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I’m not exactly sure what would work in every case, but I’ve managed to do this with both a Google Nexus (the first time) and now with an iPhone 5. Both phones were bought outside of a phone plan and I’ve simply kept the phones in airplane mode, with the WiFi on.

The iPhone required that I get a universal SIM card to activate it (a free/very cheap service), but from that point the phone has worked completely normally in airplane mode.

Some useful apps that have worked incredibly effectively for me throughout this experience are:

  • For making free calls over WiFi: Google Hangouts (can dial any number)
  • For making calls to your friends over WiFi: Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp
  • Google Maps (GPS works offline)
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