Monday, May 4, 2009

Time to Replace the Cell Phone

My old Nokia clamshell is starting to act up. A couple of numbers are getting hard to press and the camera does not work all the time. It has served me well for about five years and has been abused something awful, having been dropped and left out in the rain more than once.

I carry prepaid SIM cards for Canada, USA and Mexico which I simply insert as I cross the borders. It is a handy system and avoids having to keep three phones.

My friend Don in Pahrump, NV just bought a couple of LG Shine phones which seem to work pretty well for him. They are tri-band phones that include the 1900 MHz band used in Mexico and can be used in Canada and the USA as well. We hardly ever use our cell phones when we travel. They are mainly for emergency and for our son to try to keep track of where we are. Because of this, $20 or $25 prepaid cards for each country last us for a year. In Canada we use the 7/11 Speakout service, in the USA, T-Mobile and in Mexico, the Telcel system. In Canada and the USA our cards last one year before expiring but in Mexico it is a little hard to tell. I think they last three months. We bought a $200 Peso card when we entered Mexico and when we had vehicle problems in Puebla we burned up a lot of time and actually ran out. We topped it up with a $100 Peso card and did not use it much after that. When we needed it near the end of the trip we found it to be empty again. This was probably three months since the top up. I still have not mastered the intricacies of making a phone call in Mexico. There are city codes to contend with and instead of simply dialing 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx you have to dial 01-xxx-xxx-xxxx or sometimes 001-xxx-xxx-xxxx, sometimes adding a city code. I know it is not all that complicated but I can never seem to make a successful call without having a helpful bystander help me. Thankfully there are always plenty of helpful bystanders in Mexico.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like your usage is similar to ours - the phone is a phone.

    My wife went through two Sony-Ericsons in our last two year contract and ended up using an old Samsung that had belonged to our daughter. I had a Sony-Ericson that lasted but sometimes it would ring and sometimes it wouldn't. Not the ideal!