Potentially, this segment on mobile communications abroad just might save you hundreds, if not thousands of your currency of choice annually.
Cell phone usage abroad may have an exorbitant cost and can be considerably inconvenient.
A majority of the world’s cell phone users (82%) use Global System Mobile (GSM) technology.
More than 185 nations use GSM, whereas CDMA phones work only in 26 countries (North America, a few Asian nations, the Caribbean, and parts of Latin America).
CDMA phones are practically inoperative in most of Europe. Although subscribers to GSM and CDMA phones in the United States can technically have their carrier service roam in compatible countries, roaming charges range from $.50 to $1.00 per minute for CDMA phones and $1.00 to $5.00 per minute for GSM phones.
For instance, one T-Mobile (GSM) subscriber on a ten-day trip to Tanzania was charged $5 a minute, or $800.
Had the user called T-Mobile and unlocked his phone from overseas restrictions, he could have replaced his GSM SIM (subscriber identity module) card with one for another country, which would have cost him $1.15 in Tanzania, not $5 per minute.
Also, CDMA phones do not store the SIM in a removable card, but in the hardware itself.
For these reasons, you may want to avoid using CDMA phones abroad.
Part 2 of this three-part segment will be released tomorrow (October 30).