Need cell phone advice for a trip to russia.
January 24, 2008 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Need cell phone advice for a trip to russia.

My gf is going to Russia on a business trip and her company is not springing for a cell phone. Ive set up Skype for her but she could really use a cell phone. As luck would have it I have an old t-mobile 7290 blackberry laying around which is quad-band and GSM, but I'm not a t-mobile customer and the phone has been long deactivated.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but can't I just use this in Russia? Supposedly you can just guy a SIM card there and slip it in. I also understand that the phone is most likely locked to t-mobile. I called them and they told me that I need to get it unlocked and I should contact RIM. Ive also seen a lot of third party websites offering to sell me unlock codes. Are these trustworthy? Is RIM cheap? Can I unlock it for free somehow?

Is this plan too crazy? Is it just easier to buy a disposable phone there? I'm not familiar with the region. Thanks.

Difficulty: She's leaving on Saturday morning.
posted by the ghost of Ken Lay to Travel & Transportation around Russian Federation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the phone unlocked? If so, she can buy a SIM and it should be fine.
posted by k8t at 6:04 PM on January 24, 2008

You likely won't get it unlocked by Saturday morning. The process can range from easy to (nearly) impossible so it's not necessarily trivial.

My suggestion, at this late hour, is for her to buy a cool* phone in Moscow that she can't find in the US, use it there and then use it with one of the SIM carriers in the US when she gets back, like T-Mobile.

*Basically, the rest of the world has much cooler phones than the US.
posted by 6550 at 6:38 PM on January 24, 2008

Things may have changed since I was there in 2005, but at that time it took a little effort for foreigners to buy SIM cards. I had to ask around at several places before I finally found the one central office in St. Petersburg that would sell the card to me, and I had to show my passport. Once I found the place, though, buying the card was straightforward. Buying a phone may be similar. Like anything else in Russia, she should be ready for things to take longer than expected.
posted by komilnefopa at 6:59 PM on January 24, 2008

It might be unlocked-- test it with another carrier's sim card. Any of your friends have AT&T?
posted by alexei at 8:02 PM on January 24, 2008

They sell sim cards pretty much everywhere - kiosks, etc. I can't help with unlocking a phone, but she can buy pretty much any phone she wants when she gets there, already unlocked. Everything in Moscow is mad expensive, though.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 9:14 PM on January 24, 2008

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