Mobile Phone Usage Overseas

If you plan on using a cell phone in Hong Kong/ China, you probably would not want to pay international roaming fees and what not. Paying international roaming fees would probably cost you a fortune, especially if your with an North American cell carrier. There is a way around this. If you are in the U.S. then you kind of have a limited amount of choices to get around this dilemma. Here in the United States we have various different kinds of cell frequencies, CDMA, GSM, and some less popular cellphone frequencies. Allow me to give you a quick summary. Verizon Wireless and Sprint utilize the CDMA frenquency here in the United States, whereas AT&T and T-Mobile utlize the GSM frenquency. Unfortunately if you use Sprint and Verizon it will be a little difficult. If you are with AT&T or T-Mobile then you are in good luck. Before leaving the U.S. you will need to call either AT&T or T-Mobile and ask them you would like a code to unlock your cell phone. Sometimes this is called a NCK code. This is a simple process, but if it does not work the first time, do you enter in your key again. Please contact your mobile service providers again. If you enter the unlocking code too many times, you could permently lock your phone. Anyways if you do not want to go through this process you can also buy unlocked phones, either here in the U.S. or buy a cheap phone in Hong Kong. All the phones offered in Hong Kong/ China are unlocked. You can find phones online as low as $50, but in Hong Kong they are a little more expensive. I bought a Nokia N95 last year, which is an unlocked phone. It’s a quadband phone so I will have no problem using it in Hong Kong. If you plan on buying an unlocked phone, make sure to look for an unlocked tri-band or quad-band GSM phone. If you look for those minimum requirements, then you will be in great shape. So now that we can use your phone overseas, what about a mobile service provider in Hong Kong. Tomorrow I will do a post on two of the major cell providers in Hong Kong. Until then take care!

~ by branhow on June 21, 2009.

2 Responses to “Mobile Phone Usage Overseas”

  1. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say
    that I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!


  2. Listened to you on the TechGuy Radio show – enjoy the trip!
    Just a little clarification.. First of all, for most of what you have written, you are spot on with your advice.. Good job.

    Here are couple of things that may help some others. CDMA phones will work in China/Hong Kong, but like you said it will be expensive. I work for VZW and our CDMA phones work in over 40 countries around the world. We also have “global” phones that work in over 200 countries and it is possible to have the GSM portion of the global phones unlocked after you have them for 90 days. However, one of the best values with VZW is a Global Blackberry like the Storm or Tour (coming out on 7/12/09). $64.99 /month gets you unlimited email and web on the device with a voice plan!

    There is also a Prepaid Global Carrier Recommended by Consumer Guru Clark Howard: MaxRoam (
    They offer very discounted rates using their SIM and an unlocked phone!

    One other piece of advice to consumers – when looking for devices (GSM or CDMA/Global). The best device would be a dual platform (GSM & CDMA), Quad-Band Phone. This would give them the best coverage in any country.. CDMA in the USA and some other countries and GSM for those countries that don’t have CDMA networks. This would also give them access to all major frequencies used: 800 / 1900 Mhz CDMA and 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz GSM with the addition of 2100Mhz HSPA/HSDPA 3G Service (for countries like Japan).

    With the evolution to the 4G LTE Networks, this will hopefully become a much easier process in the next few years!


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