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Old 04-08-2006, 11:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Moving SIM for International Use on 7100i

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HI all,

Some quick background:
I currently have a 7100i from Nextel. I can not use this phone overseas due to the fact it only has iDEN on it (why anyone would make a phone that is not quad band today is nuts). If I want to use a phone international I have the option to purchase a GSM phone or a non-BlackBerry voice phone that is unlocked on the web, e-bay etc...OR I can rent one at an arm and a leg. Does anyone find it funny you canít buy an international BlackBerry from Nextel but you can rent one?

My question:
Can I pick up an unlocked GSM BlackBerry like the 7100G or T and use it on the Nextelís GSM international service by inserting my SIM? Will this work if I simply activate the international service on my plan? Will the e-mail not work due to system incompatibility but the voice will work? This will be a second phone just for use when I travel oversees.

I understand by moving my SIM I lose the Nextel features in the US and that does not bother me when I am traveling overseas, the only time I would use this phone or BlackBerry. I do not travel overseas more than 3 or 4 time a year and our company is on Nextel so I canít just pick a new provider and Nextel does fine for me in the US.

Old 04-09-2006, 05:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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nextel is iden, its a whole different technology from GSM or CDMA. GSM is most spread around the globe therefore its the best for travelling ovearseas. sim cards are very diffrent too therefore are not compatible. 7100i is great for north america but for anywhere else its pretty much useless. if your emails are important to you then you may want to get a cheap gsm model and forward the emails from the 7100i. if voice is your concern then just buy any unlocked gsm phone and swap a local sim in any country. or i guess you can consider the option of renting from nextel but i bet thats pretty expensive.
Old 04-09-2006, 06:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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While I am pretty sure that your 7100i is only a single mode, single band phone, I don't think that a simple quad band phone would help you out in this case. A quad band phone could simply be a GSM phone operating at 850(US)/900(EU)/1800(EU)/1900(US). What you want is a dual mode iDEN/GSM phone. I do realize that sometimes providers simply call a phone dual, tri, quad band and it can do AMPS/TDMA or TDMA/GSM (GAIT) but those really are dual mode phones. The number of bands simply refers to the frequency that it can operate on (or in the case of providers, the number of frequencies in all modes). My guess is the confusion will get even worse with 3G/UMTS on the horizon.

In the end however, the reason that you really can't get a iDEN/GSM phone or iDEN/CDMA is that the different technologies don't integrate easily. If you want a goo example just check out the GAIT fiasco from the Nokia 6340. That was an actual specification and the technologies are actually related in terms of spectrum handling and it still was a disaster. I see that Motorola has started to release some dual mode iDEN/GSM phones but ironically the specifications don't state the GSM operating bands so who knows how well it holds up internationally.

As for the Nextel SIM, I don't think that you can simply get a used international GSM phone and use the same SIM. From what I understand, they are not interoperable on all levels. My advice would be to pick up a cheap used GSM phone and then when you get overseas get a pay as you go SIM card from O2, Vodaphone, Orange, ...

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