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Question
We are making a trip to Italy, Portugal, and then Spain.  I was told I could buy a cheap phone to make calls to the U.S.  Is this true and where can I purchase one?  Can the one I purchase be used in all three countries?  Thank you so much.

Dorothy

Answer
I cannot answer about buying a mobile in Italy but I can tell you that if you buy a mobile in Portugal, you will have to pay roaming charges in Spain and Italy. Ditto if you buy a mobile in Spain you have to pay roaming charges in Portugal and Italy. Charging them up with funds in different countries can be a real pain. In Spain, one has to provide a passport to purchase a mobile phone.

Obviously, if you currently own an unblocked mobile, preferably a dual-sim smartphone, you can just buy a sim card in each country and fit it to your own phone.  

As regards to cheaper calls to the US, it is very difficult to assess what the costs of calls would be. As I said above, if you used a Portuguese mobile in Spain to call the US, you would have to pay roaming charges as well as the call cost.

Have a look at these guys who offer low-cost services in each of the countries you want are asking about:

http://www.lycamobile.us/en/
http://www.lycamobile.pt/en/
http://www.lycamobile.es/en/
http://www.lycamobile.it/en/

In my experience, the best way to reduce phone costs in Europe, is to have a powerful wifi equipped smartphone with Skype or similar installed. Then, whenever one is near a free wifi access point, one has very cost-effective calling internationally.

I was recently informed about this company: http://www.poivy.com/

You can download an app to your smartphone and, like skype, use them to call world-wide at reasonable rates.

Hope this helps

Portugal

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BarlaventoExpert

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I can respond to most questions concerning travel, tourism, real estate, culture, living, history, internet, general economic matters and market research in Portugal, including the Algarve. . I can also provide counsel on on public transport within, to and from Portugal and into Spain. Please note that I cannot always guarantee to provide detailed itineraries. Please note that as travel costs are currently constantly changing I cannot provide guaranteed information on prices!

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I have known Portugal for 40 years. I have lived in Lagos in the Algarve for the past 15 years and have extensive geographic, cultural, historical, and commercial knowledge of the region particularly as relevant to the travel, tourism and real estate sectors..

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