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  1. #1
    Ablang
    Guest
    The 411 on World Phones
    Not all cell phones work when you're abroad. Here's what you need to
    stay in touch almost anywhere around the globe.

    Grace Aquino, PC World
    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Some people think that bringing a cell phone on a trip to another
    country is excessive. A part of me used to think that, too--until I
    tried it. One test drive and I was hooked. Not only is it great for
    emergencies, but it also comes in handy for sending quick text
    messages back home. If you're a spontaneous traveler like me, you can
    book hotels, dinner reservations, and the like as you go. If you have
    a camera phone, you can send snapshots of your vacation without
    visiting a photo lab or an Internet café.

    But toting a cell phone on a global trek or a business trip requires a
    particular type of phone and wireless service--plus extra cash for the
    roaming fees. Not all handsets work outside the United States, and not
    all wireless service providers offer international roaming: In some
    cases you must get a new phone and sign up with a different wireless
    carrier. Here's a rundown on the things you need to know.

    The Essentials

    To use a cell phone overseas, you generally need a handset that
    supports Global System for Mobile networks in foreign countries and
    either an international roaming plan from your U.S. carrier or a local
    Subscriber Identity Module card from a telecom company in the country
    you're visiting.

    Even if your U.S. carrier has a GSM network (AT&T/Cingular and
    T-Mobile do), your mobile phone isn't necessarily a world phone; if
    it's a relatively inexpensive handset, it probably isn't. And GSM
    comes in many flavors: Some phones support all GSM frequencies, and
    others are compatible only with one or two types. For a true world
    phone, look for a phone that supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (each of
    these numbers represents a different GSM frequency).

    The U.S. and Canada, and parts of Africa, Central America, and South
    America, use GSM 1900. Asia, Australia, and Europe, and parts of
    Africa and South America, operate on both GSM 900 and GSM 1800. Some
    parts of Latin America also use GSM 850. Head to GSM World for a
    helpful list that shows which GSM frequencies are supported in nearly
    every country in the world. The site also provides information on the
    telecom companies available in each country, plus each carrier's
    network coverage map. It's a good idea to find out whether your phone
    supports the GSM frequency for your destination before you hop on the
    plane.

    Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson offer a variety of
    handsets that support all four GSM frequencies. For example, you can
    get the Motorola Razr V3 and the Nokia 3650 or the 6230 (which I used
    in Spain and Australia, respectively). LG Electronics, NEC, Panasonic,
    Samsung, and Sharp also offer GSM phones. A few PDA/phone combos such
    as the PalmOne Treos (GSM models) and Hewlett-Packard IPaqs work in
    other countries; RIM Blackberries do, also.

    GSM handles voice calls. On the data side, the complementary services
    are General Packet Radio Service, the faster Enhanced Data for Global
    Evolution, and several so-called 3G (for third generation, the fastest
    wireless communications) technologies, of which only Universal Mobile
    Telephone System has begun to appear in the U.S.

    International Roaming Service

    To use a mobile phone abroad, you'll need to subscribe to an
    international phone plan. Such a plan allows you to call people
    overseas and receive calls from abroad while you're in the
    U.S.--albeit at a very high per-minute price. Text messaging your
    buddy in Calcutta is more economical.

    The major nationwide carriers--AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless,
    Nextel, Sprint PCS,T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless--offer international
    roaming service. This means the companies have partnered with carriers
    in other countries to provide expanded service to U.S. customers. Some
    regional cellular companies also offer international roaming.

    AT&T/Cingular and T-Mobile run on GSM, and Nextel runs on Integrated
    Digital Enhanced Network. Sprint and Verizon use Code Division
    Multiple Access. These carriers offer mobile phones that work in Asia,
    Europe, or other continents, although some handsets operate only in a
    few countries in a given continent. As with any cell phone service,
    you may not get coverage in remote areas.

    If you're a Sprint or Verizon customer, be aware that your CDMA phone
    won't work on a GSM network here or abroad; you'll likely need another
    phone that supports GSM or both CDMA and GSM. Both Sprint and Verizon
    offer at least one hybrid phone for their globe-trotting customers.
    For example, Sprint has just announced its first quad-band device, the
    PCS IP-A790 by Samsung, which supports both CDMA and GSM networks.

    Verizon notes that CDMA networks are available in some countries,
    including the Dominican Republic, Israel, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South
    Korea, and Venezuela. Verizon customers can use their CDMA phone in
    these countries, but they should check with Verizon before they travel
    to make sure overseas service is activated.

    Nextel customers can use their Internet-enabled IDEN phones in a
    handful of countries with IDEN networks: Argentina, Brazil, Canada,
    Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Singapore.
    Otherwise, they must have a IDEN-GSM hybrid (such as the Motorola
    T720) in order to roam on GSM networks abroad.

    Alternatives to Roaming

    If you'd rather not subscribe to international roaming with your
    existing phone, consider renting an international phone in the U.S. or
    at your destination. For example, Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon rent
    out phones to occasional travelers. An international phone rental can
    be pricey, however.

    The less expensive option to international roaming is buying a prepaid
    SIM card at your destination, then swapping it with the card inside
    your phone. The tiny SIM card is like the phone's life-support system:
    Without it, the handset won't work. The card, which looks likes a
    circuit board, stores subscriber details, security information, and
    memory for phone numbers. The SIM card also stores data that
    identifies the caller to the service provider. The card is usually
    located one layer beneath the battery. Pop the battery out and you
    should see the SIM card seated in a slot.

    Prepaid SIM cards typically come in per-minute increments. Costs vary,
    so shop around. Depending on the country you visit, you should be able
    to find a few phone operators selling prepaid SIM cards. In most
    locales, you'll find the cards at convenience stores and phone shops.
    If you want to control your usage, a prepaid SIM card is a good
    choice.

    However, if you're planning on swapping out a SIM card overseas, you
    may have to do a little work before you go. Major carriers often make
    swapping out SIM cards difficult by locking their handsets--meaning
    the phone won't recognize cards from other carriers. In most cases you
    should be able to get the carrier to unlock your phone on request, but
    you should look into this before you travel.

    Also, bear in mind that if you use an overseas carrier's SIM card,
    your phone will no longer answer calls to your usual number--that's
    one advantage to paying the higher rates for international roaming
    with your original SIM card.

    Costs and Constraints

    Like many monthly services, international roaming fees vary; and if
    you don't keep track of your usage, the bill can deplete your savings.
    For international voice calls, you're almost always charged according
    to the length of the call; prices range from 69 cents to a whopping $5
    per minute. For text messaging, you'll pay about 10 cents to 35 cents
    per message. For Internet data, most carriers offer unlimited usage
    for a flat fee; Cingular charges $25, for example. Some also offer a
    metered usage option; for example, Verizon charges $15 for 5MB of data
    transmitted and/or received. On top of usage fees, you'll most likely
    pay tax and other surcharges--expenses that are difficult to budget
    for.

    Each wireless service provider also has its own set of rules and fees.
    Some of the prerequisites are stringent and don't make much sense. For
    example, to get international roaming with AT&T Wireless or Cingular
    Wireless, you must be a subscriber for at least 30 days--forget about
    walking into an AT&T/Cingular store, buying a world phone, and
    expecting to use it in another country the next day. It's a good idea
    to call the carrier or check its Web site for details on international
    service months in advance.

    Useful Extras

    Although these accessories are an added expense, they're worth every
    penny:

    Power Adapter/Converter Kit. This is one of those things that you need
    to bring on an overseas trip but almost always forget about until you
    need it. Before you go, I highly recommend buying a complete kit, such
    as Belkin's Business Traveler Converter Kit, which has both converters
    and tips for several major cell phones and PDAs. It's an indispensable
    tool.

    Spare Battery. Finding that your cell phone has died the minute you
    get off the plane can be a real letdown. If you don't buy a power
    adapter, splurging on an extra battery is the next best thing.

    http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article...,119700,00.asp


    ===
    "A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty."
    -- Author Unknown



    See More: The 411 on World Phones




  2. #2
    Jeremy
    Guest

    Re: The 411 on World Phones



    Ablating wrote:
    >
    > The 411 on World Phones
    > Not all cell phones work when you're abroad. Here's what you need to
    > stay in touch almost anywhere around the globe.
    >


    >Not all handsets work outside the United States, and not

    all wireless service providers offer international roaming: In some
    cases you must get a new phone and sign up with a different wireless
    carrier. Here's a rundown on the things you need to know.>

    You also have to wait for approval from your Gestapo (DHS) before you
    can use a USA phone even in Mexico.

    JJ



  3. #3
    NerdRevenge
    Guest

    Re: The 411 on World Phones


    "Jeremy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > Ablating wrote:
    >>
    >> The 411 on World Phones
    >> Not all cell phones work when you're abroad. Here's what you need to
    >> stay in touch almost anywhere around the globe.
    >>

    >
    >>Not all handsets work outside the United States, and not

    > all wireless service providers offer international roaming: In some
    > cases you must get a new phone and sign up with a different wireless
    > carrier. Here's a rundown on the things you need to know.>
    >
    > You also have to wait for approval from your Gestapo (DHS) before you
    > can use a USA phone even in Mexico.
    >
    > JJ


    Cingular now has roaming agreements with Mexican cell phone companies and
    NextTel has service there





  4. #4
    Jeremy
    Guest

    Re: The 411 on World Phones



    NerdRevenge wrote:
    >
    >


    >
    > Cingular now has roaming agreements with Mexican cell phone companies and
    > NextTel has service there


    So does Sprint, but if you use the service you still get checked out.

    JJ



  5. #5
    John S.
    Guest

    Re: The 411 on World Phones


    "Jeremy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > Ablating wrote:
    >>
    >> The 411 on World Phones
    >> Not all cell phones work when you're abroad. Here's what you need to
    >> stay in touch almost anywhere around the globe.
    >>

    >
    >>Not all handsets work outside the United States, and not

    > all wireless service providers offer international roaming: In some
    > cases you must get a new phone and sign up with a different wireless
    > carrier. Here's a rundown on the things you need to know.>
    >
    > You also have to wait for approval from your Gestapo (DHS) before you
    > can use a USA phone even in Mexico.


    Huh???? I have never waited for anything to use my cell phone in other
    countries, even Communist Vietnam. Works just fine!





  6. #6
    John S.
    Guest

    Re: The 411 on World Phones


    "Jeremy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > NerdRevenge wrote:
    >>
    >>

    >
    >>
    >> Cingular now has roaming agreements with Mexican cell phone companies and
    >> NextTel has service there

    >
    > So does Sprint, but if you use the service you still get checked out.


    If you get "Checked out" it is totally transparent. If a roaming agreement
    is in place, there is no checking to do as the home company is obligated to
    collect the revenue and the other country gets paid in any event.





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