Using your cell phone internationally

Published Date
19 - Feb - 2007
| Last Updated
19 - Feb - 2007
 
Using your cell phone internationally
First off, you will need a GSM phone. GSM is the cellular technology used in Europe; in the United States, Cingular and T-Mobile use GSM, but Sprint and Verizon Wireless use another technology called CDMA. My advice to people who are traveling overseas and plan to use their cell phone frequently is to get an unlocked GSM phone--in other words, a GSM phone that isn't tied to a particular carrier. That way, they can buy a prepaid SIM card in each country and use the phone with a local telephone number and carrier. In your case, however, that
may not be the best option, as it would require some tinkering with the phone when on the go.

An easier but pricier method is to go with a Cingular or a T-Mobile cell phone. The plus side is that in most cases, the phone will automatically detect the local network when it is turned on. Both Cingular and T-Mobile have carrier partners in those countries, so you should get reliable coverage. The downside here is that because you'll be using a U.S. phone number, you'll need to keep track of how often you use the phone. International roaming can be pricey, so do your best to brace yourself for sticker shock from your bill. Another point to consider is that the phone should support 900 and 1800 GSM bands, as that will give you the most ideal coverage. Alternatively, if your relative is a Sprint or a Verizon customer, he or she can rent GSM phones from the carrier for the length of the trip. For more information on taking your cell phone abroad, see CNET's quick guide to world phones.


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