March 16, 2007 at 12:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guidelines for Using a Cellphone Abroad : New York Times

This was the number one most emailed article on nytimes today. And rightfully so. at least four times over the past few years, I have scoured the internet to determine the meanings of some of the terms they describe in this easy-to-read article. GSM vs CDMA, which carriers have each, why tmobile uses sim cards but verizon doesn’t. triband, quadband, all that.

a quick summary:

GSM = cingular & tmobile — 82% of the rest of the world

CDMA = verizon & sprint — only in the US and parts of Asia

If you have a GSM phone, you may be able to use it in a foreign country, but because in the US, GSM phones use 850 and 1900 Mhz and in europe they use 900 and 1800 Mhz. These frequencies are called bands and your phone will have to be triband or quadband to work overseas.

GSM phones store all the particular user’s data (subscriber identity, phone book) on a sim card, which you can swipe out; either to use your phone number in a different phone, or a different phone number with your phone. CDMA phones store that info on the phone itself, so phone numbers have to be offloaded and reloaded once you get a new phone (only $20 at verizon stores).

The article also details options for cheaper sim cards and cell phone rentals abroad, it’s pretty invaluable really. Hopefully, they’ll keep this article free.

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