GSM Phone? SIM Card?? Can I use my existing phone abroad???December 1, 2009 at 1:59 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: GSM, international roaming, Prepaid, SIM, travel
GSM phones are the dominant world standard and allow you to roam and make calls nearly anywhere on the globe (desert islands excluded). In the U.S., GSM is used by AT&T and T-Mobile (as well as many other, smaller companies), so if you are served by those companies, you are virtually certain to have a phone that can be used abroad.
Can I use my existing phone when traveling internationally?
You can tell that you have a GSM phone by removing the battery cover of your phone and looking for a SIM card that is about the size as your fingernail (see example). It is often in a slot under the battery of the cell phone and needs to be removed carefully. The SIM card contains your service subscription; the mobile phone is just a radio. By separating the subscription information and the phone, you can easily change service plans and devices: just select the SIM card and install it in the desired device!
You can change service subscriptions as easily as removing one SIM and replacing it with another SIM. The SIM card contains your service subscription information, including your telephone number and service information (a more detailed explanation is available in the Wiki article). So, when traveling internationally, you can remove your SIM card (representing your service plan with your U.S. carrier) and replace it with a low-cost, Prepaid SIM card from the country that you are visiting.
Traveling without a Cell Phone
If you wish, you can even travel without a cell phone of your own and simply borrow a friend’s phone for a moment to make a call using her phone and your service plan—by placing your SIM card in her phone before you call/text and removing it after you are done.
Note: Safely store your original SIM card, as you’ll need to reinstall it when you return to the U.S.!!GSM Phone? SIM Card??