06-07-09 06:46 PM
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  1. richs10's Avatar
    After having spent several hours on this forum, on the Verizon Website and talking to the Rep at VZW Global Services (800-711-8300), I think I understand what I need to do so that my Storm works on an upcoming trip to Italy. (Edit: I corrected the above number)

    PHONE CALLS:

    A. Using Verizon Roaming Networks:
    Before you leave on your trip, you need to call Verizon Global Services and tell them you want to activate the Global Phone Plan. There is no charge for this service alone. (Data costs extra - see below). You are then eligible for the rates applicable to the country where your going. (For Italy: regular plan $1.29 per min; w/a Data Plan .99 cents). If you do not activate the Global Phone Plan, I believe you will be billed at $1.99 per minute for any calls you make while on your trip. This actually happened to a friend of mine last year, and I think that charge may vary by country, but it is high.

    Since the Storm comes with a SIM card installed, you don't have to worry about the phone working overseas. It should automatically default to the proper networks that are available.

    B. Unlocking the Storm and opting to use foreign SIM cards:
    I'm only going to be in Italy for about two weeks so I don't intend to use a local SIM card in my phone to take advantage of the lower, local pre-paid call rates. If you are going for an extended time or intend to make a lot of phone calls while there, you probably should get the phone unlocked by Verizon and use local SIM cards which you can swap with your installed Verizon SIM that is in the phone.

    There is a long thread about unlocking the phone on this site. Most of it deals with non-verizon phones since, before the Storm and the World Edition BB, no Verizon phones had sim slots. If you go to the last few pages of that thread, it talks about unlocking Verizon phones. If you intend to use local SIM cards on your trip, you must get the phone unlocked by Verizon before you leave. This does not seem to be a big problem. The Rep who I spoke with today said it could be done if I met Verizon's requirements (basically, length of service with the Company, I think). Edit: See post #4 below about unlocking the Storm.

    But, one of the problems with using a local SIM card is that you are not calling from your regular number since the local SIM cards each have a new number embedded in them. So it appears that you will not receive your normal incoming calls from people who normally call you, and I assume that anyone in the States calling your new SIM number would be making an international call to what ever country your SIM number is registered to. This could cause problems, IMO.

    DATA PLANS:

    Most SIM cards apparently have nothing to do with issue of Data usage for your e-mails, internet use and BB/Google Maps. It took me a long while to understand this. For me, this is the most important part since I want to use the Storm for GPS, Email and Google Maps.

    In order to use your Data capabilities abroad without an exorbitant "per KB" charge, the VZW Rep told me to make sure I also activate a Global Data Plan before I leave. ($69.99 per month w/o the Global Phone plan; $64.99 with the phone plan). The good part is this plan is pro-rated only for the time you have it activated. So if you activate it the day before you leave and de-activate it the day you get back, you will only pay for the number of days you need it. In Italy, the plan gives you unlimited data use. Like the Global Phone plan, you must call Global Services to activate the data plan.

    I forgot to ask about texting or BB messages. Sorry. (UPDATE: In a subsequent call to Verizon Global Services, I was informed that BlackBerry Messenger and BB PIN Messages are included in the unlimited data coverage just like at home, but regular Text Messages cost 50 cents for each sent messages and 5 cents for each received message while in Italy).

    This may come off as a noob post, but I thought it might help some of us who are new to BlackBerrys and the Storm. In my opinion, the Verizon website is not very clear. Also, if I am wrong about any of the above information, I hope someone will correct me. I tried to find a comprehensive summary of this information on CrackBerry, but couldn't. So maybe this will help some of us.

    Rich

    EDIT: After my trip, I was checking my bill and noticed that when Verizon added the $69.98 per mo. Global Voice and Data, they removed my normal BB Data Plan ($29.99 per mo). If this is true, the Global Plan's cost is actually only $39.99 per month (or $1.33 per day) over what I would normally be paying at home. I didn't realize this.
    Last edited by richs10; 05-23-09 at 06:54 AM.
    01-11-09 03:28 PM
  2. dsump's Avatar
    Just got around to reading your post. Thanks for the info, it helped out a lot.
    01-16-09 08:11 PM
  3. jmn-ny's Avatar
    No need to apologize for it being a newbie post. Frankly, it was well researched and based on fact rather than conjecture and opinion. I'm going to be in UK, Germany, Spain and France in early March and am looking into these issues. Verizon's site is vague and lacking in info so I thank you for your research and concise overview. And most of the posts I've read are based on bad info and conjecture.

    From what I've been able to surmise, the best plan is to get the Global Data Plan as it's a great deal for internet access in general. It won't let you tether but outside of that, data price is unlimited and fixed price which is a great deal internationally. Since the hotels I'm in have free internet, I'll take care of the PC that way. For voice, I think I'll take an old quad band GSM phone and buy a local SIM if its cheap enough and I'm in a country long enough to justify it and need to call a lot. Otherwise, I'll just roam on VZW.

    Again thanks for the research and detailed write up.
    01-28-09 11:17 PM
  4. richs10's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments. As an update, I went ahead and called Verizon to unlock the Storm. It was very simple to do and the Rep walked me through the whole process. I also think that I figured out that even with a foriegn SIM card in the phone, most providers still charge about a buck a minute to call back to the States from Italy. So the VZW global plan at $.99 per minute is around the going rate for international calls while your over there. I guess the SIM is really a good deal if you intend to make a lot of local calls while there.

    Rich
    01-29-09 05:55 AM
  5. jabbaj's Avatar
    Thanks Rich for sending me over here from my other link. You were very informative.

    One more Q. If I get a foreign sim card, can I use it AND the Verizon global data service simultaneously? Or do I need to continually swap them depending on my activity? (ie. foreign sim for local calls & VZW sim for data)
    02-05-09 10:37 AM
  6. richs10's Avatar
    Thanks Rich for sending me over here from my other link. You were very informative.

    One more Q. If I get a foreign sim card, can I use it AND the Verizon global data service simultaneously? Or do I need to continually swap them depending on my activity? (ie. foreign sim for local calls & VZW sim for data)
    jabbaj, I'm not entirely sure about this, but since the normal sim cards you buy overseas only take care of phone calls, the data service is going to be provided by your main carrier. (In reviewing websites for the foreign sim card sellers, I did see a few mentions of sim cards with data, but there was not much info on that).

    When I unlocked my phone, the verizon rep indicated that I would not have a problem using my Verizon Global Data Plan over there, even when using the foreign sim card in the phone. But he did stress it was very important to set up the Global Data Plan before you leave in order to lock in the unlimited data service while abroad.

    Again, this is very confusing to me, so I am not positive about this. Maybe someone else can chime in with a definitive answer.
    02-05-09 11:30 AM
  7. jwbtx's Avatar
    I thought the post was very well done. I am headed over to Europe next week and have been looking into what the best plan would be. I went ahead and unlocked my phone with Verizon. They didnt hassle me or anything.

    Now that I came across your post, I will probably go with VZs plans since the tradeoff wont be worth the monetary difference.

    jwb
    02-13-09 07:30 PM
  8. SLB260's Avatar
    Thanks for all of the advice
    03-27-09 02:17 AM
  9. jwarnoc's Avatar
    I was in Germany last year with the 8830, which works in the same way as the Storm. I had the global data activated, and it worked perfectly from Munich through Schweinfurt and Frankfurt. I usually had 2-4 bars on Vodaphone.de.

    The 8830 did tend to switch itself from Vodaphone to other networks, usually T-Mobile or O2. I think that has to do with cell towers, and it didn't matter in terms of cost. I went into options/mobile network and locked the device to Vodaphone which cleared up the issue. It also might not be a problem with the new OS in the Storm.
    03-27-09 09:11 AM
  10. vital velocity's Avatar
    You pretty much got it all right....i just came back from italy and the phone worked great
    03-27-09 09:26 AM
  11. thearmybouncer's Avatar
    Appreciate the info, I am gonna be going to Iraq soon and want to use a sim card I got from there on my last tour. The info helped out alot!!
    03-27-09 09:37 AM
  12. richs10's Avatar
    Vital Velocity: Good to hear it worked. I'm leaving for Italy the beginning of May. BTW, did you have to mess with entering the + symbol to dial the US or did the phone do it automatically? (ie: can you just pick a # from your addressbook and dial?)

    thearmybouncer: I'm glad I could help. You be careful over there. And THANK YOU for your service to our country!
    04-09-09 03:56 PM
  13. jmn-ny's Avatar
    I was in UK, Germany, Spain and France last month. Data worked fine - Google Maps with GPS works fantastic.

    One problem. I called 2 days before I left to turn on the global data plan and called the day after I returned in mid-March to turn it off. When I called, they told me that it was never turned on.

    To make a long story short, VZW agreed that it was their mistake and the credited me the amount that was rung up ($3100 - BTW) and just charged me for the pro-rated Global Data Plan.

    Moral of the story. Make sure to turn it on and check it once to make sure that VZW did it and it stuck!
    04-19-09 09:51 PM
  14. demetri's Avatar
    After having spent several hours on this forum, on the Verizon Website and talking to the Rep at VZW Global Services (800-771-8300), I think I understand what I need to do so that my Storm works on an upcoming trip to Italy.

    PHONE CALLS:

    A. Using Verizon Roaming Networks:
    Before you leave on your trip, you need to call Verizon Global Services and tell them you want to activate the Global Phone Plan. There is no charge for this service alone. (Data costs extra - see below). You are then eligible for the rates applicable to the country where your going. (For Italy: regular plan $1.29 per min; w/a Data Plan .99 cents). If you do not activate the Global Phone Plan, I believe you will be billed at $1.99 per minute for any calls you make while on your trip. This actually happened to a friend of mine last year, and I think that charge may vary by country, but it is high.

    Since the Storm comes with a SIM card installed, you don't have to worry about the phone working overseas. It should automatically default to the proper networks that are available.

    B. Unlocking the Storm and opting to use foreign SIM cards:
    I'm only going to be in Italy for about two weeks so I don't intend to use a local SIM card in my phone to take advantage of the lower, local pre-paid call rates. If you are going for an extended time or intend to make a lot of phone calls while there, you probably should get the phone unlocked by Verizon and use local SIM cards which you can swap with your installed Verizon SIM that is in the phone.

    There is a long thread about unlocking the phone on this site. Most of it deals with non-verizon phones since, before the Storm and the World Edition BB, no Verizon phones had sim slots. If you go to the last few pages of that thread, it talks about unlocking Verizon phones. If you intend to use local SIM cards on your trip, you must get the phone unlocked by Verizon before you leave. This does not seem to be a big problem. The Rep who I spoke with today said it could be done if I met Verizon's requirements (basically, length of service with the Company, I think). Edit: See post #4 below about unlocking the Storm.

    But, one of the problems with using a local SIM card is that you are not calling from your regular number since the local SIM cards each have a new number embedded in them. So it appears that you will not receive your normal incoming calls from people who normally call you, and I assume that anyone in the States calling your new SIM number would be making an international call to what ever country your SIM number is registered to. This could cause problems, IMO.

    DATA PLANS:

    Most SIM cards apparently have nothing to do with issue of Data usage for your e-mails, internet use and BB/Google Maps. It took me a long while to understand this. For me, this is the most important part since I want to use the Storm for GPS, Email and Google Maps.

    In order to use your Data capabilities abroad without an exorbitant "per KB" charge, the VZW Rep told me to make sure I also activate a Global Data Plan before I leave. ($69.99 per month w/o the Global Phone plan; $64.99 with the phone plan). The good part is this plan is pro-rated only for the time you have it activated. So if you activate it the day before you leave and de-activate it the day you get back, you will only pay for the number of days you need it. In Italy, the plan gives you unlimited data use. Like the Global Phone plan, you must call Global Services to activate the data plan.

    I forgot to ask about texting or BB messages. Sorry.

    This may come off as a noob post, but I thought it might help some of us who are new to BlackBerrys and the Storm. In my opinion, the Verizon website is not very clear. Also, if I am wrong about any of the above information, I hope someone will correct me. I tried to find a comprehensive summary of this information on CrackBerry, but couldn't. So maybe this will help some of us.

    Rich
    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    04-20-09 08:23 AM
  15. demetri's Avatar
    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com iam going to greece for a month and i think it would be nice to unlock the storm in greece when they call you incoming call you dont pay enything last year i was in greece and i had t mobile i was talking on the sell hours at the time i never got charge only when u make calls

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    04-20-09 08:25 AM
  16. richs10's Avatar
    I spoke with a very nice rep at Verizon's Global Services again. She further explained the charges to me:

    - For voice only, you can pay a pro-ratable fee of $4.99 per month for the "Global Value Plan" and get the .99 per min rate for phone calls rather than paying $1.29 per min, but by choosing the pro-ratable $69.99 "Global Email (and Data) Plan", you are also automatically enrolled in the Global Value (voice) Plan for the lower cost phone calls.

    - BB Messenger and BB PIN Messages are part of the Email/Data plan, so there is no additional charge to use them if you have chosen the Global Email Plan. Regular texting is billed separately as $.50 per sent message and $.05 per received message while in Europe.

    - Verizon says they cannot set you up in advance to switch over to the Global Plans. You must call them (direct line: 908-559-4899) the day before you leave to turn it on and then call them when you get back to turn it off. It has something to do with Verizon's need to send a real-time signal to your SIM card in the phone to activate the plans. You can also use the above 908 number to directly contact Global Services while in Europe if you have a problem.

    - All these plans can be pro-rated. So while the costs are quoted in monthly charges, the Global plan averages about $2.33 a day for the length of your trip (provided you make the required calls before and after). SEE EDIT TO 1ST POST - COST IS ONLY ABOUT $1.33 PER DAY due to credit for current plan.

    - The "Global Access" described on the Verizon web page is for "air cards" used to connect your computer or laptop to the internet while in Europe. It has nothing to do with BlackBerries.

    (I also corrected the 800 number in my original post)

    Hope this additional info helps.
    VERIZON REALLY NEEDS TO RE-WRITE THEIR WEB PAGE ON THIS STUFF! IT IS VERY CONFUSING!
    Last edited by richs10; 05-23-09 at 07:03 AM.
    04-22-09 06:55 AM
  17. FF22's Avatar
    First, thanks for this very informative thread. I may be over in Austria/Italy in June/July and it could be very helpful.

    My question: is there a way to verify (while in the USA) that you have successfully UNlocked the sim card slot (for want of a better term to describe the unlock process)? I did this almost a year ago (it may be more) and would like to confirm it is unlocked if I want to use a foreign sim card. I don't think there is a clear status message to confirm things.
    04-22-09 09:27 AM
  18. markj73's Avatar
    Yes, Thank you very much for the clarification on the BB Email/Data plan, for some reason the verizon website seems to make it appear as if it's only Email and not other data, so if you have 3G over there, should be able to Skype people when the skype client comes out for BB.. in theory.

    Yes it is simple to confirm the unlocked status, just slip a T-Mobile or AT&T sim in the phone and set it to GSM, if you can make a successful call and don't get the sos message at the top of the screen, you are good to go. This is for the Storm, I see you have 8830, I'm not sure if it has the local 850/1900 bands, for GSM... if not, you can still insert the sim, it just may say no service instead of sos/Invalid sim...
    04-22-09 09:52 AM
  19. FF22's Avatar
    Yes, the 8830 is definitely restricted to "European" bands. Hmm, so someone with a Storm could move to another carrier in the US and use their sim - interesting (not that I want a Storm).

    I may see if I can find a US-sim from another carrier and see what kind of results I get.
    04-22-09 01:28 PM
  20. big dawg 23's Avatar
    After having spent several hours on this forum, on the Verizon Website and talking to the Rep at VZW Global Services (800-711-8300), I think I understand what I need to do so that my Storm works on an upcoming trip to Italy. (Edit: I corrected the above number)

    PHONE CALLS:

    A. Using Verizon Roaming Networks:
    Before you leave on your trip, you need to call Verizon Global Services and tell them you want to activate the Global Phone Plan. There is no charge for this service alone. (Data costs extra - see below). You are then eligible for the rates applicable to the country where your going. (For Italy: regular plan $1.29 per min; w/a Data Plan .99 cents). If you do not activate the Global Phone Plan, I believe you will be billed at $1.99 per minute for any calls you make while on your trip. This actually happened to a friend of mine last year, and I think that charge may vary by country, but it is high.

    Since the Storm comes with a SIM card installed, you don't have to worry about the phone working overseas. It should automatically default to the proper networks that are available.

    B. Unlocking the Storm and opting to use foreign SIM cards:
    I'm only going to be in Italy for about two weeks so I don't intend to use a local SIM card in my phone to take advantage of the lower, local pre-paid call rates. If you are going for an extended time or intend to make a lot of phone calls while there, you probably should get the phone unlocked by Verizon and use local SIM cards which you can swap with your installed Verizon SIM that is in the phone.

    There is a long thread about unlocking the phone on this site. Most of it deals with non-verizon phones since, before the Storm and the World Edition BB, no Verizon phones had sim slots. If you go to the last few pages of that thread, it talks about unlocking Verizon phones. If you intend to use local SIM cards on your trip, you must get the phone unlocked by Verizon before you leave. This does not seem to be a big problem. The Rep who I spoke with today said it could be done if I met Verizon's requirements (basically, length of service with the Company, I think). Edit: See post #4 below about unlocking the Storm.

    But, one of the problems with using a local SIM card is that you are not calling from your regular number since the local SIM cards each have a new number embedded in them. So it appears that you will not receive your normal incoming calls from people who normally call you, and I assume that anyone in the States calling your new SIM number would be making an international call to what ever country your SIM number is registered to. This could cause problems, IMO.

    DATA PLANS:

    Most SIM cards apparently have nothing to do with issue of Data usage for your e-mails, internet use and BB/Google Maps. It took me a long while to understand this. For me, this is the most important part since I want to use the Storm for GPS, Email and Google Maps.

    In order to use your Data capabilities abroad without an exorbitant "per KB" charge, the VZW Rep told me to make sure I also activate a Global Data Plan before I leave. ($69.99 per month w/o the Global Phone plan; $64.99 with the phone plan). The good part is this plan is pro-rated only for the time you have it activated. So if you activate it the day before you leave and de-activate it the day you get back, you will only pay for the number of days you need it. In Italy, the plan gives you unlimited data use. Like the Global Phone plan, you must call Global Services to activate the data plan.

    I forgot to ask about texting or BB messages. Sorry. (UPDATE: In a subsequent call to Verizon Global Services, I was informed that BlackBerry Messenger and BB PIN Messages are included in the unlimited data coverage just like at home, but regular Text Messages cost 50 cents for each sent messages and 5 cents for each received message while in Italy).

    This may come off as a noob post, but I thought it might help some of us who are new to BlackBerrys and the Storm. In my opinion, the Verizon website is not very clear. Also, if I am wrong about any of the above information, I hope someone will correct me. I tried to find a comprehensive summary of this information on CrackBerry, but couldn't. So maybe this will help some of us.

    Rich

    Thanks for you in depth review. I called Verizon about a month ago to get my Storm Unlocked. This was done in preparation for a Trip to Sweden/Norway/Finland/Denmark in the fall. My plan is to get the Global data plan to surf, do emails and BB Messenger. They told me sending TXT 50 cent and under for sending and receiving TXT and MMS. I will try to make sure I get no TXT messages. My main contacts have BB Messenger so that takes care of it.

    I will buy a local Sim card for free incoming minutes. I would like to talk to my Wife and Kids daily via IM and webcam from a local WIFI or if Skype is up and running with no blockages from Verizon.
    04-22-09 02:27 PM
  21. TL_33's Avatar
    First thanks to everyone for there insight on this, but I am still a little confused.

    I will be traveling to Europe (Italy and Greece) in a couple months, and I would like to use my Storm there. I would like to get the data (BBM, Email, Web) and use my voice, but was wondering if I should just unlock my phone and use a local SIM. If I do unlock my phone and put in a local SIM would I still get data? And if not and its just the voice, What happens when the blackberry tries to connect back to a network every so often for data? I just want to make sure I can use my phone while there.
    04-22-09 10:53 PM
  22. richs10's Avatar
    I am under the impression that if you use a local sim in an unlocked Storm, you will not have the data (and email) functions you normally do at home. I'm a noob at this, but I think the local sim card only provides the voice service. Since your Verizon sim is out of the phone, your data and email will not work. I think.

    Rich
    04-23-09 06:39 AM
  23. stormiscoming's Avatar
    Thank you for taking the time to do this, it was very helpfull.

    now hopefully I can make it to Italy this summer, after that earthquake they just had I don't know if I want to go so soon.
    04-23-09 04:52 PM
  24. teddeli's Avatar
    I was in UK, Germany, Spain and France last month. Data worked fine - Google Maps with GPS works fantastic.

    One problem. I called 2 days before I left to turn on the global data plan and called the day after I returned in mid-March to turn it off. When I called, they told me that it was never turned on.

    To make a long story short, VZW agreed that it was their mistake and the credited me the amount that was rung up ($3100 - BTW) and just charged me for the pro-rated Global Data Plan.

    Moral of the story. Make sure to turn it on and check it once to make sure that VZW did it and it stuck!
    I'm not sure if this is the same situation but when I went to Cancun Mexico a few months ago my global plan was turned on and turned off automatically at the times I specified a week before. In Mexico I was not using a SIM card because Cancun uses CDMA but I did use the Global pan for the web and email. Cost me about $10 extra for the plan not counting the calls I made.
    04-23-09 05:14 PM
  25. richs10's Avatar
    UPDATE ON ACTIVATION PROCESS:

    I called Verizon last night to activate the Global Email and Data Plan since I am leaving for Italy today. The VZW tech made the changes and also informed me that my sim card already was set up for International use. This morning, I checked my account plan on the 'My Verizon' App I had previously downloaded to my Storm. The 'My Plan Overview" now shows 'International Dial Allowed - $0.00' and also shows 'Global Email_Voice VP BB $69.98'. When I get back from Europe, I will call to remove the Global Email_Voice and they will pro-rate the monthly charge to the number of days I used it. The VZW tech confirmed that calls under the plan while in Italy will cost $.99 per min.

    So, I'm good to go!
    05-01-09 06:22 AM
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