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  1.    #1  
    I am trying to decide on a wirless plan and which Treo 650 to buy. I do not have a plan with anyone right now. My wife has Sprint, but no contract anymore.

    My needs in order of importance:

    1. Cell phone that will work most places in the USA. My wife and I are beginning to travel.

    2. Web browser and send/receive email in the USA. I would like to have the ability to web browse as wel travel, both locally and around the USA. In the car, I would like to use the phone as a modem for my laptop w/o using minutes from my plan.

    3. Travel to Europe, Carribean, South America for a week or two at a time, several times a year or more. I could use Internet Cafes, but would like to have the option of using the Treo

    My Choices, pro and con

    Sprint

    Pro -

    $15 data plan that allows me to use the Treo as a modem on my laptop with no extra charges, $5 for unlimited Roam (do Verizon and Cingular have this?). Also like their "fair and flexible plan.
    Con-
    No GSM for Europe or USA (Am I right here?) No SIM card. (Is this a downside?) Also slightly more expensive phone at Treo Central Store

    Verizon
    Pro-
    Bigger service coverage area than Sprint (?) More plan coverage in USA. Has sim card. Has GSM. Cost for European operation?
    Con- Data plan is $49.month. Have heard they are going ot be cheaper, but if they lower rates and I am tied in at this price, will they allow downgrade?

    Cimgular
    Pro-
    Bigger service coverage area than Sprint (?) More plan coverage in USA. I like the rollover minutes. Has sim card. Has GSM. Cost for European operation?
    Con- Data plan is also higher than Sprint at $39.month. Have heard they are going ot be cheaper, but if they lower rates and I am tied in at this price, will they allow downgrade?

    I am not sure of my data in the above remarks. If there are discrepancies I'd like to know.

    Comments?
  2. #2  
    As far as I know,the Verizon Treo 650 is a CDMA not a GSM phone.The only phones that I recall that verizon have GSM and CDMA capabilities are the Samsung a790 and the Motorola a840, but my memory may be a bit fuzzy,especially since I do not have mobile services with Verizon.

    The costs for calls outside the US depends on the carrier and where you are at the moment.The advantage of a GSM phone is that if it is unlocked when you travel to another country you can either continue to use your current SIM if you have international services activated on your account or you can purchase a prepaid SIM card or otherwise activate an account with the local GSM based carrier (often a cheaper solution) and just swap it into your existing phone.

    I have a Treo650,unlocked,which I use here in the US with T-Mobile,and when I travel I either continue with my US SIM card or purchase one when I arrive at my destination and I've had no problems doing so.
  3. #3  
    If you are going to travel then data services may not work everywhere. I have Verizon and just got a 650 in May. I take a trip annually from Florida to Michigan and while I had voice the entire way I did not have data the entire way. I am not sure if Verizon has roaming setup for data as I only seem to get data services when I was on the Verizon network.

    d
  4. tcatnat's Avatar
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    #4  
    My suggestion would be if you are happy with your wife's Sprint coverage, stick with what you know. I you travel abroad you can get special Sprint phones that will work in other parts of the world. Plus, you could get a family plan and save a few bucks.

    As mentioned, data will not be everywhere you travel. Will your travels take you to the same destinations on a regular basis or will it always change? If you frequent the same locations check the coverage for each provider in that area.
    SprintPCS Treo 755p
  5.    #5  
    I think that I made a mistake. It looks like T-Mobile and Cingular are the GSM carriers with Sprint and Verizon for CDMA.

    I had about decided to get the Sprint Treo 650 with my own plan from the Treo Central store. Have my wife get a Samsung i500 from Sprint with a new contract for her. The we combine our plans into a family plan.

    However in the "confirmation email" that says "You are approved for Sprint service.....your rebate of $150 will be provided at the end of one year provided ......" Put me back into research mode.

    The Sprint coverage we have now is OK with me. Seems no better nor worse than anyone else. We have traveled to Boston, Baltimore, New York, San Farncisco. Worked fine in those places.

    Then I heard (rumor - I am a newbie here) that GSM is the "way all phones will be soon." With unlocked GSM I could choose any carrier if I want to change, and if I buy my own unlocked GSM phone, I can change carriers if I get unhappy with the one I am using.
    Last edited by Bill-in-Atlanta; 06/26/2005 at 06:33 AM.
  6. #6  
    Only GSM - Cingular of the 3 you mentioned will work in almost the whole world (x-Japan and Korea). As it is probably impossible to figure out how Verizon/Sprint compares to Cingular throughout the US (you could ask about the places you want to travel), only GSM will get you any coverage outside the US (ok, maybe CDMA works in China, Mexico, Canada and a very few other countries). After 2? months you can get your Cingular phone unlocked and use with local SIM cards purchased in the country you visit - only pays if staying there long enough for number of cheaper calls will offset cost of SIM card (with new local phone #) and higher roaming cost from Cingular.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill-in-Atlanta
    The Sprint coverage we have now is OK with me. Seems no better nor worse than anyone else. We have traveled to Boston, Baltimore, New York, San Farncisco. Worked fine in those places.

    Then I heard (rumor - I am a newbie here) that GSM is the "way all phones will be soon." With unlocked GSM I could choose any carrier if I want to change, and if I buy my own unlocked GSM phone, I can change carriers if I get unhappy with the one I am using.
    A few points worth considering here.
    1. If data access is very important to you, then Cingular might be your best bet for now. I've found they have the best data access coverage almost everywhere I've traveled within the US. Business cohorts of mine with either Verizon, Sprint, and TMobile lost their data access when with me in several US locations and mine on Cingular worked. Verizon is close behind CNG and may be almost the same these days. All of them are running a race on this issue.

    2. If coverage outside the US is important to you, then GSM is the way to go. If you choose a CDMA carrier you will not be able to use your phone outside the US except in some nearby countries. I use mine outside the US frequently and have used both Cingular's partnering networks and prepaid SIM cards. Using Cingular outside the US is definitely more expensive. I usually decide before leaving whether I need the ability for people to reach me on my known number before leaving. You can activate and deactivate your overseas CNG coverage as you wish. There is no contract involved for this; usually just a minimum 30 day activation.

    3. Data access outside the US can get real expensive in a hurry. Check with the carriers on their fees for this; ie. TMobile and Cingular. If I'm on CNG in Europe for example, I only use data access if its very urgent to do so. I've had bills in the past for this service that exceeded $1000 while in Europe for what I felt was fairly minimal access! Lately, I pretty much use an Internet cafe.

    4. Cingular does have pretty good family plans, but with their new rates that recently went into effect, I think they are higher than the others. Since frequent data access is important to me, their $40 rate plan is the only choice I have and I agree it is a high price, but still lower than Verizon's. Some people have been able to get the unlimited data plan on MediaNet with Cingular at $25 a month. Search the forum here using MediaNet for info on how some folks have obtained this, but it may be dicey as to whether or not you can get it at that rate.

    As for whether or not all carriers are going to GSM eventually, that's a highly debatable subject. We've had competing mobile technology in the US for many years and I personally don't see that changing anytime soon.

    To me choosing GSM vs CDMA is largely a function of your needs when outside the US more than anything else.

    Although you will pay a higher initial price for an unlocked unbranded Treo, you have the advantage of activating service on any carrier dependent on carrier's network. If you buy a Cingular brand, check with them before you buy as to whether or not they will unlock it immediately for you. Most of the time, they want you to have service with them for a period of time before they will do this. However, I was able to get them to unlock mine within 30 days of purchase since I convinced them of my need for frequent overseas travel.
  8. #8  
    I have a SprintPCS Treo because the data plan is such a better deal. Being a long time customer, I get unlimited data for $10.

    I rarely travel outside of the U.S., and when I do it is for leisure so having a phone is not a big deal.

    Two associates travel to Europe a lot, so they didn't even bother looking into Sprint of Verizon and got Cingular.

    If you look at the $$ issue, if there is a $30 a month difference in what you pay just in data, over one year that is $360. Is that premium for having your phone work in Europe worth it? Only you can decide that.

    Do you NEED to be reachable at your North American number while you are overseas? If not, the you are probably better off getting a decent GSM phone and just using PAYG (Pay As You Go) while in Europe. If you travel there often enough, you can probably manage to keep the same number so that you had a constant European number.
  9.    #9  
    The more I look at this, the more likely it seems that I would be as well off using internet cafes or wireless access/networks in hotels to access the internet and email with my notebook computer.

    Most likely there would be nothing that couldn't wait 24 hours or so for my response.

    I don't really need a phone in those places, nor internet access from a phone, but I DO want these things here in the USA.

    Under these circumstances perhaps Sprint?

    Or if I am willing to pay $39/month for a better access to data? Really Sprint wants $15 for data access. CNG wants $40 that figures to $300/year. Not that big a deal if the service is superior. I could havethe option of a GSM phone that way.

    There is a possible consideration that CNG might be going to a cheaper data plan. Wonder if I would be tied to the $40 plan IF they went to a cheaper service?
  10. #10  
    My wife and I both have our Treo 650 on Sprint. We pay a total of $20 a month for our data service ($15 for me and $5 for her). I am not aware of any other carrier in the US that have such low rates.

    You may also want to check with you and your wife's employer and see if either of you qualify for additional corporate discount. I get 20+% off on my Sprint bill.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill-in-Atlanta
    Or if I am willing to pay $39/month for a better access to data? Really Sprint wants $15 for data access. CNG wants $40 that figures to $300/year. Not that big a deal if the service is superior. I could havethe option of a GSM phone that way.

    There is a possible consideration that CNG might be going to a cheaper data plan. Wonder if I would be tied to the $40 plan IF they went to a cheaper service?
    You probably should not let "better" data access weigh too much in your decision. That is unless you frequently travel to areas where access might be questionable, which is hard to gauge. For example, a couple of weeks ago I went to a small town in southern Illlinois for a special gathering of friends from all over the the US. Of the 30 or so there, me and three others who had Cingular were the only ones who were able to get consistent and reliable data access even though my screen indicated I was on a network I've never heard of before. Everyone else who had any of the other carriers either did not have coverage or it was very spotty, Sprint & Verizon included. However, I consider that a somewhat unusual case. Since January, I've only been to three areas (small towns not close to a large metro coverage area) where data access was an issue for me or others I was aware of.

    Unless you frequent areas where your data acess may be questionable AND it's an important issue, I would recommend you base your decision largely on a phone with GSM vs CDMA technology. And then factor in the carrier rate considerations.
  12. #12  
    I took my Cingular Treo 650 to Europe this spring and had no trouble sending or receiving email in England and Germany.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill-in-Atlanta
    I don't really need a phone in those places, nor internet access from a phone, but I DO want these things here in the USA.

    Under these circumstances perhaps Sprint?

    Or if I am willing to pay $39/month for a better access to data? Really Sprint wants $15 for data access. CNG wants $40 that figures to $300/year. Not that big a deal if the service is superior. I could havethe option of a GSM phone that way.
    The tricky thing is that it really isn't an issue as to who has the best coverage, but an issue of who has the best coverage *where you will be traveling*

    In every major urban center I've ever traveled to my Sprint coverage has been fine and my data was available.

    There are some places where one carrier is better than another. As an example, in D.C. verizon has repeaters in the metro (subway) so you can use a verizon phone underground.

    One advantage to Sprint is that there is a $5 roaming option which improves the voice coverage. Alas data doesn't work if you are roaming on another carrier (at least in my experience).

    Just some things to think about....
  14. #14  
    something else to consider - using your Cingular phone in Europe will cost you something like $5.00 a month plus a buck a minute.

    Better to get the best phone you want in the US, then get a cheap GSM phone for use with a disposable SIM when you travel (unless you really need your phone # to work in Europe). Also, Verizon has deals with many of the airport cell phone rental services that will allow your phone number to follow you to Europe.
  15. #15  
    Folks,

    I have used Verizon, Sprint, and now I am on Cingular. Most recently, I had a 600 with Sprint, and now I am using a 650 with Cingular.

    I travel outside of CDMA a few times a year, and I have been able to use prepaid cards on pay phones for voice (.2 c / minute back to the us).

    Cingular's 650 experience has been terrible in the US where I use it most. They have corrected my bills, but charge for VPN access outside of the data plan, and charge for every SMS message.

    Sprint had this all for free, and gave me unlimited roaming on Verizon for $5/month. I have travelled to the boonies in the US and was never out of coverage. There is always CDMA coverage and it is included in Sprint's plan.

    After two months, I am going to pay the cancellation charges and go back to Sprint. The data is faster, it's free, the coverage is better, and the 650 with Cingular just sucks.

    Sprint is the way to go if you are a mostly US user. If you travel overseas a few times a year, just get a cheap GSM phone on e-bay, a pre-paid SIM, and buy a local phone card.

    That's my $.02/cents as a Cingular user.

    Glenn
  16. #16  
    Cingular has a $20 month unlimited access internet only plan (no email). It works great if you don't need realtime email access. When I need to access email, I just access email via my isp's webmail internet site. Works great!
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by climber_rich
    Cingular has a $20 month unlimited access internet only plan (no email). It works great if you don't need realtime email access. When I need to access email, I just access email via my isp's webmail internet site. Works great!
    climber_rich,

    Cingular's $20/month unlimited data access does not include being able to connect your laptop and connect a VPN. They say that the $39/month unlimited PDA plan does, but my first bill had $900 in overage charges with this plan. Also, they will say that this includes unlimited SMS (which I don't even use), but it doesn't. I used Seven's push email solution with Sprint, and loved it. On Cingular, every "push" e-mail was a charged SMS (when it worked which was only about 1/5 of the time).

    When I used my VPN via a laptop I was charged per MB. Sprint or Verizon never did this.

    Of course, they reversed the charges after I got that bill, and the fix was, they disabled SMS and flicked a bit on my internet account.

    I guess the point is simple: I have used a Palm/PDA for the last 5 years and I travel about 4 days a month and need connectivity. Cingular will lie and tell you it is included, but it's not, and their customer support reps don't even know. Verizon charges a premium. but they don't nickle and dime you. Sprint pretty much works.

    Switching is only $175... I WOULD AVOID CINGULAR!!!

    Glenn
  18. #18  
    I have a Cingular-unlocked 650 that I've used for several months now. Their MediaNet Unlimited provides unlimited use of Web and e-mail (not SMS or MMS) via the Treo. You can get the DUN to work with this plan and unless you're using a huge amount of bandwidth Cingular can't tell the difference between your Treo and your notebook.

    When I originally signed up for MediaNet, the Unlimited plan was $24.99 but they recently lowered the price to $19.99 and I got them to lower my contract price . This plan has been great for me and I get my e-mails reqularly and do some Web browsing when needed. I've never been charged more than my monthly contract fee.

    I've travelled outside the US on several occassions with the 650 and use both Cingular World with their international roaming and local SIM cards depending on what I'm trying to do. I've been very happy with my Cingular plan and service.
  19. #19  
    Regarding your choice of provider, keep in mind that you will need the phone to work reliably first and foremost, otherwise, you might as well carry 2 devices. With that in mind, keep in mind the local reputation of your carriers.

    Here in Baltimore, Cingular is absolutely the worst thing in God's creation!!!! Constantly dropped calls, echoing, no service 60% around the area, just terrible. I've tried 2 Treo 650s, Motorola V180, Nokia 6230, Motorola V551, etc. My best friend has Cingular with a Motorola V551, and if I am talking to him on a land-line and he's driving, he'll drop out consistently several times. I had AT&T a while back and it was better. Ask around before signing anything or you will regret it! I think Cingular works good in some areas of the country, but in my area, I wouldn't recommend it to my enemy. My girfriend has T-Mobile on a Nokia phone by way of comparison and she never has a problem unless she goes to West Virginia. Hope this helps.........
  20. #20  
    Regarding your choice of provider, keep in mind that you will need the phone to work reliably first and foremost, otherwise, you might as well carry 2 devices. With that in mind, keep in mind the local reputation of your carriers.

    Here in Baltimore, Cingular is absolutely the worst thing in God's creation!!!! Constantly dropped calls, echoing, no service 60% around the area, just terrible. I've tried 2 Treo 650s, Motorola V180, Nokia 6230, Motorola V551, etc. My best friend has Cingular with a Motorola V551, and if I am talking to him on a land-line and he's driving, he'll drop out consistently several times. I had AT&T a while back and it was better. Ask around before signing anything or you will regret it! I think Cingular works good in some areas of the country, but in my area, I wouldn't recommend it to my enemy. My girfriend has T-Mobile on a Nokia phone by way of comparison and she never has a problem unless she goes to West Virginia. Hope this helps.........
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