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phones and data

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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:08 pm    Post subject: phones and data Reply with quote

I am a newbie. I am hoping to get a job teaching in the Arab world -- either the Middle East or North Africa. My current phone works in America only.

I would like to get a phone that works everywhere before I leave. I noticed that one of the posts in the job journal section mentioned pretending to talk on one's "GSM" -- I assume that stands for "Global Satellite Mobile."

So I assume that many teachers in the Middle East have satellite phones, perhaps the Globalstar GST-1600 or something similar.

I wonder if any teachers would care to comment on the following questions:

1) Is there any reason to get a local phone rather than getting a satellite phone? Is there, for example, an inexpensive way to use an ordinary cell phone in the United States and the Middle East?
2) Is there any satellite phone that looks good on the surface but has bad coverage or other problems once it is actually used in the Middle East?
3) Is there any satellite phone which is more popular than others?
4) Does anyone on the forum have experience with connecting a phone to a laptop and using that for internet connectivity while in the Middle East?

Thanks in advance.
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Joined: 17 Dec 2003
Posts: 119
Location: Yemen (Aden)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Last edited by Eijse on Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eijse wrote:
I'd get the job first and then worry about finding a mobile phone. Prices and technology are going to depend on the country you end up in.

In fact, GSM seems to stand for "Global System for Mobile communication," so the post which mentioned it was just referring to a standard European-style cell phone, not a special satellite phone.

So my question was ignorant in the first place.
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Stephen Jones

Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You get GSM phones in the States, though they use a different frequency. If you want a phone you can use back in the states then you get a triband one. Thye're about twenty dollars more expensive than normal dual band ones.

As far as Saudi goes you can either pay for a pre-paid card which costs SR100 ($27) and allows you about 90 minutes calling time nationally and includes one month rental (that is every time you buy a card you get another month) or you can pay about $17 subscription and pay for the calss at a reduced rate.

Saudi has just introduced GPRS at the incredibly cheap rate of under $1 a megabyte. However there doesn't seem much you can do with it, since there are no WAP servers, so it looks rather like you can use it for sending multi-media messages ( and photos taken with your illegal photo camera) and downloading ring tones and not much else unless you do decide buy one that connects to your laptop.

That last is not as easy as you might think. You need a laptop that has the same kind of connectibiyt that your phone has, and you'll find that your laptop is bluetooth and the phone infra-red, or vice-versa, and the cables never work either.

In Saudi nearly everybody has a Nokia, though there are a certian number of Eriksons, particularly the smartphone, and Samsung is also becoming popular.Prices for a dual band will range from $80 up to about $800. In general they are not much more than in the States when you buy without a contract tying you in. You can also get combination Pocket PC - PDA/Mobile phones. Tne cheapest I have seen is the Everex whch is selling for around $550 at present. I would have bought one just to have the mobile phone and PDA in one device, but when you want to send an SMS it appears you have to use the stylus; as everybody I know, incliding myself, holds the phone in one hand while texting with the thumb, I don't predict many sales of the device among the young and trendy. Smart phones seem to lack much of the functionality of a Palm or Pocket PC so you would probably do best going for a cheap phone with GPRS just in case you ever need it.

Incidentally I can't really see why you want to access the internet from your mobile (you can get PC card modems that will do it for you incidentally). If you're thinking of sunning yourself by the swimming pool while downloading your Hotmail think again. For a start it's so hot here that nearly everybody only goes to the beach at night, and secondly even if it was a little more tolerable you would never be able to see the laptop screen unless you covered it with a custom sunshade!
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