but will research. Then, you use the same trick to call IDT. In France because their phones are more expensive, it probably makes more sense to use the hotel phone since they don’t appear to charge 0800 calls from hotels.

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