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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-19-2012 03:56 PM
hellosailor
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

2go-
"I'll never understand why our companies think it is okay to use different standards than the rest of the world which puts consumers at a disadvantage."
Maybe you've heard the old Lily Tomlin routine about the telephone company? Punch line, "Because we're the telephone company and we don't give a damn."

The US actually invented and deployed cellular as a private corporate offering before the rest of the world. Yes, US technology. So they did what they pleased without a lot of advance planning. While the rest of the world chose different standards in different areas but some type of regulators or planners were involved before there was any deployment.

In the US, we've had several chances to catch up with that and several replacements of the technologies, but "open market" has been allowed to make captive customers. Is it scandalous? I don't know but suggest it should be called that, or worse. My cellco tells me that my cell phone needs to cost $600 unless it is "subsidized" down to $200. But I see tablets with bigger more expensive screens, etc. selling for the same $200, UNsubsidized. And if I don't replace my phone, somehow, I don't get allowed to stop subsidizing it either. Hmmm....When someone tries the same story with a little table and three-card-monte, the cops chase 'em away.
Buy an unlocked standard phone, either from a pay-as-you-go carrier or used, and then use it with whoever you please. Apple can be attractive, but I try not to patronize companies that insist I need a nanny.
08-19-2012 01:48 PM
boating2go
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

Rob go ahead and rant but thanks for the info, hellosailor I appreciate the input makes things a lot clearer. I'll never understand why our companies think it is okay to use different standards than the rest of the world which puts consumers at a disadvantage. We do it in the IT world also and I always had a problem with that. Seems to me if you want a market economy you should be willing to compete with all instead of restricting your US consumers to just what is available in the US. I'll stop my rant and keep the rest of my 2 cents worth in my pocket.
08-19-2012 12:46 PM
hellosailor
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

2go, here's the deal. You bought an Apple product, you're not supposed to do anything besides "use" it. Apple and AT&T make sure of the by using a "micro" SIM card in most of their iPhones, so a standard SIM card used in much of the rest of the world just can't be put in there. IF your phone still uses a standard size SIM card, yes, you can put in SIM cards from other carriers and countries and use the phone there. (Not all countries use GSM phone systems, like AT&T, T-Mobile, or most of the EU does.)

An AT&T phone is "subsidy locked" by AT&T but if you have been an AT&T customer and had your phone for more than a year, you can call 611 and they will give you an "unlock code" that allows the phone to be used with other carriers. In order to use that code, you usually need to first put in a SIM card from another carrier, so again, you'll need to check to see if you have a standard size SIM card, or else take the code with you and try it when you do purchase another SIM card.

This time around, size counts. :-)
08-19-2012 10:48 AM
RobGallagher
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by boating2go View Post
Okay you people are way over my head with this, I understand the 2g, 4g, parts but the rest of the techie stuff is way beyond my knowledge of phones. I have an AT&T 3g IPhone can I change the card in that to what you or talking about. Is there a site someone can go to and get information. Or is there a Cellphone for Dummies I can use?
In a BIG nutshell:

US cell phone providers SELL you a phone but it is "locked" to their service and technology. Sometimes, if you tell them you are traveling they will be so kind as to give you a code and instructions to "unlock" the phone YOU PURCHASED from them so you can use it with another company. Most, if not all of the time they will not do this with any type of smart phone.

Companies like Sprint and Verizon even use another frequency, that most of the rest of the planet does not use, so you can't use your phone with any other company in the world.

Most of the rest of the planet simply goes out and buys a phone, then chooses what company works best for them. Just like you would buy a TV, then choose Cable or a Dish, then choose what company to go with. Your flat screen will work with any provider. Imagine if you only had a "Comcast" TV...

So there is a 12 yr old kid in Cambodia who buys a phone, he then stops at 7/11 and buys a sim card. There is no contract and he can't go over his minutes and get a $1500 phone bill or insane roaming/overseas charges or have to pay hundreds of dollars to get out of his "family plan" if he doesn't get service in his own home or work. When he runs out of minutes, he simply stops at 7/11 and buys a scratch off card with a code, or more likely, goes online and orders more minutes. If he is not happy with the service, he chooses another companies sim card and gets a new phone number, instantly, no ******** activation or fees, etc.

So when you motor up the Mekong river and there are kids playing on a tire swing and each one of them has a cell phone, you know they are a smarter consumer than most of us

As usual, the USA lets corporations run the entire country through unethical, yet legal, contracts and near monopolies. What law maker, in their right mind would let cable, phone, or credit companies entice their customers into complicated legal agreements over the phone, or better yet, allow these contracts to bind them for years with the threat of ridiculous buy out fees or ruined credit for those who simply want to change their mind or change the channel?

Now that I have that out of my system,

If you need an unlocked GSM cell phone, try ebay. You can also find a multi sim card phone if that's what you want. If you want an unlocked smart phone and don't mind paying for a new one, go to the Apple store and buy an iphone, then go out and get a pay as you go plan.

If you shop around, the money you save on a "pay as you go" plan will more than pay for the cost of buying a phone outright, even an Iphone.

ATT's "iphone plan" is $35.00/ month on top of your phone bill. That is $700 over two years. A new, unlocked Iphone will run you about $700 and it's worth more if you resell it later as it is unlocked by Apple and not some internet hack (not that there is anything wrong with the hack).

Rant completed, over and out.
08-19-2012 09:54 AM
boating2go
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

Okay you people are way over my head with this, I understand the 2g, 4g, parts but the rest of the techie stuff is way beyond my knowledge of phones. I have an AT&T 3g IPhone can I change the card in that to what you or talking about. Is there a site someone can go to and get information. Or is there a Cellphone for Dummies I can use?
08-18-2012 02:06 PM
sck5
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

check out Telestial on the internet (just google it). They have an excellent primer on cell phones abroad and also sell unlocked tri-band cell phones that will work in any country overseas. I got one of their cheaper models and got sim cards in the various islands I went to for 10-15 bucks. Worked great until I dropped it in the water.
08-17-2012 07:05 PM
sww914
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

Not in the Caribbean, but we bought a prepaid $17.00 phone here in Mexico and it's great. It came with 100 pesos credit on it too. ($7.50)
08-17-2012 06:38 PM
beachbm61
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

In prep to go back to they western carib I attempted to get our old nokia unlocked in Clearwater, Fl. The shop said it would be $75, and three weeks. Ended taking locked phone on trip, had it unlocked in Roatan for $5, in about 10 minutes. I now have a Nokia, unlocked, quad band, model 2700-c2, which I purchased off Amazon for $80. We carried sim cards for each country/cell provider. Some prepaid and some pay as you go. The phone works fine when back home in Clearwater with ATT sim on contract.
06-18-2012 12:14 AM
Paddyd
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

F15 ,

go to Amigo Movil SA. LLC
you need a basic phone for your plans right?
calls and texts only ?
one you can plug a sims card into and use ?
call 409-457-2049 tomorrow around 12

tks Paddy
06-15-2012 09:36 PM
F15EWSO
Re: Cell phone usage for USA and "maybe" Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
f15, do a web search for "4 sim cell phone" and you'll get a horde of hits from alibaba and a dozen companies from Shenzhen (surprised?) that all sell for $25-40. How good they are and whether a US carrier will provision them, prepaid or otherwise, is a whole other question. And that's mostly "2g" voice phones, nothing fancy.
Got it, buyer beware but that's fine. Been in 3rd worlds countries so you get what you get and 2 G will be fine.

THanks
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