View Full Version : Cell phone tips???
08-02-2007, 10:15 PM
I'm planning my mini-retirement for January - March 2008 to go to Costa Rica, maybe Argentina. My main focus will be to learn Spanish, and whatever other fun adventures I can find.
One of my big concerns is about using cell phones in South American countries. Does anyone have any experience in using them over there? I have 3 grown children and a 72 year old mom I have to stay in touch with - I'm sure everyone understands! :)
I've heard of world phones, changing SIM cards to local chips, and forwarding messages from VOIP. But I'd like the reassurance of being able to pick up a phone and getting a hold of family without it costing $3/minute!
Any suggestions would be appreciated!
- Dr. J
08-03-2007, 02:42 AM
According to http://www.gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/index.shtml
Costa Rica uses GSM1800 and Argentina has providers on GSM950 and GSM1900.
So, if you want to take a phone look for a tri-band phone that supports those 3 or a quad band phone.
Also, you want to make sure that the phone is "unlocked" so that you can buy a local SIM and get cheaper rates for local usage.
If you don't really want it for local use in country but for keeping in touch with home then you may be better off keeping you US provider SIM so that they'd always be able to reach you at that #. But, check out the link above and see which companies have roaming agreements in the countries you are interested in. The cost will be higher that way, but they should be able to reach you at your normal number.
08-03-2007, 04:49 AM
Is there any good reason to bring your USA phone with you, rather than just getting a cheapo when you get there? I guess keeping your USA phone number so people can reach you without having to (OMIGOSH!) find out your new number. Other reasons?
08-08-2007, 04:19 AM
Don’t bring your US cell phone with you – it will cost several dollars a minute to use it there. Just buy a tri-band cell phone from amazon.com and pick up a SIM chip when you get there (it should only cost 20 or so bucks), I must have like 50 different SIM chips from around the world, it will make a good souvenir.
When you pick up a local SIM just email your new number home or just check your voicemail and return the calls that you need or want to. That’s what I do when I am planning to stay in a country for more than a week, otherwise I just use my sat phone.
Also cell phones are called “Mobile Phones” most places outside the US (in some countries they wont know what your talking about if you say cellular phone)
Have fun on your trip – South America is pretty cool but Costa Rica has been pretty much ruined by all of the Americans that have moved down there – everything is 10X more expensive now
08-11-2007, 06:20 PM
I'm with James.
I use Skype or other VoIP to receive calls. I check the voicemail online and call out using Skype. I also bought an unlocked quad-band GSM on ebay to make/receive calls where there are no internet cafes (e.g. rural Austrailia, parts of China). Works great. My phone has a camera so I have a backup, too.
I'm thinking of getting a Wi-Fi Skype phone or maybe a PDA that does Wi-Fi and Skype so I can use public Wi-Fi to make and receive calls.
08-12-2007, 04:39 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas! I'll definitely be trying them
out and seeing how they work in South America. My daughter used some of your ideas in Ireland/Spain and said the best was to get a local SIM card, but they were still pretty expensive. For the few phone calls I might have to make, it'll be worth it.
Switched to Skype from Vonage and I like it much better.
Although VM is not working.
Anyone know what are the benefits of using Pamela for Skype?
08-23-2007, 09:03 AM
I would personally base my solution around Skype as well
Register for a skypeIn number before you leave, which would appear to be a local (wherever local is to you) number
People could then stay in touch with you as you could forward calls from this number to your mobile number
When in a different country you can then buy a cheap local sim card and use the same skypein number for incoming calls but either use skype at a computer, or your cheap local sim card for outgoing ones
Hope that makes sense
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