Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

the world cell phone

Here's how the rental "world phone" worked for our last trip.

First you have to order the phone.

1. You call and order your world phone. You tell them what countries you will visit and the dates of travel.
2. They FedEX you the phone, adaptors, and a fanny pack to store everything.
3. The phone number has a country code of 423. Don't know your country codes off hand?

That country code belongs to Liechtenstein. Don't know your geography? I had never heard of this place. Katheryn said, "isn't that where they launder money?".

Then you get to take your phone on your trip and try to make a phone call. Silly me, I didn't read the directions. I knew that there were a finite # of possibilities... how do I "dial out" or Nigeria, what's the country code for the US, etc. And I even did my research and carried with the necessary access codes.

I tried calling out for about 30 minutes. I got a "network busy" or "error". Figuring it was the network, I waited and tried again. THEN, I read the instructions. In order to MAKE a call.... you first have to call some # in Liechtenstein. It will still say "error"... but then they call you back in a minute or so. THEN you can punch in the #.

Wrong buttons, and you start all over again.

It took about a day and a half for us to figure out how to do this. Actually, the 1st phone call is when Katheryn calls me....

This time, I have my own GSM phone. T-Mobile tells me I can make and receive calls from overseas. I called T-Mobile earlier this week to check. We specificially check Nigeria. Then we specifically check Lagos. I have them list out the specific GSM carriers that I had seen in Lagos. Two carriers on Lagos, across 3 GSM frequencies that my phone will handle.

We'll see. I describe Lagos as a city where things don't work. Lights go out, buses break down, signal lights are dark. Even after I figured out how the rental cell phone was supposed to work, the network is unreachable or busy about half the time. Our hotel is supposed to have broadband in the rooms. We'll see.
|| hcpark, 11:02 AM

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