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In the USA both the caller and the callee pay for airtime.

In Europe the caller pays for air time.

While I vacation in Europe (Netherlands) I have a pay as you go SIM card that I use. I've used it the past 4 years, I've put no money on it since I bought it and I've used up all of the minutes, I get 10 free texts. When people want to get ahold of me they can call me and I can answer my phone, even-though I have no "minutes" left on my SIM card. I can receive text messages, and it won't count against my 10 free texts. I can use those 10 free texts to prompt people to call me.

That is beautiful. In the United States if I get a pre-pay sim card the money on it expires after 90 days if I don't use it, and at that time the number becomes invalid too. Unless you pre-pay $100 dollars onto the pre-pay card. I've had the same number for the last 4 years now, in The Netherlands, and it hasn't expired.

There are tradeoffs: In Europe it's more expensive to call a mobile phone compared to a landline. In the US, the caller doesn't have to worry about what kind of device they are calling, the price is the same.

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