Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Freedom From The Tyranny Of Cell Phone Carriers

As I’ve mentioned, I am MOST fortunate to have some guy friends who are total geeks, er, I mean extremely tech savvy. They are my translators for the world of computers and other tech gadgets. I frankly don’t know what I would do without them since I don’t have teenagers.

One of them, Greg, recently put me completely in the picture of something called unlocked phones.

Well, who knew? I had grudgingly resigned myself to the fact that I was just at the mercy of my cell phone provider’s whims and caprices. NOT SO!

Greg tells me that I can actually buy a phone from Motorola (and others I believe) that is not tied to any one carrier’s plan. That means I can sign up for service on a month to month basis. I can be on the lookout for the best priced plan instead of being locked into an expensive 2 year commitment that includes my first born and a second on my house. If AT&T runs a special deal I can jump on board.

Ha, freedom from tyranny! I’m in the driver’s seat!

In the lucky event, I’m headed for Europe, I can swap out the SIM card I have that is limited to service in the US to a SIM card that I can use in Florence (I wish!). I can buy pre-programmed SIM cards that are like a debit card that give me a specific number of minutes. I can also see this as handy if you have kids whose phone use is hard to control.

These little babies are also chargeable by USB hook up instead of by those little proprietary chargers I’m always losing. And, you get to keep your same phone number if you swap phones. Very cool.

The downside is you pay full price for your phone instead of the carrier giving you a deal. So, if you like to change out frequently to the newest newfangled thang, this approach might not work for you. But, if you have an old unlocked phone lying around and you drop your new one and break it, you can just take your SIM card out and swap to the old phone, and, voila, you’re in bidness.

Basically, your phone’s identity sits on the SIM card instead of the phone, sort of like a PO Box that stays the same even if you swap residences.

Don’t you love it?? And, Greg tells me, there is the bonus of deeply impressing techie guys with your tech brilliance.


Duchess said...


Don't buy a new phone. Use the money on a ticket to London instead and take your old phone. You'll find hundreds of little shops where for £10 they'll unlock it. A new, British sim will cost you another fiver.

You get the freedom from cellphone carriers and Europe too...

Allison said...

Duchess, I like the way you think!

Thanks for visiting!

MidlifeSlices said...

I had no idea a SIM card was so versatile. Unfortunately I just jumped in to the iPhone phenomenon
and I love it for my business needs, but it's big and bulky and I'm longing for my old flip phone with the SIM card. Maybe I'll have two. Ughh......I can barely keep up with ONE!