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Bring A U.s. Cell Phone Or Buy One In Turkey?

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Guest Nijmegenman

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Guest kcsimcoe

Can someone give me a quick layman's answer to the question of whether it's cheaper to make calls from a U.

S. cell phone in Turkey to the U.

S. or from a Turkish Cell phone in turkey to the U.

S.? and vice versa (from a U.

S. Cell phone to a U.

S. Cell phone in Turkey or a Turkish Cell phone in Turkey)I'm probably confusing. I'll explain, I'm in the military and will be stationed in Izmir for 1 year in January. Should I buy a phone in the U.

S. and bring it over or just wait and buy one over there? I want the cheapest method to call back to the U.

S. cell phone to cell phone and from the U.

S. to Turkey cell phone to cell phone.

I'd really like to get an iphone but not sure if it would work over there properly as ATT is not in Turkeysorry if this is redundant, I tried reading all the posts I could-chris

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Hi Again Chris - when I moved to Turkey I brought my UK mobile (they call them Mobiles NOT Cell Phones in both UK and Turkey!) and used that for a while but then a few weeks later it just FROZE. I could not understand why but then one of my neighbours explained that now the Turkish Government has a way of tracking when you bring one into the country and it is actually forbidden... so ... you may get away with using your USA one for a short while but it will also probably FREEZE. Anyway - it is very very expensive using a mobile to a mobile - from Turkey to UK or to USA.... the very best way is to buy one of the Phone Cards they sell in all the mini-markets on nearly every street corner all over Turkey. They can be used easily in any public phone box and are soooo much cheaper. However, if you really need the flexibility of having a mobile/cell phone - or sometimes they refer to them as a Handy in Turkey - then you will need to purchase one when you get to Izmir. I bought a second-hand one 4 years ago and it still works fine. They are not expensive at all - suggest you get a TurkCell phone - and then you can get Pay As You Go Cards ... known as TurkCell Kontours ... which are in fact Units. The mini markets sell 250 Kontours for 47 Lire at present and give you a card with a number to scratch and then you put that number in your TurkCell mobile phone. But - as I say - it is very expensive. If I.m not careful, I can get through all 250 Kontours in just a week! - if on the beach relaxing and not thinking !!! So now I really do try and go to the public phone boxes whenever I can....

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I can't tell you about the American end but I can tell you that making calls to other countries from a Turkish cell (cep/ pocket) phone is not cheap.

Most of us who want to phone their home country use MSN or Skype as Computer to computer is free. There is also Voip cheap for free/cheap phone calls.

Angela I thought that the Germans called mobiles 'handy' phones. I've only heard them referred to as Cep (jep)phones ie pocket phones here.

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Chris, you will be assigned a cell phone once you arrive. Its not a super sophisticated one, but its free. You buy your own minutes and you can call whomever you wish. You are just obligated to keep minutes on the phone at all times. Its not cheap to call home. I used up about 100 phone credits (Kontours) on a ten minute call to Maryland. Everyone here tells me to use my computer to call back to the states. I went overseas with a Verizon phone earlier this year. $1.99 a minute. Not cheap either. So I am gonna break down and just use my computer. If you're gonna use Yahoo phone sign up before you get here. You can't yet sign up with an APO address.

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You can also receive calls on a computer. With some of the VOIP services you can also do video calls, etc. and get a local number in the states for people to call you from landlines and cell phones but they normally charge for that on a monthly basis. Look at Vonage (Need a stateside address when signing up), Skype, and there are a host of others to see which one is best for you.

VOIP is probably the cheapest way for you to make and receive calls to/from the states while in Turkey.

Of course, it is given that you would need a computer and internet service.

TechGuy

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Guest kcsimcoe

Thanks everyone for the information, so basically, sounds like there's a lot of cheap options, they just all involve computer/skype/voip combinations, that's fine with me, I was just wanting to be able to call the states or recieve calls from the states on a mobile with out it costing an arm and a leg.

The lady at my local Mobile phone storre (Sprint) suggested that I get a blackberry over there and use the blackberry IM function since my wife has a blackberry and supposedly it's network irrelevant. Anyone heard of that? Another solution is to get a blackberry and a data plan over there and just email back and forth via blackberries instead of SMSing. Anyone familiar with the cost of data plans for blackberries in Turkey?-chris

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Welcome Chris, I'm headed to Izmir in Jan also. Not that I have all the answers, my decision was to get Vonage for calls back to the states. Uses a normal phone which can have answering machine, one flat montly fee back to the stateside numbers and a local call for family and just normal long distance fees for family and friends outside my home state. Anyway, nothing new from me...see you in JanRoy

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..for mobiles i get hand me downs rom the uk ..mostly from neices and nephews..i get some phones that would put turkish phones ..that do everything but make tea...first thing i do is for them o get chippped in the uk

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Sunny your German is improving:) Indeed 'handy' is what Germans call their mobile phones. Funny name isn't it?

In answer to the thread question - I am sure Steve is right but i wouldn't risk buying a handy (!) in Europe and then having it chipped here. A German friend did that and at first it worked then later it was blocked. Go figure. I also don't like the second-hand route that Angela suggested. When I was first here I bought a cheap second hand Nokia and it was a dud as the battery got used up in a very short time (one hour). I bought another battery and it did the same thing so the phone was a dud. You gamble on buying an old phone here as it may work or may not and you won't get a guarantee or your money back it if doesn't. My advice is to buy a new phone, there are Samsungs for example in the shops for 300 TL which work perfectly well and are even 3G. The iphone and Blackberry here are much more expensive than in the US and you won't get a reasonable data package as you would in the US. As you are not a Turk you won't be able to go on a tariff either (Turkcell has iphone and blackberry data tariffs where you get a monthly bill) as non-Turks are not allowed to have post-paid services, only prepaid cards. The other route is to get a Turkish friend to have the SIM card in his name and you pay the bills.

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All excellent advice above - Skype etc are excellent and FREE - but it all depends of course if you have Internet access. When I first moved to Turkey I installed a land-line + Internet + had a laptop. Not any more. Reason: Cost too much and too much hassle. I.ll explain ... every month I had to go from Side to Manavgat to pay both the landline and the Internet monthly fees and had to remember when ... every month it seemed I ran out of ink - or paper - or needed a virus protector or something or another bug popped up = lots of hassle for me. So now ... I sold the laptop (OK I got a low price for it but at least I sold it!) - and now I go to Internet Cafes - and pay about 1 or 2 Lire per day and have NO HASSLE WHATSOEVE !!!! And if I wish to use Skype for my overseas calls - I can do it there. OK - some people like the privacy of their homes - or to download music or whatever - but I like my life simple and uncomplicated and pop into an Internet Cafe as and when I want without being tied to a computer screen and 'on tap' 24/7 either. All my friends and family now know to email me and I do check nearly every day. Seems to work for me. Blackberries - Ipods - Facebook - MSN Messenger - No Thank You !!! Am I getting too old and long in the tooth to earn all those new things ? Probably YES YES YES !!!! ... anyone else here agree with me ... or am I on my own here ????

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If you have a home phone in the US and a computer with you use skype and it will be the best you can do. Over the years I have tried about what there is in the way of phones, and that gives me the best rates to the US, Greece, Korea, Georgia, and Italy. have not tried other countries, but you get the idea. Unless you need a phone in your ear 24/7. Funny that talking to yourself in public used to be mental illness, now it is a status symbol.

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Angela, I don't think you are on your own in your dislike of expensive gadgetry but I unfortunately, like all those things:)I don't know how old you are and would not be so rude as to enquire, but my 83 year old mum is very much in your camp. She hates technology and it took me ages to teach her some basic pc skills. She still cannot operate even a simple Nokia - can hardly make or answer a call on it - and forget texting! I do think it may be something to do with age since there is a 63 year old lady in my gym who admits to being computer illiterate and even dislikes her simple mobile phone.

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Blackberries are available inTurkey but I don't know about the charges. They cost around between 1500-2000 TL to purchase plus you have to pay for service and usage. Mine is free since my job provides it and it is used primarily for work. Of course, they block everything but phone, SMS, and email but it works for me.

TechGuy

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Techguy..yes you are right. I went into Turkcell on my way home yesterday and asked them about Blackberry's charges. The Bold 9000 costs 1420 TL for a tariff-free version. With the prepaid package you have to have a MINIMUM of 500 kontor (credits) in your balance or else you can't go online with it (I think you can still make phone calls though) and every week they automatically deduct 100 Kontor (about 19TL presently with Turkcell) from your balance whether you use that up or not. So it's a pricey-ish option unless you absolutely MUST have a Blackberry.

The tariff (post paid monthly bill) is more practical but you have to be Turkish or be a lucky sod (!) like Techguy:)

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Is your cell phone number enabled for internationals calls?

It needs to be enabled for international calls in order to send international text or SMS messages. This is normally not enabled by default.

Instructions for this are available in the Forums.

Are you able to send text messages to numbers in Turkey? If not, then the SMS configuration needs to setup on your phone.

TechGuy

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Is your cell phone number enabled for internationals calls?

It needs to be enabled for international calls in order to send international text or SMS messages. This is normally not enabled by default.

Instructions for this are available in the Forums.

Are you able to send text messages to numbers in Turkey? If not, then the SMS configuration needs to setup on your phone.

TechGuy

Hey Tech Guy, thanks for answering. Yes, I can make international calls and send local text messages. What is the proper format for sending the text? Is it 001 + area code+number? Or maybe something else?
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Use "+" + country code + area code + number (example +1 XXX XXX XXXX) or 00 + country code + area code + number (example 001 XXX XXX XXXX) to make international calls.00 is the international exit code for Turkey that is used when making international calls. On cell phones you can use + in place of the 00.

If that does not work you may have to include the network code of the number you are sending the SMS message to.

Good luck!

TechGuy

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