New Cellphone
December 26, 2006 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Can I get a cellphone in Canada that will also work in SE Asia?

My old multi year cell phone contract has just expired, and I need a new phone anyways (the hinge is breaking off). Can I sign up for a new contract with some company, and get a phone (preferably for free) that could also work in Cambodia?
posted by Iax to Technology (6 answers total)
Not free from your service provider, no. They'll most likely give you one that's locked so you can't use any other provider's sim cards in it, and it probably won't work on the frequencies that are used in SE asia.

However, cellphones are cheap as hell over there. You can probably get one for around $40 in Thailand.
posted by borkingchikapa at 8:21 PM on December 26, 2006

Cambodia works on the 900 and 1800 MHz bands, so any phone that works on those two should be fine. 900 MHz is apparently the most common international band used. If you can, get a phone covering 900, 1800 and 1900.

You could get a GSM phone through any provider that sells them, get it unlocked, and either pay roaming charges or get a pre-paid SIM in Cambodia and use that in your phone instead (that's why you unlock it). Unlocking can be had for about $15.

I know for a fact that Rogers is still selling the Motorola V635, which I mention only because it's quad-band and so will hook up to any GSM provider anywhere. I don't have any affiliation with Rogers or Motorola, as a point of information.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:26 PM on December 26, 2006

So anything that is quad band would also be ok?
How is rogers as a company? I wasn't too impressed with telus. I used ebay and bought a data cable for my phone, only to find out telus locks the phone down more than any other company in the world...

If I get a motorola v635 can I download ring tones or whatever onto it? I'm morally opposed to paying twice for stuff...
posted by Iax at 9:04 PM on December 26, 2006

There is a software app called Motorola Phone Tools that in combination with a USB cable allows you to copy ring tones, images, wallpaper, games, etc. to the phone. Ostensibly you're supposed to pay for this program but you can find it on filesharing sites too, and the USB cable can be had for less than $10 on ebay. The definitive source for info on these kind of things is so you might want to browse around there for details on any phone or service that you're considering.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:20 PM on December 26, 2006

You could go with tri-band and probably be okay as well. Tri-band is also easier to find if you don't find a quad that you like. I like the 635 but it is a bit larger and heavier than most current flips.

As a wireless company, Rogers isn't any more predatory than the other majors in Canada. Their phones are pretty easily unlocked - possibly because a lot of people use Rogers - and I find that their service quality is pretty good. I'm with them now for the last 6 years and it was Telus I switched from because I got tired of dropping calls.

As for ring tones, with my V635 I use the data cable to connect it to my computer and it looks like a removable drive, so copying new ring tones to it is drag and drop. The 635 has a slot for a mini-SD card on it so the storage is expandable. You don't need the Phone Tools software for copying ringtones, any MP3 and copy/paste will do.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:36 PM on December 26, 2006

If you get a Canadian phone, you'll need to get it 'unlocked' when you arrive in SEA; there will likely be lots of little shops that do that, I would guess. Also, keep in mind that you need to get a phone that takes SIM cards - a lot of the North American phones don't.

Also, as was mentioned earlier, its probably just easier to get a new phone there when you arrive (if you're going to be there for long enough to make it worthwhile), since cell phones are cheaper than in Canada almost everywhere else in the world.*

*This is a guess, MeFites. That's just the way its always seemed to me.
posted by Kololo at 8:50 AM on December 27, 2006

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