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Cell Phones for Dummies (this dummy anyway!)

snarkyinla

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 243
Joined: September 20th, 2006

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Tags: cell phone, virgin, sim card, africa
  • Added on: June 24th, 2007
Hi everyone. As an american with a cheappy cell phone, I know NOTHING about traveling with a cell phone and SIM cards and putting money on your card and all these other things people talk about. The only reason I am even having a cell phone is to keep my mother out of a mental institution while I'm gone (you think I'm kidding? Read some of my other threads).

I really need some very very basic help here, so PLEASE share your wisdom with me, or point me to a site that gives directions in plain-stupid English for me.

Since I can't take my American phone with me, I was planning on buying a phone once I got to Africa. HOwever an English friend of mine offered to loan me her England phone. It is a Nokia and she has an account with Virgin. She gave me her "top up" card which has the phone info on it.

So, um, what do I do with it? I open the back and can see the battery, how do I get to the SIM card I'm supposed to replace it with?

If I replace the SIM card, will it lose her pre-programmed in phone numbers (she's concerned about that).

Can I use her Virgin "top up" card, or do I need to do something else?

As I said, I know zippo about any of this, so input would REALLY be appreciated...
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gaia

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 120
Joined: May 13th, 2005

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2007
depends on whether she saved her number on the phone and on her sim card. if she saved everything on her sim card all you gotta do is take her card out and put your new sim card in and she will still have all her numbers. but you have to put her sim card in a safe and dry place so that it won't be desroyed

snarkyinla

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 243
Joined: September 20th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2007
Thanks.

How do you know if it's on the phone or simcard or both?

I can even leave teh sim card here in the US, but where is it? I couldn't get the battery out easily I assume it's under the battery??
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Snarky's African Blog

gaia

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 120
Joined: May 13th, 2005

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2007
the sim card should but right under the battery or right next to it

gaia

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 120
Joined: May 13th, 2005

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2007
it is small and sometimes white square it will have the providers logo on it....and may have a peice of metal holding it

snarkyinla

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 243
Joined: September 20th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 26th, 2007
So, if I bring a phone and it has the phone number: 201-555-1212 with Virgin, or Verizon, or whoever, and I change SIM cards locally, does the phone number then change??
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Snarky's African Blog

snarkyinla

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 243
Joined: September 20th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 26th, 2007
Never mind found the answer to my own question at:

http://www.telestial.com/ (very helpful site for dummies!!).

Now I just need to decide if I should

a) bring friend's phone which has a charger that weighs a ton
b) get my own cell phone upgraded to an international compatible one and buy cards when I get there
c) buy the whole kit-n-caboodle once there...

advice welcome...
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Snarky's African Blog

2wanderers

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Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3777
Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: June 26th, 2007
I'd tend toward buying the whole thing once there. It's just simpler. One of the other snags you may run into with borrowing a friend's phone is that it may be locked to Virgin's network, and if you change the SIM card, it'll just ask for the unlock code, which usually costs almost as much to get as to buy a new phone.

Upgrading your existing cellphone will be expensive - where you could be buying the cheapest model on the rack in Africa, you'd probably be looking very close to the top end in American phones. Plus the charger will minimally need an adaptor plug (if it comes multi-voltage), or more likely will have to replaced, because it's a way to make extra cash. This would be your worst option.

Justin7199

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World Citizen
 
Posts: 1211
Joined: April 30th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2007
I bought a refurbished, unlocked, quad-band GSM phone off eBay. I can use this virtually anywhere in the world (except Japan).
-------------------------------

Corporate whore no more! Now featuring supercool China edition!

snarkyinla

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 243
Joined: September 20th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2007
Thanks!

No time for the ebay route, I'm afraid.

Yes, I think I'll just buy there. Maybe I'll decide I won't need it at all...

Thanks again!
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Snarky's African Blog

Superpuffin

Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 14
Joined: June 16th, 2007

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  • Added on: July 7th, 2007
I don't know if this low tech solution for the charger would help. Here's one that is actually a hand crank charger: http://www.gaiam.com/retail/product/17-0327
The good thing is you can be remote and keep the phone charge, and it's light 2.5 oz. The bad is are you really going to remember to hand crank the phone. It's an option.



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