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Old 06-16-2005, 07:15 AM   #1
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I wasn't going to bring a phone and I still don't really want to but I'm being urged to bring one. I'd prefer to just use Emails but some people are afraid I'll disapear and not contact home.

Is it worth it? Do people usualy bring them on tour with them? Is their any particular one that has good reputataion?

I was looking at the Nokia 5140 which is designed for outdoor use (has a built in compass an all) I like's me flip top phone though. I see some can even read memory cards for digital cammeras.

Europes all on the same band thingie isn't it?
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:23 AM   #2
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MeTurk - where are you from and what carriers are available to you?

In the US, you can get GSM service from Cingular and T-Mobile that will work seamlessly in Europe. (If you get Verizon or Sprint, you're hosed, as they're CDMA.)

If you're not going to bother signing up with a US service, you'll need to buy an unlocked GSM phone (I don't know anything about that Nokia model) - which can be pretty pricey unless you can find one used. Shouldn't be too difficult.

Upon arrival in Europe, if you don't have a US service that works there, you'll have to buy a SIM card - preferably one for each country if you're planning on spending a lot of time in them, otherwise, you'll pay a LOT on roaming charges.

Personally, I just use my T-Mobile at $.99 a minute, which isn't cheap, but I only use my phone for confirming reservations, if I'm lost, or if I feel like giving my mom a shout. (No extra connection fee for international calling.) I can also send/receive data at about $.05/1kb, which is pretty handy for texting and such, since everyone and their mother uses TXT in Europe.

Features I actually use when traveling: International dialing (rare), TXT (moderate), POP email access (if I'm stuck somewhere without a terminal), address book (a lot). I pretty much NEVER use the camera.

My set-up: Sony-Ericsson T610 on T-Mobile w/ unlimited internet, Wi-Fi hotspot plan, and unlimited TXT. The plan costs me waaaaaay too much each month, but since I need the WiFi for the occasional business travel, it's worth my while.
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Old 06-20-2005, 06:03 AM   #3
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I'm in Ireland with Vodafone, I think their in most European countrys but I'm only guessing that we're all on the same network/band thingie. I'll contact them about prices and such I suppose. I don't think there will be much hassle getting the thing working it's just is it worth bringing the thing with me, it's just something else that can lost or stolen.

I'll need to get a new one as well my Sharp GX20 is getting a bit tempermental lately turning itself off when I answer a call or open it up.

I suppose I'm on a bill phone and it won't cost me that much to bring it with me, so I might as well take the damn thing.

Dession made! Cheers omisan.
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Old 06-20-2005, 07:11 AM   #4
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I'm taking my phone to NZ with me. I don't have International roaming, but I can still send/receive text messages for the usual $0.20 or whatever it is for my plan. From memory the same thing worked in China.
Perhaps people from America would like to experiment with this?


If you are going to buy a new phone, I would strongly suggest not spending much money on it. For most people, they already have a digital camera, portable music player and frequent access to every other function mobile phones provide EXCEPT for calling and text messaging.


And if you don't have a digital camera or portable music player, buying one and a really cheap phone would work out better than an expensive phone.


But hey, that's just my personal experience with my phone that has never taken a photo, recorded a video, played music or connected to a computer. I'd rather just something small with a decent battery life, and better predictive text.
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Old 06-21-2005, 08:29 AM   #5
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I already have a cammera and plan on buying an MP3 player before I go Mjeo so I was planning to do more or less as you said with the phone, buy a fairly robust one with few features (although finding a basic phone that's just for ringing people is rare) Long battery life would be an obvious bonus I think the Nokias are best for that from what I remember.

I checked with Vodafone and they are set up all over Europe, so if your setting out from Ireland or the UK from the looks of things you just need to pick up the local carrier when you land in the new country (theres a list of their names on the vodafone website) Europe is all one zone with all calls costing €2 in and out, messages are 50c.

I don't think you even need to set up roaming but that seems a bit to easy to me. Unfortunitly from poland east looks like a different zone with world rates rather than European rates even though some of the countrys are in the EU.
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Old 07-23-2005, 07:55 PM   #6
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As I said in another thread, its not as simple as GSM over CDMA of even TDMA.

Its the bands. Make it easy on yourself and get a phone that is quadband. meaning it is capable of 850/900/1800/1900.

Europe uses 900 and 1800. HOWEVER that doesnt mean all of them use both! Theres alot of phones that are tri band and wont have the neccesary band for all countries. Hence why I say go Quadband. Your ass is covered. Buying a SIM card in each country is a the way to go.

Here is a little back groun on the bands for you.

850: North America
900: Europe and most of Asia
The low bands are designed for penetrating buildings. So you can get the signal strenght you need while shopping or in the office.


1800: North America
1900: Europe most of the world

Better coverage. They are great for covering a much wider area. However, you dont get the strenght in buildings. Thats why almost all companies will give you a high and low band. the best of both worlds.
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Old 07-24-2005, 12:29 PM   #7
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Here is a detailed (but somewhat long) explanation of GSM, quad-band vs. tri-band, what works where, etc.


Two frequency bands are used by GSM services in the US. Two different frequency bands are used by GSM services elsewhere in the world.

Ideally, you'd want a phone that can work on all four bands - commonly called a quad-band phone. But these are still rare and expensive.

If choosing a tri-band phone as a second best choice, be careful which three bands your phone has. Some bands are more useful than others, depending on where you travel.


What is a frequency band?

Cell phones use radio waves to transmit your conversations. These radio waves can be at different frequencies, just the same as regular radio stations are at different frequencies.

For example, if you're listening to FM radio stations, they are in the FM radio band (of course!) which is between 88-108 MHz. If you're listening to AM radio stations, they are in the AM radio band, between 0.55 and 1.6 MHz.

Here's an interesting table of the different frequencies used by different types of radio services.

GSM cell phones use frequencies within four different frequency bands :

850 MHz (824.2 - 848.8 MHz Tx; 869.2 - 893.8 MHz Rx)

900 MHz (880-2 - 914.8 MHz Tx; 925.2 - 959.8 MHz Rx)

1800 MHz (1710.2 - 1784.8 MHz Tx; 1805.2 - 1879.8 MHz Rx)

1900 MHz (1850.2 - 1909.8 MHz Tx; 1930.2 - 1989.8 MHz Rx)

Although 850 and 900, and 1800 and 1900 are very close together, a phone that works in one frequency band unfortunately can not also work in the frequency band next to it unless added as a specific extra frequency band. For comparison, when you have your FM radio tuned to a radio station at 98.1 MHz, there's no way you'll hear what is happening on another radio station at 98.3 MHz unless you retune your radio.

Which frequencies are used in the US?

Originally, the US used only 1900 MHz for its GSM cell phone service. In the last year or so, there has been a growing amount of GSM service on the 850 MHz band. This type of service will usually be seen in rural areas, because the 850 MHz band has better range than the 1900 MHz band. It can sometimes also found in city areas, particularly if the cell phone company has spare frequencies unused in the 850 MHz band, but no remaining frequencies to use in the 1900 MHz band.

Most of the 850 MHz service belongs to AT&T, and some to Cingular (these two companies are in the process of merging). Although T-Mobile does not (as of July 04) have any of its own 850 MHz service, because it has roaming agreements with both AT&T and Cingular, even a T-mobile user might sometimes find themselves in an area where the only signal available is on 850 MHz.

What about 800 MHz? Is this a fifth band?

Some people refer to the 850 MHz band as being the 800 MHz band. This is incorrect. The actual frequencies in the band are closer to 850 MHz and the standardized naming convention as promulgated by the GSM Association is to refer to this band as '850 MHz'.

If you see someone referring to a phone with 800 MHz service, they probably are simply mistaken and mean to refer to the 850 MHz band.

Do you need both frequencies in the US?

This really depends on the areas in which you use your cell phone. If you're in a major metropolitan area, you probably won't need the 850 MHz band, but if you travel to secondary areas regularly, you will find the extra coverage of the 850 MHz band to be valuable.

Looking into the future, it is probable we'll see increased use of 850 MHz to expand GSM's overall coverage into more of the country.

And then, looking further into the future, it is possible we'll see 1900 MHz coverage duplicating the 850 MHz coverage.

Bottom line : If you travel out of the main cities, you'll definitely benefit from a phone that supports both 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

Which frequencies are used internationally?

GSM was originally developed in Europe, and only came to the US recently.

Initially, all countries with GSM service used the 900 MHz band. In the past few years, service providers have increasingly been adding 1800 MHz coverage, due to congestion in the 900 MHz band.

When the US started to use GSM, a few other countries with very close links to the US chose to copy the US and use the same frequencies that the US used - first 1900 MHz, and in a few cases, 850 MHz also.

Almost without exception, all international countries that use the non-US international frequency bands have 900 MHz service, and many have some 1800 MHz service as well.

All international countries that have the US frequency bands have 1900 MHz service. A very few might also have some 850 MHz service.

Which frequencies do you need when traveling internationally?

That depends on the countries you plan to visit.

Refer to the table below to get a feeling for which countries use which frequency bands. For a more expanded set of information, complete with network coverage maps, refer to the official GSM Association's website.

As the table suggests, 900 MHz is the most common band used internationally. 1800 MHz will give you expanded coverage in countries that also have 900 MHz. And some countries only have 1900 MHz rather than 900 or 1800 MHz.

Note that countries with both 900 and 1800 MHz service generally provide better coverage in the 900 MHz band than in the 1800 MHz band.

Which bands should you get on your phone?

If used only in the US

If you intend to use your phone only in the US, then get a dual band phone that has both 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

A single band phone with only 1900 MHz will give almost as good coverage.

If used only internationally

If you intend to use your phone only internationally, then decide if you'll be using the phone in countries that use the international frequencies, or in countries that use the US frequencies, or in both.

If you only need to use the phone in countries with international frequencies, get a dual band 900/1800 MHz phone. A single band phone with only 900 MHz will give reasonably good coverage, but most international phones these days have both bands.

If you need to use the phone in countries that also have the US 1900 MHz frequency, get a tri-band phone with 900/1800/1900 MHz.

If used in both the US and internationally

Two frequencies are 'must have' frequencies - 900 and 1900 MHz. The other two bands are nice to also have, with 1800 MHz typically opening up more of foreign countries than 850 MHz would open up in the US.

Ideally the best solution is to get a quad-band phone with all four bands.

So why not simply buy a quad band phone?

When we first wrote this in July 04 we said 'there are only a very few quad-band phones for sale at present, and they tend to be expensive'. Happily, nine months later, quad band phones have become a lot more common and may even be close to free when you're signing up for new service.

We find the cheapest deals for new phone service are usually those offered at Amazon - see their ad on the left hand side (they have many more models on their site, too). Bizarrely, the prices shown on the Amazon ad are often much higher than the actual prices after special offers on their site - for example, today (March 05) there is a lovely Motorola V551 showing for $74.99, but clicking over to their site shows that after rebates, you actually get the phone for free and $75.10 cash back!

We are aware of the following model quad band phones (if you know of other quad band phones, please let us know so we can update the list)

Geo

GC688

HP

i6315

Motorola

A780

V3 Razr (but not V300)

V180 (note - some people report that Cingular
disables the 1800MHz band, but in theory
these phones should have four bands)

V220

V330

V400

V500 / V501 / V505 / V525 / V551 / V555

V600 / V620

NEC

515 / 525

Palm

Treo 600 / 650

Sharp

GX32

Xda

IIs



WARNING : T-mobile disables the 850 MHz band in the quad band phones it sells. For this reason, you should not buy any quad band phone from T-mobile without getting full formal confirmation from them beforehand that the phone has all four bands fully operational.

Caution - Different definitions of 'Tri-band Phone'

All tri-band phones obviously (?) support three different frequency bands. But they may differ in their choice of which three of the four bands they support.

The two common variations are :

900/1800/1900 - Excellent internationally and very good in the US

850/1800/1900 - Excellent in the US but not very good internationally

Summary

There is an easy answer to the question of 'Which bands should my GSM cell phone support?'. The answer is 'All four'.

But due to limited availability and high cost, many people will prefer to choose a tri-band phone. If so, choose the three bands that best suit you based on whether you'll primarily be using the phone in the US or internationally.
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Old 07-24-2005, 12:41 PM   #8
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That info is a little off.

Nokia seems to be one of the few world manufactures still using triband.

Motorola has gone to quad band as well as sony ericson. Its cheaper for a company to make a phone that all carriers can use and sell. Its not efficient for them to make something that they can only sell X amount of.
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Motorola has gone to quad band as well as sony ericson. Its cheaper for a company to make a phone that all carriers can use and sell. Its not efficient for them to make something that they can only sell X amount of.
You have to be careful with that assumption. In the U.S., the carriers drive phone development and capabilities, to some degree. That is why oftentimes certain features of a new phone may be disabled, at a carriers request, so the carrier can promote their own competing services to drive revenues.

An example is how one carrier required Motorola to disable bluetooth on the Razor - a lot of people were pissed off about that (I think it was Verizon, but I could be wrong). The carrier wanted the users to have to use a carrier sponsored service, instead of free bluetooth. So, anyone who bought a Razor through this carrier didn't get a Bluetooth enabled phone (and often were not aware of that until after they signed the contract).

The carriers want handsets that conform their capabilties such that the carriers can maximize their own service revenue. This is often not in the best interest of the consumer and often does not maximize the technological capabilities of the phones.
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Old 07-25-2005, 12:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
An example is how one carrier required Motorola to disable bluetooth on the Razor - a lot of people were pissed off about that (I think it was Verizon, but I could be wrong).
I believe it's Cingular. My boss has one through them, and he's utterly hacked off that the Bluetooth is disabled for everything but using a wireless earpiece - that way, you have to use a connection kit and software to access all your data, and you have to use their lame services to put stuff into your phone.
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Old 07-25-2005, 02:25 AM   #11
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meturk - if you don't want to risk having a phone get stolen or paying hella $, what about buying an inexpensive pre pay? I know vodaphone has them as low as 40 E, and then you just buy the cards as you go along, and since vodaphone seems to be everywhere, it's easy to get the top up cards. Then, you can regulate your spending, receive free incoming calls and text cheap. Just a thought.
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Old 07-25-2005, 03:37 AM   #12
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It's a company phone so I shall pay nothing they want to be able to stay in contact with me while I'm gone incase they need to talk to me about the network. So free phone.

Vodafone just made calling from anywhere in Europe the same as it is in your home country you just pay a connection fee of 79c everytime you make a call.
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Old 07-25-2005, 09:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by LiveFreeorDie@Jul 24 2005, 04:39 PM
Quote:
Motorola has gone to quad band as well as sony ericson. Its cheaper for a company to make a phone that all carriers can use and sell. Its not efficient for them to make something that they can only sell X amount of.
You have to be careful with that assumption. In the U.S., the carriers drive phone development and capabilities, to some degree. That is why oftentimes certain features of a new phone may be disabled, at a carriers request, so the carrier can promote their own competing services to drive revenues.

An example is how one carrier required Motorola to disable bluetooth on the Razor - a lot of people were pissed off about that (I think it was Verizon, but I could be wrong). The carrier wanted the users to have to use a carrier sponsored service, instead of free bluetooth. So, anyone who bought a Razor through this carrier didn't get a Bluetooth enabled phone (and often were not aware of that until after they signed the contract).

The carriers want handsets that conform their capabilties such that the carriers can maximize their own service revenue. This is often not in the best interest of the consumer and often does not maximize the technological capabilities of the phones.
I was talking about the bands, not the features. Look at it this way, which is cheaper,

Company A uses 1900
Company B uses 850 and 1900
Company c uses 900 and 1800
Company D uses 1800

All four company's want a basic phone with a camera.

Now is it cheaper for the manufacturer to make one phone that is capable of using all 4 bands Or making 4 phones for each company.

Anything can be locked out by the manufacturer or by the carrier. Thats not to say that cant be unlocked by people with a little skill


As for the bluetooth thing, the technology is still there, you can easily remove the lock. browse the web to find out how, it is usually as simple as entering a code such as 111111
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