a. Consumer Reports (not related) ranked CC the #1 Best mobile phone service, with highest ratings for value and customer services, in its January 2012 & 2013 issues.
b. CC offers national service on AT&T’s GSM system. GSM is also the international mobile standard, so phones should work in most of the world.
c. CC has no contracts, sends text & email alerts if usage approaches limits, and allows customers to change voice or data plans (up or down) at any time, including the current month, to save costs and avoid extra usage fees.
d. Because CC un-locks phones, we can buy a cheap GSM SIM card for local service—either (i) worldwide [e.g. TelnaMobile.com SIM for 198 countries] or (ii) separately in any country we visit. Many family and friends do so when crossing boarders in Europe.
e. Since we remove our CC SIM card outside the USA, we pay zero international roaming charges (typically $1 to $3 per minute otherwise). Incoming calls go to voice mail, which we check periodically when traveling, as we’ve done for years.
f. Voice plans are much cheaper at CC. For our typical usage while in USA, we pay less than half of what AT&T charged (on the same network!). When outside the USA, we pay only $10/phone for standby, instead of full price monthly. (But AT&T would not suspend, reduce, or change service plans, so we were previously stuck with the total contract cost!)
g. Flexible Data plans for modest usage start at $2.50/month, and can also be adjusted up or down any time. (Zero cost for no service when overseas, or just using WiFi.)
h. Instead of expensive cellular data, we use Wi Fi for Internet, email, photos, data files, etc. both at home and via free hotspots when traveling. Free or low cost Wi Fi is offered in numerous restaurants, hotels, tourist offices, public spaces, etc.
http://www.telnamobile.com and http://www.telna.com
a.Telna says its SIM card will connect to cellular services in 197 countries of the world. Cost is $19/year plus usage at very low rates, especially cheap with a WiFi internet connection. This is far simpler and easier, and costs much less than renting phones, buying SIM cards, or paying hotel phone fees when traveling abroad. It does require some tech savvy to navigate the differences in phone systems from one country to another.
b. We also added Telna "dial around" long distance to our cellular phones for overseas calls (big savings--e.g., only 4 cents/minute to France land line).
c. Telna offers customers a worldwide calling card that can be used to dial from any phone anywhere (rates are inexpensive, but vary due to charges by local providers at point of origin for calls).