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Using Your Phone Abroad

Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

Ahhh the age of technology, so easy. Where would we be without mobiles? Handy, nifty, little gadgets that seem to fall to the bottom of your bag and you can never find them before they finish ringing. And what gems when travelling, some of them even come with GPS so that if you’re lost in the streets of Rome you can always find your way back to your hotel....or so the flash advertisements would have you believe.

Anybody here tried to travel on a New Zealand telecom mobile recently? Although to be fair Telecom has just announced plans to extend its Worldmode Roaming Range, (announced Feb 2009 - better late then never?) When I was with Telecom, it was dud for overseas anything. The other option for New Zealander's travelling abroad is Vodafone. The good news about Vodafone NZ is that they don’t lock their mobiles.

It's yours from the day you purchase it. So take it abroad, buy a cheap sim card and use it where ever you go (Japan and Korea excepted). I give great kudos to Vodafone NZ for this, makes life easy and saves on unnecessary landfill.

Vodafone UK on the other hand are a different story. They lock all their phones so even if you pay for them outright, you cant use them abroad unless you find someone dodgy to unlock them for you. There are a couple of programmes out there that unlock, but you have to buy them. Nokia's seem to be the easiest to unlock and www.downloadcom have some free progrmames for unlocking phones, check all the comments before you download.

A few websites also promise to unlock phones for as little as 5 pounds. I got sucked in, paid my money and they informed that they don’t unlock Sony Ericsson, I should of read the terms and conditions, no refunds (this website are a complete rip off).

So if you do have a flash phone and intend to use it in NZ, get it unlocked in the UK before you return (Hackney in East London is full of such places). There are websites and blogs just filled with people who can’t unlock their phones, has some good information for Vodafone Australia users.

Vodafone Japan does have a basic network, it might have improved in the years since I left but I doubt it. Normal GSM phones do not work in Japan or Korea as they use a different band. The following G3 phones apparently work in Japan, Nokia 6650, Nokia 7600 or the Nokia 6630, but they are really pricey.

So when your off travelling and want to know if you can text home to let them know you have arrived safely, check with your network before you go....seems to me that Vodafone NZ are really the best option for using a mobile abroad, other than that smoke signals and a message in a bottle.

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