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Re: Cellular Internet access w/Dell Studio 17 laptop

 
 
P.V.
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      08-03-2008, 07:50 PM
"Hula Baloo" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
viestissä:(E-Mail Removed)...
> A friend of mine just ordered a Dell Studio 17 laptop with a feature
> I never heard of before. It's some kind of cellular Internet access.
> The list of options doesn't say which cellular provider it uses, and I
> didn't see any specs like download data rates. Can anybody enlighten
> me on what's involved with this? I'm guessing that it involves some
> kind of cellular modem that somehow dials into the service and
> connects to the 'net, but any further info about this would sure be
> appreciated. I THINK I saw something flash on the screen about
> initiating a request to T-mobile, but it disappeared in about a second
> before I had time to take it in. Any insight into this feechur would
> sure be most welcome.


Some laptops have functionality of a data-capable mobile phone built in
them. The computer you told about is probably one of those. It means
that your friend can have a SIM card with suitable data plan from an
operator of his/her choice, insert it in the laptop, and access internet
wherever the operator or its roaming partners have coverage.

In Finland, "wireless broadband" is becoming more and more popular.
Practically it means that you get a SIM card with flat-rate data plan,
and depending on the plan (how much you pay per month), downlink speed
limit is set to 384, 512, 1024 or 2048 kbit/s -- uplink speed is slower.
Operators here market wireless broadband as a replacement for a DSL (or
ADSL as it's called here) or cable connection. Prices are about the same
as with landline connection -- I think lowest speeds are even cheaper in
wireless than landline, but when higher speeds are needed, landline is
cheaper.

Good thing in wireless broadband is that you can "take your internet
with you" while travelling. But there are downsides or limitationsin it
too. First, if you have more than one computer, you need to somehow
share the connection between them. Second, full speeds are available
only at areas of most dense population to justify expenses of upgrading
base stations: maximum speed that's available quickly decreases when
you're getting off the city and in worst case at areas equipped with
oldest-generation base station the speed can be as low as 40 kbit/s! Oh,
almost forgot, P2P usage (torrents and similar) is forbidden in wireless
broadband contracts, so the wireless can't be the only internet
connection for people who need P2P, so after all you might end up having
(and paying for) both, even the wireless was supposed to replace the
wired...

So this is how it's in Finland, but I suppose the technology is same in
U.S. too, and only pricing and terminology vary.

P.V.


 
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P.V.
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      08-04-2008, 04:57 PM
"Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
viestissä:B4KdnZoh__8oGAvVnZ2dnUVZ_tKdnZ2d@comcast .com...
> No, technology is NOT the same in the US: every wireless connection is
> pre-configured to a specific wireless provider. The US has no sim
> cards; we are locked in from the start to our choice of wireless
> provider. (ATT might have sim cards, but these and the phone firmware
> are locked in to ATT service in Europe.)


You're probably thinking some other wireless standard in use in US, that
don't use SIM cards.

Unless I've understood something terribly wrong, GSM is one of the
wireless standards used in the US. You probably have heard of Apple
iPhone: it's a GSM phone and only GSM phone; it can't connect any other
kind of network (OK, new version can connect to 3G, but it's not an
independent standard like CDMA or iDEN or whatever you probably were
thinking). If it's been advertised over there (which I strongly believe)
then GSM is in use in US too. I've never heard of a possibility to use a
GSM phone without a valid SIM except for emergency calls.

Also on Wikipedia article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subscriber_Identity_Module I get the
impression that SIM actually is used in GSM in US, just the phones are
locked to only accept SIM from the service provider that's actually
paying the phone the customer seemingly is getting for low or no price.
Well, the same applies everywhere where phones are subsidised. I don't
know if GSM operators (or service providers as you call them) in US
offer lower prices for customers who have their own (unlocked) cellphone
(or module in laptop) bought from elsewhere, but I don't see why a SIM
with a plan containing data transfer (e.g. from iPhone) wouldn't work on
any (unlocked) device, even if it's just a module in a laptop.

I have to admit there's a good chance the laptop in OP's question might
not be using GSM, as other standards are in use in US as well. But no
matter how the hardware is paid (one-time purchase or monthly fees) and
which standard it's using, I believe the laptop still offers access to
internet using one of the same networks cellphones are using.

P.V.


 
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P.V.
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      08-04-2008, 10:29 PM
> I think you have misunderstood terribly wrong. The notebook is
> offering nothing: the "card" is a cell system access card, much like a
> wireless network card, with fixed access to a single US cell provider.


OK, I just thought based on the original message that it would be
integrated in the laptop, in a way like this:
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/06...d_to_vodafone/
(The HSDPA used in the article practically means 3G with enhanced speed,
i.e. over 384 kbit/s)

> AFIK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the iPhone


I've been informed otherwise: e.g. on page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone the iPhone is presented and it has
SIM slot. Only difference mentioned between US and Euro versions is the
USB power adapter (mini USB vs. standard USB).

> it is dedicated in firmware to ATT.


Sounds like SIM lock to me: in phone's firmware has been specified which
provider's SIM cards to accept, or even which individual SIM card to
accept, depending on provider's choice. So that's what happens here when
phone is purchased for very low price, but with 12-36-month contract.
But if the phone is paid in full instead of taking a long-term contract,
it is sold unlocked and can be used with any operator's SIM card.

> If you can bring your Euro GSM phone and swap a sim card for access to
> ATT (or any other provider) in the US, I would like to see it done.


I don't see why it wouldn't work, as long as the Euro GSM phone is
unlocked and supports also American frequencies (850 and 1900 MHz as
opposed to 900 and 1800 used in Europe).

But traditionally that has been done in the other way around: a few
years ago phones that supported both European and American frequencies
were very rare, and so European tourists who wanted to be reachable
while travelling, took just their SIM cards. In US they bought unlocked
GSM phones supporting local frequencies (probably cheapest models were
preferred, as they would be useless back in Europe), and inserted their
European SIM cards.

Nowadays many phones (especially higher-end models) support all
frequencies, and so tourists can after flight just switch on their own
phone containing their own SIM card and use it like at home (though more
expensive calls, of course). And there's no need to modify the phone's
firmware in any way to make it work in US networks -- it's enough that
the operator that gave the SIM card, has roaming agreement with one or
more operators in the destination. (Especially because of what I said in
the previous sentence it's hard for me to believe in not having SIM
cards in American GSM phones but some mysterious dedicated firmware)

P.V.


 
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Jonathan L. Parker
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      08-05-2008, 12:19 AM
Quaoar wrote:


> ...AF(A)IK,
> there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the iPhone; it is
> dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.



I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but my
AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.
 
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Jonathan L. Parker
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      08-05-2008, 07:40 AM
Quaoar wrote:
> Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
>> Quaoar wrote:
>>
>>
>>> ...AF(A)IK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the
>>> iPhone; it is dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.

>>
>>
>> I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but my
>> AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.

>
> Thanks for that: do you know if this is universal with all AT(&)T cell
> phones? Does the presence of the sim card mean that if you go to Europe
> that you can buy a sim card for whatever system you might want to connect?


Again, I don't have any direct knowledge of anything I don't own or use,
but I'd hazard a guess that just about all modern phones, regardless of
carrier, use sims. Whether or not you can swap them out, I couldn't
tell you since I've never had any reason to do so on my phone.

> The iPhone has no user access, even to change the battery, so no sim
> card replacement can be done (since it does not have one).


I've heard differently with regard to the sim card, but only someone who
owns an iPhone can tell us for sure.

 
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Johnnie Leung
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      08-05-2008, 03:07 PM

"Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...

> I think you have misunderstood terribly wrong. The notebook is offering
> nothing: the "card" is a cell system access card, much like a wireless
> network card, with fixed access to a single US cell provider. AFIK, there
> are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the iPhone; it is dedicated
> in firmware to ATT. If you can bring your Euro GSM phone and swap a sim
> card for access to ATT (or any other provider) in the US, I would like to
> see it done.


I have to say you are the one who is misunderstanding. ATTWS/Cingular
switched to GSM almost a decade ago, and have been using SIMs for that long
(*all* current AT&T phones use SIMs, iPhone or not). All
VoiceStream/T-Mobile and Nextel phones have SIM cards since day 1. In other
words, the majority of mobile phones in the US have a SIM in them.

My two Sony VAIOs have built-in Cingular 'wireless broadband' (EDGE)
capabilities, and by now you should be able to guess, have a SIM in them. I
was able to remove the subsidy lock, swap the pre-installed Cingular SIM for
a T-Mobile one, and connect to T-Mobile's network.

And lastly, yes, I have taken my US T-Mobile phones to Europe and Asia, and
swapped in local prepaid SIMs.

--
JL

 
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P.V.
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      08-05-2008, 04:29 PM
"Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
viestissä:JqydnaADsKQqTQrVnZ2dnUVZ_umdnZ2d@comcast .com...
> Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
>> Quaoar wrote:
>>
>>
>>> ...AF(A)IK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the
>>> iPhone; it is dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.

>>
>>
>> I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but my
>> AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.

>
> Thanks for that: do you know if this is universal with all ATT cell
> phones? Does the presence of the sim card mean that if you go to
> Europe that you can buy a sim card for whatever system you might want
> to connect?


It depends on whether you've bought the phone and paid it's full price.
If yes, then it's most likely unlocked and accepts sim cards from any
other (including foreign) provider as well. But if the phone was free or
cheap, it's most likely locked to accept only cards from the provider it
came from, and so foreign sims won't work.

The phone also must support the frequencies used in the destination. The
cheaper the phone was when bought and the longer ago the phone was
bought, the less likely it will work in any other frequecies that are
used in the provider's own network. Frequency bands used in Europe are
900 and 1800 MHz. If the specs say the phone supports those bands, or if
the phone is said to be a quad band one (quad band means 850, 900, 1800
and 1900 MHz), it will work in Europe.

If both previous requirements are met, you can use a European sim card
in your American phone. (Typically non-residents can only get prepaid
sims.)

> The iPhone has no user access, even to change the battery, so no sim
> card replacement can be done (since it does not have one).


See for yourself, iPhone User Guide, page 6:
http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/...User_Guide.pdf . (Part
"en_US" in the address strongly suggests that this applies for American
iPhones.) There it says,
---
If your SIM card was not preinstalled, you must install the SIM card
before you can use iPhone.
Installing the SIM card:
1 Insert the end of the SIM eject tool into the hole on the SIM tray.
Press firmly and push it straight in until the tray pops out. If you don't
have a SIM eject tool, you can use the end of a paper clip.
2 Pull out the SIM tray and place the SIM card in the tray.
The angled corner of the SIM ensures that the card fits only the correct
way in the tray.
3 With the tray aligned as shown, carefully replace the SIM tray
containing the SIM card in iPhone.
---

P.V.


 
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John Doue
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      08-05-2008, 05:00 PM
P.V. wrote:
> "Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
> viestissä:JqydnaADsKQqTQrVnZ2dnUVZ_umdnZ2d@comcast .com...
>> Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
>>> Quaoar wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>> ...AF(A)IK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the
>>>> iPhone; it is dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.
>>>
>>> I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but my
>>> AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.

>> Thanks for that: do you know if this is universal with all ATT cell
>> phones? Does the presence of the sim card mean that if you go to
>> Europe that you can buy a sim card for whatever system you might want
>> to connect?

>
> It depends on whether you've bought the phone and paid it's full price.
> If yes, then it's most likely unlocked and accepts sim cards from any
> other (including foreign) provider as well. But if the phone was free or
> cheap, it's most likely locked to accept only cards from the provider it
> came from, and so foreign sims won't work.
>
> The phone also must support the frequencies used in the destination. The
> cheaper the phone was when bought and the longer ago the phone was
> bought, the less likely it will work in any other frequecies that are
> used in the provider's own network. Frequency bands used in Europe are
> 900 and 1800 MHz. If the specs say the phone supports those bands, or if
> the phone is said to be a quad band one (quad band means 850, 900, 1800
> and 1900 MHz), it will work in Europe.
>
> If both previous requirements are met, you can use a European sim card
> in your American phone. (Typically non-residents can only get prepaid
> sims.)
>
>> The iPhone has no user access, even to change the battery, so no sim
>> card replacement can be done (since it does not have one).

>
> See for yourself, iPhone User Guide, page 6:
> http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/...User_Guide.pdf . (Part
> "en_US" in the address strongly suggests that this applies for American
> iPhones.) There it says,
> ---
> If your SIM card was not preinstalled, you must install the SIM card
> before you can use iPhone.
> Installing the SIM card:
> 1 Insert the end of the SIM eject tool into the hole on the SIM tray.
> Press firmly and push it straight in until the tray pops out. If you don't
> have a SIM eject tool, you can use the end of a paper clip.
> 2 Pull out the SIM tray and place the SIM card in the tray.
> The angled corner of the SIM ensures that the card fits only the correct
> way in the tray.
> 3 With the tray aligned as shown, carefully replace the SIM tray
> containing the SIM card in iPhone.
> ---
>
> P.V.
>
>

Just to clarify the issue, since I both have experience of US phones and
of the Finnish system.

Many years ago, US phones had built-in connection systems that did not
require a SIM card and which could only be used on a given network.

The development of GSM in Europe, first ignored in the US, beginning to
make inroads there, some companies like ATT started offering GSM phone,
while keeping the traditional phones. Today, several US companies offer
GSM service, but not all, AFAIK.

If you request a GSM phone from companies offering the service, the one
you will get will be locked to SIM cards provided by that company. The
explanation is simple, the cost of the phone is subsided by the
subscription you are required to subscribe. No free lunch here, just a
financing device.

Those phone, for most of them, can be unlocked provided you know where
to look on the Internet, and if a cost is involved, it is of nearly
$5.00. After such an unlocking, you can insert any SIM card you want.
This kind of operation, needless to say, is seldom economically viable
until you reach the term of your subscription ... or upgrade your phone
if you get an interesting offer from your provider.

In Europe, the situation varies. Until some time ago, in Finland,
packaging a phone with a subscription was illegal. So basically, you
could buy the phone you wanted and insert the SIM provided by the
provider of your choice. This changed fairly recently, and now, as in
France, you can either buy your phone no strings attached and then
subscribe as you like, or buy a package, as in the US.

In the US as in Europe, you can also buy some attachement (which can be
built-in in some laptops, I believe) that allows you to connect as if
you were using a GSM phone. The advantage is, this frees up your phone.
The downside is, you have to pay for an additional subscription. I am
not sure this is a good deal for most people.

A last note: while I travel in Finland, I just connect my phone by cable
(more reliabe than Bluetooth) to my laptop and I can surf as long as I
want. People connect online almost everywhere. Of course, if most areas
of Finland are covered by 3G now, speed can vary as another poster
indicated. This for under $30 per month.

Regards

--
John Doue
 
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P.V.
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      08-05-2008, 07:09 PM
"John Doue" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
viestissä:CG%lk.142$(E-Mail Removed)...
> P.V. wrote:
>> "Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
>> viestissä:JqydnaADsKQqTQrVnZ2dnUVZ_umdnZ2d@comcast .com...
>>> Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
>>>> Quaoar wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> ...AF(A)IK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the
>>>>> iPhone; it is dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.
>>>>
>>>> I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but
>>>> my AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.
>>> Thanks for that: do you know if this is universal with all ATT cell
>>> phones? Does the presence of the sim card mean that if you go to
>>> Europe that you can buy a sim card for whatever system you might
>>> want to connect?

>>
>> It depends on whether you've bought the phone and paid it's full
>> price. If yes, then it's most likely unlocked and accepts sim cards
>> from any other (including foreign) provider as well. But if the phone
>> was free or cheap, it's most likely locked to accept only cards from
>> the provider it came from, and so foreign sims won't work.
>>
>> The phone also must support the frequencies used in the destination.
>> The cheaper the phone was when bought and the longer ago the phone
>> was bought, the less likely it will work in any other frequecies that
>> are used in the provider's own network. Frequency bands used in
>> Europe are 900 and 1800 MHz. If the specs say the phone supports
>> those bands, or if the phone is said to be a quad band one (quad band
>> means 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), it will work in Europe.
>>
>> If both previous requirements are met, you can use a European sim
>> card in your American phone. (Typically non-residents can only get
>> prepaid sims.)
>>
>>> The iPhone has no user access, even to change the battery, so no sim
>>> card replacement can be done (since it does not have one).

>>
>> See for yourself, iPhone User Guide, page 6:
>> http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/...User_Guide.pdf . (Part
>> "en_US" in the address strongly suggests that this applies for
>> American iPhones.) There it says,
>> ---
>> If your SIM card was not preinstalled, you must install the SIM card
>> before you can use iPhone.
>> Installing the SIM card:
>> 1 Insert the end of the SIM eject tool into the hole on the SIM tray.
>> Press firmly and push it straight in until the tray pops out. If you
>> don't have a SIM eject tool, you can use the end of a paper clip.
>> 2 Pull out the SIM tray and place the SIM card in the tray.
>> The angled corner of the SIM ensures that the card fits only the
>> correct way in the tray.
>> 3 With the tray aligned as shown, carefully replace the SIM tray
>> containing the SIM card in iPhone.
>> ---
>>
>> P.V.
>>
>>

> Just to clarify the issue, since I both have experience of US phones
> and of the Finnish system.
>
> Many years ago, US phones had built-in connection systems that did not
> require a SIM card and which could only be used on a given network.
>
> The development of GSM in Europe, first ignored in the US, beginning
> to make inroads there, some companies like ATT started offering GSM
> phone, while keeping the traditional phones. Today, several US
> companies offer GSM service, but not all, AFAIK.
>
> If you request a GSM phone from companies offering the service, the
> one you will get will be locked to SIM cards provided by that company.
> The explanation is simple, the cost of the phone is subsided by the
> subscription you are required to subscribe. No free lunch here, just a
> financing device.


Do you mean phones are not sold unlocked in US at all, or that unlocked
phones are not sold everywhere? For example if my phone would break
while travelling there, how difficult it would be to get a new phone
that would work with my current (Finnish) SIM?

> Those phone, for most of them, can be unlocked provided you know where
> to look on the Internet, and if a cost is involved, it is of nearly
> $5.00. After such an unlocking, you can insert any SIM card you want.
> This kind of operation, needless to say, is seldom economically viable
> until you reach the term of your subscription ... or upgrade your
> phone if you get an interesting offer from your provider.
>
> In Europe, the situation varies. Until some time ago, in Finland,
> packaging a phone with a subscription was illegal. So basically, you
> could buy the phone you wanted and insert the SIM provided by the
> provider of your choice. This changed fairly recently, and now, as in
> France, you can either buy your phone no strings attached and then
> subscribe as you like, or buy a package, as in the US.


Still, allowing the packaging phone with subscription is in Finland only
allowed for 3G-capable devices. And even that law is a temporary one
(maybe a couple more years). The purpose was to get people to get
3G-phones that without subsidizing seemed (IMO to short-sighted people)
too expensive.

> In the US as in Europe, you can also buy some attachement (which can
> be built-in in some laptops, I believe) that allows you to connect as
> if you were using a GSM phone. The advantage is, this frees up your
> phone. The downside is, you have to pay for an additional
> subscription. I am not sure this is a good deal for most people.
>
> A last note: while I travel in Finland, I just connect my phone by
> cable (more reliabe than Bluetooth) to my laptop and I can surf as
> long as I want. People connect online almost everywhere. Of course, if
> most areas of Finland are covered by 3G now, speed can vary as another
> poster indicated. This for under $30 per month.


Unfortunately most areas of Finland are _not_ covered by 3G. The
following coverage maps are not completely up-to-date, but do give you
idea of the situation. The small dark red spots are the areas covered by
3G, elsewhere there's just EDGE (approximately 200 kbit/s), and at many
areas even only GPRS (40 kbit/s).
DNA: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=s3
Elisa: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=e3
TeliaSonera: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=t3


And thanks for clarifying and confirming facts I was talking mostly
based on what I had read and heard during years, so some memories were
faint, and I started even doubting my knowledge when Quaoar so strongly
disagreed.

P.V.


 
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John Doue
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-05-2008, 08:31 PM
P.V. wrote:
> "John Doue" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
> viestissä:CG%lk.142$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> P.V. wrote:
>>> "Quaoar" <(E-Mail Removed)> kirjoitti
>>> viestissä:JqydnaADsKQqTQrVnZ2dnUVZ_umdnZ2d@comcast .com...
>>>> Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
>>>>> Quaoar wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> ...AF(A)IK, there are no sim cards in US cell phones, not even the
>>>>>> iPhone; it is dedicated in firmware to AT(&)T.
>>>>> I can't speak directly for the iPhone because I don't own one, but
>>>>> my AT&T branded Nokia 6102i certainly *does* have a sim card in it.
>>>> Thanks for that: do you know if this is universal with all ATT cell
>>>> phones? Does the presence of the sim card mean that if you go to
>>>> Europe that you can buy a sim card for whatever system you might
>>>> want to connect?
>>> It depends on whether you've bought the phone and paid it's full
>>> price. If yes, then it's most likely unlocked and accepts sim cards
>>> from any other (including foreign) provider as well. But if the phone
>>> was free or cheap, it's most likely locked to accept only cards from
>>> the provider it came from, and so foreign sims won't work.
>>>
>>> The phone also must support the frequencies used in the destination.
>>> The cheaper the phone was when bought and the longer ago the phone
>>> was bought, the less likely it will work in any other frequecies that
>>> are used in the provider's own network. Frequency bands used in
>>> Europe are 900 and 1800 MHz. If the specs say the phone supports
>>> those bands, or if the phone is said to be a quad band one (quad band
>>> means 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), it will work in Europe.
>>>
>>> If both previous requirements are met, you can use a European sim
>>> card in your American phone. (Typically non-residents can only get
>>> prepaid sims.)
>>>
>>>> The iPhone has no user access, even to change the battery, so no sim
>>>> card replacement can be done (since it does not have one).
>>> See for yourself, iPhone User Guide, page 6:
>>> http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/...User_Guide.pdf . (Part
>>> "en_US" in the address strongly suggests that this applies for
>>> American iPhones.) There it says,
>>> ---
>>> If your SIM card was not preinstalled, you must install the SIM card
>>> before you can use iPhone.
>>> Installing the SIM card:
>>> 1 Insert the end of the SIM eject tool into the hole on the SIM tray.
>>> Press firmly and push it straight in until the tray pops out. If you
>>> don't have a SIM eject tool, you can use the end of a paper clip.
>>> 2 Pull out the SIM tray and place the SIM card in the tray.
>>> The angled corner of the SIM ensures that the card fits only the
>>> correct way in the tray.
>>> 3 With the tray aligned as shown, carefully replace the SIM tray
>>> containing the SIM card in iPhone.
>>> ---
>>>
>>> P.V.
>>>
>>>

>> Just to clarify the issue, since I both have experience of US phones
>> and of the Finnish system.
>>
>> Many years ago, US phones had built-in connection systems that did not
>> require a SIM card and which could only be used on a given network.
>>
>> The development of GSM in Europe, first ignored in the US, beginning
>> to make inroads there, some companies like ATT started offering GSM
>> phone, while keeping the traditional phones. Today, several US
>> companies offer GSM service, but not all, AFAIK.
>>
>> If you request a GSM phone from companies offering the service, the
>> one you will get will be locked to SIM cards provided by that company.
>> The explanation is simple, the cost of the phone is subsided by the
>> subscription you are required to subscribe. No free lunch here, just a
>> financing device.

>
> Do you mean phones are not sold unlocked in US at all, or that unlocked
> phones are not sold everywhere? For example if my phone would break
> while travelling there, how difficult it would be to get a new phone
> that would work with my current (Finnish) SIM?
>
>> Those phone, for most of them, can be unlocked provided you know where
>> to look on the Internet, and if a cost is involved, it is of nearly
>> $5.00. After such an unlocking, you can insert any SIM card you want.
>> This kind of operation, needless to say, is seldom economically viable
>> until you reach the term of your subscription ... or upgrade your
>> phone if you get an interesting offer from your provider.
>>
>> In Europe, the situation varies. Until some time ago, in Finland,
>> packaging a phone with a subscription was illegal. So basically, you
>> could buy the phone you wanted and insert the SIM provided by the
>> provider of your choice. This changed fairly recently, and now, as in
>> France, you can either buy your phone no strings attached and then
>> subscribe as you like, or buy a package, as in the US.

>
> Still, allowing the packaging phone with subscription is in Finland only
> allowed for 3G-capable devices. And even that law is a temporary one
> (maybe a couple more years). The purpose was to get people to get
> 3G-phones that without subsidizing seemed (IMO to short-sighted people)
> too expensive.
>
>> In the US as in Europe, you can also buy some attachement (which can
>> be built-in in some laptops, I believe) that allows you to connect as
>> if you were using a GSM phone. The advantage is, this frees up your
>> phone. The downside is, you have to pay for an additional
>> subscription. I am not sure this is a good deal for most people.
>>
>> A last note: while I travel in Finland, I just connect my phone by
>> cable (more reliabe than Bluetooth) to my laptop and I can surf as
>> long as I want. People connect online almost everywhere. Of course, if
>> most areas of Finland are covered by 3G now, speed can vary as another
>> poster indicated. This for under $30 per month.

>
> Unfortunately most areas of Finland are _not_ covered by 3G. The
> following coverage maps are not completely up-to-date, but do give you
> idea of the situation. The small dark red spots are the areas covered by
> 3G, elsewhere there's just EDGE (approximately 200 kbit/s), and at many
> areas even only GPRS (40 kbit/s).
> DNA: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=s3
> Elisa: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=e3
> TeliaSonera: http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=fi&net=t3
>
>
> And thanks for clarifying and confirming facts I was talking mostly
> based on what I had read and heard during years, so some memories were
> faint, and I started even doubting my knowledge when Quaoar so strongly
> disagreed.
>
> P.V.
>
>


I cannot claim to be an expert in that area but my experience is, it is
difficult to buy a phone in the US in brick and mortar stores if you do
not buy or renew a subscription at the same time. The best approach is
to buy online, as I did when I decided to get a N73 at a decent price
(meaning, not in Finland). Just make sure the product you are buying is
new and unlocked. Be of course aware that Finnish will not be available
on your phone. I had to go through a lot of trouble to install a system
with Finnish in it, Nokia service center having declared they could not
do it. Eventually, I managed to do it myself, at no cost.

With regards to your maps, I can tell you they are outdated: I am
presently in Konnevesi and have had 3G for quite awhile. The fact
remains that except in rare areas, in Lapland for instance, one can
connect online with a mobile phone, speed varying, granted.

Regards

--
John Doue
 
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