Thursday, October 09, 2008
My Original Unlocked Phone Argument
As a reader of The Hot Iron, you may have read a post or 2 about unlocked phones here. However, my opinion on unlocked phones predates this journal, and was first framed on my honeymoon of all places.
For the sake of a simple definition, an unlocked phone is one that will work on any mobile provider’s network. This is facilitated by inserting a SIM card (see accompanying picture) for the provider into the phone. Where unlocked phones are prevalent in Asia Pacific and Europe, they are fewer and far between in the US. T-Mobile, my mobile provider for example, uses SIMs which can be used in unlocked phones. I own an unlocked Palm Treo 680 and my SIM works in it. When WOM World lent me a Nokia E71 for evaluation prior to Nokia OpenLab, I simply moved my SIM to it and I was on the network.
Back to the story. When my lovely new bride and I went to Australia on our honeymoon, we stayed with our friends AJ and FJ for a few days who were great guides to their homeland. When we got to their home, I took my Motorola StarTac phone (which I miss dearly, but I digress) and joked it would be a paperweight while I was there. AJ told me to get an Australian SIM and the StarTac would work. I explained to him it was a locked phone from Verizon Wireless and there was no SIM slot. He did not believe me and challenged me on it. I pressed my case, then, um, gently tossed my phone (as I recall it) to him and asked him to find it.
A couple of days later, AJ told me he was surprised there was no SIM. He showed me his Nokia phone, which at the time was not available in the US. It had a color display and a Web browser and over dim sum I was able to surf to GoPats.com. It would be 4 years later I would get smart and finally get my first unlocked phone. I have sworn going forward I will only purchase unlocked phones.