Tri band phones on Ebay

May 4th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Tri band phones on Ebay

Another thread suggested buying a cheap tri or quad band phone on ebay and then buying sim cards in Europe.

There are some that are a penny with free shipping and others that are a dollar with $10 shipping. Sounds too good to be true. What should I be looking for?

Connie is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 12:26 AM
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First, it has two frequencies in use in Europe: 900 and 1800MHz. Some tri-band phones sold in US has 850, 900 and 1900MHz, which can only be used with some networks in Europe, limiting choice and coverage.
Secondly, make sure the phone is unlocked, meaning it can take any SIM card, not just from the network that originally supplied the handset.
If the listing doesn't make it clear, ask the seller direct.
Alec is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 03:05 AM
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Why not just buy a QUAD band phone which you can use just about anywhere you might travel in the future except Japan?????
Dukey is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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Agree with Dukey - our quad band Motorola with T-Mobile as provider has worked well for us all over Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Quite happy with it and T-Mobile is great carrier.
Reisender is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 08:31 AM
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I bought a quad band phone for $50 in 2006 on ebay has worked everywhere in world but Brazil for some odd reason. Well worth it, you just pick up sim at local airport or first sim shop you hit.
JoanneH is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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I have no idea what the difference between a tri and quad band phone is.

I notice when I look at specs of different phones, it doesn't say anything about that. What should I look for?

Connie is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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Quad has four frequencies that will cover you just about anywhere in the world; tri-band phones are missing one of those frequencies, so will shut you out of some networks.

Look for the words "quad band" "GSM" and "unlocked". If you do not see those specs, the phone is not a good choice for world travel. An unlocked quad band GSM phone will accept a SIM from anywhere around the globe (with some exceptions, Japan being the only major gap).

There are Motorola and Samsung models available used on Ebay for $30-50. I bought one that has been sucessfully used in the UK and will next go to China.
kayd is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 11:12 AM
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Some carriers (notably T-Mobile) will also unlock your phone on request. I called T-Mobile, wanting to buy a new quad-band phone and prepared to wage a battle to get it unlocked.

Instead, T-Mobile researched my phone, told me it would work at my destination but not everywhere in Europe (it'a tri-band phone) and offered to unlock it so I wouldn't have to pay 'ridiculous' roaming fees (their words).

I was... Speechless to say the least. A day later my unlock code arrived via email.

I believe T-Mobile and Verizon both will unlock phones on request.

CptDondo is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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Verizon does not use the GSM system, so if that is your mobile provider, there's nothing to unlock and you need to buy a GSM phone. In North America, only ATT and T-Mobile use GSM and can unlock your phone.
kayd is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Thank you all. You've been a big help. Now I feel little more knowledgeable about what to look for.

I have Alltel. I'll give them a call first and if they can't help me, I'll check again on ebay for quad phones.
Connie is offline  
May 5th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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Yes my phone via T- Mobile is usable without changing sims. They simply unlock it for global roaming and we are set (the unlock is a one time deal). You will pay international roaming rates but as the phone is seldom used (we like to have it for emergencies mainly) that is of no concern to us. When we have used it is was worth the small additional cost.
Reisender is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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I bought a Moto V190 GSM phone last year for about $20. Worked just fine once I bought a SIM card in Italy. Very handy to have, and free incoming calls.
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