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Cell phone question for the world travelers here

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#1 saudio


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Posted 18 January 2014 - 01:02 PM

Can anyone recommend a good, simple, cheap, unlocked GSM traveling phone?  Only requirements for me are that it uses a standard USB charger and that it is not finicky with SIM cards.  Full keyboard would be nice but not required, just want it to be small. 

And, have you found a good SIM card that works in most countries and doesn’t require dialing gymnastics to use? You know, dial the number, count to five, hang up, wait for a call back, etc.?

I’ve found that my Verizon iPhone 4s can be troublesome with foreign SIM cards and that some places don’t have micro sims.

Thanks in advance if you have any advice.


#2 Cary Dean

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:45 AM

Purchase an unlocked Blackberry off of Craigslist.

Android phones work well too. Local sim cards don't need

any special dialing for local calls and if you have an

unlocked smartphone you can call via Skype over wifi

in most areas.

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#3 saudio


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Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:44 AM


#4 Tzetsin



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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:27 AM

you can pretty much get any smartphone unlocked these days.  My wife and I travel all over the world with our normal canadian phones.  We just pick up a sim card wherever we end up, stick it in and giver.


As far as calling long distance, we dont.  With the proliferation of VoIP, we simply use Skype, or Viber to talk to anyone we want back home. (just have to make sure they have one of those services before we go)


Because of text messaging, we rarely make local calls in any place we're at either, though when we do, its pretty cheap typically.  Canada has some of the most expensive cell phone rates in the world, so pretty well anywhere we go, we're paying less than home, so its all good.

#5 troporobo


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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:22 PM

In pretty much any country overseas, you can pick up a basic cell phone and SIM locally for next to nothing. Just go to a local mall.  In Asia I see them everywhere for $20-30

#6 Drew


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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:03 PM

For specific models, a Blackberry Bold 9900 is a good and probably quite available 2nd hand.  The QWERTY keys are nice and it uses BIS.  The problem is that BIS is getting to become a bit harder for unlimited usage to find in prepaid cards in many places.  FYI no Skype calls for Blackberry OS7 but Viber works.

As for phone services, I'm with T Mobile, which is for now the best provider for US travelers.  I pay about $100 a month for unlimited data and texting (calls are $.20 a minute), which includes roaming.  I usually use this phone for short stays where buying a SIM prepaid is not worth the hassle (2-3 days).  Since most people have BBM, G+, FB, Whataspp, Instagram etc, the need to text is redundant.

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