Unlocked GSM Phones
Having a cell phone with you when you are traveling can give you great peace of mind - not to mention be a relief to family and friends back home who want a way to get ahold of you in case of an emergency. But just throwing your cell phone from home into your backpack and hoping it will work in whatever countries you are visiting is a recipe for disaster - many cell phone companies set up so that your phone will not work outside your home country. Beyond that, they also set up the phones so that you cannot switch them to the country you are in, either. That is why buying unlocked GSM phones is such a great idea for when you are traveling.
What is an unlocked GSM phone, you ask? Well, it looks like any other mobile phone you would easily recognize, except that when you open up the back you are able to access what is called the SIM card. This card is a chip which functions as the brains of the phone, giving it a unique phone number, voicemail, and any other features that come with that company's SIM cards. All cell phones have SIM cards, but unless you get an unlocked cell phone you will not be able to get into your mobile phone to put in a SIM card for the country you are in.
Now for the GSM part - that stands for "Global System for Mobile Communication," and although it is the most popular system for cell phones worldwide, it is actually a minority of the cell phones used in the United States. So when you travel to any country that uses GSM as the basis for transmitting cell phone signals, your non-GSM phone will simply not work. Your alternatives, if you want to have a mobile phone on your trip, are to buy a pay-as-you-go phone in the country you are visiting, or to buy an unlocked GSM phone before you go. While there are some
hazards to buying a phone on your trip
, buying unlocked GSM phones is easy, inexpensive, and something you can take care of without worrying about language barriers and foreign currencies!
All of our international cell phones available for purchase are unlocked GSM phones, so they will all work with any SIM card from any country and any mobile service provider in the world. You can choose from a phone that operates on the two most common frequencies (GSM 900 and GSM 1800), or get a phone that operates on more frequencies in order to increase the number of countries you will have coverge. It all depends on where you will be traveling. (In the United States, Canada, and parts of South America you will need to have a phone that also has GSM 1900 capabilities.)