Mobal Cell Phone - Great!

Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:10 PM
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Topping . . .

Can anyone help with a 2007 update on how to deal with the maze of cell phone confusion? Mobal has cheap nokia on ebay but I can't tell (without buying) if they are locked or not. We thought we'd buy 2 from ebay so we could stay in touch w/ both US friends and also each other in Spain if we want to go different ways occasionally. But maybe we should just buy thru Mobal website? Any techo helpers out there?

ceilifinnigan is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:08 AM
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Most buyers from Mobal received locked phones. Some have posted here about buying or finding codes on the internet to unlock the phones. I tried it but it didn't seem to work.

Ebay does sell unlocked phones from various vendors.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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We've discussed this endlessly but here goes once again.

1. Assuming you are in the USA you probably don't need mobal if your US carrier is either T Mobile USA or Cingular....what you have to make sure is the phone you are using has at least one of the European might have to upgrade. If you upgrade now you will get either a tri band with 850/1800/1900 with the 1800 being the key or a quad band with 850/900/1800/1900, better as you have both European frequencies (900 and 1800). In that case, if you're not making many calls, you can activate international roaming and you're all set. Calls are not all that cheap and you pay at least 99¢/minute to make and receive calls but if it's just for a few calls it's certainly very easy.

2. If you don't have a gsm carrier in the USA, say verizon is your carrier, then you indeed need a gsm phone. The mobal deal is easy, rates are a little higher than the international roaming rates on T Mobile and Cingular with the added bonus that while in the UK only you get the free reception of calls. Their cheapest phone is fine. Once again this is only if you're not making a whole lot of calls.

3. If you previously have mobal, you can try to get the phone unlocked. Travelnut, might I propose to you that somebody tried 5 times to unlock your phone and once 5 unsuccessful attempts are made, the phone can no longer be unlocked with a will have to be unlocked with a cable and the offending code wiped from is done all the time but it is no longer just a simple matter of just entering a code but it's not all that expensive either.

Unfortunately, companies have pressured Nokia to make phones more difficult to unlock and some of the old tricks no longer work; some Nokia phones have resisted attempts to unlock them but it's only a matter of time before it is figured out.

Phones sold on ebay are generally unlocked...what you have to be very careful about are the frequencies; especially with Nokia phones. Take the model 3120, a simple down to earth tri band phone which is more than adequate for use throughout the gsm world. It has no frills but works perfectly well as a basic phone.

The problem is that Nokia makes 2 versions of the Nokia for world wide consumption which has 900/1800/ is made for primary use outside North America....they also make what is supposedly called the 3120B for North American use. It has 850/1800/1900. The difficulty doesn't come in so much with international roaming but when you buy an individual sim card.

Most European carriers operate predominately one one of the two (900 or 1800) frequencies but have small areas of coverage with the other. O2 UK for example operates predominately on if you unlock a USA issued Nokia 3120 (which is really the 3120B) and roam on cingular or T Mobile, no problem, the phone will seek out a carrier on 1800 but it won't be O2; if on the other hand you buy an O2 sim (or put your mobal sim in as mobal is a rebranded version of O2 UK), you will find very scant coverage if any and there is nothing that can be done. I have seen people run into the problem and be told it is because the phone is locked but that is not so in this case.

So if you want to buy a local sim card, then you need an unlocked gsm phone and if you're not into all this technology jazz, buy a quad band phone on ebay..then you will never have a frequency problem and you can put in any local sim card you want and there's lots of information on an excellent web site
where people who actually know what they're talking about, unlike so many on this board, can give you advice and suggestions.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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Bless you, xyz123, for your enduring patience over many many years in explaining cell phone usage/unlocking/SIM cards/ etc., to those of us technologically challenged travellers.
suntravler is offline  
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