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Old 12-29-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
BobRoosth
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Default Cell phone basics

Yes, but over there (and all of Europe) there is only one cellphone technology in use. GSM. In the US, there are at least two, CDMA and GSM. Verizon and Sprint are CDMA, but do not work on each others networks. Cingular and AT&T are GSM, but again do not work on each others networks. Most of their phones are locked, meaning they are tied to a specific network. As best I can tell, all European GSM phones are unlocked and can work across the EU and beyond. Just swap out the SIM.

Some phones, particularly Blackberries, have both GSM and CDMA radios.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:13 AM   #2
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Yes, but over there (and all of Europe) there is only one cellphone technology in use. GSM. In the US, there are at least two, CDMA and GSM. Verizon and Sprint are CDMA, but do not work on each others networks. Cingular and AT&T are GSM, but again do not work on each others networks. Most of their phones are locked, meaning they are tied to a specific network. As best I can tell, all European GSM phones are unlocked and can work across the EU and beyond. Just swap out the SIM.

Some phones, particularly Blackberries, have both GSM and CDMA radios.
Thank you! You have cleared up most of my confusion about these phones, in just 7 succinct sentences.

   
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:51 PM   #3
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Phones over here is the UK (and as far as I can tell - in the rest of Europe) are locked but we can get them unlocked quite easily although there might be issues with software incompabilities on some networks.

Three, the network I'm on 'piggyback' on the Orange network if there is no signal on theirs.

The iPhone and a few others are only available on certain networks, I believe you have that in the US as well. That's marketing for you.

   
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:59 PM   #4
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And one more: 3g networks (at least in the US) use different frequencies, depending on the carrier. They tell me that 3G will be available on my local carrier's network soonish. But on a frequency that isn't supported by my unlocked Nokia phone. Arrgghhh.

   
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:05 PM   #5
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And one more: 3g networks (at least in the US) use different frequencies, depending on the carrier. They tell me that 3G will be available on my local carrier's network soonish. But on a frequency that isn't supported by my unlocked Nokia phone. Arrgghhh.
Arrgghhh, indeed.

When I get around to getting a cell phone — probably not long from now — I will count on the advice of you and others here. It is such a mess.

   
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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Do you want a Smartphone or just something to make and receive calls? We finally broke down and got a Tracfone. We wanted a cell phone to take in the car in case of emergency and my husband takes it when he shops so he can call me if he can't find something on the list or needs my input on a decision. We also use it for long distance because the cost per minute is less than it is for a landline call.

The cell phone works well and we have a strong signal. Besides voice calls, the phone does text messages, SMS, voice mail, Caller ID, call waiting, has Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, calendar, contacts, calculator, world clock. It can't do e-mail or the Internet, but it does have a "browser" with which you can get weather, news, sports, and movie information.

You aren't locked into a plan and unused minutes roll over. For basic cell usage, it's been very satisfactory.
--Judy M.

   
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:25 AM   #7
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Your Tracfone sounds about right. A friend has something similar he calls a “go-phone.” It works with different plans, none of them long-term or binding. While the iPhone or its ilk would be overkill for us, my friend’s phone is small enough to fit in a pocket, with readable display and fairly obvious controls.

What is the BlueTooth good for?

I looked at the Tracfone site, and found this phone that sounds like yours and looks like my friend’s.

   
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:54 PM   #8
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What is the BlueTooth good for?
Cordless hands-free usage. (Although I feel that is something of a misnomer ... your hands are free of the cell phone and dialing is voice-activated, but you still have to push a button on the BT device for basic operations like turning the thing on and off and answering calls.) In California it is illegal to hold a cell phone up to your ear while driving so if you want to talk on your cell from behind the wheel some sort of "hands-free" device is required. I have found my little Plantronics earpiece quite handy.

   
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
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Ah — got it.

I don’t think I have sufficient coordination to take advantage of that.

   
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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Oh, it really doesn't take a lot of coordination or dexterity. I bought the earpiece thingy and then didn't use it for probably a year because I thought it was going to be a hassle. But once I sat down and made myself figure it out it turned out it was ridiculously simple. It's a good idea to get one with changeable ear doodads (technical term) because the correct size makes all the difference.

   
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