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US Mobiles/Cell Phones - Differences With EU?  
User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1035 times:

Can someone explain to me the differences between having a Mobile in the US and in the UK or EU?

I've jsut been reading the other mobiles thread and looking at the websites of such people as Sprint PCS and am amazed that you have to roam in your own country, some people are still using digital, and noone even seems to have heard of GSM/International Roaming!

Could someone elighten me by describing the service they have?

To get the ball rolling:

I'm on Orange Talk 150 in the UK
£25 a month line rental.
150 free minutes
Calls from 1p a minute
Uses GSM 1800 network, but dual band roaming in 150 countries.
Nokia 6210e phone (with High speed data).

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1019 times:

Sorry, that was meant to read 'still using analogue'. Whoops!  Smile

User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1016 times:

Yup, cell phones in the US such compared to Europe and Asia!  Smile

In the US, some operators do use GSM, but they are on a different frequency, 1900 MHz, so you will need a 1900 phone (or a dual/tri-band phone that supports both 1900 and 900/1800) If you do have such a phone, you can usually roam with your home country SIM card.

Basically, the US govt said, let the market decide the standard, not the govt, so as a result, you have a mess of GSM, CDMA, TDMA, and analogue. 3G will hopefully be better, but don't hold your breath for it to come out.


User currently offlineN312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2682 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1014 times:

In reference to International roaming... The US is a big country, and most people dont leave it enough to use international roaming. Different from Europe cause there's so many countries..


Here in Detroit, MI, USA I have:
Cingular Wireless (Digital Service, nobody uses analog signals anymore)..
40 USD a month
250 minutes a month
unlimited minutes on nights (after 7PM, and weekends)
Text Messaging
Mobile Internet Access
"Midwest" coverage only (MI, IL, OH, IN)... In other parts of the country the phone will work, but it's extra for roaming.
Ericcson R278 phone





Fly Delta's Big Jets!
User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1014 times:

Actually, read in the International Herald Tribune today that Verizon had rolled out the first 3G service in the US - on the East Coast and the SF Bay area.

Do they have any phones though!?

Here in the UK, the Isle of Man has 3G, but they've only got 250 handsets so it won't be taking off quite yet.

Also, the handsets that cross between 2G and 3G haven't come yet, so the Manx service is essentially useless - although they have been getting 512kbps through it with no problems.

Sorry if I'm being long winded - but mobile communications are very interesting to me!


User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3076 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1007 times:




I'm suprised you singled out Sprint PCS, because I think that they offer one of the most attractive coverage areas out there:



Anywhere in the dark green (just about every major metro area in the US and many highways inbetween) I can use my phone just as if I were home. No extra fees while I remain on the Sprint nationwide digital network. And if I'm on the Sprint network, I don't have to pay any extra for long distance calling, coast to coast.

Everywhere else (the light green) I can use my phone on the analog or digital coverage areas but I have to pay out the ass in fees for this. But it's good for emergencies.

If you want to talk about an antiquated phone system, how about you guys over in the UK who are still paying for each local call.


User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1007 times:

I have a dual-band GSM Nokia with Voicestream Wireless. I have national long-distance, with a "Neighborhood" plan that stretches from Maine to Virginia. I pay 39,99 $ a month, and as I have the dual-band GSM, I've been told that I'm good to go almost anywhere. Other than Montréal (which I get Microcell coverage), I have yet to put this into action...yet one does wonder the cost of make a mobile call to Boston from Europe!

LH423



« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1000 times:

You find more info on www.gsmworld.com


User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 995 times:

I'm surprised you singled out the US!

No offense buddy but my plan with AT&T is far superior to yours.

unlimited nights weekends, 400 peak minutes, all over the country for 40 USD/month which is just a little more than 25 quid what you pay for for much less service.

TNNH


User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 983 times:

Well, it depends what you use it for.

The reason I'm with Orange is that all my mates are on it, the coverage and performance is excellent and they have cool features - like High Speed Data, having two lines on one phone and two phones on one talk plan.

There are some great deals to be had with other providers - such as BT Cellnet, Vodafone and One2One - shortly to become T-Mobile.

I've looked at your A T & T coverage map and see that only certain areas (yellow):

http://www.attws.com/images/maps/dor-nat.gif

have text messaging services, Caller ID or Message Waiting indicators. To me, that's crap. Text Messages are now very important even in business and I can send/recieve them all over, in any country with a GSM network. Ditto Caller ID.

Although, granted, the UK landline system is crap - symtoms of a monopoly.

That's why I have broadband cable for my internet, and an Orange mobile.




User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 977 times:

yeah the minute plans are great in the US, but the text message, caller ID, and other digital features are still limited.

User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3076 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 973 times:


Another thing that's good for the US, we don't have to worry too much which plans our friends and family are with because we are typically charged the same no matter which number we call.

A lot of people I know don't have a land line for telephone service because it's cheaper for them to just have a mobile with all long distance included. It works if you're not on the phone all that much.

Text messaging hasn't caught on in the USA at all, especially phone-to-phone. Some providers like AT&T let you send an e-mail to like ##########@mobile.att.net and that text message will pop up on the phone. I think there's also a web form for it. Mine doesn't have that though.


User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 966 times:

Eg777er: Sure, we may not have have text messaging services, Caller ID or Message Waiting indicators everywhere, but that area in Florida alone is almost the size of the UK as a whole!

It would be impossible to offer such services nationwide, also when you consider that areas in the midwest are so unpopulated where the population much less has seen a mobile phone, let alone everyone owning one.

LH423



« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 965 times:

The major US wireless companies (Sprint, ATTWS, Cingular) will gradually be adopting the GSM standard and doing away with CDMA, TDMA, etc. Seems the Europeans have won the argument on this one!

At the moment Voicestream Wireless (Deutsche Telekom) is the only GSM provider in the US.


User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 966 times:

Erm..don't know if I skipped it or didn't see it, but aren't we missing something really major here? The 'Airtime' concept?

I own both a One2One unit (now antique Nokia 5100!) and a Nextel Iden i85. No charge for incoming (from the UK at least) calls on the One2One. Not true for the Nextel. I don't know if this is true for all US systems and tariffs, but my wife's Verizon plan is very similar to mine. I call her from my Nextel, the minutes appear on my Nextel bill and her Verizon bill.

Maybe someone can verfiy or explain this to me because I'm still clueless with the US system after living with the UK system for 5 or 6 years.





User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 963 times:

NJTurnpike,

That may be true, but in Europe it will cost you at least twice as much to call a cell phone from a fixed line phone. In the US, its the same rate whether you call a fixed line or a mobile, but in the case of a mobile minutes will be deducted whether a person has made or received a call.

I thought the first incoming minute was free on Nextel? That's what all their ads say anyway.

Most cell phone companies have reduced rates if you are calling cell-to-cell with the same company (i.e. you both have Sprint, etc). Nice little gimmick that.


User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 961 times:

Actually, those companies with CDMA (Sprint, Alltel, Qwest) have absolutely no intention of abandoning a technology which is, in reality, far superior to GSM.

GSM is basically a common version of TDMA. They are the same basic idea (dividing a signal by microsecond divisions instead of by code) and in reality, only certain TDMA operators (majors such as Cingular & AT&T) will be switching, for purposes of commonality with European counterparts etc.

The GSM technology is good, as is TDMA, but they are both old technologies. The "3G" (GPRS) concept is an attempt to update GSM to the level that CDMA hit from day one.

CDMA (and its counterpart W-CDMA) are much more advanced from the pure standpoint that they are newer. They have a vastly greater capacity (in terms of calls per cell at any given time - around three times as many) and can provide data services such as GPRS easily.

GSM is good from the standpoint that it's common throughout most of the Western (and indeed, Third) World. The only disadvantage is that in North America, the frequency is 1.9GHz instead of 1.8GHz or 900MHz.

The argument about analog coverage is irrelevant. Britain does not have vast expanses of nothingness like the US/Australia do, and indeed it may be interesting to note that both countries (the US and Australia) are extremely reluctant to turn off their analog networks. That said, Australia is now progressing to, of all things, CDMA and Satellite phones in remote areas.

Here ends the lesson.
For what it's worth, I have Cingular Wireless.


User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5509 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 954 times:

I have AT&T Digital One Rate, 1400 minutes anywhere anytime, for (I think?) $119.00/month. I use the whee out of the phone (old trusty Nokia 6160).

The plan's good since all long distance is included- I can call anywhere in the USA at no additional charge. But OH! when I called Australia- $2.20/minute- OUCH!

There's a plan appropriate for every user. My wife's company has SBC / Cingular phones, dozens of them, and all calls within the company are unlimited free minutes.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 7 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 943 times:

Hey Scuttler, if you want to upgrade to a new Nokia 5165 thats like brand new, check this out for pennies on the dollar!:

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=ViewItem&item=1327774932


User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (12 years 7 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 934 times:

Some good information here - thanks a lot.

You're right about calling other networks. If I call my friends on their mobiles (Orange), they either charge me 5p a minute, or take it out of my free minutes. If I call my brother, who's on Vodafone, it costs me 35p a minute. However, the Office of Fair Trading (don't know US equivalent, sorry!) are going to clamp down on this.

I don't think 3G can be compared to GPRS - here in the UK the providers are advertising GPRS as a kind of enhanced GSM (e-GSM) which is more like 2.5G rather than 3G. To me it looks expensive even though you can get 112kbps through it - Vodafone and BT Cellnet are offering it, but you pay by the amount of data you download.

Yes, 3G is also known as W-CDMA - but in Europe (and I think all the countries with GSM) it will be called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System).

LH423 I think that FL is quite a bit larger than the UK actually! But what you're saying about market penetration is quite interesting.



and



One of the major reasons why mobiles have taken off in the UK is Pay as you Go. This is where you buy the phone for about 100 pounds and you then 'top-up' your call credit with vouchers. It's ideal for children and people who use it in an emergency as there is no contract required, and no credit check. Calls are slightly more expensive though. You can buy the phones everywhere - from supermarkets to airports.


User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (12 years 7 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 925 times:

Hoffa, interesting point about the Nextel 'free first minute' thing. I will have to look into that - didn't know it existed. There's a possibility that it might not be the case on my company's corporate plan, however (but Direct Connect more than makes up for that, it's a great feature that I haven't seen anywhere else)

EG777er, the Pay As You Go feature has been particularly useful to me as I only use the phone about 2 or 3 weeks per year when in the country. Now I'm wondering if One2One are supporting it as much as they used to. In three days of wondering around stores in London (week before last) I couldn't find a single place that stocked the 10 or 20 pound Talktime vouchers. It seems that everywhere had 'run out'. Amazing.

The 'Pay As You Go' marketing model has made it to the US, most noticeably with Verizon on the East Coast. Should be interesting to see how it takes off.


User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (12 years 7 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 923 times:

I think One2One are pushing all their PAYG customers to Virgin, in whom they have a 50% stake.

PAYG has undoubtedly contributed to the massive take up of mobile use in Europe.

For example, in my local supermarket (Tesco), they can recharge your phone with credit at the checkout - all by just swiping your credit/debit card.



User currently offlineTwaneedsnohelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 7 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 902 times:

AT&T has a prepaid mobile program too, but prepaid is not the way to go unless you are under dextenuating cicrumstances (travelling for a month, have terrible credit). Its not useful for people who have good credit and use their phone moderately to heavy.

TNNH


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