GSM = Global System for Mobil Communications.
This seem like a goo link, progress towards understanding.
GSM is the cell phone standard that all of the world except the USA uses. I know T-Mobile is the one carrier in the USA that uses GSM. So their phones should work for this. Just make sure the free incoming calls include while you are OUT of the country. To answer your question of paying the bill, you can set it up to use your debit/credit card to pay the bill automatically each month of you can do it yourself online. This is what I currently do with my Nextel phone (which only works in the USA unless I buy the international phone). Hope this helps hobo!
The Prudent Traveler
MORE INFO from the person that started this great idea.
Just read your blog and have some additional information for you. The
"GSM" system is the "Global System Mobile" and it is the most widely
used mobile telephone system in the world. If you have a GSM phone
you can use it to access telephone systems in most countries. You use
the phone with a SIM card. Some SIM cards are pre-paid in some cases
the card may only be used on the network in the country where issued.
You can often buy a SIM card at a newsstand or tobacco shop and the
telephone number is local to that country and printed on the SIM card.
Alternatively, there are companies that issue SIM cards and the bill
is paid by credit card. These cards are more flexible and often can
be used on GSM networks around the world. The cards are more flexible
and, therefore, more expensive. These cards allow you to use the same
number all the time.
As for payment, ylou can arrange to have the bill charged to a credit
card. And you can arrange for the credit card bill to be debited to
your bank account. You can also pay the bill using an online bill
payment service like Citibank on-line (which is free and very good).
I would be interested to know how you handle banking and credit cards
and the like in your travels; have you ever posted on this topic on
As for the callback process, what you would do is open an account with
a callback firm in the USA. You will be issued a personal "trigger
number"; this is the number that, when called, it dials the telephone
number where you can be reached (you can do this via internet, for
example). Then when you dial the trigger number and hang-up. The
computer calls you back and when you answer there will be a
dial-tone--in the USA. So, at that point, you aqfre paying for the
call from the US to you. Then you dial the number in the USA for the
internet service provider. That call will be a US domestic telephone
call and a few cents per minute. So you would need to maintain a
cheap US-based internet service provider that you can access via
dial-in. You would have to have a connection from the phone to your
I cecked-out another callback service; see below:
There are a ton of these callback services. See:
If you put some information on your blog about callback services you
could probably create links to some of these services and earn
For example, a call from Israel to a number in the US is 16 cents per
minute. From Estonia 21 cents. From Thailand 36 cents. From Niger
Let me know if you have any questions.
My techie from India sent me this, and I need to keep all the informaiton in one place:
Came across the GSM thing on your BLOG.. So, here's some info from my head.
May have missed some specs..
What you need is a Quad band GSM cell phone with GPRS support. Bluetooth is
optional as it will allow the Notebook to interface with the cellphone
wirelessly. Without Bluetooth support is OK too, but this would need a cable
which is usually sold as an add-on accessory.
The advantage of Bluetooth is that, if the GPRS signal is weak (ie: from the
cellphone to the service provider), you can mount the cellphone on a higher
spot like a tree, beam or something 7ft tall. This way the notebook would
communicate wirelessly over Bluetooth with the cellphone.
-> GSM - Global System for Mobile Communications
GSM is the most widely used standard, but newer technologies are coming up.
CDMA is faster and clearer for voice, data but not compatible with GSM cell
phones. So, GSM is common currently.
-> GPRS - General Packet Radio Service
GPRS works along with GSM and is a MUST for internet connectivity. Once
connected over GPRS, you can send/receive mails and surf the web on the
cellphone itself (small screen is too small). For the Notebook to access the
internet through the cellphone, you'd need Bluetooth on the cellphone or a
cable connecting the two.
-> Quad band
Some cell phones support dual band or triple band frequencies only. These
devices might work in Asia or the Middle East, but not in the USA or Europe.
To ensure the cellphone covers ALL frequencies in any country, a Quad band
cell phone is a must.
Quad band frequencies include 850/900/1800/1900
850 and 1900 - USA
900 and 1800 - Asia, Middle East, Australia
-> Service Providers
Options include pre-paid and post-paid plans. When traveling, it might be a
better option to purchase a pre-paid plan in the country your in. The
pre-paid plan includes a certain number of hours for talk time and a certain
number of text messages that can be sent before your plan expires.
You would need to tell them that your primary usage is for GPRS connectivity
(internet) and not voice calls or text messaging [SMS]. This way, you may
get a better deal as you wouldn't be paying for text messaging and (or)
other unnecessary features.
After the signup, you will get a SIM card which sticks into the cellphone
and your connected!! (may require a few settings) ;-)
Usually providers have 'happy-hours'. This means calls or data transfers
after 11PM at night to 6 in the morning cost half the full rate or maybe
cost one fourth the full rate. This is subjective with every provider.
When you travel to another city/state, sometimes a cellphone provider might
not have a presence in the other state or city (although in the same
country). They may have tie-ups with 3rd party providers and this would be
billed under 'roaming' which costs more or they may have no presence at all!
If it's the former, then you essentially get the same features but under a
This is dependant on the network. Sometimes it can be slower than a modem
about 7200kbps. But, good enough to POP and SMTP a quick email.
Depending on the make and model of the cellphone, there are some virri
out-in-the-wild that could infect the cellphone. However, the ONLY way an
infection can take place is if the attachment is accepted over Bluetooth
(requires user interaction). This can be disabled so as not to accept file
from any *unknown* users.
-> Roaming between Countries
Some cellphone companies are tied up with companies from other countries.
For eg: If you were to signup for a plan with IDEA cellular service in India
and need to make a trip to Malaysia. Then, with the roaming feature
activated, you would be able to make calls once in Malaysia. Billing is a
problem though as you'd need to pay the money back in India. (or maybe in
Malaysia). This option may be good during an emergency and you don't want to
loose your number.
But just for GPRS connectivity, roaming is not needed.
So basically, with a Quad band GPRS phone, and after registering for a
pre-paid service plan you pop in the SIM card and use it for the amount of
time your in the country.
Usually the Nokias have a clear signal (haven't tried one though)
Btw, if you buy the cellphone in the USA through a service provider (eg:
Cingular). It could be very cheap.
Eg: This smartphone/pda hybrid costs $650 (unlocked). But through Cingular
its only $399 (after rebate).
However its locked to work only with Cingulars service, and this will not
work with other coutries' service providers. So you'd need to get it
The detail provided by @ndrew is comprehensive, accurate, and an excellent supplement to the information I provided earlier. --James
Andrew sent and email and I am posting again.
I hadn't read the original posters post on callback.. I would think
would increase the number of potential issues of what can go wrong.
callback is dependant on the caller having a static number. If we
the static number to be a cellphone, then its surely not going to work
minute one leaves the city/state/country. Some service providers do not
work outside the city you registered in.
So, during subsequent signups with new Mobile Service Providers, you'd
to update the new cell phone number with the callback service.
Btw, callback is not over GPRS. If you have a cellphone signed up with
local provider and if there's a problem, then the service guys would
troubleshoot. Unlike a GPRS signup, Callback is dependant on multiple
services, not one point.
Total cost involved = Cost of the Mobile Service Provider (local) +
Service + Internet Service Provider (USA) + (If the Mobile Service
charges a premium for enabling callback on their network)
Also, there are legal issues concerning callback. The FCC International
Bureau has listed countries which have made callback illegal.
FCC PUBLIC FILE COUNTRY LIST
The Following countries have submitted information claiming that they
expressly made call-back illegal.
* The Bahamas
* Cook Islands
* Costa Rica
* Netherlands Antilles
* Saudi Arabia
* South Africa
* United Arab Emirates
There are 2 options,
Motorola V3 Razr Unlocked GSM Cell Phone
The Motorola is a Quadband world phone with bluetooth and GPRS.
Do you plan to check email and get updates for other things like currency conversion etc? Then you’d require a Smartphone. The GPS accessory for smartphones are sold separately.
Palm Treo 650 Smartphone
GPS Accessory for Palm Treo
Standalone GPS devices: (These will not work with cellphones)