I have a Virgin Mobile Pay as you go phone, is there any chance that will work in Hungary, Italy and Germany?

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    What kind of phone is it? GSM or a verizon style one?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 21:36
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    You may want to look at this question for some general hints on mobiles abroad too
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


Not that phone. Virgin, in the USA, uses Sprint's network. Sprint uses the CDMA standard. Europe uses a different standard, GSM.

The only US phones which can work in Europe are:

  • GSM phones from AT&T and/or T-Mobile, the two GSM providers in the US, as long as the phone supports the same bands as the country you're going to (most phones in the last couple of years are multi-band and will).
  • The newer "world phones" from Verizon, Sprint, and other CDMA carriers, (including the iPhones 4S and 5) which support both CDMA and GSM.

The phone should also be carrier-unlocked. Then you can buy foreign carrier SIM cards and pop them in your phone. It's cheap to use. However, unlocked phones are generally a few hundred dollars more than locked ones. If you buy a phone without a contract, it's probably unlocked.

A locked phone would still use the American phone plan. It's expensive to use abroad. But locked phones are cheaper to buy. If you buy a phone with a contract (i.e. for two years), it's probably locked.


If your phone is not GSM it won't work. You could buy a cheap prepaid phone over there for about €50→€100 or so (I'm guessing here) and use that. Might be cheaper/easier than sorting out a phone in the USA.

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    if your stopping off in Britian you can get a phone(unlocked and 10 pounds credit) for 12.95. the phone will work in Europe.
    – Stuart
    Commented Dec 25, 2011 at 23:34
  • @Stuart if the USA phone is not GSM, it won't work in EU Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:27
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    I was suggesting buying a British GSM phone and sim (If the OP was passing through Britain as a lot of flights from the US do) for 12.95 pounds. carphonewarehouse.com/pay-as-you-go/phone-finder The cheapest Phone is 2.95 when you buy 10pounds credit. (total 12.95) If all you require is texting and talking it's a good solution.
    – Stuart
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 23:48
  • @Stuart Yep that's right. I thought you meant "get an (American) phone unlocked in Britain" Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 10:18
  • @iterationx. In Italy you can get cheap phones too (around 20 euros, I'd say) but we have strict rules as for SIM cards. Whenever you buy one, you need to give a lot of personal details, a photocopy of your ID and personal identification number, so I suppose you had better get a SIM card in Britain rather than here. I have no information as to what the rules are in Germany and Hungary.
    – Paola
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:29

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