But I don't WANT a new cell phone!

Discussion in 'Community' started by Thomas Veil, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #1
    You've been through this, I'm sure.

    I'm going to be changing my cell service provider, but all the other companies want me to buy a new phone.

    Even when they're offering the phone free or cheap, the question comes to mind: WHY do I have to get a new phone? Is there really something proprietary about them? I wouldn't think so, because I've seen the same Siemens phone, for example, sold by AT&T and other providers.

    Fact is, I like the design of the one-year-old phone I have now much better than some of the styles I'm seeing. Quite simply, they suck. The keypad layouts are often unnecessary "cutesy" and hard to use.

    I've asked one or two sales reps about the phone issue, but I only get vague answers about, "You have to buy one of ours, otherwise it won't work with our system."

    And secondly, does anybody have any experience with Alltel? That's the company I'm leaning towards right now. Anything to say about them, good or bad?
     
  2. HeWhoSpitsFire macrumors member

    HeWhoSpitsFire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    As a generality, it depends on what type network the cell provider works. And also, what media they use to activate your account on the phone (sim card,etc...).

    Currently AT@T are using a form of GSM and GPRS, they borrow this network from T-Mobile. Otherwise the protocol choices are as colorful as a 64 box of crayons.

    Just do some research on the media type and protocol. Or see if you've got a friend with a GSM or whatever phone that will use your SIM card or whatever.

    Also, if your phone doesn't use removable media to store your info, you will need a new phone.
     
  3. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #3
    there are at least two types of services in use in the u.s.: cdma and gsm. i'm sure there are others. if you have a cdma phone (say, sprint), then you cannot use the same set to get gsm (t-mobile).

    not much you can do about it if you are switching the service protocol. you need a new phone, plain and simple.
     
  4. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #4
    Sprint and verizon sells the same phone that I want. So how are they going to keep me from leaching lets say verizons signal. They both have different frequency chips in them. So the frequency chip in the phone will only get the signal from sprints frequency signal. So you will have to buy a new phone. You can't just open up the phone and replace the frequency chip and have it work for that service. There is probably more to getting the services signal then just the chip.
     
  5. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
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    Reality
    #5
    It is a GPRS phone, and it does have a SIM card, so yes, some experimentation may be in order.
     
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #6
    I thought the blank cellphone could be used anywhere -- once programmed.

    But once you program the phone, you lock in an ID and phone network.

    Problem is most of the reprogramming equipment can be used for fraud, so it's in the best interest to not have too many reprogramming centers sitting around.

    Just easier to tell people they need to buy one of their phones.

    But with the phone number portability act, there may be more 3rd party business that help people transition their phones to a new network.

    Right now there's just...

    http://www.wirelessrecycling.com/
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    Sort of on-topic, what exactly is a "locked" GSM phone? My impression is that phones sold by the service providers are locked (and there are "unlocked" ones sold at much higher cost), as part of the deal whereby the service providers subsidize the phone cost. And that as a result of this, these phones cannot be used on other GSM networks. IE I could not take my T-Mobile locked 3650 and use it on a Cingular network. Is it some kind of software lock? Is it defeatable?

    I kinda feel what Thomas is saying. Right now there are a few phones on the market I personally would accept for free as part of changing providers but not much I'd pay for. There are things on the horizon, but....
     
  8. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #8
    Most phones can be 'unlocked' although you usually have to take them to a service centre and pay a few to have them done. Depending on the unlocker' strictness, they may check that your contract has run out before they unlock.
     
  9. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #9
    Search Google for instructions on how to unlock your phone. There are a lot of new sites that give the unlocking codes/methods.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #10
    Take it to a chinese operated mobile phone centre, and they'll do it. Well, all the ones in Toronto will do it for cheap. Chinese stores are a bit dodgier, but hey, they'll always do it for business sake in stupid cases like mobile phone locking, where it never seems necessary from the user's perspective.

    Even the guys at the FIDO store (one of the mobile providers in Canada) will do it for you for cheap, but I'm sure they're breaking FIDO rules by not charging your an arm and a leg for it.
     
  11. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Location:
    I live in a giant bucket!
    #11
    I beleive you cn just call the manufacture of the phone (say Nokia or Sony for example) and they will tell you the code to unlock it. Something to do with that new cell phone law or something they passed a year or so.
     
  12. sonyrules macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2001
    Location:
    Ohio
    #12
    Sprint and Verizon both use the CDMA technology, the dirfference is that Spirints Voice services run on there 3G system, As verizon has a different system , So even though they are the same phone and both run on CDMA technology, they have different standards and compression. So the phones are not interchangable. If they were both 2g (1st generation digital), then they would be... But neither sell the old system anymore
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #13
    Thanks for all the locking/unlocking info! Actually I don't think it'll be too relevant to me momentarily. T-mobile's excellent data plan kinda has me hooked until someone offers affordable 3G data svcs on a BT phone here. Mmmm...when I saw that pilot by AT&T, the idea of getting DSL speed from a cell modem makes me drool. ;)
     
  14. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    back in NYC!
    #14
    I haven't been too happy with T-Mobile.

    Yeah, they have good extras, but the extras aren't worth much if your not getting service. Unfortunately I got more service with Cingular, and AT&T has great coverage (in Austin at least).

    scem0
     
  15. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #15
    Checkout what network type your currently mobile phone uses (the standard GSM or them other weird types), if its GSM make sure the new phone is at least Dual Band or better Tri Band. This will ensure it works across all the GSM frequencies then get the phone unlocked at a local store (not the big chain stores) put your new sim card into your old phone then ebay your new phone, bob's your uncle
     
  16. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #16
    Trust me, you do not want to get AT&T. I did an entire rant over at MacAddict about how many times they screwed up my bill, sent bills to the wrong address, etc....and I got many replies from other people saying, "How true! AT&T is royally screwed up." Some folks did state that Cingular is looking to take over AT&T's wireless service, but until such time as that happens and they restore any semblance of quality service, I'd avoid them like the plague.
     
  17. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #17
    It seems that whenever my wife changes carrier then she need a new phone. They say that the old won't work withe there software. That the phone is outdated. Sprint had coverage drops for her in important areas. She needs to be able to reach the office, patients, and physicians. Verizon Wireless has greatly improved coverage.

    She is at the one year point of her 2 year contract. She would like to get one of the new Motorola Bluetooth phones, if available by then.
     
  18. acidrock macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    The Evergreen State College
    #18
    t-mobile opnion

    I have a lot of experience with cell phones, had delt with spring and t-mobile. Sprint seems like a good plan, but at the time I could not check to see how many min I used. They also changed their plans by service area so that got confusing when you would travel out to SF and see way better deals! And their network sucks. I just got a phone w/ t-mobile. Some of you hate them, but their service represnatives are realy nice, compaired to a lot of the local phone companies I've delt with. They actually listen to you. Their plans might be bad, but their network is good, they have a t-mobile connction- I can call t-moblie phones for free. Acutally w/ that and 600 min month + anytime weeknight and end, it's not bad for abotu $45. I had got the phone for free. You only have to sign a year round contract, you can upgrade the plan anytime, and there's a warenty. Anyway that's not bad considering, and many of my friends have t-mobile so I am able to call them for free -

    nathan
     

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