GSM Phones? Help!

Jun 16th, 2005, 06:34 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 73
GSM Phones? Help!

We will be arriving in Oz 6-27-05. We are leaving children 16-20 at home. My wife would like a feel good link. Our phones are not GSM for US. Where can we get phone that is reasonable to make and receive calls.
Thank you kindly in adnace.
amrdia is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 11:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Hi amrdia,

Quite literally there are mobile phone shops on just about every CBD street. If you just want a cheap prepaid mobile phone then you can get one from any telstra or Optus outlet for about A$80.00 which includes A$10 worth of calls. you can buy recharges at just about any newsagency or supermarket.

Cheers

Paul_S
Paul_S is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 11:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Amrdia,
Take a look at
http://telstrashop.telstra.com/CatBr...1&cat2=prepaid
Telstra and Optus are the two big phone companies.
A pre-paid is perfect for mainly incoming calls (these are at no cost to you - am i right in thinkling US cell phones are charged for incoming calls?).
Buy a discount phone card for your calls back to the US - don't use the pre-paid!
Coverage of either network is very good in most towns and cities and the phones will be reliable, cheap enough to give away when you go home and sure to come in handy for local calls to restaurants, hotels etc.
theshippingoffice is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 12:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
The best info is on the Europe and Asia forums - run a search for past threads on the subject. There's a lot of discussion about the options open to Americans for acquiring an unlocked GSM phone before departure - eg, you could consider buying a tri-band phone which handles the frequency used by US GSM operators (1900 MHz) as well as the 900 and 1800 used in most of the world).

Once you have your phone you can buy a SIM card in Australia, which in addition to giving you a local number will have a given amount of prepaid credit, which can be topped up when it runs out.

If time defeats you, you could buy the phone in Australia as part of a prepaid deal - you should get a basic model for AU$99 (say US$76) at most. If you buy it that way it will be locked against using another carrier for 3/6 months, but I believe that unlocking codes for most phones can be found on the Web. It won't be money thrown away, as you'll be able to use the phone in most parts of the world.

The major Australian mobile operators are Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone, all of whom operate nationally. If you succeed in penetrating their deliberately obfuscatory pricing plans (trust me, I've worked for two of them) you'll probably find that there's no great price advantage whichever you choose, but if you plan to travel in remote areas Telstra may be the best choice. Call rates are high by comparison with the US but national roaming is provided automatically at no extra charge.

My second-best suggestion is to buy a phone card as soon as you arrive in Australia - you can buy them almost anywhere (post offices, newsagents, Asian groceries, whatever). The call rates are ridiculously cheap (a few cents per minute for calls to the US), albeit with a little compromise on call quality, and they can be used from any fixed-line or mobile phone. We use a ChiTel card to phone China, and the same rates also apply to calls to the US. All you do is hand over say $10 or $20, scratch to reveal your PIN, dial a local access number and follow the voice prompts. Sometimes the ChiTel computer will get its knickers in a knot and tell you you have no credit left, in which case you just hang up and call again.

The only problem with the phone card is that your kids obviously can't call you, so I'd still go with the mobile option. There's nothing worse than spending a holiday worrying about what the little buggers are getting up to.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 03:18 AM
  #5  
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 73
Paul,ShippingOffice and Neil:

All great quality info. Thank you very much as usual.

amrdia is offline  

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