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  1. jg70124's Avatar
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       #1  
    I've been a Sprint customer for nearly 10 years, and a Treo user for 3.

    I recently started work with some new clients, and expect to be traveling to Europe and Asia (Singapore, Malaysis, Indonesia) fairly frequently. So I'm considering switching from Sprint to a GSM carrier.

    I gather from reading this forum that it's not possible to swap SIM cards in a regular GSM Treo, and it's tough to get an unlocked one. Is that right? If it is, what are my options? What's the most cost-efficient way to use the Treo while traveling?

    I've also heard that data roaming can be prohibitively expensive. Is that right? If so, what are my options for getting my email while traveling?

    Thanks..
  2. TxDot's Avatar
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    #2  
    If the Treo is "locked" to your carrier you cannot simply pop a different SIM in and use the phone. Many folks have obtained the unlock code from their carrier (requirements differ by carrier) which will allow you to use a different SIM. The other option is to buy an unlocked Treo which also allows you to use different SIMs since the phone is not locked to any specific carrier. This last option is usually most expensive because there is no carrier subsidy to offset the price.

    Roaming charges are pretty expensive and they vary by location and carrier. I have T-Mobile and have traveled to western Europe many times and found that their .95 per minute was still much less expensive than the hotel rates and certainly much easier that messing with a calling card. The biggest downside is the delay in billing for expense report purposes. Sometimes it can take a couple of billing cycles for all the charges to show up because in Europe you will usually wind up using 3-4 different carriers as you travel about. Their billing systems seem to be slower than ours. The beauty of it is that you use the different carriers without even realizing it because it's all quite seamless. Some folks actually buy a local SIM card and have their regular number forwarded to it but I've never tried this.

    Good luck and enjoy your travels!
    GSM Treo 600 > Unlocked GSM Treo 650 on T-Mobile - Attempting to use a BB Curve

    Technology is neither good nor evil, good people will find good uses for it and evil people will find evil uses for it. Phil P.
  3. BrettS's Avatar
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    #3  
    GSM phones will work with any SIM card, however, it is possible for a carrier to 'lock' a phone to use only their SIM card. If you buy a Treo 650 from Cingular it will be locked so that it will only be able to use Cingular SIMs. AT&T used to be that way too, but I'm not sure it's possible to get a new AT&T phone anymore. If you buy a phone from Palm or a third party it's quite possible and not difficult to get an unlocked phone (although you'll pay more for it because the carrier won't subsidize an unlocked phone).

    I use Cingular, so I'm only familiar with their policy, but they will usually give you the password to unlock their locked phones if you tell then that you'll be traveling internationally. Sometimes it takes several calls to Cingular to get them to do this and they're much more likely to do this if you've been a Cingular customer for several months, but most people are able to get their Cingular phones unlocked.

    That said, however, you don't need an unlocked phone to travel internationally. If you're on Cingular or T-Mobile you can use their SIM in foreign countries, but it will be quite expensive... on the order of $1 per minute for Europe to as much as $4 or more per minute for Asia. Your phone number follows your SIM, however, so the only way to continue using your regular US number when you travel is to use your US carrier's SIM. I know Cingular doesn't have any unlimited international data plans and I don't believe that T-Mobile does either, so you'll probably pay around $.02 per K of data while traveling with a US SIM as well.

    If you do get an unlocked phone (or get your carrier to unlock your phone) and you don't mind giving up your US number when you travel then you can get a SIM from the country you're traveling in. You can either use a pre-paid SIM or get monthly service from a foreign carrier. If you go with the pre-paid route you'll need to check to make sure that your pre-paid SIM supports data because not all of them do. This option will be much cheaper. When I was in Beijing I used a pre-paid SIM from China Mobile and if I remember right it was somewhere around $.15 per minute for local calls and $.45 per minute to call the US.

    HTH,
    Brett
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by jg70124
    I've been a Sprint customer for nearly 10 years, and a Treo user for 3.
    <snip>
    I gather from reading this forum that it's not possible to swap SIM cards in a regular GSM Treo, and it's tough to get an unlocked one. Is that right? If it is, what are my options? What's the most cost-efficient way to use the Treo while traveling?
    If you're on Sprint, you are using a CDMA Treo, not GSM. So there is no SIM card to switch. You have to be using a Treo with Cingular or T-Mobile to be able to switch SIM cards. I have an unlocked GSM Treo and swap SIM cards all the time.

    I'm moving this to GSM World so you can get better help from the EU users.
    James Hromadka, TreoCentral Editor
    Houston - EST. 1836
  5. #5  
    Once you unlock your phone, in theory, you should be able to connect anywhere.

    I have folks here at our company using an unlocked Treo with Bejing Telcom sim roaming in Bejing, HK, and other parts of Asia/China. I have used Belgicom's Proximus on my Treo650 in Belgium no problem.

    Being able to connect technically doesn't mean everythings -- now the non-technology issue: whether your carrier allows you to connect to that tower (or not). Local sim of course will allow you to connect to local towers supported by that carrier, but you still may not be able to roam to another local carrier at that locale. Similar to T-Mobile/Cingular can't roam each other at least where I am.

    (Before Cingular stop letting me to roam to T-Mobile), I was able to roam around in Belgium with Cingular sim and (forgot the name, the one in Holland) with my Cingular sim. My text message came too - except it doesn't seem to clear. The same message keeps coming every hour for a little over 24 hours.

    Of late, I can't roam to T-Mobile any more. That may be significant. That broken partnership may affects Europe roam. T-Mobile is a subsidary of Deutsche Telekom, so I would assume T-Mobile Europe roam is better. Cingular roam to Belgicom *may be* using T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom's agreement with Belgicom.

    Cingular's international roaming plan isn't too bad. Was about 25 cents per minute in Belgium, and about $1.25 in HK around July.

    Check first! One can't assume anything with these carriers.
  6. #6  
    T-Mobile GSM worked great for me in Ireland, but I still opted to switch to an O2 pay-n-go plan while traveling this past Summer so local folks in Ireland could call me directly with local number.

    Greg

    unlocked/unbranded GSM
  7. #7  
    I'll be in Cannes for a week, want to use my Treo 650, without having to give up an arm & leg to Rogers wireless...
    Can I just buy a local GSM sim card from Orange or someone else?
    Recieve data and make calls? Will I get a local number with the card?
    Thanks from a newbie...
    Last edited by Hicks; 10/04/2005 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Removed personal email address- see forum guidelines
  8. Hicks's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by dwave
    I'll be in Cannes for a week, want to use my Treo 650, without having to give up an arm & leg to Rogers wireless...
    Can I just buy a local GSM sim card from Orange or someone else?
    Recieve data and make calls? Will I get a local number with the card?
    Thanks from a newbie...
    You should be able to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card from Orange. This will give you a local number and you will be able to use your unlocked phone for data (rather expensive on PAYG) and calls.
    It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer- Albert Einstein.

    Palm M505> Palm Tungsten E> Treo 600> Treo 650> Treo 680> Sony Ericsson P1i (running Styletap BETA)> iPhone 3G 16GB

    Macbook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  9. #9  
    It is not very well publicized, but Sprint will sell you a SIM for use in GSM phones with your current phone number for use when you are out of the US. This was setup for use with the Samsung CDMA/GSM phone that only supported GSM 900mhz and 1800 mhz so would only work on GSM outside of the US, not will not work with TMobile or Cingular in the US (850 and 1900 mhz). Verizon has the same system.

    So you do not need a new phone number, can continue to use sprint and you can have a GSM phone with the same number for when you are international.

    You need to call Sprint customer service to set this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by jg70124
    I've been a Sprint customer for nearly 10 years, and a Treo user for 3.

    I recently started work with some new clients, and expect to be traveling to Europe and Asia (Singapore, Malaysis, Indonesia) fairly frequently. So I'm considering switching from Sprint to a GSM carrier.

    I gather from reading this forum that it's not possible to swap SIM cards in a regular GSM Treo, and it's tough to get an unlocked one. Is that right? If it is, what are my options? What's the most cost-efficient way to use the Treo while traveling?

    I've also heard that data roaming can be prohibitively expensive. Is that right? If so, what are my options for getting my email while traveling?

    Thanks..
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by jg70124
    I've been a Sprint customer for nearly 10 years, and a Treo user for 3.

    I gather from reading this forum that it's not possible to swap SIM cards in a regular GSM Treo, and it's tough to get an unlocked one. Is that right? If it is, what are my options? What's the most cost-efficient way to use the Treo while traveling?

    I've also heard that data roaming can be prohibitively expensive. Is that right? If so, what are my options for getting my email while traveling?

    Thanks..
    If you get a locked treo and your carrier wouldn't unlock it for you, go to ebay and look for unlocking services. I used jt-unlock's code to unlock my treo.
  11. jg70124's Avatar
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       #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by Smartphone Fan
    It is not very well publicized, but Sprint will sell you a SIM for use in GSM phones with your current phone number for use when you are out of the US. This was setup for use with the Samsung CDMA/GSM phone that only supported GSM 900mhz and 1800 mhz so would only work on GSM outside of the US, not will not work with TMobile or Cingular in the US (850 and 1900 mhz). Verizon has the same system.

    So you do not need a new phone number, can continue to use sprint and you can have a GSM phone with the same number for when you are international.

    You need to call Sprint customer service to set this up.
    Thanks for the heads up.

    Some additional info:
    - To get the SIM, you pay shipping of about ~$10, then a $6/month maintenance fee.
    - Calls from Europe using the SIM are $1.50/minute.
    - Sprint will sell or rent you a GSM phone to use the SIM in. Or you can bring your own.
    - more information here: www.sprintpcs.com/internationalroaming

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