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Robespierre, XYZ123 & cell phone experts: I need help!

Robespierre, XYZ123 & cell phone experts: I need help!

Dec 21st, 2006, 12:19 PM
  #1  
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Robespierre, XYZ123 & cell phone experts: I need help!

So I took the plunge and bought 2 unlocked cell phones on ebay (per Fodor directions - quad band, unlocked, etc.), then ordered 2 United Mobile Sim cards. I'm in Paris. Neither phone works! There's also a french cell phone at the apt and neither Sim card will work in that phone so I suspect the problem lies with united mobile.

To top it off, united mobile won't reply to my requests for service! Any suggestions? I leave in 2 days for Rome and could really use the phones there as there's 4 of us.

Thanks for your help!
rosetravels is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 01:10 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 288
In Italy I used a TIM SIM card. I found the folks in the TIM stores very helpful. Maybe they can help you out when you get there.
teach2travel is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 01:58 PM
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What happens when you insert the UM sim card? Does it ask for a PIN? It's written on the card that the sim came with. If you incorrectly enter PIN three times, you need to enter the PUK code (again printed on the card).
Another possibility is that your ebay phones are locked (even if you bought them unlocked) or barred (i.e. reported as stolen and thus barred by the original service provider; if they are located in EU, they are barred throughout EU). If they are barred, they are useless, as unbarring by anyone other than the original provider (i.e. give fresh identity through new IMEI - serial number) is illegal. As for the phone in your apartment, it may be that it's locked to a French service provider.
Alec is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 02:25 PM
  #4  
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Well, I have entered the correct pin numbers, so that's not the problem. I bought 2 different phones from 2 different vendors so the odds of all 3 phones being locked, despite statements that they were unlocked seems slim.

One of the phones I got from ebay is used, from T-mobile and it looks most promising of the 3. It appears to have service and it can track down 3 signals just fine. Here's additional information I should have mentioned in the first post - when I place a call I get this message in a french accent: "your subscription does not allow us to connect your call. Please contact your service provider."

And my service provider (United Mobile) doesn't answer the emails I send asking for assistance. I'd call them but I don't have a cell phone!
rosetravels is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 05:29 PM
  #5  
 
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Make sure you have the correct band selected for the country you're in. That's messed me up several times.
lmernal is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 07:15 PM
  #6  
 
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Your phone is set correctly and connects properly to the french provider you use for roaming, otherwise you wouldn't hear the french message. Problem is with your phone(s). To be able to use the UM card anyway, try this: Locate the menue, you'll find (under "Extras or Tools etc.) an entry called "Call/Anrufen", select that. Then you'll see "Dial/Wählen" followed by "Enter number/Nummer eingeben". Do just that and most older phones will work.

UM service is poor anyway and since they claim to work in countries where they actually don't (China), I won't be using them anymore!
logos999 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 08:28 PM
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Some counries, including Italy, require you to register with the government before using cell phones or the internet. Have you checked into that?
teach2travel is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 10:54 PM
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If you really nead those phones and are ready to spend a bit more : go to a newsstand or - even better - to a phone store and buy the cheapest french prepaid SIM card available (15 € (Virgin Mobile) to 30 Euros (SFR, Orange, ...)) and have the shop assistant to help you to instal it on one of your phones
norween is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 12:20 AM
  #9  
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I haven't looked into registering with the government in France. The UM spiel is that you simply plug in the card and voila! Phone service anywhere. Is that not true - would one need to register a sim card with the government?
rosetravels is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 01:21 AM
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Topping for you...
Dukey is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 01:47 AM
  #11  
 
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No need to register UM sim in Italy or anywhere else. It will just work out of the box. I agree with logos999 that the problem you are having probably relates to a particular way in which you have to make outgoing calls - a callback system, using phone's menu, rather than simply keying in the number and pressing send (with most phones).
Alec is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 04:42 AM
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Rosetravels,

Perhaps United Mobile has an agreement with only one of the 3 mobile providers in France. The 3 are SFR, Orange and Bouygues. You need to be sure you are selecting the proper network or try all 3 if you like.

I also found this on the united mobile site which is what Logos is talking about:

Q: Why do I get an announcement sayingquot;Call not allowed" (or similar), and why do I never get a call back when I’m calling?
A: Some phones require you to make calls using the phone menu. If this applies to you, please select the menu option “Call” (under the main menu or under “Extras”), then select “Dial” and “Enter number”. Dial the full international dialling code, i.e. “+” or “00”, followed by the country code, the regional code or GSM prefix (without the zero), and then the local number. Once you have finished dialling, press the ok button. You will now be disconnected and your phone will display:“Please wait”. Wait until you are called back (this takes between 5 and 10 seconds) and answer as usual. Your call will now be connected.
MorganB is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:30 AM
  #13  
sjj
 
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I recently bought a United Mobile SIM for use on a trip to Rome next year. I've tried it out a few times on an unlocked Motorola V190 quadband by calling United Mobile to request my account balance and by calling my home phone. Sometimes their SIM works, sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately, their support system is totally useless. United Mobile don't respond to email, and its telephone support people are lazy and untrained. My solution was to buy an Ekit international SIM, since their support service is reputed to be top notch. In your case, I suggest buying an Italian SIM when you get to Rome.
sjj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 10:10 AM
  #14  
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Thanks so much for everyone's help -Fodor's is great as always. I tried the suggestions and none have worked. I think I'll try again in Rome and either buy a cheap cell or let friends know I'm unreachable.

If anyone would like 2 allegedly unlocked cell phones - let me know. And as for U-M - don't buy their sim card! I would have been much better off going with the Mobal Phone arrangement despite the costly minutes.

In the meanwhile, I'm giving up on trying to make this work in Paris, it detracts from my far more valuable cafe time.

Thanks again!
rosetravels is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 12:23 PM
  #15  
 
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If you put the sim card in the phone and you dont get an error message then it is indeed unlocked. You wouldnt get as far as getting on networks if it were locked.
MorganB is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 04:50 PM
  #16  
 
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Always love the incorrect advice given on this board from time to time.

Is your phone registering on a French network? If so, it should work. If not you might have to select a network manually.

What model phones do you have?

I disagree with my good friend Logos; I have for the most part found United Mobile service to be excellent and deliver exactly what it promises.

I will say, however, that some French networks from time to time apparently have tried to block my access to cdallbackworld.....

Please tell us exactly what is happening; perhaps we can help from afar.
xyz123 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 07:47 PM
  #17  
 
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Well, xyz123, they don't answer my emails and the card doesn't work in China, even though they claim it does and has free incoming. May be a temporary failure, but that doesn't help when you need their service. I'll use Globalsim.de in future. Has a U.K. phone number, works (at least up to now) and can be reached for 2ct/min via Skype.
logos999 is offline  
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