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  1.    #1  
    I am not that familiar with using cellphones abroad but was charged quite a bit for a trip I recently made to Canada. For those who are also somewhat uncertain, I found this article very clearly written:

    Excerpt:
    "Even if you have a GSM phone that operates on both overseas frequencies, domestic cellphone providers do not want you to use your phone with another company’s SIM card, because they do not make any money when you do. To prevent your doing so, cellphones bought through Cingular and T-Mobile are electronically locked — they accept only their own company’s SIM cards.

    Before you throw your phone off the Eiffel Tower in frustration, know that there are several ways to unlock your phone and avoid those high overseas roaming rates.

    Cingular and T-Mobile will unlock their customers’ phones under certain conditions. Cingular will provide unlock codes to customers whose contracts have expired, who have canceled their service and paid an early termination fee, or who have paid a full rather than subsidized price for their phones, according to Rich Blasi, a Cingular Wireless spokesman.

    T-Mobile has more lenient policies. It will provide the unlock code to any customer after 90 days of service, but no more than one unlock code will be provided every 90 days, said Graham Crow, a T-Mobile spokesman.

    If you do not meet these requirements, you can still get your phone unlocked from a private company. For a few dollars, the Travel Insider (www.thetravelinsider.com) and UnlockTelecom (www.unlocktelecom.co.uk) will provide your phone’s specific unlocking code."

    Full story
  2. #2  
    I had a trip to Canada last year. Before the trip I did a research and I did not find a good deal for Canadian prepaid simcard. Not like the $15 T-Mobile 90 minute card you can get in ebay. So I end up just using my Sprint plan, which is 20 or 40 cents a minute? I don't remember.

    BTW netcafe is very easy to find in the big cities, so if yo want to use VOIP that's fine. For instant messengers, meebo.com let you log into all IM clients online.
  3. #3  
    At this moment I am in Dubai with my trusty 750 in hand. So I'm in the middle of a "Treo abroad" experience.



    PHONE

    The first thing for international travel is an unlocked phone. I bought a 750 from mobileplanet.com, so I'm all set there. I have always had unlocked Treos, except for the 700wx on Sprint that I currently own.

    TIME ZONE PROBLEM

    The 750 of course has the Windows Mobile problem of every time you change time zones all of your appointments are moved in the calendar.

    Who the bleep thought this was a brilliant idea? I have a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow here in Dubai. It should be in my calendar at 10 a.m., right? Oh, no. It is scheduled at some ungodly hour on another day because I set the appointment in my 750's calendar when I was in California. www.pocketinformant.com has a tool I'm about to try called the WebIS Toolbox.

    My 650 didn't do this stupid *&^$@)?% trick. Listen up, Mr. Gates. When I enter a 10 a.m. appointment in my calendar, it means I need to be somewhere at 10 a.m. and I don't want to have to do time zone math in my head to figure out if it is 10 a.m. in Dubai on a Sunday what time is it in Los Angeles so I can figure out where to put the appointment. F. F. F. (Those are pirate's oaths, not a report card).

    Then there is the constant problem of "if it is ____ p.m. here, what time is it there?" My 650 had a little thing called World Clock that was really nice, clean, simple. The 750 doesn't.

    Managing time zones, changing the time on the phone, electing network time or not -- all of these tasks were simpler on the 650. I knew that when I went to a Windows Mobile device (for ActiveSync to my server) so I am not going to whine about this. Much.

    Bottom line for me? The WM phone is not as good a travelling tool, based solely on the (insert pirate's oath here) WM handling of time zone changes and the impact on

    DIALTONE -- PREPAID SIM

    Next you need dialtone.

    www.go-sim.com. Briefly put this is a prepaid SIM from Estonia that gives free incoming calls and pretty cheap outgoing calls. Sounds good but I think I will try another prepaid SIM next time. Here's why.

    -- no voice mail. That limits the value of a phone number. I really can't leave it in my phone and use it for day-to-day inbound/outbound calling.

    -- no data roaming. This is a Treo I'm holding, right? I want email.

    -- odd incompatibility with the 750. For some reason I can't dial a number from the normal dialpad function. I have to use the Go-SIM's dialing menu. Worked fine in Ireland and Belgium. An annoyance only.

    -- Can't make outbound calls from Dubai. Although in theory I should be able to use the Go-SIM here, I can't. That's because whatever tricky dialing system that Go-SIM uses internally is blocked here.

    The acronym is USSD, whatever that means. In practice you go to the Go-SIM's menu, dial the number you want, including country code, then your own phone rings, you hit "answer" and you're in business. That functionality is disabled by the local telco here in Dubai, I think.

    Thus because the Go-SIM can't use the Treo's normal phone dialing function, this is a useless piece of plastic here in Dubai and it won't save me any money.

    My other shopping choice was www.telestial.com. Others may have better prepaid SIM ideas. I think when I get back I'm going to do some research on HoFo and elsewhere to see what I can do.

    DIALTONE -- SPRINT

    My normal U.S. day-to-day workhorse phone is a 700wx on Sprint. This is a great phone (shares the same calendar/time zone stupidity of course) and I get great coverage. I have a SERO account so I'm happy.

    The 700wx is useless outside the U.S. (Hence the 750 in my pocket).

    Sprint sent me a SIM card so I could roam internationally. Their prices are ridiculous for roaming. Stupid Sprint only enabled this SIM for data roaming but not for voice. I had to call them from Ireland to get them to enable voice roaming. What kind of moronic telephone company would give you a SIM card but not allow voice roaming? So there I sat in Dublin wondering why the (bleep) I was having troubles. One long tech support call from the Dublin Airport to Sprint later, problem solved.

    I'm not using the Sprint SIM. Too problematic in terms of service, too expensive in terms of roaming charges. This means if people call my mobile number from the U.S. they can't reach me. F. F. F. (More pirates).

    DIALTONE -- T-MOBILE

    I have an old T-Mobile line still under contract until May. I stuck the SIM into the 750. BANG. It worked in Ireland. BANG. It worked in Belgium. BANG. It worked in the U.K. BANG. It works in Dubai. I expect to have another "BANG! It works!" experience in Bahrain later in the week.

    The T-Mobile line what I'm using. Roaming prices are higher than the prepaid SIM but cheaper than Sprint.

    DATA ROAMING

    It is metered, not unlimited. It is expensive. Get over it. Don't browse the web. I do email via my Exchange Server and that's it. I use my Treo as a laptop replacement as much as I can in the U.S. I don't follow that practice while traveling.

    I get the big U on my 750. The big U is intoxicating and in the U.K. at least seemed to be faster than EV-DO on my 700wx in Los Angeles.

    THE TREO AND SWAPPING SIMS

    The 650 was ridiculously easy on this. The 750 buries the SIM card underneath the battery like most other phones.

    I liked the 650's method better for times like this, but I like the 750's method better for the usual day-to-day nontraveling life. There is simply no chance of losing a SIM when it is underneath the battery inside the phone. Of course I never had any problem with my 650, so maybe this is a nonissue.

    But swapping SIMs on the 750 is a pain.

    USING DIFFERENT SIMS IN A 750

    For phone use this is not a big deal. But for data use it is basically crippling.

    I'm using T-Mobile. So in the "Connections" area of WM there is an entry for wap.voicestream.com and that's how I get data.

    Now let's say I stick my Sprint SIM into the Treo. It tries to use wap.voicestream.com. No go.

    I haven't figured out an answer. I also didn't get any possibility of a hint of an idea that perhaps Sprint's technical support knew what the F the problem was. On the domestic Sprint network they don't need to think about this. It is hardwired into the phone.

    This is another reason I won't use the Sprint SIM.

    There are little quirks to using three different SIMs in the Treo. When you retrieve voicemail, where does it retrieve from? I created some special speed dials to do this.

    BOTTOM LINE

    My secretary laughs at me and says all of these problems can be cured by the right medications.

    But here are my lessons.

    1. If you're a Sprint customer, just give up and die. Use your Sprint phone happily in the U.S. but if you travel to GSM territory you're hosed. I'm with Sprint because of price. Most of the time I am in the U.S. so it is not a big deal.

    2. T-Mobile has been very, very good to me. Too bad they are going to have high speed data on a nonstandard frequency in the U.S. Too bad Sprint has better deals.

    3. I travel with way, way, way, way too many cords and chargers and adapters and doo dads.

    4. I am going to look at other prepaid SIMs next time, and I will be sure to buy data roaming and voice mail.
  4. pdanut2's Avatar
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    #4  
    Wow! I don't travel all that much but I hope to see Europe, Rome, Middle East, Mexico, et all. This is great information. Once a few more people read this and chime in, maybe this should be a sticky.

    Anyone have info for Verizon customers. Yes, I know Verizon doesn't work oversees. If I were to buy a spare phone for world travel what should I get? What international service should I use? Since, Tastypeppers had such good service with T-Mobile, would a prepaid T-mobile phone be acceptable?

    Thanks for the advice!
  5. #5  
    My memory is that T-Mobile prepaid accounts don't roam overseas. I don't remember the details.

    I would expect (no direct experience) that VZW customers would fare about as well as Sprint people do when outside the US.
  6.    #6  
    Thanks for taking the time to post all that Tasty. Have a safe trip!
  7. #7  
    thanks, Tasty. some followups, cause I'm getting ready for a couple of extended trips abroad, which is one reason I decided on an unlocked 680.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tastypeppers View Post
    -- Can't make outbound calls from Dubai. Although in theory I should be able to use the Go-SIM here, I can't. That's because whatever tricky dialing system that Go-SIM uses internally is blocked here.

    The acronym is USSD, whatever that means. In practice you go to the Go-SIM's menu, dial the number you want, including country code, then your own phone rings, you hit "answer" and you're in business. That functionality is disabled by the local telco here in Dubai, I think.

    Thus because the Go-SIM can't use the Treo's normal phone dialing function, this is a useless piece of plastic here in Dubai and it won't save me any money.
    the other day I came across an odd little setting -- Dial preferences (option Z from the Phone screen) which has "North American dialing" (checked here) along with "Always add 1") also checked here, and a number of other intriguing options. found myself wondering if this is the sort of thing I'd need to alter when abroad, though I also wonder whether I'd have to go through my entire address book adding a US country code or something to all my numbers [?] to make this work properly.

    DATA ROAMING

    It is metered, not unlimited. It is expensive. Get over it. Don't browse the web. I do email via my Exchange Server and that's it. I use my Treo as a laptop replacement as much as I can in the U.S. I don't follow that practice while traveling.
    if anyone knows of a way around this, please shout out. is there not even a relatively expensive unlimited data SIM for say Europe?

    I get the big U on my 750. The big U is intoxicating and in the U.K. at least seemed to be faster than EV-DO on my 700wx in Los Angeles.
    sorry, what's "the big U"?

    3. I travel with way, way, way, way too many cords and chargers and adapters and doo dads.
    I have an iGo charger which cuts down the cords I need to pack by about 90 percent. bit of a steep investment at first, but when I have to hit the road it's nice to know all I have to do is toss the little bag into my bag and be set. works for my laptop, Treo (and Treo brand headset), TomTom receiver, iPod. (I just need to see if I'm supposed to swap out the power cord or should just use an adapter when abroad.)

    4. I am going to look at other prepaid SIMs next time, and I will be sure to buy data roaming and voice mail.
    anxious to hear what you turn up.
  8. #8  
    Hi all, I just talked with Sprint and they tell me my Treo 700 is fine to use in Ireland and England and then told me the charges. My experience is that I do not always get accurate information from the Sprint people.

    I have never traveled outside of the US with this phone. And I do not know what locked/unlocked phones are. How can I ensure that what they told me -- that my phone will work and I will be charged per minute (plus a monthly fee) is accurate. I would rather not get home and find that the 5 or 10 phone calls I made cost $2.49 a minute rather than $.07 because roaming, etc., charges were added.

    Thanks all!
  9. #9  
    I would be STUNNED if you could use your Sprint 700p or 700wx in Ireland and the UK. I personally think the person that gave you that answer has spent too many moments contemplating the mysteries of a bong.

    It is like someone telling you that you an use Mac software on a PC.

    But I could be wrong...
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Severna Park Mom View Post
    Hi all, I just talked with Sprint and they tell me my Treo 700 is fine to use in Ireland and England and then told me the charges. My experience is that I do not always get accurate information from the Sprint people.

    I have never traveled outside of the US with this phone. And I do not know what locked/unlocked phones are. How can I ensure that what they told me -- that my phone will work and I will be charged per minute (plus a monthly fee) is accurate. I would rather not get home and find that the 5 or 10 phone calls I made cost $2.49 a minute rather than $.07 because roaming, etc., charges were added.

    Thanks all!
    In my experience they don't know what they are doing. I asked a Sprint rep how much it is to roam data in Canada. She said " zero point oh oh two cent". When in reality it's 0.002 DOLLARS/KB. Which comes out to 2 dollars per MB.

    If you are going to stay oversea for more than two weeks, get a local sim card.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by whatever7 View Post
    In my experience they don't know what they are doing. I asked a Sprint rep how much it is to roam data in Canada. She said " zero point oh oh two cent". When in reality it's 0.002 DOLLARS/KB. Which comes out to 2 dollars per MB.

    If you are going to stay oversea for more than two weeks, get a local sim card.
    Heck... get a local SIM card if you're going to be there one week. They are only about 20 euro (or they were a while ago.)

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