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Unlocked Cell Phones?

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quickburst

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Is it possible to get a cell phone that is wifi ready and NOT subscribe to the carriers internet fees?

All I want is a wifi capable phone. One that picks up and uses wifi when it's available and only when it's available.

What is an UNLOCKED phone? If I buy one will my provider know I'm using it and charge me for internet access anyway? I use AT&T. I see unlocked phones on e-bay and would buy one if I knew what all of the lingo meant.
 

gpoehlein

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I suppose you could always use an iPod Touch with something like Skype. The new version of the Touch is both wifi capable and has bluetooth, so a bluetooth headset should turn it into a wifi-internet phone.
 

GRIFFIN

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Yes you can buy a "unlocked" phone from an outside source (like E-bay) and put your SIM card in that phone and you can use the WI-FI wherever it is free. Thats what I am doing now with my phone. I have T-mobile, I bought a blackberry from a friend and just keep my other phone as a spare. If I were to purchase a blackberry from T-mobile, I would have to pay for the service.
 

quickburst

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Yes you can buy a "unlocked" phone from an outside source (like E-bay) and put your SIM card in that phone and you can use the WI-FI wherever it is free. Thats what I am doing now with my phone. I have T-mobile, I bought a blackberry from a friend and just keep my other phone as a spare. If I were to purchase a blackberry from T-mobile, I would have to pay for the service.
So ..... would I buy an unlocked AT&T phone? Or would it matter?

I'm assuming Unlocked means they can't come back and charge me for internet time, they won't know what phone i'm using?

Does the provider know what phone you're using? Does the sim card do this or does the phone?

The only time i'd use it is on free wifi.
 

sylvie369

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When I was in Spain a couple of weeks ago there were a lot of people using the $270 IPod Touch for email access. I didn't see anyone Skyping on it, but that does seem possible. Skype advertises that it's possible:

http://www.skype.com/intl/en/download/skype/iphone/

I'm very tempted to get one, but I just bought a netbook for the same purposes, and I'm going to use it for a while first. If you go that way, there isn't any wireless provider in the loop at all.
 

wergugy

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go to ebay and buy a non contracted phone...it wil be more expensive though.
 

Swampworks

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So ..... would I buy an unlocked AT&T phone? Or would it matter?
The above is correct. Search ebay for unlocked at&t (brand phone). Just make sure that the model has "wi-fi" capability, not all do. Some access the web only thru the network.
 

GRIFFIN

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So ..... would I buy an unlocked AT&T phone? Or would it matter?

I'm assuming Unlocked means they can't come back and charge me for internet time, they won't know what phone i'm using?

Does the provider know what phone you're using? Does the sim card do this or does the phone?

The only time i'd use it is on free wifi.
Yes you would have to use an AT&T unlocked phone. And no the provider has no way to charge you if you are using Free Wi-Fi. Your SIM card is more important to you than the phone itself. It will work in any compatable (AT&T) phone. I would recommend trying to find an I-Phone since you have AT&T. My friend picked one up off E-bay for about on hundred dollars.
 

MarkII

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When I was in Spain a couple of weeks ago there were a lot of people using the $270 IPod Touch for email access. I didn't see anyone Skyping on it, but that does seem possible. Skype advertises that it's possible:

http://www.skype.com/intl/en/download/skype/iphone/

I'm very tempted to get one, but I just bought a netbook for the same purposes, and I'm going to use it for a while first. If you go that way, there isn't any wireless provider in the loop at all.
Unlocked phones are the norm everywhere else in the world. When visitors from Europe or Japan come here, they can't believe that in order for us to get gee-whiz cell phones, we have to agree to be locked into multi-year contracts with providers. That just doesn't happen anywhere else.

An unlocked phone is one that doesn't have a SIM card. A SIM card is a small chip that contains the phone's information (including it's dialing number) and codes that enable it to transmit and receive over a particular provider's network. The ones that are installed in contract phones often also contain scripts that limit or completely turn off some of the phone's capabilities. For instance, your phone may have the capability to browse the web, but the provider has software in the SIM card that disables that feature. If you want to access the internet from that phone, you have to agree to pay a higher monthly fee. Once you have contracted with the provider to do that, the provider transmits a script to your phone to re-enable its ability to connect to the internet. Nice, huh?

Sprint, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile and Virgin don't even reach my area, and AT&T just barely does so. Verizon's voice service does so (with a lot of dead spots) but I'm not sure how good their enhanced services are around here. So I couldn't use most of the "smart" features of a smart phone even if I owned one. I use a pre-paid plan, and the provider only sells a couple of very basic cell phones in this area. In addition to voice, I can text (whoopee), but I have never sent a text message, because no one that I know uses the service. The only text messages that I have ever received were ads from the provider.

Mark K.
 

MarkII

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Oh, and around here we have been hearing rumors that companies may be coming out soon with cell phones that have built-in cameras, yes cameras! And MP3 players, too! I mean, can you believe it! That would be incredible! We keep asking the providers if they will ever start selling cell phones with these features in our area, but all we keep hearing is that they are several years away from being able to do so. Maybe by 2020, if all goes well. I can't wait!

(It's true, BTW. You can't buy a cell phone that includes a camera or an MP3 player that will work in my area. Consequently, no one has them here. Something that is as sophisticated as the iPhone is viewed around here as pure science fiction. We can't fathom what those commercials on TV are talking about. I mean, everyone knows that cell phones can't do that!)

The things that cell phone companies in America routinely do to their customers would be regarded as illegal (and immoral) anywhere else in the world.

Mark K.
 

Evo666

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Unlocked phone usually applies to phones with a sim card so you can use any provider that uses that feature. Let's say you're with Tmobile but want to use a phone that's only available to AT&T, with unlocked phone you can. Only bad thing is that some features can be disabled on that network like mms, web internet, and others. This can different from phone to phone. I have a sprint BlackBerry phone that i use to browse this forum and it came unlocked. so if I ever switch provider, I could use this phone also if I'm out of the country and use a prepaid simcard.
 

Stymye

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Is it possible to get a cell phone that is wifi ready and NOT subscribe to the carriers internet fees?

All I want is a wifi capable phone. One that picks up and uses wifi when it's available and only when it's available.

What is an UNLOCKED phone? If I buy one will my provider know I'm using it and charge me for internet access anyway? I use AT&T. I see unlocked phones on e-bay and would buy one if I knew what all of the lingo meant.
I use my small netbook for that, I have wifi at work and home.
the keyboard and screen is so much larger than a phone and overall so much more usefull (2 gb ram/160gb storage)
If the need arises,I can also tether to my phone with a usb cable (droid eris) when wifi is not available.

anyway a netbook is a possible option
 

Zpoxy

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Some of the replies so far are not exactly correct. Buying an unlocked phone will not ensure that AT&T doesn't charge you for data transfer. Starting last October AT&T imposed a mandatory minimum $30/month charge for new Smartphone customers. If you had your phone prior to that date you were grandfathered in, after that and you are out of luck, even if you only use WiFi.
Hope that helps.
 
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