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GSM / unlocking / T mobile ?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by PADutchman, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    I am considering T mobile servcie and the Samsung S105 or perhaps a Nokia 3390
    I know the the 3390 is a 1900 Mhz phone only (T mobile operating freq.) and the S105 is I guess tri band, as to cover the lower GSM freq also.
    I have been seeing some posts with regards to "unlocking" the phone.

    My question is: If I buy the S105 for T mobile service will it operate ONLY on 1900 Mhz ? Do I gain anything by unlocking the phone, or would this only cause to potentially corrupt my billing, if the phone were to lock onto another GSM carrier ? I don't travel globally, so this is not a concern, or a reason.

    If the S105 is only going to work on the 1900 band only, there seems to be little reason to spend the extra money, and rather just buy the Nokia. I have been told that even though 3390 is a "low end" phone, it is one of the better ones for T mobile service, at least in that price range. The extra bells and whistles, color screen, etc., of the Samsung don't interest me that much, as I want the phone for basic voice communication.

    Also, I have been seeing information that T Mobile is now signing more roaming partner agrrements with I believe ATT and Cingular (as they are migrating to GSM) Does this mean that the S105 would be to my advantage, as it would operate on these other carriers 850 band as well, and therefore perhaps provide me with more thorough coverage ? Or, will these agreements, where they exist, only be with other 1900 MHZ band systems ?

    Thanks to all who may enlighten me on these network issues.
     
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  2. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Unlocking the s105 won't help you at all in the USA. The other bands (900/1800) are for European use. 900 is not the same as 850. The agreements in place, in force, and recently signed and due to be in force soon, are all at 1900. They will not be "intramarket" agreements - meaning that even though Cingular and AT&T may (do) offer GSM in your area, you can't use them as you will not be permitted to register on their networks. They will work for 911 calls however. The roaming agreements are for true roaming - places (mostly highways in the recent agreements) where one provider does not offer ANY service at all. The press releases list a few cities, but mostly rural interstates in the midwest and west.

    BTW it wouldn't have any effect on your billing, or anything like that.
     
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  3. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Matt:

    Thanks for the scoop. So, essentially, then, for T Mob service in the USA, and single band 1900 MHZ handset would seem to be fine.
    It would seem then that the only advantage, in MY application, for a higher end phone, would be only if that phone was a better performer than say, a 3390 I've been using a 3360 for over 2 yrs, and, although I'm searching for a new provider, the basic function of these phones / size / weight / is fine with me. The phone is a "tool" for me, not a fashion statement.
    I believe you previously shared info regarding the S105 and Best Buy stores. (?)
    I checked that out,......$80 including the $20 store credit. 30 day phone return policy / although it's still 14 days for the service contract w/ T mob
     
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  4. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Yes, for your needs the 3390 is fine. As for Best Buy, I don't know what this week's offer is, but you are correct regarding the terms on the return - it is still 14 days to cancel WRT T-Mobile.
     
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  5. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Thnaks again Matt - I'm still agonizing between VZN or T mob.....I know so many people on VZN that their mob2mob would really be helpful at least time wise.

    I see VZN has new maps on their website, but they are essentially still showing areas "of licensed operation". I know their coverage is respectable, but the sound quality is just SO bad sometimes.
     
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  6. polonius

    polonius Junior Member
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    1) Unlocking only allows you to use a non-TMO SIM in it. If you are never going to use another operator's SIM, then it makes no difference whatsoever. It certainly will not "lock onto another operator" or "corrupt your billing"

    2) You are right, only one of the three bands on the tri-band can ever be used in the USA. The ONLY advantage you would gain is the ability to use it abroad. If you don't care about that (and you otherwise are happy with the 1900 only phone), no reason to buy the tri-band.

    3) you are right -- the 3390 is a low-end phone. But it sounds like your needs are rather simple, so probably will do all you need it to. Aren't they still more or less giving that one away? If so, then just get it, and upgrade later if you decide you need international roaming or "bells and whistles" like a colour screen.

    4) It sounds like the only thing you might want at some point is an 850/1900 phone, which would allow you to roam onto Cingular/AT&T if and when you were in an area without TMO coverage and if and when a roaming agreement was in place -- I'm not quite clear on the current status of those agreements, but I would guess that in a year's time both the agreements would be more extensive and the choices of 850/1900 phones would be better.
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    You just need to get TM and then get them to switch to TM [​IMG]

    Yes, rate areas. I wonder why they won't show the coverage maps? Perhaps b/c they are not as complete as they imply? (although they do provide great service in most areas....)
     
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  8. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    I believe this is the case. I understand that of all the carriers, T mob represents their coverage in a most realistic, if not conservative fashion.
    Is the S105 Samsung a 850 / 1900 MHZ phone ? Polonius seems to feel this may be to my advantage as the roaming agreements blossom .
    If so, and I know it probably is a better unit than a 3390, I'd probably just get that.
     
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  9. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    No, the s105 does not support 850. It is 900/1800 and 1900. TM doesn't offer phones that use 850 since they don't have any licenses for 850 nor do any of their roaming agreements support 850. You can get 850/1900 phones, but you have to buy them "unlocked" and they generally cost significantly more.

    as far as 850 roaming agreements and TM are concered - it is purely speculation at this point.
     
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  10. polonius

    polonius Junior Member
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    Yes, exactly. It is triband 900/1800/1900. The range of 850/1900 phones is very limited at this point -- and as you point out, no clear indication that TMO will have 850 roaming.

    Dutchman -- it just seems to me that your current needs are so simple that there is no sense in your paying for flexibility you probably don't need. Save that hundred bucks for now, and in 6 -12 months, if you find you need 850 or 900/1800 or an unlocked phone for whatever reason, spend the money then to upgrade. In the meantime, get a cheap phone, understand your needs better, and keep the extra in the bank. Prices are only going to go down, models are only going to get better, roaming agreements are only going to expand, and your understanding of your needs is only going to get better as you gain experience.
     
  11. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    No, its not. The S105 is a Tri band world phone wich means it is able to work in forgein countries but does not have the ability to operate at the GSM 850 that is being deployed in the US in the next few years. It is highly doubtfull that Tmobile will use GSM 850 roaming for the forseable future. I sugest you take <FONT face=Verdana size=1>polonius's advice.</FONT>
     
  12. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Thank you. Information very well presented. And in the back of my mind, I still wonder, why does the FCC have the right to sell frequencies ? How did they come about "owning" them anyway ?

    Oh well,.....thanks again.
     
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  13. dwhockey

    dwhockey Member

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    Dutchman: What part of PA are you from? I just got rid of my T-Mobile phone today because the coverage in Lebanon was pathetic. It was somewhat better in Lancaster, though.

    Sprichst du Deitsch? [​IMG]
     
  14. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    I'm in York, just west of the "city". Your sign of says IN. ? Lebanon....I'm quite familiar.
    Where DO you live ?
    How long did you use the T Mob servcie ?
     
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  15. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Do you live in PA or IN? In this post right
    here you talk about your apartment in Terre Haute.

    dutchman - one of my family members works in Lebanon and has been a TM/PCSOne subscriber for more than 4 years. Email me offline if you'd like more info.
     
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  16. dwhockey

    dwhockey Member

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    I'm from Lebanon, PA, currently living in Terre Haute, IN for grad school... but I'm home for a 3-week vacation (incidentally, I'll be moving to Ames, IA in August - confused? [​IMG]). I had the T-Mobile for 10 days and got horrible reception in all my usual haunts, so I returned the phone and cancelled the service assuming it would be lousy in Terre Haute, as well - gotta assume the worst with a 1-yr contract...

    Honestly, I was really shocked to see just how little cell phones have improved since I last had one (no such thing as digital back then). Actually, I think I had better reception 7 years ago on that great big analog Motorola flip!

    Matt: is/was your family member pleased with his or her service in Lebanon?
     
  17. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Thank you for the clarification. Actually though, I would not assume the worst w/a 1 yr contract.
    What I really hate is the games they play with phone prices, and those prices only being a good incentive if you sign a 2 yr. If anything, the 1 yr offering would seem to me, to convey confidence on behalf of how that company feels about their service.
    Just because a contract is 2 yrs., doesn't make it better. Would 5 yrs be even better yet ? Sure. For the provider.
    Good luck in IN
     
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  18. dwhockey

    dwhockey Member

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    My point was that I wasn't willing to take the chance of being locked into the phone for a whole year if the reception will be lousy. $40 X 12 + poor service = poorly spent money.

    I'm going to wait until I get to Iowa and buy again once I get there, then I can be certain the reception will be adequate. I'd like to use a cell phone as my only phone and that can only be done if I can get crystal-clear reception.
     
  19. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Yes,.....regardless of the $$, it has to work where you want it to. Keep in mind though that even if the signal is strong, the "quality" may be poor.
    I'm not sure that any of the wireless carriers provide good enough sounding quality that I'd be willing to disco. the landline.
     
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  20. JR1

    JR1 Junior Member
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    If you want your phone to work in this area....Kentucky....we use the 850 band. So get a phone that does both 850 and 1900 so it will work in more places. I'm not sure how much you travel in the US, but if you do, to roam here u need 850. Several others places in the south are 850 as well.
     
  21. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    dwhockey - my family member is a nearly 5-year user of PCSOne/T-Mobile. Has lived in Lancaster, Millersville, now Manheim, and works in Lebanon every day. I have used the service in that area (York and Lancaster counties) since I became a customer in Feb. 2000, when I visit friends and family. I go there frequently....I am an MU grad, class of 93. Thanks for the clarification!
     
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  22. dwhockey

    dwhockey Member

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    I graduated from MU, too, class of 2001 (Industrial Technology). Small world, eh?
     
  23. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Yes it is...one of my roomates was ITECH as well.
     
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