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  1.    #1  
    I'm hoping that the folks in the community will be able to give a better answer to my problems than I've received from Handspring.

    The saga began when I contacted T-Mobile about unlocking my Treo for use overseas. After numerous back-and-forth between T-Mobile and Handspring where each kept saying that the other company had the SIM unlock code, I finally came across a Handspring support rep who told me that the Treos are not locked at all (which seems to be confirmed on this board). I planned to use a prepaid SIM from a local carrier in Hong Kong, but I went ahead and asked T-Mobile to set me up for international roaming just in case.

    When I first arrived in Hong Kong, my T-Mobile SIM picked up a signal immediately and I was roaming on various networks. However, at $1.49/min, I decided to purchase a local prepaid SIM. To my surprise, the prepaid SIM didn't work on my Treo, but did work on other people's mobile phones.

    When I returned to the US, I contacted Handspring technical support, which I found to be both unhelpful and extremely unfriendly. I eventually received a technician who agreed to escalate the issue to a "level 2" support engineer. The next day I received a call from Handspring stating that Treo's are NOT TRUE GSM PHONES and thus DO NOT SUPPORT PREPAID SIMs! He said something about Treo's only providing 1-way "something" where prepaid cards require 2-way. I asked him to confirm what he said to me in an email and he said that he's on the "phone team" and only provides responses via telephone, whereas I must contact the "email team" to get a confirmation via email about my question.

    Well, a quick search on this board seems to indicate that users are in fact getting prepaid SIMs to work in their Treos, so I'm at a loss. If what he's saying is true, I feel somewhat cheated in that the phone is not as truly international as I was led to believe. If he's wrong, how do I find someone who knows how to fix the problem since clearly calling Handspring (even level 2 support) does not seem to help?
  2. #2  
    Sorry to hear that. You should have tested your phone with a different SIM before you left for HK.

    AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK, $all$ $VisorPhones$ $and$ $Treo$'$s$ $are$ $unlocked$ - $there$ $have$ $been$ $many$ $people$ $on$ $this$ $board$ $confirming$ $that$. $Not$ $sure$ $how$ $you$ $can$ &$quot$;$unlock$&$quot$; $it$ $since$ $they$'$re$ $all$ $known$ $to$ $be$ $unlocked$ $before$.

    Where did you get it?

    Regards
  3.    #3  
    I would have liked to have tested it beforehand, but I wasn't notified that it was unlocked until the day before I left. As for the Treo, I purchased it in NYC in April.

    According to my most recent Handspring conversation, the unit actually is unlocked and should work with other SIM cards, just not prepaid ones. I know it works with other T-Mobile SIMs, but I haven't tried testing with Cingular (I don't know anyone with Cingular service).
  4.    #4  
    Oh...and for those who are curious, international roaming with my T-Mobile SIM worked like a charm. I received 2 spam SMS messages the minute I stepped off the plane, so SMS seems to work fine as well. There was no triangle in the signal icon, so I assumed there was no GPRS in the area I was in (I installed the patch prior to leaving and have the T-Mobile 5Mb plan here in the states).
  5. #5  
    I dont mean to discount the frustration of your experience but I have used many pre-paid SIMs in my Treo without any major problem overseas. I have seen some anomalous SMS behavior where 160+ SMS messages started to behave weirdly but I assumed that a ~$25 SIM had insufficient internal memory to deal with some standard functions and I limited myself to 160 chars.

    I am pretty certain that you did not experience locking behavior but some odd conflict with the SIM or carriers setup of that SIM. If the phone was locked, it would have said so immediately upon trying to get on the network with the HK SIM. If you visit HK again, I suggest trying a SIM from another carrier and you may have more luck. Trying the SIM in another phone is not a good litmus test unless those phones were tri-banders or another US dual band phone. It is possible for instance that the carrier you chose only has 1800Mhz network and it is not available on the 900Mhz band upon which you roam using a Treo.

    There is no way that any support organization is going to be able to account for all the SIM variants in the world. They always have generic information and they try to apply it intelligently to the specific. You were trying to commit them on e-paper so you could post it online - I am sure they know this game well. No manufacturer will openly discuss locking policy because the carriers bind them to say nothing about what networks are locked.
  6. #6  
    I too have had no problems using prepaid SIMs during trips overseas. I strongly suspect the problem is, as has been suggested, that the carrier whose SIM you were using was 1800MHz only. Since US Treos are dual mode 900/1900MHz, you must select a carrier that is 900MHz when you travel overseas.
  7. #7  
    By the way, what cellular provider did you try to use?

    One way to make sure that you don't purchase a pre-paid SIM for a carrier that only supports 1800 MHz (which the Treo can't "see"), is to choose the "Select Network" menu option in the Phone application. This will show you a list of all the cellular networks that the Treo can detect. You can then try purchasing a pre-paid SIM card from one of those cellular providers. I think you have to have your US SIM card in your phone (or a local one) to access the "Select Network" option--so try doing it as soon as you step off the plane.

    Another option is to access a site like www.gsmworld.com before you leave on your trip, to find out what foreign cellular providers support the 900 MHz frequency in the destination country. According to www.gsmworld.com, there are about 6 GSM cellular providers in Hong Kong. So assuming that you were in the right coverage area, you would NOT have been able to use New World Mobility, Peoples, or Sunday, because they only operate on the 1800 MHz spectrum:

    CSL (GSM 900/1800)

    New World Mobility (GSM 1800)

    Orange-Dual Band (GSM 900/1800)

    PEOPLES (GSM 1800)

    SMARTONE (GSM 900/1800)

    SUNDAY (GSM 1800)
    Last edited by tcc; 09/26/2002 at 10:47 PM.
  8.    #8  
    Thanks for the feedback! As you all have suggested, it was a problem with the carrier (only 1800Mhz network). While I don't expect Handspring support to know how their products will work on each and every carrier, I would expect them to be able to tell me that the Treo is unlocked and I should find a carrier on a 900Mhz network. Those two simple statements could have saved me a lot of time and frustration (and even a little money!). I still can't get over the fact that a level 2 technician told me that prepaid cards won't work with Treos at all. I mean...that's just a flat out lie to get me off the phone.

    tcc, as for your question, I was roaming with my T-Mobile SIM on CSL and Orange. The prepaid SIM was on Sunday.
  9. #9  
    Good to know that that was the problem (it's indeed a shame that Handspring couldn't have provided that information).

    Actually, one thing that I've never really understood is whether dual-band services (like CSL and Orange at GSM 900/1800) offer both frequencies on ALL their cell-sites, or whether part of their coverage area is 900 and another part is 1800. Or whether there is an overlap in the coverage areas.

    Why would a cellular provider offer two concurrent frequencies, I wonder?

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