Wednesday, September 02, 2009

more obsessive-compulsive behavior prior to Spain trip

I have found endless opportunities for obsessing about teeny details surrounding our upcoming trip. One is phone service.

Both of us have AT&T, quad-band SmartPhones. I have obtained unlock codes for both, so there should be no problems with them working over there. The question is: on what carrier?

If we make no changes, we should be able to connect with a compatible network, and would pay $1.29/minute, keeping our own numbers. If I call Karen (like we get separated and lost), both sender and receiver get charged that amount.

AT&T has a $6/month plan, that takes that charge down to $0.99/minute.

I found a commercial SIM card where the charge is $0.27/minute, but there is an up-front charge of $60 PER PHONE.

How to evaluate all this? Excel to the rescue:

So, it seems that, staying with AT&T, the break-even point with subscribing to their 'Global Traveler' plan is 40 minutes used, and, even after that, the benefit is negligible. I guess the value of their program is for folks who plan to use hours of phone time, not minutes.

BTW - we will use Skype to call the US, either free (computer-to-computer) or ridiculously-cheap (computer to land-line/cell). We plan on using the cell-phone network over there ONLY to call each other, if we lose each other.

The yellow line (separate SIM card, for a Spain phone-carrier), is significantly more expensive than either AT&T option, so that's out.

My decision: don't sign up for the AT&T $6/month plan, but, once we're there, talk to people and visit local vendors to possibly buy a Spanish SIM.

Whew! Now I can go back to fretting about other logistical minutiae.

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